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A light on the wall
Emma Phillips

A light on the wall Emma Phillips

A light on the wall
Emma PhillipsA light on the wall
Emma Phillips
Perimeter Editions


First Edition of 250
48 pages
262 x 187 mm
ISBN 9780994388377


The machinations underpinning the photograph rest amidst a metric of aperture, reflection, light and surface. The endless photographic stream that characterises the digital space may well have entrenched itself as commonplace vernacular and communicative form, but the camera – and its various processes and outputs – remains supple, loose and endlessly receptive, if only we allow it to be. It is a magic box: a medium between our experience of the world and that of its evocative, allegorical, formal, narrative and philosophical potentials.Taking her cue from late Italian photographer Luigi Ghirri and his 1991 essay “A light on the wall”, Emma Phillips’ new body of work adopts a mode of investigation that perpetuates this notion of the camera as conjurer.

At once untethered, methodical and speculative in tenor, the Melbourne photographer’s works describe a claustrophobic, disorientating and mildly ominous space; they read as vignettes or sketches, adrift between the schisms of reality and the illusory, authenticity and artifice. Slowly, quietly, they unfold and surprise and reveal. In this collection of images, Phillips describes various planes of representation. She photographs the photographed and the painted; she complicates the landscape and the architectural. We peer through windows, through doorways, through apertures, both real and contrived; surfaces and thresholds quietly rupture, bleed and permeate. The effect is mildly unsettling. Eschewed from narrative, we are left in a state of perpetual reassessment.

True to Ghirri’s intention, Phillips’ A light on the wall reads as an endeavour towards an expanded understanding of the fleeting nature of the image and its tenuous place in the wider milieu. Through darkness, obscurity and temporality, she offers flashes and fragments of illumination.

About the Artist
Emma Phillips (b. 1989) is an Australian photographer and writer based in Melbourne. Her photographs have been exhibited widely and published in a variety of contexts. Most recently her exhibition “Too Much to Dream” turned its gaze toward a more speculative mode of image making, using the gap between text and image to pose questions on and about the nature of representational discourses. From 2014-2019 Emma was the photobook buyer at Perimeter Books.

About the Publisher
Perimeter Editions is the award-winning publishing imprint of Melbourne-based bookstore Perimeter Books and distribution house Perimeter Distribution. Releasing its first publication in 2012, Perimeter Editions’ focus rests on publishing autonomous books in close collaboration with photographers, artists, curators and writers. Its publications exhibit a criticality and sensitivity to content and form.