ONLINE EXHIBITIONS

Ruth Harriet Louise, Greta Garbo for ‘Wild Orchids’, 1929. © John Kobal Foundation

Greta Garbo: Hollywood Icon

To coincide with the publication of a major new study of Greta Garbo, this online exhibition presents a selection of photographs of the Hollywood legend, who has become synonymous with cinema’s golden age of the 1920s and 1930s. Organiser Philip Grover introduces the material, while author and leading scholar Robert Dance offers a newly written essay on the life and career of Garbo – with particular emphasis on the film star as photographic subject – accompanied by portraits chosen to demonstrate how her image was created during those years when her star shone brightest of all in Tinseltown.

The Pain of Childbirth © Grace Robertson / Picture Post / Getty Images

Moments of Transition: The photographs of Grace Robertson

View online exhibition

This online exhibition will be accompanied by two public events, hosted by the Royal Photographic Society in partnership with Photo Oxford

In the mid-1950s, Grace Robertson (1930-2021) was one of the few women photojournalists working for the British magazine Picture Post. This online exhibition presents a selection of her stories for the magazine, reflecting Robertson’s humanistic lens on women’s lives and post-war Britain. While Robertson is often defined by her relationship to Picture Post, the exhibition will also discuss how she sustained her work with photography in later life and her contemporary resonance today.

Curated by Catlin Langford and Helen Trompeteler.

Produced with the support of Getty Images Hulton Archive.

Portrait of an Artist as an Old Man, Past, Present, Future ©Mirja Maria Thiel

Portrait of an Artist as an Old Man

In her series Portrait of an Artist as an Old Man Mirja Maria Thiel tells the life of Fritz Dressler (1937-2020), a former professional photographer and university professor, who suffered from Alzheimer’s the last years of his life. Photographed over the course of more than two years, the series is completely committed to the emotional reality of the charismatic protagonist.

Read more about Portrait of an Artist as an Old Man

The series, Portrait of an Artist as an Old Man by Mirja Maria Thiel, tells the life of Fritz Dressler (1937-2020), a landscape and architectural photographer who suffered from Alzheimer’s the last years of his life:
He also was formerly Professor of Photography and Moving Images at the University of the Arts in Bremen. We met on the occasion of a photo festival that took place in the artist village of Worpswede in Northern Germany, where Fritz resided for more than 40 years. He was known for his influential and creative personality that - despite his dementia - had left him a charming and deeply expressive character when I got to know him. Fritz became my headstrong longterm-documentary’s subject. He found immense pleasure and pride in himself by falling back on taking pictures himself. It had a meaning-giving quality for him then. When he was no longer able to call his illness by its name, he sometimes resignedly acknowledged, Actually, I don’t know anything anymore. But his self-awareness – as someone who saw himself as an artist and thus preserved his presence – stayed alive: I am not dead, I’m still walking!

In my free work, which began in September 2016, I am completely committed to the emotional reality of the charismatic protagonist: his intensity, vulnerability and resilience define the portraits of his soul. Alzheimer’s is one of the great health challenges of our time. This story gives the affected protagonist a voice and intends to inspire a compassionate dialogue in society about issues concerning respect towards and participation and empowerment of people affected with Alzheimer’s and dementia.

About the Artist:

Born in Hamburg in 1971, Mirja Maria Thiel is a German photographer with a background in literature whose approach to photography is rooted in the fascination for storytelling as a means of rising to challenge, living with change and showing compassion with humanity’s and her own vulnerability.

"During my four-year-stay in Switzerland, I rediscovered my delight in photography while documenting my three young children. Aged 42, I decided to study Photojournalism and Documentary Photography in Hanover, Germany. As a visual author I feel indebted to the documentary tradition, but at the same time I pursue a subjective and modern approach through in-depth-engagement with my subjects. So far, my long-term work focuses on the elderly: the impact of Alzheimer’s disease on the emotional landscape of caregivers in Farewell Sonata and the affected individual in Portrait of an Artist as an Old Man. The series All This Love explores eroticism in old age couples."

