Sneha Girap (Editor)

Bill Henson

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Nationality  Australian
Known for  Photography
Education  RMIT University
Role  Photographer
Name  Bill Henson

Bill Henson wwwaustralianinfrontcomauassetsUploadsresam

Born  7 October 1955 (age 67) (1955-10-07) Melbourne, Australia
Artwork  Untitled # 20 (LMO SH177 N2A), 2000-03

Bill henson twilight zones photography

Bill Henson (born 7 October 1955) is an Australian contemporary art photographer.


Bill Henson httpswwwfairfaxstaticcomaucontentdamimage

Bill henson master of darkness


Bill Henson Photographs by Bill Henson Victoria and Albert Museum

Henson has exhibited nationally and internationally in galleries such as the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum in New York, the Venice Biennale, the National Gallery of Victoria in Melbourne, Australia, the Art Gallery of New South Wales in Sydney, Australia and the Bibliothèque Nationale in Paris. His current practice involves holding one exhibition in Australia every two years, and up to three overseas exhibitions each year.

Bill Henson Works by Bill Henson The Collection Art Gallery NSW

The use of chiaroscuro is common throughout his works, through underexposure and adjustment in printing. His photographs' use of bokeh is intended to give them a painterly atmosphere. The work is often presented as diptychs, triptychs and in other groupings, and the exhibitions are specifically curated by Henson to reflect a sense of musicality.

Bill Henson Rosaline Shahnavaz on Bill Henson Telegraph

Duality is a recurring theme of Henson's work, often in combination with adolescent subjects. He frequently employs a flattened perspective through the use of telephoto lenses. His works are often in the form of staged tableaux in which faces of the subjects are often blurred or partly shadowed and do not directly face the viewer.

Bill Henson Henson exhibition shut down Arts Entertainment smhcomau

Henson states that he is not interested in a political or sociological agenda.

Life and influences

Bill Henson Bill Henson photolicioux

Raised in the Eastern suburbs of Melbourne, Henson studied Visual Arts and Design 1974–1975 at Prahran College of Advanced Education where Athol Shmith was head of the Photography program and John Cato and Paul Cox were lecturers. He did not complete the diploma, but the nineteen-year-old Henson's work was promoted by Shmith to Jennie Boddington, inaugural Curator of Photography at the National Gallery of Victoria with the result that Henson's first solo show was exhibited there in 1975.

Bill Henson Bill Henson Twilight Zones Photography YouTube

From his period as a student until its closure in 1980, he worked at The Bookshop of Margareta Webber 343 Little Collins Street Melbourne, which specialised in luxurious books on ballet, dance and the visual arts. Leaving the bookshop, he traveled and photographed in Eastern Europe. He taught briefly at the Victorian College of the Arts in Melbourne. The long-term relationship of Henson with Luminist Melbourne painter Louise Hearman, who met in 1981 at the Victorian College of Arts, has been noted as mutually influential on their art. Hearman won the 2014 Moran portrait prize, Australia's richest at $A150,000, with her double portrait of Bill Henson.

Images seized

Bill Henson Bill Henson model speaks out in defence of the controversial

On 22 May 2008, the opening night of Bill Henson's 2007–2008 exhibition at the Roslyn Oxley9 Gallery in Paddington, Sydney, was canceled after eight individual complaints were made to Police voicing concerns about an email invitation from the Gallery to a "Private View" that depicted photographs of a nude 13-year-old girl. Hetty Johnston, a child protection advocate also lodged a complaint with the New South Wales police. On the same day a Sydney Morning Herald columnist, Miranda Devine, had also written a scathing article in response to viewing the email invitation, which precipitated heated talk-back and media discussion throughout the day. In the process of removing the images from the Gallery, Police found more photographs of naked children on exhibition among various large format photographs of nonfigurative subjects, which they later sought to examine for the purposes of determining their legal status under the NSW Crimes Act and child protection legislation. Following discussions with the Gallery and a decision by Henson, the Gallery canceled the opening and postponed the show.

