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Drawing on Topolski : An exploration of the relationship between reportage drawing and documentary filmmaking

Oldham, Alistair



I am in the process of making a short documentary film called “Drawing on Topolski”, which follows the story of a residency programme for young illustrators that has been inspired by the memory of the renowned Polish emigre artist Feliks Topolski. The young artists I have been following use a style of documentary drawing called reportage, where they work in a quick, observational style to capture the essence of the reality in front of them. Their project “Chronicle” is based on months of drawing around the streets of London (at markets, commercial centres, the Houses of Parliament, the law courts, abandoned council estates, food banks and anti fracking protests) and is directly based on Topolski’s own Chronicles, where he printed his own reportage drawings on brown butcher’s paper every month throughout the sixties, seventies and eighties. This paper will summarise the project, particularly exploring the comparison between the modes of observational documentary film and the theory of the camera stylo, and the far less mediated practice of reportage drawing. The paper will also look at some of the multiplatform outcomes of the project (crossing film, drawing, social media and gallery exhibitions) particularly in their relation to interdisciplinary practice and the principles of Practice as Research.


Oldham, A. (2014, July). Drawing on Topolski : An exploration of the relationship between reportage drawing and documentary filmmaking. Paper presented at AVANCA | CINEMA 2014

Presentation Conference Type Conference Paper (unpublished)
Conference Name AVANCA | CINEMA 2014
Start Date Jul 23, 2014
End Date Jul 27, 2014
Publication Date Jul 23, 2014
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Book Title Avanca Cinema 2014
Keywords documentary, Topolski, reportage, illustration
Publisher URL
Additional Information Title of Conference or Conference Proceedings : AVANCA | CINEMA 2014 / International conference


Avanca _ Topolski.docx (3.1 Mb)

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