It's been an interesting experience for me since starting blogging, way back, when. I've moved platforms twice so far, and now again for a third time, my general photographic musings for the time being shall shift to, my tumblr, until, some other platform with superior qualities comes along.
This weekend I had some hardware failures. And because some technology has moved forward, ie firewire 400, I've had to rethink my approach to organising my digital files which until now, was doing fine.
Luckily no data has been lost, just the means of access has been made less convenient. Now, I need to weigh up how much digital content I need to carry everywhere, i.e. all classes and for personal use, and how much can just sit at home and be used and accessed from there?
My music collection has of course grown exponentially too, and it is now at the point where I can only use it in its entirety on some kind of disk. It is sitting at the 200gig mark.
So; two thoughts are now running through my mind. I have a large photographic project/idea that I want to shoot on film that I've been waiting to get the ball rolling on, and I've lost a bit of interest in many aspects of my cyber online image making, compounded by the usual disk space/hardware issues we are all plagued with. Do I try and juggle both, or focus on one to the detriment of the other?To add fuel to the fire, I am reading 'On Being A Photographer, David Hurn in conversation with Bill Jay'. This is more than fortuitous, and ratifies my desire to start the new project.
The light at this time of year is unbeatable, and, I know now is the time to start this new project so I feel that this is where my energies will now head. Mind you, the project is not intended to be completed for some years, so who knows, maybe I can keep a foot in both camps for a while yet.
This is an ariel view of some factories in Hastings, Victoria, Australia. The image as you can tell is, from google maps. I visited this place, after looking at this image on google maps a couple of days ago, before deciding to drive from there with a friend to make pictures. Sadly on the ground it was not that intersting and I only made a couple of perfunctory pictures.
Not long after making the pictures with my iPhone the usual happened, and a white ute shows up with a guy in a white shirt asking us what we were doing?"Why taking pictures of course." One of us had a 35mm DSLR in his hand so there wasn't much point in lying.
He then took our details, which included, my car registration. I even spelled it out for him, by telling him the year make model; AND colour of my car. I gave him my first name but refused to give my surname.
We drove off. Still looking for a good photographic angle on the large industrial tanks and other mechanical oddities that dotted the landscape in amongst the mashes and other vegetation. We thought little more of it, and left the area, with little to show for our efforts.
I dropped my friend off at his house, and started the long drive home, I live in the inner western suburbs, Hastings is over an hour away from my house. Not long after dropping my friend off, my phone rings, and fortunately, I had my hands free in. I answered the phone. A strange voice asks for me by name, it was a blocked number. "Odd I thought?" I identified myself and asked who it was, it was
some police officer,Constable Woods from Frankston or Hastings police station. I was then asked in detail about my actions in and around Bayview Road, that afternoon. Why was I taking photos there, who else was with me, how did I find the site. Well those of you who know me, will know the answer to the first few questions and if you've read this far, you'll know the answer to the last question. It is a site easily located on google maps.
I know, I should be used to being harangued by bored and idiotic security guards by now, but hey, what else is a guy to do at home after a fruitless day of digital photography. The handful of film pictures I made will not be back from the lab for some time, and I'm not holding much hope for them either, as I just didn't feel I had my mojo on all day, and this inevitable run in with yet another buffoon has added to my general maliase about the pictures I made .
Still my friend was good company, and I enjoyed the scenery at both Point Nepean, National Park and the industrial areas of Hastings, look them up on google maps, I did.
Yesterday, I took a drive. A drive that was intended to last until the sun had gone down. It did.
I drove for over 300 kilometers. I had no real direction in mind other than the general area I outlined on this map.
I didn't follow it, the map exactly, I used a bit of follow your nose approach with some new school technology and old school technology thrown together. Despite the huge amount of rain I encountered, I saw some wonderful locations and managed to make a few pictures, some on film, 3 rolls of 120, and about 80 or so iPhone pictures. Some of the iPhone pictures were intended as simple documents of place, to be used back home when loading them into Aperture, others 'on the fly' little 'artistic, creative vignettes' that alluded to where I was geographically, and metaphorically. Some of the creative vignettes, were uploaded to multiple sites, as I went, those sites being, tumblr, posterous, and instagram.[instagr.am is an unusual site, you actually NEED an iPhone to access it, the web site is just a small footprint of the larger experience, which adds another layer of complexity to my in situ editing and uploading choices]. The light was a bit hit and miss, and as a consequence, I plan to revisit these places, when the light is better.