Wendy, Natually Nimbin Farm © Hannah Pye

Women in Beekeeping

In her new series Women in Beekeeping, Hannah Pye tells the stories of five female-run apiaries in the Northern Rivers region of New South Wales, Australia.

From single-hive homes to full-scale organisations; the art of beekeeping is a diverse, fascinating and fundamental process, and one that women have played an integral role in since its inception.

Read more about Women in Beekeeping

Coming from a family of female beekeepers, Hannah Pye has always been fascinated with the art and process of the honey hive, as well as the growing threat to bees from a changing climate. From record-breaking droughts to devastating bush fires, Australian beekeepers have been hit hard this past decade. Originally made as a contribution to the 2021 Young Farmers Connect magazine, this project shines a light on five female-run apiaries and the challenges they have faced; as well as the strong link between motherhood and the hive.

About the photographer

Hannah Pye is an Oxford-born photographer and storyteller based on the east coast of Australia. Her work is rooted in impactful storytelling; documenting the people and organisations making a positive impact through conservation, regeneration and environmental innovation.

Alma Haser, Patient No. 1, 2016. © Alma Haser

Alma Haser:
Multiple Identities

This online exhibition presents a selection of photographs by Alma Haser, whose work explores aspects of identity using various forms and techniques. Haser describes the background and motivation for two of her recent series, ‘Cosmic Surgery’ and ‘Within 15 Minutes’, alongside examples of work drawn from these projects.

Evgenia Arbugaeva, Untitled 87, from the series ‘Chukotka’, 2019–2020. © Evgenia Arbugaeva

Evgenia Arbugaeva: Stories from the Russian Arctic

In collaboration with The Photographers’ Gallery, this online exhibition presents new work by Russian photographer Evgenia Arbugaeva, whose major ongoing project explores life in northern outposts of the Russian Arctic. Alongside selections from three recently completed series and her earlier project ‘Weather Man’, currently the subject of her first major solo exhibition in London, Arbugaeva describes her working methods and discusses the emotional resonance of returning to the place where she grew up.

Alegra Ally, Nenets mother and child dressed for the cold, 2016. © Alegra Ally

Alegra Ally: Into Motherhood

This online exhibition presents a selection of photographs by anthropologist Alegra Ally, whose work explores the themes of childbirth and motherhood in indigenous cultures across three continents. Ally describes the background and context for several of her recent projects, alongside portfolios of photographic work from Namibia, Papua New Guinea and Russia.

Mariko Sakaguchi, Nakata’s house, from the series ‘One Hundred Views of Bathing’, 2010. © Mariko Sakaguchi

Mariko Sakaguchi: One Hundred Views of Bathing

This online exhibition presents a series of photographs by Japanese photographer Mariko Sakaguchi, whose current project ‘One Hundred Views of Bathing’ offers a distinctive perspective on self-expression and identity.

Sethembile Msezane: Speaking Through Walls

Festival in a Box

Photo Oxford collaborated with Photoworks in the presentation of Silvia Rosi's Encounters series for our 2020 festival. Photoworks presented their own photography festival during October 2020 Propositions for Alternative Narratives. Their response to the pandemic was to create a Festival in a Box – a portable festival where you become the curator and decide where and how to install it.

We asked Sarah Mossop, Visual Arts Programme Manager at Photo Oxford Partner Arts at The Old Fire Station, to curate the Festival in a Box for our festival theme.

OVADA - Open Call Exhibition

40 images from our Open Call competition, selected by our panel of experts and by public vote on Photocrowd, exploring the theme 'Women & Photography: Ways of Seeing & Being Seen.'

