Katherine Rooke

Single seven-sided carnation #1-7 (2016) is a photographic series drawn from a larger body of work entitled I am not one and simple but complex and many (After The Waves). The works utilise Virginia Woolf’s 1931 novel The Waves as a lens through which to reflect upon the precarious relationship between anxiety and self-reflexivity in theorisations of photography, and the nature of perception inherent within conceptions of the medium. Woolf’s novel, a text that is self-reflexive in its treatment of the medium of writing and language itself, meditates upon the nature of anxiety and uncertainties surrounding the act of seeing through descriptions of objects as trembling, quivering. This consideration of the nature of perception through self-reflexivity is paralleled within the photographic works, where the materials and methods of photographic production and reproduction are featured in the images themselves.

The series consists of seven seemingly identical, yet slightly askew, photographs of a red carnation, rotated between each shot and captured on a mobile phone camera through the viewfinder of an analog camera. The work draws upon a poignant reference within The Waves in which one of the protagonists describes the way in which a single red carnation ‘seen by many eyes simultaneously’ becomes a seven-sided flower ‘to which every eye brings its own contribution’ (Woolf, 1931, p. 82). Here the split circle within the viewfinder, typically used to gain accuracy of focus in photographic representation, has been used to obscure the ‘subject’ through its visibility within the photograph itself. Here the presence of the apparatus, typically existing merely to be looked through, is inviting the viewer to look at the photograph, and the act of looking itself.




Single seven-sided carnation #1




Single seven-sided carnation #2



Single seven-sided carnation #3



Single seven-sided carnation #4



Single seven-sided carnation #5



Single seven-sided carnation #6



Single seven-sided carnation #7





Katherine Rooke (b. 1992, Sydney, NSW) is an emerging photographic artist based in Sydney. Katherine’s current practice meditates upon the nature of self-reflexive photographic practices and the way in which they engage anxieties surrounding the ontology of the photograph. Her works simultaneously form parallels between literature and the photographic medium, drawing upon literary works as a metaphor through which to consider the essence of photography itself. Katherine completed a Bachelor of Fine Arts/Bachelor of Arts at UNSW Art and Design in 2015 and completed a Bachelor of Design in Photography and Situated Media (Honours) at the University of Technology Sydney in 2016. She has recently exhibited at Stacks Projects (NSW), Interlude Gallery (NSW), Centre for Contemporary Photography (VIC), Wellington St Projects (NSW) and Alaska Projects (NSW) and is currently a committee member at Cold Cuts ARI in Petersham (NSW).


View all the works of I am not one and simple but complex and many (After The Waves) at