ANTIQUITY & PHOTOGRAPHY: The Open University (London), September 10 2015
The fantasy of capturing the ancient world on film has fired the popular imagination ever since the early 19th century. Whether allowing armchair tourists the opportunity to view ancient sites without the need for travel, or reanimating ancient history and myth in flesh and blood, rather than pen and paint, the camera has, for more than two centuries, channelled a unique vision of the distant past. But while cinema’s relationship with antiquity has been endlessly studied in recent years, the same cannot be said of still photography, in all its forms. From the earliest days of the daguerreotype, which quickly became a valuable means of depicting archaeological sites, to the artistic photography of the present day, which can variously recreate and redestroy antiquity using both analogue and digital processes, the photographic medium is a powerful vehicle for exploring and commenting on our relationship to the past, which deserves to be examined in much more detail.
This one-day colloquium aims to provide a forum for colleagues interested in this area of research, in which any question or topic related to the theme of Antiquity and Photography can be discussed. In particular, it is hoped that the colloquium will explore some of the more creative and/or subjective ways in which photography has addressed the ancient past, in addition to its use as a tool for documenting archaeological finds.
11-1 Panel 1
Joanna Paul (Open University), ‘Time’s Relentless Melt: capturing Pompeii in contemporary art photography’
Shelley Hales (University of Bristol), ‘Commemorating the Dead: Pompeian corpses and post-mortem photography’
Clemence Schultze (University of Durham), ‘Borrowed authority: photography in reconstructing the Parthenon’
Ian Walker (University of South Wales), ‘Photographing the Parthenon frieze at one remove’
2-3.30 Panel 2
Jill Mitchell (University of Wales Trinity Saint David), ‘How to Record Life Moments: Photography as a means of recreating moments of a life in antiquity’
Alison Rosenblitt (University of Oxford), ‘Cummings’ Paganism and the Photography of Marion Morehouse’
Zena Kamash (Royal Holloway, University of London), ‘Site Seeing: visitor photography at Pompeii from the late 19th century to the present day’
4-6 Panel 3
Katy Soar (University of Sheffield), ‘Framing the Minoans: Representing Knossos in early twentieth century postcards’
Amanda Couch (University for the Creative Arts Farnham, and Creative Arts Education), ‘Dust, (photographic) grain, livers and me’
A Q&A session with Grace Vane Percy, photographer (Venus, Quartet Books, 2014)
Olympia International Art & Antiques Fair: ART AND THE INTERIOR AESTHETIC: AN ANALYSIS OF DISPLAY IN THE ENGLISH STATELY HOME
A talk looking at the relationship between grand country houses and the art, textiles and sculpture they showcase.
English stately homes are exquisite places to live. They are also magnificent living museums. The collections within these historic houses embody the personal identity of the owners, expressing their taste and stature whilst demonstrating a continued patronage of the arts and artisans. But what is the relationship between these grand country houses and the art, textiles and sculpture they showcase? The discussion explores the intertwining history of Britain’s finest buildings as family homes and art galleries. The fusing of home and culture which carries right through to the modern day as it informs the interior design of properties for today’s wealthy and elite.
Jeremy Musson is an architectural historian, author, broadcaster and historian buildings consultant. His area of special interest for the past 20 years has been the history and design of the English country house – although he has also worked on other important buildings including cathedral churches and colleges. Architectural Editor of Country Life in 1998-2007, and presenter of BBC2’s The Curious House Guest in 2006-2007, he has written widely on historic and contemporary architecture and is author of several books including How to Read a Country House, English Country House Interiors, and The Drawing Room. Born in 1965, he lives in Cambridge with his wife and family.
After starting his career with Asprey, London, Christopher Vane Percy formed CVP Designs in 1971, operating from above its Mayfair showroom until the mid-eighties. Christopher Vane Percy is a Past President of British Institute of Interior Design and until June last year a board member of the BIID as Heritage and Environment Director. Until 2014 Christopher was also The Regional Chairman – East Anglia – of the Historic Houses Association, a five year appointment. In 2013 he was appointed a trustee of Moggerhanger Park, where he has been working using his formidable talents to breathe life into this Soane masterpiece.
Grace Vane Percy specialises in Female Nude portraiture, predominantly for private clients. In her work she combines the concept of the classical nude and traditional photographic technique to capture timeless images of female beauty. Her signature atmospheric, flattering lit portraits have made her name in this field. She trained at Central Saint Martin’s, before going to study fine art and the techniques of the Old Masters in Florence. At the end of 2014 Grace released her first book entitled ‘VENUS’ and enjoyed her first solo exhibition – the culmination of a four years worth of research and work, for which Grace was also responsible for all editing, layouts and oversight of the specialist print process.