It was announced on 23 May that a number of the images in the exhibition had been seized by police local Area Commander Alan Sicard, with the intention of charging Bill Henson, the Gallery, or both with "publishing an indecent article" under the Crimes Act. The seized images were also removed from the Roslyn Oxley9 Gallery website, where the remainder of the series can now be viewed online.

The situation provoked a national debate on censorship. In a televised interview, Prime Minister Kevin Rudd stated that he found the images "absolutely revolting" and that they had "no artistic merit". These views swiftly drew censure from members of the 'creative stream' who attended the recent 2020 Summit convened by Rudd, led by actor Cate Blanchett.

On 5 June 2008 the former director of the National Gallery of Australia, Betty Churcher, said it was "not surprising" that the New South Wales Department of Public Prosecutions (DPP) would announce its official recommendation that no charges be laid regarding the Sydney Roslyn Oxley9 gallery's collection of photographs by artist Bill Henson. Ms Churcher said it would have been ridiculous to drag the case through the courts:

I'm very pleased that the public prosecutor has decided that it's likely to end the debacle because they always do, as soon as you take art into court it never works ... The court is not the place to decide matters of art.

On 6 June 2008 it was reported in The Age that police would not prosecute Bill Henson over his photographs of naked teenagers, after they were declared "mild and justified" and given a PG rating by the Australian Classification Board, suggesting viewing by children under the age of 16 is suitable with parental guidance.

Australian scholar Niall Lucy criticized Devine's response to Henson's art in his 2010 book Pomo Oz: Fear and Loathing Down Under. David Marr's book about the 2008 incident The Henson case was listed for the 2009 Victorian Premier's Literary Award and the 2009 Prime Minister's Literary Awards.

Selection of models

On 4 October 2008, Henson became the center of controversy again after it was revealed in extracts of The Henson case that in 2007 he visited St Kilda Park Primary School to pick out potential models for his artwork. Henson was allowed entry into the school and escorted by principal Sue Knight around the school grounds and picked two children he thought would be suitable – one child, a boy, was later photographed after his parents were approached by the school on behalf of the artist.

An investigation into the matter was launched by the Department of Education on 6 October 2008. The investigation found that the principal had complied with departmental policy, and had no case to answer.

Exhibitions (selected)

A few of his exhibitions:


  • Bill Henson, National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne
  • 1981

  • Bill Henson Photographs, Photographers' Gallery, London
  • 1985

  • Bill Henson, Untitled 1983/84, Pinacotheca, Melbourne, Australia, July
  • 1989

  • Bill Henson Fotografien, Museum Moderner Kunst, Palais Liechtenstein, Wien
  • 1990

  • Bill Henson Photographs, Bibliothèque Nationale, Paris
  • 1993

  • Bill Henson, Tel Aviv Museum of Art
  • 1998

  • Bill Henson, ACP Galerie Peter Schuengel, Salzburg
  • 2004

  • Presence 3: Bill Henson, The Speed Art Museum, Kentucky
  • 2006

  • Bill Henson, Institute of Modern Art, Brisbane
  • 2008

  • Bill Henson, Robert Miller Gallery, New York, United States
  • Bill Henson, Roslyn Oxley9 Gallery, Sydney, Australia
  • 2010

  • Bill Henson, Roslyn Oxley9 Gallery, Sydney, Australia
  • 2011

  • Bill Henson, Tolarno Galleries, Melbourne, Australia
  • 2012

  • Diane Arbus, Bill Henson, Robert Mapplethorpe, Robert Miller Gallery, New York, United States
  • Bill Henson, Roslyn Oxley9 Gallery, Sydney, Travelled over Australia
  • 2013

  • Cloud Landscapes, Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney
  • The Youth Code!, Christophe Guye Galerie, Zurich, Switzerland
  • Books

    Major monographs on the artist's work:

  • Bill Henson ; edited by Martin Jaeggi and Walter Keller (2002). Lux et Nox Zurich, Switzerland : Scalo; 2nd ed. London:Thames & Hudson (2009)
  • Henson, Bill, (2005) Mnemosyne. Zurich : Scalo in association with Art Gallery of New South Wales.
  • References

    Bill Henson Wikipedia