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art history, Ricardo Gil, Laura Swanson
This paper will explore the work of two contemporary dwarf photographers, Ricardo Gil and Laura Swanson, who use different conceptual and technical methods to re-frame the figure of the dwarf subject. The dwarf has often been a marginalized subject in the history of photography, so I am interested in exploring how the strategies that Gil and Swanson employ might resist reductive meanings, and offer alternative readings to the dwarf beyond the oppositional gaze. The articulation of these methods will be prefaced by a focused discussion of dwarf depictions in the history of photography based on the intentions of the photographer, so that the work of several photographers might be powerfully juxtaposed with the radical counter-strategies that Gil and Swanson utilize.
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Figure 1: George Dureau, Short Sonny, ca. 1970, photograph courtesy of Arthur Roger Gallery
Figure 2: George Dureau, Ricardo Gil, ca. 1970, photograph courtesy of Arthur Roger Gallery
Figure 3: Ricardo Gil and George Dureau, 2012, photograph courtesy of Jason Kruppa
Figure 4: Arthur Fellig (Weegee), Drinking In Style, 1943: Shorty, the “Bowery Cherub”
celebrates New Year's Eve at Sammy's Bar, in the Bowery district of New York.
© Weegee (Arthur Fellig)/International Center of Photography /Getty Images
Figure 5: Mary Ellen Mark, Twin Brothers Tulsi and Basant (Great Famous Circus, Calcutta, India), 1989, photograph courtesy of the artist
Figure 6: Bruce Davidson, The Dwarf, 1958, photograph courtesy of Magnum Photos, New York
Figure 7: Ricardo Gil, Walking Man and Mannequins, c. 1996, photograph courtesy the artist
Figures 8 & 9: David’s Kitchen, 1997, and Ricardo Gil, Charles, Eric and Meg, 1999, photographs courtesy of the artist
Figures 10 & 11: Garry Winogrand, New York, ca. 1968 and American Legion Convention, Dallas, Texas, 1964
© The Estate of Garry Winogrand, photographs courtesy Fraenkel Gallery, San Francisco
Figures 12 & 13: Kevin Michael Connolly, Girl; London, England, 2007, and Man; Reykjavik, Iceland, 2007, photographs courtesy of the artist
Figures 14 – 17: Laura Swanson, Anti-Self Portraits, 2005-2008, photographs courtesy the artist
Figure 18: Joel-Peter Witkin, Dwarf From Naples, Rome, 2006 © Joel-Peter Witkin / photograph courtesy Catherine Edelman Gallery, Chicago
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