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Zoom program. RSVP Required.
A Photographer's Eye: Where Documentation and Creativity Overlap
Thursday, March 7, 2024, 12:00 pm to 1:00 pm EST
By day, ROM Senior Photographer, Paul Eekhoff documents objects and specimens from the art, culture, and nature collections at ROM. By night, he uses his photography skills to capture the delicate – often hidden – detail of insects, transforming them from everyday creatures into stunning works of art.
How might this eye for beauty, detail, and visual storytelling – as seen in Eekhoff’s insect art – translate when documenting objects like the contemporary artworks in the exhibition Being and Belonging? The purpose may be different: his work at ROM is primarily documentation rather than artistic transformation. And yet, his photographs for the Being and Belonging catalogue exhibit an inherent instinct for capturing beauty, detail, and visual context, all while displaying an unwavering commitment to portraying the authentic detail characterized in his insert art.
In this digital conversation, ROM curator of Islamic Art, Fahmida Suleman, talks with Eekhoff about his artistic practice, and how his approach to his own art and to his work at ROM often overlap and diverge.
Paul Eekhoff is ROM’s Senior Photographer, whose work includes documenting collections of art, culture, and nature for publication, marketing and communications, and archival purposes.
His artistic practice, under the Studio Morpho is inspired by the work of John James Audubon, Charles Darwin and early botanical artists such as Pierre-Joseph Redoute and Charles Linnaeus. Morpho relies upon a simplicity of representation and democratization of the visual field afforded by either the white or black canvas as the surface for each specimen. This formal and deliberate simplicity allows for a thorough examination of each insect as both object of a scientific study and naturally occurring sculptural form. By stripping away artifice and effect, Morpho’s Pictorialist ambitions become invisible while allowing the viewer to consider the subject.
The resulting studies subsume the role of medium specificity and production while acquiring the aesthetic of highly detailed illustrative studies. The intention - to present both the anterior and the posterior views of the specimen as diptychs in a manner akin to the entomologist’s specimen cabinet.
Fahmida Suleman is Curator of the Islamic World collections at ROM, and lead curator of the exhibition Being and Belonging. She recently curated the ROM-original exhibition Unmasking the Pandemic: From Personal Protection to Personal Expression (2021). Formerly the Phyllis Bishop Curator for the Modern Middle East at the British Museum, her publications include Textiles of the Middle East and Central Asia: The Fabric of Life (2017), and most recently the companion volume to Being and Belonging: Contemporary Women Artists from the Islamic World and Beyond (2023).
This Zoom program will feature a 20-minute conversation with the speakers, followed by a live audience Q&A. Questions may be sent in advance to email@example.com.
Please indicate the "Curator Conversations March 7, 2024, Q&A" in the subject line.
All registrants will be emailed a link to access the program 24 to 48 hours in advance.