The Birthday Party
Dewi Lewis Publishing
Text by Susan Bright
96 pages, 44 colour photographs
330mm x 272mm
This is a series of portraits of children about to attend an imaginary birthday party. Inspired by her daughter’s birthday party Speers imagined what characters might be created if role play were pushed to imaginative extremes. The children are placed in front of the same white wall and gaze into the lens of the camera, performing within a strictly laid out frame. They reveal very little of themselves and yet this is what makes the portraits so magnetic. The childlike game of dressing up, of putting on costumes, reinforces the surreal tone of the series.
The Birthday Party is “anarchistic” in its take on childhood and play, “both improvisatory and highly theatrical… unsentimental but playful, macabre… in a way which is liberating both for us as viewer and perhaps for her subjects too.” Clare Grafik, The Photographers Gallery, London.
“There is always a certain tension in my work which draws the viewer into what is hidden beneath the surface. My intention was to show a real side of human nature, to expose a side of childhood that is not care-free or clichéd, and project a range of emotions and definitions which are part of an imperfect world.” Vee Speers
About the Artist:
For the past fifteen years Vee Speers has been based in Paris, working in fashion, photojournalism and fine art photography. Widely exhibited throughout Europe, the United States, Brazil, Mexico, Japan and Australia, her work has also been seen in publications including The Sunday Times, Harpers+Queen, GQ, Arena and Esquire.
About the Author:
Susan Bright is a curator and writer. Her published books include Art Photography Now (2005), Face of Fashion (2007), How We Are: Photographing Britain (2007: co-authored with Val Williams) Auto Focus (2010) and Home Truths: Photography and Motherhood (2013).
The exhibition How We Are: Photographing Britain was the first major exhibition of British photography at Tate. The exhibition of Home Truths (Photographers’ Gallery and the Foundling Museum and traveling to MoCP, Chicago and Belfast Exposed ) was named one of the top exhibitions of 2013/2014 by The Guardian and The Chicago Tribune. Bright was visiting scholar at the Art Institute Boston in 2014. She currently lives in Paris and is completing her PhD in Curatorial Studies at Goldsmiths College, University of London.
About the Publisher:
Dewi Lewis Publishing is a partnership owned and run by Caroline Warhurst and Dewi Lewis.
Founded in 1994, its photography list has an international reputation and includes books by leading British and international photographers such as William Klein, Martin Parr, Simon Norfolk, Fay Godwin, Tom Wood, Sergio Larrain, Frank Horvat, John Blakemore, Paolo Pelegrin and Bruce Gilden. The aim of the company is to bring to the attention of a wider public, accessible but challenging contemporary photography by both established and lesser known practitioners. The company has a worldwide distribution network and is recognised as one of the leading photographic publishers in the world. It publishes around 20 new titles each year.
Book Materials and Specifications:
Large size hardcover book with a thread sewn binding. 96 pages with 44 colour plates, all 310mm x 240mm. Foreword by Susan Bright.