Donna West  Brett Author of Evaluating Organization Development
FEATURED AUTHOR

Donna West Brett

Associate Professor
University of Sydney

Donna West Brett (Ph.D.) is an Associate Professor in Art History at the University of Sydney. She is author of Photography and Place: Seeing and Not Seeing Germany After 1945 (Routledge 2016), and co-editor with Natalya Lusty, Photography and Ontology: Unsettling Images, (Routledge, 2019). Brett is Research Leader for the Photographic Cultures Research Group, and Editorial Member for the Visual Culture and German Contexts Series, Bloomsbury.

Biography

Dr. Donna West Brett is an Associate Professor in Art History and Curatorial Studies at the University of Sydney. She is author of Photography and Place: Seeing and Not Seeing Germany After 1945 (Routledge, 2016); and co-editor with Natalya Lusty, Photography and Ontology: Unsettling Images, (Routledge, 2019). Her recent research has been published in Photography and Culture, Photographies, and Passagen des Exils: Exilforschung: Ein internationales Jahrbuch. Brett is a recipient of the 2017 Australian Academy of the Humanities Ernst and Rosemarie Keller Award, Research Leader for the Photographic Cultures Research Group, and Editorial Member for the Visual Culture and German Contexts Series, Bloomsbury.

Areas of Research / Professional Expertise

    Areas of expertise include the history and theory of photography, modernism, international contemporary art, cold war visual culture, curatorial practice & theory.

Websites

Books

Featured Title
 Featured Title - Photography and Place; Brett - 1st Edition book cover

Articles

Photography and Culture, 12.2 (2019): 227-248.

Stasi Surveillance Photographs and Extra-archival Legacy


Published: Aug 07, 2019 by Photography and Culture, 12.2 (2019): 227-248.
Authors: Donna West Brett
Subjects: Photography, Art & Visual Culture

The German Democratic Republic undertook mass surveillance of its citizens during the period 1950–1989 undertaken by its secret police service, which took the form of documents, audio recordings, moving footage, and approximately two million photographs. This article examines in what ways these photographs reveal various surveillance techniques and indicate its limits in what can be considered as inadequate or illegible photographs.

Mashriq and Mahjar: Journal of Middle East and North African Migration Studies 6, no. 1, (2019): 3–23.

An Aesthetics of Disruption: Unsettling the Diasporic Subject


Published: Jan 10, 2019 by Mashriq and Mahjar: Journal of Middle East and North African Migration Studies 6, no. 1, (2019): 3–23.
Authors: Donna West Brett
Subjects: Photography, Art & Visual Culture

This essay considers the aesthetics of disruption and the conditions that cause a subject or an image to withdraw, to hide, or to disappear, in the work of three artists from the Arab diaspora: Cherine Fahd, Joana Hadjithomas, and Khalil Joreige.

Photography and Failure: ed. Kris Belden-Adams (New York: Bloomsbury, 2017), 45–60.

Forgetting Ilse Bing


Published: Oct 03, 2017 by Photography and Failure: ed. Kris Belden-Adams (New York: Bloomsbury, 2017), 45–60.
Authors: Donna West Brett
Subjects: Photography, Art & Visual Culture

This chapter will consider Ilse Bing’s New York photographs of the urban fabric and her self-portraiture in terms of her sense of alienation, a condition that for Kracauer is an essentialising state of being for creative production and a central force for photography itself.

Passagen des Exils, eds. Burcu Dogramaci and Elizabeth Otto, Exilforschung: Ein internationales Jahrbuch

Looking and Feeling: Photographing Escape from East Germany


Published: Oct 01, 2017 by Passagen des Exils, eds. Burcu Dogramaci and Elizabeth Otto, Exilforschung: Ein internationales Jahrbuch
Authors: Donna West Brett
Subjects: Photography, Art & Visual Culture

This essay considers the passages of exile taken by citizens of Soviet-controlled East Germany escaping to freedom in the West, and I analyze the psychological, emotional, and evidential components of such events. This includes reflecting on the ways in which these events of passage were seen and recorded, and the ways in which emotion is either conveyed through or is caused by the act of photographing such incidents.

Photographies

Banality, Memory and the Index: Thomas Demand & Hitler’s Photographer


Published: Sep 27, 2016 by Photographies
Authors: Donna West Brett
Subjects: Photography, Art & Visual Culture

In “The Ontology of the Photographic Image”, André Bazin elucidates how photographic images enable the subject to elude death because by its very nature the image preserves the subject through the act of memory and remembering. This paper explores the disruption to photography’s meaning and memory in selected photographs by Thomas Demand that are restagings of photographs by Adolf Hitler’s official photographer Heinrich Hoffmann.

Chapter in Ann Elias, et al eds. Camouflage Cultures: The Art of Disappearance, U Sydney Press 2015

Interventions in Seeing: GDR Surveillance, Camouflage & the Cold War Camera


Published: Apr 01, 2015 by Chapter in Ann Elias, et al eds. Camouflage Cultures: The Art of Disappearance, U Sydney Press 2015
Authors: Donna West Brett
Subjects: Media and Cultural Studies

Ernst Bloch's concept of unseeing resonates with various strategies of camouflage such as visual deception, concealment, blending or the psychological effect of hiding things in full view. The concept of unseeing informs this chapter on surveillance photography of the Cold War and the role of the Berlin Wall in defining the scopic realm of the GDR. Photo: BArch, DVH 60 Bild-GR35-10-016 /ohne Angabe. Courtesy Arwed Messmer and the German Federal Archives

Memory Connection, 1.1 (2011)

The Event Horizon: Returning After the Fact’


Published: Jan 17, 2011 by Memory Connection, 1.1 (2011)
Authors: Donna West Brett and Ann Shelton
Subjects: Media and Cultural Studies

Sigmund Freud used the metaphor of the camera to explain the unconscious as the place where bits of memory are stored until they are developed. The relationship between the photographic impulse to record events in the landscape and how those events are viewed unfolds across complex layers of meaning that engage with theoretical positions on photography in relation to memory, trauma, time, and history. Photo: Sarah Schönfeld, Lichtung from the series Void, 2009.

Photographies 3.1 (Mar 2010): 7–21

The Uncanny Return: Documenting Place in Post-war German Photography


Published: Mar 01, 2010 by Photographies 3.1 (Mar 2010): 7–21
Authors: Donna West Brett
Subjects: Media and Cultural Studies

As part of a larger research project, this paper was originally written in the context of the “Framing Time and Place: Repeats and Returns in Photography” conference held at the University of Plymouth in April 2009. This research investigated how contemporary German photography relates to, or contextualizes, a history of place on the periphery of understanding. Photo: Thomas Struth, Hermannsgarten, Weissenfels 1991, ©Thomas Struth