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Dawn Parsonage is a British photographer whose work is concerned with our relationship with, and perception of photography. She looks at the power the presence of the camera has, and how we can harness that power or circumnavigate it.

 

She has a deep interest in how real emotions can be captured in photography, as well as how photography has the power to help us re-see the familiar. 

 

Dawns work is often inspired by her collection of around 10,000 found photographs, collected over 30 years. In-line with this she has an academic interest in the social and technical history of photography and is concerned with how that has affected the images we take and societies relationship with photography. Curated collections from her archive form part of her contemporary work as was all the informing her own photography. 

 

Her debut solo show, The Boring Exhibition, showcased ‘Boring People’, a series of 21 portraits of people lured into true boredom through experiments co-derived with psychologists. The ‘Boring Book’ of the exhibition can be found in the libraries of the Royal Photographic Society and the Martin Parr Foundation. 

 

Dawn is currently on show at the Louisiana Museum of Modern Art, Copenhagen as part of The Irreplaceable Human. She was chosen for the Aesthetica Art Directory 2021, Fix Photo Festival 2020 (Judges Choice) and LensCulture Black and White awards 2019 (Finalist) and has been featured in numerous publications. 

 

Her commission 'Here and There' exhibited as part of 'Departures' at the Migration Museum, London. A series of emotional portraits of people who were emigrating from the UK. 

 

Dawn has a young daughter and works from her studio in St Leonards-on-Sea as part of Picnic on Sea. 

"The major theme of my collection is instances of real emotions - people laughing, crying, being in love, doing all of the things that make us universally human.

These moments feel so delicate and ephemeral that they usually disappear as soon as we go to photograph them. When we see a camera, we check ourselves and suddenly become aware of what we are doing and how we are feeling. Genuine emotions caught on film are rare, yet images of people taken while bored, as featured in the Boring Exhibition, feel like the ultimate kind of unadulterated intimacy."

Group exhibitions 

The Irreplaceable Human - Louisiana Museum of Modern art, Copenhagen  Nov 2023-April 2024

Departures - Migration Museum, London Oct 2020 - June 2021

PUSH, Brightrooms. Peckham Levels - 2029

D.I. - direct input - Muddy Yard, British Columbia, Canada 2018

The Great Divide - OVADA, Oxford, UK 2018

D.I. - direct input - Muddy Yard, Wimbledon, London, UK 2018

Reclaim Photography Festival - May 2018 

URL Love - Muddy Yard, Brixton, London, UK 2018

 

Features and interviews 

Exit Magazine (Spain).  

Maize Magazine (Italy) No.10

Libération Newspaper (France) 

 

LensCulture 

deVolkskrant Newspaper (Netherlands)

Metro Imaging

Intrepid Cameras

Solo exhibition 

Unfamiliar - Work in Progress - Picnic on Sea.  

Boring Exhibition  - Bermondsey Project Space, London, 2019

Awards

Aesthetica Art Prize 2021 - Long List.

 

Fix Festival 2020 - Judges Choice. 

LensCulture Black and White award 2019 - Finalist 

Talks 

London Institute of Photography - June 2018

Red Rolled and Seen, Bright Rooms, Peckham Levels, London March 2019.  

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