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  • Writer's pictureJo Sutherst

Informing Contexts – Performance

Some subjects deliberately perform for the camera lens.  For many this is an explicit choice, acknowledging the presence of the camera.  We are all self-aware in front of the camera, some of us are shy whilst others are almost confrontational in their approach to the camera.

Photographers use the camera to observe some internal struggle.  For others, the struggle is of their own doing, as they set out to see what happens ‘if’.

Before Jo Spence was diagnosed with breast cancer, she collaborated with Terry Dennett on the series ‘Remodelling Photo History’ (1980-82). Throughout this work, she questioned the assumption of naturalism within photography and used both role-play and performance to stage her images.  The series questions the visual representations of history by acting out a recreation of the scene.

The work is a prime example of how performance plays a large part in the act of taking a photograph.


Figure 1: Jo Spence and Terry Dennett, Remodelling Photohistory (Revisualization), 1982


Figure 1: Jo Spence and Terry Dennett, Remodelling Photohistory (Revisualization), 1982 From (2017). Jo Spence: Remodelling Photo History 8. [online] Available at: [Accessed 14 February  2017].

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