Annual Lecture: Umrao Singh Sher-Gil Grant for Photography 2019

Constructed and Staged Photography: Subtlety, Nuance and Make-Believe | Lecture by Zelda Cheatle

27 January 2019 | New Delhi


From the beginning of photography to the most cutting edge of the 21st century, a visual journey tracing the genre of manipulated, staged or constructed photography through mostly female eyes, including, amongst many iconic photographers, Julia Margaret Cameron, Lee Miller, Claude Cahun, Francesca Woodman to Cindy Sherman, Mari Mahr, Hannah Starkey, Sophie Calle and Alice Zoo.


Based in the UK, Zelda Cheatle is noted for her longstanding career in establishing photography as art, through sustained work as a curator, lecturer, editor and consultant. After some years taking photographs, she began a gallery career at The Photographers Gallery, London (1982-88) before opening her own gallery, Zelda Cheatle Gallery (1989-2005). For 16 years, her gallery exhibited works by early 20th century maestros of the medium including Eve Arnold, Bernice Abbot, Abbas Kiarostami, André Kertesz, Robert Frank and Bill Brandt, amongst others, while consistently exhibiting and supporting young and emerging artists.


Zelda Cheatle has contributed in building both private and public collections both nationally and internationally. She initiated and managed the first Photography Fund, which exhibited and published a collection over 6000 iconic prints including Eve Arnold’s vintage archive and masterpieces of the European and American schools.


She is a consultant on multiple projects, is on the board of the Koestler Trust and their Arts Committee, has helped create the John Kobal Foundation (now Taylor Wessing at National Portrait Gallery, London), has been advisor to Photo Shanghai (2015), is a nominator for Deutsche Borse and Prix Pictet competitions and an active member of the Academy for World Photography Organisation. She is a visiting lecturer at Central St Martins, Kingston University, University of Ulster Belfast, Sotheby’s Institute, University of Westminster, ‘The Cass’ at Metropolitan University, University of West London, London College of Communication, UAL and Northampton University.


Zelda also curates and lectures internationally, including an advance course for collectors of photography, most recently exhibiting works from the celebrated Cass East End Archive. This includes images by Steven Berkoff and Don McCullin in London, East Wing and West Wing exhibitions, showing the short listed and award winning images at Sony World Photography Awards, Yan Preston Mother River in China and at Three Gorges Museum, Chongqing, Wuhan Art Museum and Swatch Art Peace Hotel Shanghai.