This was my first successful attempt at mapping myself using these technologies. The first in Sydney last year failed, more because of the tools I was using than anything else I think.
Anyway I am pleased I have made some headway in my efforts to put together a body of work, both on the fly, and in situ, and using hindsight and reflection.
My biggest concern on the day was not having any mobile reception, or rather enough reception. As it turns out, there are some dead spots much closer to the city than I would have thought and areas like near the Heathcote/Graytown National park surprisingly well serviced, go figure?
The red dots are the markers placed by the software, I use to organise photographic projects, in conjunction with my phones built-in GPS coordinates. The first thing I have learned is that, I need to make more pictures more often, and perhaps working alone, especially in a car may not be the best way to work.
One aside, late last year I was bemoaning my options regarding a new iPhone blog I wanted to get off the ground, well it is up and running and in full swing, I hope to continue to upload an image a day, every day for the foreseeable future.
In my recent cyber readings I stumbled on this site, thesip.org. They are calling for research proposals on Photography. More specifically:-"With the proliferation of cameras and other image-capturing devices, there is a pressing need to conceptualize the human experience as immersed in and shaped by photographic images. Arguably, the long dominance of written culture has given way to a visual culture dominated by photography-based images and their technologies. Yet the profusion of theories and systems that analyze and interpret languages and literatures has not seen an equivalent production of theories and systems that help to interpret and theorize our contemporary culture of photo-based images and their history" source
If I wasn't contemplating a PhD, myself I'd write something, because they have a very interesting list of themes to explore
- Theme 1: Photography and the Body
- Theme 2: Photography and Other Media
- Theme 3: Photography and Privacy
- Theme 4: Album, Archive, Database, Flickr
- Theme 5: Pre-history of photography
- Theme 6: Open
Please forward this on if any one you know might be interested?
Currently reading up on the "discovered" Ansel Adams negatives debacle from earlier this year.
Actually scrub that, I am in the process of tidying up loose ends here at work, when I 're-discovered' A.D. Coleman's blog, Photocritic International. He writes extensively about the issue and I'm only 1/8 the way though his writings on the matter. This quote however had me guffawing out loudly, at last some one has the balls to say it.The recent Polaroid Collection auction at Sotheby's in New York, in which some 400 Adams pieces went on the block, demonstrated that there's an insatiable appetite for Adams prints, but a few dozen "new" Adams images from his early days won't force any serious reconsideration of his already exhaustively over-considered and vastly overestimated oeuvre. The thought of yet another Adams book and show makes me cringe reflexively.
I am pleased to hear someone articulate, what many have refused to say out loud for such a long time.
I am currently reading this book.
"The Pleasures of Good Photographs (Aperture Ideas)" (Gerry Badger)
One particular chapter has been very refreshing, apart from discovering a couple of names I'd not heard of before, elsewhere in the book. The chapter or rather essay entitled, 'From Here to Eternity: The Expeditionary Artworks of Thomas Joshua Cooper', has been very refreshing. In this essay, Badger, loos at Thomas Joshua Cooper, his work and some of his large ongoing projects, all made on a 5x7 film camera and made as exquisite contact prints. It is an intersting insight inot a photographer I'd never heard of, but who sounds deliciously interesting.
He rounds off this essay of Thomas Joshua Cooper's life & work. A photographer I'd never heard of but am suitably interested in to see more of his work. The essay covers a lot of ground, from Aperture, the Magazine, to Minor White, Zen & Transcendental Photography, Modernism and back. A great read indeed, I might even go so far as to say, as good as John Szarkowski, and Robert Adams' writings.