Venus Event at Foyles: Wednesday 29th April 2015 7pm – 8:30pm
Please come along to Foyles at 107 Charing Cross Road Event:
Drawing from the classical tradition of the nude in art history, photographer Grace Vane Percy’s portraits of ordinary, extraordinary women seek to at once explore the naked female figure and to celebrate femininity and beauty in all forms.
At Foyles to discuss her collection Venus, a book of black and white film photographs of nudes juxtaposed against the backdrop of some of England’s most important stately homes, Percy will explore the classical tradition and its influence, the representation of women’s bodies and the significance of the goddess of beauty whose name inspires the selection.
Vane Percy’s work specializes in nude female portraiture, looking to empower her subjects and contextualize the mode within a wider art and photographic history. Invited to join the Women in Photography archive at Yale in 2004, Percy practices between London and New York, where she has shot in Matthew Brady’s original studio.
In conversation with Suzan Antonowicz, Head of International and Beauty at The Independent, David Fletcher, fine art and antiques valuer and regular on BBC show Flog It, and author and broadcaster Jeremy Musson, this is an insight into the work of a contemporary art practitioner and an exploration of the representation of women today.
A complimentary drink will be available for customers at this event. Book signing too!
Venue: The Auditorium at Foyles, Level 6, 107 Charing Cross Road
Tickets: FREE – BOOKING ESSENTIAL
Exhibition of Prints from VENUS at Patrick Jefferson December 2014
I’m thrilled to announce my first solo exhibition which will be hosted by Patrick Jefferson at 69 Pimlico Road, London from 5th – 13th December.
Please do come and take a look at the selection of limited edition silver gelatin, fibre based, hand prints from VENUS.
Tatler November 2014
Thanks Tatler for this month’s most amazing spread! No less than eight pages!
VENUS: Reviewing, Proofing, Getting Ready for Production
Presses will roll on Friday 12th September! @ Deckers Snoeck in Ghent
Film’s Not Dead: A Helping Hand For VENUS
London based photographer Grace Vane Percy has been creating a beautiful body of work over a number of years where she has been exploring the Venus poses & the female body. Her work has been shot on mostly medium format film as well as some 7×5 sheet film. Vane Percy is now looking for funding to help her put this project into a book:
“I have been working on this self-funded project for over four years and it’s finally ready to be published. With your support and generosity, all this planning and work can finally be brought out into the real world. Shot mainly on medium format B&W film in some of the UK’s most celebrated country houses, my series of 54 unique images and 15,000 words of text is completed. Locations include famous and historically significant houses, from Alnwick Castle, where Harry Potter was filmed, to Castle Howard where Brideshead was revisited twice. The photographs combine the female form with architecture in a manner never before seen. The halls, of Houghton and Holkham, the gallery of Newby Hall, as well as follies and fountains provide the perfect setting.
Venus is the mother of all female nudity in art. She is known for her ethereal beauty, which transcends mere desire. With the advent of photography this disassociation from the mortal world became difficult to execute. In this series, the concept of perfect encapsulation of female beauty is reclaimed and represented for the modern world.
The result will be a full-color (for richness & depth of tonal quality), black and white, litho laser press printed book, on finest quality paper saddle bound, hard-back, coffee table book.”
Thank you Film’s not Dead, I’m such a fan! It’s a real honour to be featured.
THE OPÉRA Annual Magazine For Classic & Contemporary Nude Photography Volume II
Nude photography: the most direct portrait of a person is once again the focus of the second edition of “THE OPÉRA magazine” – and presents the body at once as performer and stage. In numerous intimate encounters, international photo artists document and direct the wealth and individual aesthetic of the human body. They retain the histories of the people depicted in the images in an almost physically palpable way. In this second edition, editor Matthias Straub gets a step closer to these people without losing the deferential distance between object and artist.
Artists (among others):
Olivier Ameur, Olaf Breuning, Hannes Caspar, Alexey Dubinsky, Bill Durgin, Trude Fleischmann, Luis Gispert, Torkil Gudnason, Nicolas Guerin, Li Hui, Andrea Hübner, Rachel de Joode, Ilja Keizer, David Leventi, Jim Mangan, Shinichi Maruyama, Stefan Milev, Anouk Nitsche, Yves Noir, Polly Penrose, Grace Vane Percy, Carla van de Puttelaar, Neda Rajabi, Pascal Renoux, Brian Riley, Christy Lee Rogers, Sam Scott Schiavo, Fridolin Schöpper, Michael Taylor, Jessica Tremp, Spencer Tunick, Igor Vasiliadis and many more.
