Artist to Artist: Jo Duck and Tom Ross in-conversation
Peers, friends, and co-exhibiting artists Jo Duck and Tom Ross host a conversation exploring their respective bodies of work. Drawing on their unique insight into each other’s practice, Jo and Tom will discuss their journey as photographers, and particularly the inspirations behind their exhibited work. Connecting their respective series, Jo and Tom both interrogate the notions of the ideal and utopia; Jo through a humorous subversion of masculinity and romance stereotypes, and Tom through an instinctive reaction to the tension between people’s ideals and how that is expressed in the myriad worlds they create for themselves.
A commercial photographer based in Melbourne, Jo Duck draws inspiration from any manner of sources, including cinema, music and light, or as Jo confesses, anywhere from “UFOs to Dolly Parton”. The result is a portfolio of editorial fashion work that is flamboyant, humorous, heart-warming, bizarre, and above all, technically excellent.
Having appeared in publications such as Harpers Bazaar, Monocle and i-D, and worked for clients including Nike, Bonds, the National Gallery of Victoria and the Australian Ballet, the enchanting frivolity of Jo’s work belies a depth of research and her exhaustive approach to pre-production which enables the creation of such atmospheric narratives.
Presented for the first time at the CCP Photo Fair is Jo’s most recent, series, Romantic Boys, a sequence of still and moving staged portraits which leans on cliches of masculinity, and ties them with tropes of romance to create camp and celebratory images of men.
Jo explains, “Since birth, we’ve been fed images of smoking cowboys, muscle men, hairy chests and fast cars as symbols of virile masculinity. Furthermore ,we’ve been told wedding proposals should be on one knee at sunset, to ‘say it with flowers’, and women’s magazines constantly nudge at us about keeping things ‘exciting in the bedroom’.”
“This series is an observation on what we’ve been sold as the perfect combination of hard and soft, the ‘ultimate man’. But when combined these images come off as a camp, sometimes sleazy and often tongue in cheek exploration of what it’s like to be the ultimate man in love.”
“It’s John Wayne taking a bubble bath by candlelight.”