Another essay; entitled It's 'Art, But is it Photography? Some Thoughts on Photoshop', was really inspiring as Badger talks about the highjacking of the art scene and the value placed on a piece of Photographic Art work by large scaled and or staged works. He talks about how art and photography dance a lurid dance over ideas about objects, veracity, connoisseurship, the art market and galleries all have produced a 'look' quite common in art circles these days, one, that is the large scaled staged and often highly manipulated prints. Compared to to say the more understated; 11x14 or 16x20 that is the trademark of some older photographers, whose contribution has been as long lasting and more profound than some of the newer players on the market.
Mr. Badger very adroitly argues that, somewhere in the whole art market, connoisseurship, object d'art game; photography; has kind of lost some of it's power. He talks about using digital tools to make cosmetic and aesthetic changes in a manner that reminds me of the story Goliath and his hair.
For those of you unfamiliar, the story goes something like this.
You back, now? Good.
I think it is awfully brave of him to do things like announce the perfect size print, being about 20 x24 inches, and uses Cézanne, as a spring board for his argument.
A great Sunday morning page turner indeed.
On Friday the 3rd of December, I visited ARI King's Gallery. There are 3 shows on there at the moment, I was particularly drawn to John Billan's work. It was a real refreshing sight to behold, such an elegantly crafted body of work presented in a manner that was aesthetically pleasing while still holding a little mystrey.
Here are my notes jotted down on the day I was there.
Beautiful yet eclectic mix of images on the wall from classic landscapes to obscure objects / still lives, and re-photographed etchings, circa 1800s ? Strange yet evocative video sound piece as well. But the Frederick Sommer traditions live on. Just beautiful is all I can say, gorgeous prints superb installation and, mystery to boot.
The gallery itself is small and intimate, good for a single person show, there are three in total. Odd location though, with traffic noise factoring in as I sit here typing. I can however faintly hear John's piece in the background a haunting piece e it is. I wonder how long it took John to collate the images they seem to have come from all over the world! One is a strange half dome possibly a cold war radar left over? Which suggests Europe, and one reminds me of New Zealand, the caravan image. A cone repeats throughout the wall in several incarnations, combined with the video sound piece I'm reminded of space and maps, and ideas like quantum mechanics, or something like that?
Beautiful, just beautiful, in a deep resonating kind of way.
The image above was made at the gallery on the day, and emailed to the artist from the spot.
About 3 or 4 weeks ago, I started another blog, this one hosted by tumblr. Which was in essence a resurrected blog from a different phone, same idea different platform and different phone.
Things were trundling quite nicely thank you, when after an announced outage for planned maintenance, the site has failed to come back online?
I chose tumblr, because it had a lively community of posters, who who share all sorts of strange and wonderful work, plus it and posterous were the only two that allowed direct uploads from my new iPhone 4.
Now I'm currently stuck in between a rock and a hard place and am not sure how to proceed, I want to keep the blog going as it, allows me to flex my creative muscle on a daily basis, the flow was happening quite well too; I felt.
Having had an unusual outburst of creativity this week, I've managed to keep the ball rolling.
I've been mulling this idea over for a while now and today seemed the perfect day to put them into place. I had 2 small galleries originally a subset of s2art.posterous.com, but after realising that the layout/setup wasn't doing my ideas any justice, I decided to create whole new blogs for each idea, then upload directly to each.
This I have done.
My blog called facing north was inspired by the way the light sweeps across our backyard, and while I could use film, film doesn't allow for the spontaneity that digital allows.
The Work Zone idea was borne out of the way posterous so easily allowed me to upload images from my iPhone, again the layout/settings got in the way once I got over 20 or so images in a 'gallery'. So another blog was born.
So add these two sites to your favourite newsreader, hang on it's going to be a long, but hopefully smooth ride
Brad Rimmer, has some work on his website, that is reminiscent of Thomas Ruff, and the Dusseldorf School of photography. His website however is bereft of information. The work certainly works well, especially his colour work.
How did I fond him, in this crowded market place where everyone is a photographer? The e-zine, flackphoto.
The work suggests to me an idea that some people in the eastern states feel about the west, a kind of land frozen in time. Sadly due to the lack of context or information on the site, I can't really confirm or deny this.
Nonetheless, it's great to see Australians doing well in a crowded and highly internationalised stage.