Published in November 2013
Available at Amazon
Yuan Peng und Jakob Wessinger
Harper’s Bazzar ROYAL BABYWATCH: WEEK 31
Recent new mother Rebecca Newman has been following the course of the Duchess of Cambridge’s pregnancy with week by week advice on what to expect when you’re expecting.
As the Duchess of Cambridge approaches her due date, so Royal Babywatch draws to its close. As Kate prepares for the last push – forgive me – Royal Babywatch concludes with a round up of the last details which will help her ease stylishly and confidently into motherhood. We wish her, and her infant, every happiness.
The lissom Grace Vane Percy works transatlantically, specialising in the female nude; her granular black and white signature style is especially suited to the pregnant form (gracevanepercy.com).
ES Magazine Dec 2011
“No pants or bra today” Grace Vane Percy instructs me over the phone a few hours before our shoot. I’d like you to exfoliate and moisturise, and then you can’t put on any clothing that will leave marks, so that your skin will be in perfect condition to be photographed.” So I am obliged to go commando. How nice, Grace has studied the techniques of the Old Masters in Florence and I feel like a piece of clay she is going to sculpt. I obey her instructions and leave my flat with an inward shiver.
This Christmas the ultimate present to a loved one as a black and white picture by a photographer who specialises in the nude, and Grace is the best in town, if not the world. I ask which famous bodies she’s photographed, but she is reassuringly discreet. She even has legal agreements not to discuss some of them.
Being a burlesque dancer, I’m used to people looking at my body, but I’m done up onstage, covered with body makeup, a spangley merkin, nipple pasties and chunky costume jewellery. Today will be interesting because I’ll be in my most natural, raw state.
Her Notting Hill flat-cum-studio is at the top of a spiral staircase and she’s waiting for me with the door open. She would be the perfect model, willowy with long cascading hair, but prefers to be behind the lens. Inside, the studio is open plan with high a ceiling of wooden beams suspended fro which is a black backdrop, rolling out into the room. She makes me a camomile tea and we chat about the shoot.
As I lift my cup Grace notices my 1930’s French manicure, bright red with a white tip. She shakes her head and hands me a bottle of nail varnish remover. “In black and white photos those nails will come out black, and we don’t want any distractions from your body. I work in black and white because it simplifies the picture and helps the eye to see structure, rather than being overwhelmed by the colour of flesh. It emphasises light and form.” She notices my sad expression so we try some shots with the nails and jewellery first, before removing it all.
“People like to be appreciated, and having your body admired is the biggest compliment going,” she says. I agree, realising that this is why I enjoy performing burlesque. I disrobe and brush out my curls, feeling comfortable in Grace’s presence. I apply basic make-up and ask her what it is about the body that inspires her. She recites her favourite quote by Kenneth Clark: “The naked body is in itself an object upon which the eye dwells with pleasure. For us, the human body is the most sensual and immediately interesting object.”
She then goes through the basic posture requirements: lengthen the core; don’t sink into your chest; flick out the hands to make them appear natural, not placed in a contrived pose; stand with your weight on one foot and the other resting nect to it to crate a curve in the hips; lift the face towards the light and keep a neutral but pleasant expression.
Grace only works with film, rather than on digital, with only 15 shots per roll, so every pose is arranged slowly and precisely, much as a painter would position a life model. Between clicks I ask about her clients. “They’re ordinary women in the best possible way: without the toned figures of models. I love that. I love the softness of flesh. It is far easier to find something beautiful about a woman with a bit of meat on the bone.” I agree. I’ve always been proud to be a woman and I’m glad that I’m able to celebrate it through burlesque.
But, like burlesque, nude photography is sometimes placed on the porn spectrum. I ask Grace whether she thinks there is more than a sexual pleasure in looking at the naked body. “The beauty of the female form is compelling in so many ways,” she suggests, “it’s a visual feast.”
We go through a variety of positions: standing, lying, sitting; in some poses I cover my nipples with my arms and hair, and others are more free, with my arms over my head. Lying on my side, head propped in my hand, I feel like a Pre-Raphaelite vision. Who has been her main inspiration? “Czechoslovakian photographers from the 1093’s such as Rudolf Kopitz. It was a time when athletic, Spartan style body was of fascination. Europeans also got into exercising naked”.
After the shoot we have another tea. Why does she think women choose to be photographed in the nude, I wonder. “They want to experience their body and feel good about it. There is always something beautiful about someone; it’s my job to show them.” I can’t wait to see what she found in me.