Met a chap who was adamant that the problem with image size and CCD's was the software not the the acutal CCD's themselves. He claimed it was possible to make a program convert a square to anything you wanted, ergo, square pixels become round. I think he didn't understand how CCD's work.
A new set, from the Hasselblad, and North Carlton's lanes.
I've not a lot to say at the moment, here's another Polaroid image from the roid rage project
This quote has long fascinated me, don't get me wrong though, I am no musician by any stretch of the imagination, one day I'll learn a musical instrument I guess? But it, the quote, often makes me wonder about my own photography and music, not to mention photography generally.
Everyone can 'listen' to a song, but how many really 'hear' it. Many people can play musical instruments, sing, but how many can write a song, a good one I mean. One that captures people's imaginations, the public consciousness, sticks in history as a memorable moment time or place?
The same applies I feel to photography, even more so now that digital has become so pervasive.
What makes a song or piece of music special?
What makes a photograph special then? How does one create an image that resonates at as many levels as possible, is there even a formula? Does it all matter in the end? Is there a connection between the two music and photography?
Does this image make any sound/s?
More from the roid rage project.
Recently was asked to shoot a commercial job for a friend for the poster he is designing for the BDYFF [Blue Dandenongs Film Youth Film Festival]. It was fun and lightning paced.
This is a rarity for me, as my output is generally more contemplative and ambiguous.
The above shot, one of my favourites, worked out perfectly, a little puff of breeze blew the stuntman's cape just the right amount to make the composition perfect.
Knowing Trav, the finished poster and al round advertising for the Film Festival will no doubt be funny interesting and engaging.
I learnt a little about working in these situations and may even take on more work in the future with this kind of stuff. One of the distinct advantages to digital no doubt.
Looking over my left shoulder as I sit in my study at home, this is the image I see…
I remember when I was at Uni, one of my peers claimed he could never make an image unless in a foreign or exotic place, bah humbug I say. I can't walk 10 metres some days without being bowled over by the visual cacophony that is around me. This image proves my point.
Adams pictures in some ways buck recent trends both in art and photography. They are relatively small and finely made prints, and in black and white. Shot of course on film. Of the four sets of work, his was the most traditionally photographic, and the kind of work that any new photographer would find most difficult to get accepted by the galleries today, neither commercial nor fashionable. It's good to see it recognised.
Now how to use this to get my solo show exhibited, in 2007?
The article also introduced me to this body of work, taken over a time frame of 5 years by Alec Soth. An eclectic and interesting series of images, with heavy religious undertones, a subtle reference to sleeping and some connections to some of the areas in and around the Mississippi river.
I just realised today that, a while back I grumbled about the physical size of contemporary photographic art, in Melbourne in particular.
And 2 days ago, I was pleased to announce an award given to a photographer who's work I admire whose most recent body of work, is in fact small and finely printed.
*Cue spooky Twilight Zone type music*
..through my archives is a common pursuit these days, shooting seems to be more of a rarity than I'd care to admit.
By archives I mean both my flickr stream and my iView catalogues.
During a recent trawl, a handful of images caught my eye, that reminded me of Lewis Baltz's body of work from the 1970's called, "The New Industrial Parks Near Irvine, California". Baltz and Robert Adams along with Joe Deal are three of the main influences on me during my early years as an artist.
That recognition lead then to a search for more similar images, which turned out to be a fruitful one. Resulting in a new set. Sadly flickr won't let you create a set without a title so it's called "."
I am really starting to appreciate the benefits of the flickr site these days. It is a playground and place to experiment a place to bounce ideas off other folks. Part of me wants to treat this whole experience as a legitimate exhibition space, but part of me has trouble dealing with that idea too.
An offshoot to this trawling of the archives is that in those early naive days I went nuts uploading far too much, not being tough enough on myself. I was seduced by the speed and ease of digital.
All that has changed now, oh what a difference a year makes, [well nearly two actually].
So it seems that, in America anyway, some people have the same kinds of concerns now as, "The new Topographers" did in the 70's.
Jeff Brouws, is a photographer who looks like he is grappling with similar ideas and subject matter.
:- Jeff also has a new book out, check it out on Amazon.com
This then begs the question, "What is new?"
The way I see it these days, nothing, as we are all human and at some level we are still the same we could ever possibly be. Telling our stories in our own unique way is, I guess, what makes art new in some respects, a lesson learnt at Uni, but only now am I REALLY understanding it, exacerbated by the fact that I am about to hit the gallery proposal writing scene again.