Our panel of experts were:
Cornelia Parker, internationally acclaimed artist; Dr Lena Fritsch, Curator of Modern & Contemporary Art, Ashmolean Museum, University of Oxford; Katy Barron, Photography Curator and Senior Director, Michael Hoppen Gallery; Taous Dahmani, PhD Fellow, The Panthéon-Sorbonne University, Paris; Alan Capel, Head of Content, Alamy stock photography agency; and Sian Davey, Fine Art Photographer and Humanist Psychotherapist.

This image is entitled 'Christelle ' from the 'National Narrative' series by Elisa Moris Vai, the winner in the Expert Judge's category. View a short film about her series here

Clarence Sinclair Bull, Ruth Harriet Louise photographing Joan Crawford, 1928. © John Kobal Foundation

Ruth Harriet Louise:
Hollywood Photographer for MGM

In collaboration with the John Kobal Foundation, this online exhibition presents a selection of stunning photographs by Ruth Harriet Louise, photographer for the MGM film studio in Hollywood during the late 1920s. During an intense but ultimately short-lived career, Louise photographed many of the studio’s greatest stars of the era, including Greta Garbo, Joan Crawford, Marion Davies and Norma Shearer. Organiser Philip Grover introduces the material, while leading scholar of Hollywood photography Robert Dance offers a newly commissioned essay on the life and career of Louise, alongside photographs demonstrating the diverse range of her work.

View of the artist's studio, 2020.
Image courtesy Mariana Castillo Deball

Mariana Castillo Deball: Between making and knowing something

Curated by Amy Budd.

This major new commission by Mexican contemporary artist Mariana Castillo Deball (b. 1975 in Mexico City, lives and works in Berlin) fundamentally questions methods of knowledge formation in Western museum collections. Featuring an expansive aerial installation, archival photographs and repurposed museum display cases, the exhibition uncovers hidden stories and individuals, with a particular focus on artefacts and historic photographic collections by or women anthropologists, fieldworkers and academics held in the Pitt Rivers Museum in Oxford and the Smithsonian Museum National Collections in Washington D.C. Images from the Elsie McDougall and Makereti collections held by The Pitt Rivers Museum, which provided inspiration for the new work, will also be on display.

More information about the Pitt Rivers Museum’s Elsie McDougall collection is available here.

A Dangerous Field © Cally Shadbolt

‘A Dangerous Field’: Women, Artists and the Photographic Image

Artists weave photography into their practice in surprising and innovative ways. ‘A Dangerous Field’: Women, Artists and the Photographic Image demonstrates the use of photography whether to explore or subvert the ‘field’, or to record and research their subject as artists engage in the examination of their practices. Diverse work includes prints, film, drawing, artist’s books, collage and performance.

The collection of works for Photo Oxford focuses on the diverse use of photography in artistic practice. It showcases the work of 12 artists based in and around Oxford:

Claudia Figueiredo, Helen Ganly, Kate Hammersley, Asmaa M Hashmi, Joanna Kidner, Lucas McLaughlin, Annabel Ralphs, Ann, Rapstoff, Catalina Renjifo, Cally Shadbolt, Wig Sayell, Vicky Vergou

Philippa James, 100 Women of Oxford

HER Story:
A response to 100 Women of Oxford

More than thirty young people in Oxford have taken part in Philippa James' portrait photography masterclasses, where they have explored Philippa's 100 Women of Oxford exhibition and learnt how to capture female portraits and interview their chosen subject. They were then asked to find their own subject to photograph and submit them to this digital exhibition, available to view online.

© JA Mortram, Small Town Inertia

JA Mortram: Helena, Every Day is a Morning After

Jim Mortram is a British social documentary photographer and writer, based in Dereham, Norfolk in the East of England. This exhibition portrays the life of a young girl, living in a small town. It is co-curated by Grant Scott (head of Photography at Oxford Brookes).
Jim Mortram's ongoing project, Small Town Inertia, records the lives of a number of disadvantaged and marginalised people living near to his home, in order to tell stories that he believes are under-reported.