Edit, some more digging has a quote from his book publisher's site, where he says:-“I was worried about revisiting my old home and going inside the house, but I had no real connection at all. Everything that was in my mind had gone and I felt a strange relief. On my way out of town that evening I thought of how many people had left and never returned, just left for good. I’d never thought about that before.”
It also turns out he is the same age as me and has an impressive track record, in Australia and around the world.
I am currently conducting, an online experiment with a group of other photographers, using iPhones, on a site called, 4over3. By all accounts it seems to be going well.
I have had an image published by the online magazine, called Australian Policy online.
It has been used using my creative commons licence, which I've always been an advocate of.
APO describes itself so:-APO is a news service and library specialising in Australian public policy reports and articles from academic research centres, think tanks, government and non-government organisations. As well as research, the site features opinion and commentary pieces, video, audio and web resources focused on the policy issues facing Australia.
I am honoured and appreciative that this organisation has used my image, especially as they have honoured its creative licence
The image is used in an article entitled, Australia in the digital economy: the shift to the online environment, and can be read on their website, under the section Creative & Digital.
The Photographer's Gallery in London, is running a street photography project, that I am hoping to get involved in, the beauty of it is that once a week you receive an instruction and only have a short time frame to make the picture and upload it to flickr. This ticks several of my boxes, so I hope to actually upload a picture soon.
I was fortunate recently to spend some time in my darkroom at home. A rare treat, and a fruitful exercise, a surprising one in one sense too. Surprising in that I have no planned exhibitions on the horizon.
One of the joys of printing in a wet darkroom context is the sense of isolation, unless it is a communal darkroom. With that isolation comes, time to think, watching a print slosh around in a tray of chemistry allows your mind to wander, and wonder. I often concoct titles and other snippets of text for and about the images I'm printing in this situation. All of this is of course compounded by the fact, I need to write these things down, before I forget them, and this is one of the few times on the last 3 or 4 years where I have returned to my hard copy journal.
Hard copy journals, or sometimes visual diaries are the back bone of many art courses and Artists sketch books can be as revealing as the work they produce. My journal has suffered badly over the years, I keep and organise almost all my creative ideas and input using a variety of disconnected computer based systems and applications.
Has this impacted on my ability to focus on projects, perhaps, I know it hampers my ability to see connections in my work when I am not able to have a tactile process in place that allows me to look and see photographs side by side.
I have no idea what this all means, but I do know, that a large creative outburst maybe on the horizon.
Another fabulous and humbling collection of the most wonderful images, I've been privileged to experience. Yet another addition to my growing collection.
I have published yet another book, this time an e-book, available for sale from lulu.com. I chose lulu, because they assign free ISBN numbers to e-publications, so have a look buy it, if you are so inclined, I may eventually publish it as a hard copy book as well we'll see?
Recently in London, I saw an exhibition that examined photography's cultural uses from surveillance to eroticism.
After we had finished looking at the exhibition we decided to sit and eat at the cafe in the Tate Modern. While there, I noticed this guy whip out his DSLR, which happened to have a huge Telephoto Lens on it, he fired off a few shots using it, chimped them quickly, then fired off a couple more.
Of course I couldn't help myself and had to whip out my iPhone, then using the zoom feature, zoom in on him taking pictures outside an exhibition that examined Photography's role as a surveillance tool. Now is it just me or is this ironic, or a double negative even? A person photographing, being photographed outside a major exhibition on photography and surveillance?
I have given the better part of 20 years of my life to learning and teaching photography.
I am one of the fortunate few, who, has a job I enjoy, relish and am constantly challenged by.
Over this time frame I have watched some massive changes technologically that have happened to education, photography and culture generally. I am still amazed by these changes. I am still enthusiastic about photography, learning, creativity, I feel the technological changes have made photography and education exciting and a challenge.
Other than the technological changes, it has been this way since 1987, when I took my first tentative steps, at the ripe old age of 22, toward gaining an education focused on photography.
What I fail to understand; and have never understood, is the prevailing attitude amongst many students, that school is a chore and we as educators are simply here to give them, the students, a hard time, by making them work. A recent facebook discussion I read is one of several that often occurs, spasmodically throughout the year.