Robert Adams in an essay in his book, "Beauty in Photography Essays in Defense of Traditional Values" discusses this issue far more eloquently than I ever could, if you live in Melbourne get in touch I'm happy to lend you the book.This image belongs to Jeff Bouws and is used here with permission.
Sadly I have not the cash to visit this show currently showing at SFMOMA, in San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, but err if you know anyone who wants to throw some cash around, I'll gladly go there and give a full report on it. I guess though the best way to see a show like this is Google the names of the exhibitors and put together your own exhibition of work.
The body of work I'd most like to see is that by Larry Sultan and Mike Mandel who are best known for their book 'Evidence' (1977) which used images found from a 3 year search of files and archives of over one hundred American government agencies, educational institutions, and corporations, and published 59 of them re-contextualised as a work of photographic art.*
A view I've long held and felt fairly passionate about but never can quite articulate it as well as I'd like to.
I guess the closest I will come to seeing this body of work is owning the book now reprinted and available of course on Amazon.
Joerg Colberg over at conscientious, is pondering the issue of imagery made of disasters which is then paraded as Art in Galleries.
Robert Adams has an answer or two here, in an essay about Frank Gohlke's photographs of the storm that swept Wichita Falls, on April 10 1979, that ranked 4 on the Fujita Scale, he talks about form and meaning, and of metaphor.
“ His composition implies a belief in the endurance of meaning within an apocalyspe.”1
In the same book he also writes a lengthy article on “ Photographing Evil”, which I'll quote here, in an effort to offer some explanation as to why Photographers need to do this kind of work.
“ The point of art has never been to make something synonymous with life, however, but to make something of reduced complexity that is nonetheless analogous to life and thereby clarify it.”2
Not being the articulate writer that Mr Adams is I am unable to argue at length about the ideas being discussed in his books or offer much but to offer these couple of small snippets of hope for Joerg. Not to mention that I am not one to have the balls or temerity to go to the kinds of places such as war zones or sites of disaster and make images.1 pg 100 Beauty in Photography, Essays in Defence of Traditional Values,
Save the Australian Photographic Portrait Prize now has it's own site please sign the petition and help re-instate this important cultural event.
The campaign to try and re-instate the Citi-bank Australian Photographic Portrait Prize, is well under way. We are starting to receive responses from galleries and curators, and we've had some input from political campaign manager types as well. Kent is constantly tweaking the site [if you haven't yet signed the petition please do so now!]. You can even check out previous winners of the prize to let the gallery know people are interested.
While I am sitting here writing this on my g4 iBook laptop, my G3 desktop machine running OS 8.6 and Photoshop 5 has the ubiquitous clock icon spinning away madly. I have a 70 meg file open and am simply copying and pasting to clean up an the image I am working on. I have been 'cleaning up' this image for over 3 hours. Not unusual in this day and age of high rez scanners capable of capturing everything as well as the grain of the film.
Earlier this morning I wanted a rough proof of the final 15 or so images I had scanned ready to edit down to the final 10 that will fit in the space.[yesterday I spent a few hours mocking up a 3d version of the space to visualise how the prints will look in there]. Given I had no way of connecting my older computer to my modern printer, or even connecting it to my new laptop, just getting a printed proof of the images proved a task in itself.
All up I'd say over 2 days of work have been spent on this show so far, and for which I have little to show. I remember thinking along these lines whilst doing my masters project in the late 90's. I seemed to spend equal amounts of time wrestling with my computer as I did actually making things. At one point I lost an entire week over an extension for my graphics tablet. This sort of stuff never happens in a darkroom, well rarely. You go in, set up your chemistry, get it to temperature and start printing. After an hour or two a decent but wet print should be in your hands and after a week of leisurely 6 hour days 12 - 24 prints should be ready to mount.
With computers forming such a large part of my creative output these days, it feels like things move at a far less productive pace. Even working between an Os 3 generations apart has it's moments.
Why am I using what is effectively a 10 year old OS and software? Both my astute readers may well be asking. There are several parts to this answer, some of which I have elaborated on in the past, others I may elaborate on in the future.
So begins the creative process of print manipulation. This in some ways is the hardest aspect of all. Where to start? When to stop, are all compounded by digital technologies. At least in an analogue environment you had to make a small test to determine a start time around which all other moves were based. With digital, well there it is on the screen, what more needs or can be done is the question you must ask, and hopefully if you have access to a good printer profile you can "preview" your image and make some decisions in the right direction.
Each have their relative merits, Type C prints, are tested for their durability, and being a chemical process are known to last for a certain amount of time, Inkjets are claimed to last as long, but of course this is based on accelerated testing methods, not real life, I have some inkjet prints made in 2000, they are ok but not perfect, unlike all my silver gelatin prints which ARE perfect still some dating back 20 years. The advantage of the inkjet printing is the vast amount of surfaces and materials one can have work printed upon. There are also some very nicely created printing profiles out there, that when used with a particular paper give almost silver gelatin photographic results.
