Chair Insider: An Intimate Access in Photo Narratives

14 July 2012
Juno Gemes

Click on the image above to view this gallery. Images can be expanded to full size at top right of each image

Andrew Sayers, director of the National Portrait Gallery, wrote of my work, ‘Trust is an important quality in portraiture. Trust is self evident in Juno Gemes’ photographic portraits’. The portraits published here were created in trust with literary friends.

There are many poets we enjoy a richer understanding of through the photographic portraits of them we have studied. Think of Marianne Moore, Ezra Pound, Dorothy Hewett , Francis Webb. Portraits mediate the personal. Portraits are life prints.

I began portraiture with poet friends Michael Horovitz, Heathcote Williams, Allen Ginsberg and Gregory Corso in 1970s London. Soon I had an hour long portrait session with James Baldwin (a literary hero of mine) at The Hyde Park Hotel.

Portraits are a visual conversation. They have a long publication life.

As partner to poet Robert Adamson, the inaugural CAL Chair of Poetry at the University of Technology, Sydney, I have an ‘intimate access’. Looking in the rear view mirror, I am reminded that our collaborative work – The Language of Oysters, poems by Robert Adamson, photographs by Juno Gemes, published by Craftsman House – was featured in the first issue of Cordite.

Now, sixteen years later, ‘Chair Insider: An Intimate Access in Photo Narratives’ is published in Cordite 39: JACKPOT! These photo-narratives cover a few seminal events during the first six months of Professor Robert Adamson’s CAL Chair tenure at UTS during 2012

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