Etain OCarroll, Activating our Archives
© Etain O Carroll, Activating our Archives

Responsive Space

Breathworks is a digital project sharing photography, video and sound that explores everyone’s unique experience of breathing. The project was led by Modern Art Oxford’s Creative Associate Lucy Sabin and curated by their in- house Digital Content Curator Andree Latham.

Activating our Archives is a project exploring personal and shared identities through photography, storytelling and digital archiving, with contributions from women including Etian, whose image is shown here.

Three Heads © Paul Freestone

Oxford Photography Group exhibition

The OPG approached the Festival theme from a variety of visual and conceptual perspectives - from candid observations on the streets of the city to the intensely personal examination of the mother-child relationship. The selection reflects a range of the possible representations of women and challenges societal and visual stereotypes, often through personal encounters and experiences.

The exhibited work has been selected by Katy Barron, photography curator and Senior Director at Michael Hoppen Gallery, London. She is Chair of the Board of Trustees of Photofusion in Brixton and a Trustee of Photo Oxford.

Exhibiting photographers: Wendy Aldiss, Thomas Capon, Kirk Ellingham, Paul Freestone, Kazem Hakimi, Rob Judges, Thomas Nicolaou, Martin Stott, Paddy Summerfield, Patricia Baker-Cassidy

self-portrait by the Tibetan artist Nyema Droma, 2018.
Courtesy Pitt Rivers Museum, University of Oxford [2019.18.20.1]

Pitt Rivers Museum: Photography and Women

As part of the PhotoOxford Festival 2020 the Pitt Rivers Museum's staff have taken a fresh look at their huge collection of around 300,000 historic and contemporary photographs, and picked out those that for them resonate strongly with the Festival's theme, 'Women and Photography: Ways of Seeing and Being Seen'.

Fotografie Eelkje Colmjon.
The Future Is Now 14, Leiden © Eelkje Colmjon

Oxford International Links

Oxford’s 8 twin cities - Leiden in the Netherlands, Bonn in Germany, León in Nicaragua, Grenoble in France, Perm in Russia, Wrocław in Poland, Ramallah in Palestine and Padua in Italy - are all brought together for the first time in a joint exhibition of photography reflecting the Festival theme. The exhibition has been curated by by Oxford photographers Irmgard Hueppe and Simon Murison-Bowie.

Our thanks to everybody who has contributed to this exhibition, providing us with fascinating glimpses into the lives, preoccupations and cultures that define the internationality of our twinning links. To read descriptions of the contributions of the twin cities, view our Oxford International Links page

Photograph (albumen print) of Annie Rogers & Mary Jackson as Queen Eleanor & Fair Rosamund by CL Dodgson (Lewis Carroll), July 3, 1863

History of Science Museum


Online display of prints and lantern slides by Sarah Angelina Acland (1849-1930), Anna Atkin's volumes of Photographs of British Algae: Cyanotype Impressions (1843 and 1853), and Charles Dodson's photograph of Annie Rogers, a campaigner for women's full membership of the University of Oxford who went on to be one of the first women graduates 100 years ago. Read about the Blue Plaque recently put up in recognition of Annie Rogers here.

In the Museum: Display of photographic equipment including that used by Charles Dodgson.

'Bridge of Constantinople and view of Yeni Djami' c 1900. Galata Bridge, Istanbul, Turkey. Photographer unknown.

HEIR Archive Exhibition

Women and the Camera

This photo presentation uses images from the HEIR Project digital image archive of the Institute of Archaeology, University of Oxford. It explores the relationship over the past 150 years of women from around the globe with cameras, both as subjects in front of the lens and as photographers.

The pictures come from selected university teaching collections and images donated to the HEIR Project. Most are from obsolete photographic media such as glass plate negatives, film negatives, lantern slides or 35 mm images, so had been unseen for decades before their revival as digital scans by the HEIR Project.