Picture Perfect: Embroidered Photographs, Past and Present

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


First paragraphs of a commissioned 750-word article for Selvedge magazine, plus illustrations from my own collections, considering the intersections of photographs and textiles in contemporary art practice and in historic media forms (embroidered picture postcards):

Over the last decade or so, the embroidered photograph has attracted much attention in contemporary art internationally. In the UK, one of the best-known practitioners is Julie Cockburn. Trained as sculptor, she uses found photographs as her principal medium to explore uncanny aspects of identity. Many others work in similar styles but examine different ideas. Joana Choumali from Cote d’Ivoire photographed scenes on her iPhone in the aftermath of the terrorist attacks in the town of Grand-Bassam in 2016 and printed them onto canvas. Choumali’s meditative sewn additions helped her reconcile conflicted feelings about a place she once associated with weekend leisure that became tainted by violence.

I have been watching the emergence of hybrid textile-photography forms for some years with vested interest. As a collector and researcher of popular visual culture, I have been struck by the powerful visual similarities that exist between embroidered photographs in contemporary art and embroidered postcards sold cheaply and very widely across Europe from the first decade of the twentieth century, continuing until at least the 1980s. [article continues...]
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)42-45
Number of pages4
VolumeJuly / August 2022
Issue number107
Publication statusPublished - 15 Jun 2022


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