Professor David Chandler
Professor of Photography
School of Art, Design and Architecture (Faculty of Arts & Humanities)
Programme tutor – MA 'Photography and the Book' and MA 'Photography and the Land'
Programme tutor – BA Photography
My interest in photography began within the context of art history and has been developed since 1982 through various curatorial roles in museums and galleries, including the National Portrait Gallery, London (1982-88) and The Photographers' Gallery, London (1988-95). Now I work principally as a writer, editor and curator, in the fields of contemporary photography, photographic history and the visual arts. This work often stems from a close association with photographers, artists and organisations, either professionally as a commissioner of projects, or more generally as a participant in the processes of making and thinking about work. Collaboration is, therefore, an important principle and activity in all my work, as is an enthusiasm for cross-disciplinary projects that bring together distinct disciplines and experiences. These ideas were a driving force behind my role as Director of Photoworks, Brighton (1997-2010), where, among other things, I initiated a major series of site-based commissions and over thirteen years worked closely with a range of very different photographers and artists. The ideas have also informed my activities as a publisher of photographic books, especially at Photoworks, and I have developed a particular interest in the practice and process of book making, something underpinned by the firm belief in the book as a primary site for the photographic image.
Staff serving as external examiners
External Examining experience:
NorthbrookCollege, Worthing (BA Photography)
MiddlesexUniversity (BA Fine Art)
SouthamptonSolent University (BA Photography)
Universityof the Creative Arts, Farnham (BA Photography)
PhDExternal Examiner at:
Universityof Wales (Newport)
Universityof the Arts, London
Universityof the Creative Arts, Rochester
My researchevolves from collaborative relationships with contemporary photographers andartists that are developed over time. These relationships generate a dialoguethrough which I lend support, curatorial advice and a critical perspective onthe artist’s work, a process that most often results in a piece of writing for apublication, exhibition or event, or in some cases for all of these things. Importantlyfor me, there is no binding thematic thread to this research. The artists andthe work I develop with them represent a wide range of practices and the collaborativeprocess demands that our shared interests are discursive, that ideas open outfrom our discussions and meetings. However, certain subjects do recur acrossthis work and provide something of a loose framework for my research – landscape,the idea of place, memory and journeying are among them – and these subjectsare contextualised by the key research themes of the Photography Research Grouphere at Plymouth: for example, Photography and Landscape, Photography and theBook, Interdisciplinary Practices, Photography and Writing.
My ownwriting has a primary interpretive function but also, in almost every case,aims to build a broader cultural and historical context for the artist’s work.In general the essays are not written specifically for a research community andare often commissioned by a public institution or a publisher; so, combining asense of critical rigour with the demands of a broad audience is usually animportant balance to strike. Over the years in doing this I have developed aninterest in writing that does not comply with more formal academic approaches butcombines critical analysis, and elements of art and cultural history, with moreliterary forms: biography, documentary journalism, travel writing, storytellingand in some instances fictional passages and autobiography. In this it finds echoes in a tradition of ‘creativenon-fiction’ but also acknowledges the unique relationship between photographsand writing as distinct but potentially complementary creative practices.This approach has been shaped over a period of thirty years working as acurator for various arts organisations, and during the last ten years or so theyhave developed further through sustained working relationships with a number ofleading photographers and artists, including: Jem Southam, Paul Graham, OriGersht, Helen Sear, Dryden Goodwin, Peter Fraser, Susan Derges, Bettina vonZwehl, Mark Power, John Kippin, David Spero, Nigel Shafran and Anna Fox.
Creative practice & artistic projects
Recent essays have been published in the following books:
• David Moore, Pictures From The Real World, Dewi Lewis Books, 2013
• Anna Fox, RESORT 1 and RESORT 2, Schilt Publishing (Amsterdam) 2013 and 2015
• Ori Gersht, History Repeating (E-Book), Museumof Fine Arts, Boston, USA, 2014
• Tom Wood, Looking For, Looking For Love, Sorika Books, London, 2014.
• Bettina Von Zwehl, Made Up Love Songs, V ictoriaand Albert Museum, London, 2015.
•Paul Graham, The Whiteness of The Whale, Pier24, San Francisco/MACK Books, London, 2015
•Thom and Beth Atkinson, Missing Buildings, Hwaet Books, London, 2015.
• Sian Davey, Looking For Alice, Trolley Books, London, 2015.
• STRANGEand FAMILIAR ( ExhibitionCurated by Martin Parr). Book published by the Barbican Art Gallery and Prestel Books, 2016.
• Nigel Shafran, Dark Rooms, MACK Books,London, 2016
Reports & invited lectures
Recent Public Talks/Lectures
September 2015 In conversation with Paul Graham,Waterstones, Piccadilly
March 2013 Peter Fraser in Context, TateSt Ives, (Day Symposium)
June 2012 New British Colour in the 1980s, Le Bal, Paris
January 2011 In conversation with SusanDerges and Garry FabianMiller; Victoria & Albert Museum, London
May 2010: Commissioning Photography, Next-Photography, Essen, Germany.
January 2010: New British Photography, La Triennale di Milano, Design Museum, Milan.
January 2010: In conversation with Ori Gersht, Sallis Benney Theatre, University of Brighton
November 2009: In conversation with Martin Parr and Grayson Perry, LCC, University of the Arts, London.
November 2009: Robert Adams, Award lecture at the Ceremony for the 2009 Hasselblad Award, Gothenburg, Sweden
October 2009: In conversation with Mitch Epstein, The Photographers’ Gallery, London
October 2009: In conversation with Helen Sear, Hooper’s Gallery, London
March 2009: In conversation with Paul Graham, The Photographers’ Gallery, London
March 2009: Stills Moving: Interrupting the Real World, Chair of Panel Discussion with Emily Richardson, Dryden Goodwin and Ori Gersht, Animation Breakdown Study Day, Tate Modern, London
October 2008: In conversation with Dryden Goodwin, The Photographers’ Gallery, London
Other academic activities
Membership of Professional Award Committees in Photography:
2001 Citibank Photography Prize, The Photographers’ Gallery,
2003 Jerwood Photography Awards, Portfolio, Edinburgh
2006 Photographic Portrait Prize, National Portrait Gallery, London
2007/8 Hasselblad Award, Hasselblad Foundation, Gothenburg
2008/09 Chair, Hasselblad Award, Hasselblad Foundation, Gothenburg, Sweden
2009 Kraszna-Krausz Award, London
2009 Photoworks Fellowship, British School at Rome
2009/10 Riccardo Pezza Award. Museum of Contemporary Photography, Milan
2011- Present Member Deutsche Börse Foundation Prize Academy, The Photographers’
2013 Prize Architekturbild (European Architectural Photography Award), Stuttgart.
2014 Bar Tur Photography Award, The Photographers’ Gallery, London
2015 Gabriele Basilico Prize, Ordine degli Architetti, Milan
2016 MACKFirst Book Prize, MACK Books, London