Helen Sear (Photographer)

Research output: Non-textual formExhibition

77 Downloads (Pure)


Research Context
This work develops an ongoing exploration into the relationship of lens –based media to the plastic arts and the camouflaging or obscuring of the central subject placed in front of the camera lens. The “monocular” vision of the camera in relation to our human binocular vision is explored and extended through further investigations into senses other than that of sight. The camera prioritizes vision over the other senses and through the introduction of a hand painted surface the sense of touch is brought directly to the surface of the image.

Research Imperatives
Questions concerning the unique object and the copy are fore-fronted both in photographic terms and in relation to mass production in consumer culture (the birds are mass produced in the far east and are modelled and painted to depict western bird species) as are notions of identity as through the obscuring of the face of the woman and the gaze of the sitter and the observer. The spectator of the photograph is unable to know the sitter’s identity, in a similar way that she/he can’t know the identity of the person(s) who hand-painted the bird. The two eyes of the sitter are replaced with one painted eye of the china bird.

Other Relevant Details:
Project methods
The images themselves depict a portrait of a woman whose face is obscured by a mass-produced, but hand-painted figurine of a bird. The photograph is altered through the application of several layers of white primer—gesso, the material which is traditionally used under paintings but also contains powdered marble referring to the figurines. The images, then, are also about photographing paint and painting photographs.

National Eisteddfod Wales, Glyn Ebwy (2011)
Klompching Gallery, New York (2012)
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2010


Dive into the research topics of 'Sightlines'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this