Past Events

A Film Discussion: Shadows From Light

Lecture – Rachel Garfield, Will Fowler

  • 10 March 2021
  • 4:00 – 5:00 pm
  • Online Event

This event is organised in collaboration with the BFI and University of Reading.

Shadows From Light, commissioned and screened on Channel 4, grew from the recognition of a shared language and mutual respect between an older and younger artist. The film is an evocative and poignant visual homage. It is also a reflection on their convergent influences and models of art practice through Surrealism and its legacies. The film is shot in black-and-white, juxtaposing live models and Bill Brandt’s photographs, offering a performative approach to his work through a replication of Brandt’s signature tonal contrasts and atmospheric camera. The film is also an example of Dwoskin’s intermidiality, in its use of Alice in Wonderland as a metaphor as well as a rumination on the relationship between photography and film. The visual approach of the film is one of an atmospheric biography that was in some ways a prologue to Steve’s own autobiographical film, Trying to Kiss the Moon.

Rachel Garfield (Reading University) will be discussing with Will Fowler (BFI) the approach to the film with regards to the complex visuality and its relationship to Dwoskin’s thinking as well as how it reflects his homage to the photographer Brandt. Garfield will also discuss the film through her own friendship with Dwoskin as a further inter-generational discussion between artists.

Watch the Film

Shadows From Light: The Photography of Bill Brandt (Stephen Dwoskin, 1983) is available to watch for free in advance of the talk here: https://player.bfi.org.uk/free/film/watch-shadows-from-light-the-photography-of-bill-brandt-1983-online

Image: Still from Shadows From Light: The Photography of Bill Brandt (Stephen Dwoskin, 1983). Courtesy of BFI

In collaboration with:

University of Reading and BFI logos

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About the speakers

  • Rachel Garfield

    Rachel Garfield is an artist and Professor in Fine Art at the University of Reading and Principle Investigator of a large AHRC funded grant (2019-2022) entitled The Legacies of Stephen Dwoskin's Personal Cinema. Selected published texts by Garfield are, “Between Seeing and Knowing: Stephen Dwoskin’s Behindert and the Camera’s Caress”, Other Cinemas: Politics, Culture and British Experimental Film in the 1970s (eds. Sue Clayton and Laura Mulvey) 2017; Screen Journal Dossier: Stephen Dwoskin, Vol. 57, Issue 1, Spring 2016 (co-editor with Alison Butler); ‘Playing with History: Negotiating Subjectivity in Contemporary Lens Based Art” Routledge Handbook of Contemporary Jewish Cultures, Nadia Valman, Laurence Roth eds. pp. 320- 339, Routledge NY, 2015 Garfield, Rachel, ‘A Particular Incoherence; Some Films of Vivienne Dick’, Between Truth and Fiction, The Films of Vivienne Dick, (ed Treasa O’Brian). Garfield’s forthcoming book ‘Experimental Film making and Punk: Feminist Audio Visual Culture of the 1970s and 1980s’ will be published by Bloomsbury in 2021. Recent exhibitions of Garfield’s video work include a screening at the Star and Shadow, Force/Fields: Three Works on Conflict, Militarism and their Legacies, Newcastle, (2019), Unsensed, group show at the Hatton gallery Newcastle (2015), London Short Film Festival (2013), ICA London, Solo show Beaconsfield London (2012). As well as reviews, Garfield’s work has featured in for example, “An ‘Other’ History: Feminist Art in Britain Since 1970’ Amelia Jones (eds. John Slyce, Adler, Phoebe), Contemporary Art in the United Kingdom, London: Black Dog Publishing, p.181, 2015.

  • Will Fowler

    William Fowler is Curator of Artists' Moving Image at the BFI National Archive where he acquires, restores and curates films. His projects have included Queer Pagan Punk: Derek Jarman, the biggest ever UK retrospective of Jarman's films and This Is Now: Film and Video After Punk which toured internationally in collaboration with artist moving image agency LUX. He is also a writer and his co-authored book The Bodies Beneath: The Flipside of British Film and Television was published by Strange Attractor Press in 2019