Photography is a lifestyle, NOT a career. A one two or 3 year course gives you a piece of paper, but not much else. What a photography or any creative course for that matter, ultimately gives you is encouragement to move forward, the opportunity to make mistakes in an environment when making mistakes is part of the process. Lot's of fun on the way hopefully, a network of friends who can be drawn upon down the tracks to further your photographic/creative career, and a lifetime of memories, hopefully good ones.
If you are not working hard on your course, or continually looking towards the next lot of holidays, then you need to ask yourself. "Why am I doing this, course?" Chances are if you have this attitude now, you won't make it in your chosen field anyway, because there are plenty of people prepared to go that extra mile to succeed in their chosen field, regardless of the perceived losses to social life or time and energies.
I went searching today for an image I remember making, but not its time date or any other details about it. Eventually I found the photograph I was looking for, and added it to the group that had prompted, its search. But in the interim, I realised I have become remarkably less obsessed with uploading images to flickr over the last couple of years. I have no shortage of them to upload mind.
I recently purchased two new books, while in Sydney.
For those who are curious, here's a peek at my entire library of books for the last ten or so years, on librarything.com, I'm also reading a very engaging series of books, STUDYING PHOTOGRAPHY: A Survival Guide,"Your Assignment: Photography (Photo Developing)" (Douglas Holleley), and, "Photo-Editing and Presentation: A Guide to Image Editing and Presentation for Photographers and Visual Artists (Photo-Developing)" (Douglas, Ph.D. Holleley), again real refreshing insights into teaching Photography, not only the technical processes, but the creative and the organisation process as well, from creation to presentation.
Standby for a flurry of input, as, now I'm toting an iPhone everywhere, and making images, constantly on the fly, with the ability to upload immediately if I so choose to flickr, my posterous account, the shared posterous project, or twitpic.
Now that I've finished using my Sony Ericsson c902 phone/camera, I decided to trawl back though my archives and see what was lying around. From 2006, I used the k610i ending up using c902, in to the August 2010, Imade over 3 thousand pictures. From these, I managed to hobble together one book, with plenty of images to spare. When it is finished I shall post a link to it.
Two more books are a distinct possibility.
Today, saw the creation of a new collaborative project, shared between myself and 3 other iPhone users. The project is hosted by posterus, and is called 4over3.posterous.com. We all share a similar approach to picture making and have a similar regard for the web and its ability to share regardless of time, place or space. Where it will go I have no idea, we are spread across the globe, 1 in Asia, 1 in Europe and 2 in Australia. I may consider expanding the project to include one or two more people, contact me if you have a passion for picture making, regardless of device, and can afford to connect to the web anywhere anytime.
I also signed onto the eyeem.com site, an online site dedicated to sharing of iPhone pictures.
While we are on the topic of Posterous, I've begun using the space as, another small gallery for spontaneous projects as they occur.
I am a proud and new owner of the latest iPhone 4, it s my first iPhone ever, to say I am pleased, would be an understatement.
One of my peers, has had an iPhone since their release 2 years ago, he too is an advocate of, the best camera to own is one you have on you at all times, and are prepared to use all the time.
Hipstamitic, is one of his favourite iPhone applications, so, of course I had to give it a go too. I have at the moment, 6 lenses and 8 film types, as well as, the flashes, that come with the application, perhaps just the iPhone 4.
With such a dizzying array of options I needed to be clear in my own mind what film/lens and film/lens/flash combinations I felt the most comfortable with. How to work this out? Why run a test of course.
Not a very scientific one, but a test nonetheless, in real world conditions, i.e. my sunroom at home in the gorgeous winter light.
So I photographed the view out of the bck window with all possible lens/film combinations. Once I'd settled on a film/lens combination, I then tested the flashes with that combination.
The winner for me is:-
- Lens; Lucifer VI
- Film: Pistil
- Flash: Standard
Is it art? The jury is still out on that one, one thing is sure though, it is a whole lot of fun.
Albert Camus, novelist and Nobel Prize laureate, once said: 'After many years, during which I saw many things, what I know most surely about morality and the duty of man I owe to sport'.
Not everyone would agree that sport is the key to understanding human experience. But it's certainly true that Australians connect sport with anything from community life and personal achievement through to historical and political controversies.[From Sellers Art Prize]