Of course if I was simply, printing largish silver gelatin prints between 8 inches square and up to about 24 inches square, I would use silver gelatin paper. Which brings me back to where I started, and instead of spending my holidays on a computer, I would have been locked away in a darkroom making prints.
Indeed, "Everything in Photography is a trade off".
Well Inkjet printing now becomes more of an option, I had heard about a profile or rip that allowed very good control over b&w prints from Epson Printers, a quick e-mail and I found the profile/rip in question. Now I can run my own small tests at least before I make any final decisions one way or the other.
Well the initial worries about finishing my images in time for the show in have subsided; for the moment.
I am trying currently to spend quality time with the images I have and just make minor tweaks here and there. Not unlike a conventional darkroom where you make a test strip then a work print then several versions of that work-print until you are happy with the result.
This process in a darkroom environment, for me anyway, has always been one where decisions are easy to make, and sometimes the neg just prints beautifully, other times it has you scratching your head for hours, or even days, at worst months.
The speed of digital is of course somewhat of antithesis to this approach and somewhere in my Masters project back in 2000 I noted this. [One day I'll upload part of the written component, the actual body of photographic prints produced lives online in 2 places, flickr, of course and stunik.com*] So to tweak put away then come back a day or two later seems to be working for me at the moment.
The converse of this is true also. When do you stop? When is an image finished?
I guess time is a deciding factor here. The best way to avoid this maybe to prepare images at the same time as writing gallery proposals and when a show gets accepted, cull down from a body of work already made?
Hopefully both my readers can see the differences between these "work prints" and the original scans that I uploaded as part of my 'Across the River Styx' 2007 proposed set on flickr. These are work-prints in their 2nd draft.
*this is a page buried deep in my old site in a dusty and cobweb ridden-corner that is unlikely to get a facelift, unlike my photoshop workshop page.
In response to a reader request*, I am posting two images in a side by side comparison, both are work prints.
I am going to leave any discussion about them till after the weekend, as I am running a weekend workshop in Photoshop this weekend, to pay for the mounting costs of the show of course. I will say this much, the change in orientation on this first one is an aesthetic choice and may yet change back depending on final planned hanging.
Original scan from proof.
First Work Print
This one has a long way to go? Original Scan
First Work Print
Insert the image.
Duplicate the image layer.
Adjust top image layer, using appropriate tools.
Curves have been applied.
Add another layer to start making some local adjustments.
Start tweaking numbers
In this instance I've increased the value by about 10 units, almost a zone.
Brush all layers in and out in varying opacities as needed, be careful about when to stop. The conversion to jpeg seems to have buggered up the subtlety of the brushing in, trust it is smooth and subtle.
The power of this Application is that you are concentrating on the image, surrounded by minimal palettes, no other clutter on the desktop, and the application is only working and using the pixels you need to see and work on.*or, how to procrastinate more than needed!
Go Kent, let's hope that the Citibank Australian Photographic Portrait Prize either gets re-instated or picked up by another gallery.
Kent's radio interview on saving the Australian Photographic Portrait prize, should be able to be downloaded from the ABC 702's pod-casting page. The morning show, where Kent was interviewed, may also eventually upload the interview.
If somebody finds a down-loadable pod-cast first please let me know, so I can link to it.
So yesterday I posed a question about Phone Cameras and thanks to all who responded. I've got to confess it's was a slightly loaded question, as I said I am thinking about putting together a short course/workshop in Phone Camera use and this is all heading somewhere.
Personally when I am trying to share some knowledge about anything I often try and list a series of pros and cons about what it is I'm try trying to share. And sure enough there has been some additions to the list by my readers.
While Phone Camera's up until recently had such poor levels of resolution, and small storage capacities, the whole idea of doing anything other than sending the photo to another phone user or posting on the web or e-mailing these images, were incomprehensible to phone users. Now with increased resolutions and phone storage capacities their uses are able to be extended, with some provisos.[Avant-garde image makers think differently I believe.]
Remember these are the modern equivalent of the 126 and 110 cameras of the 70's the latest incarnation in the idea that George Eastman brought to the Western world way back in the 1900's. Many many family histories have been recorded using these small cameras, not so many serious bodies of work though?. I am at a loss at the moment to remember anyone who has used a 126 or equivalent to produce a serious body of work however, and I don't consider Lartigue a candidate here as cameras were still in the realm of the wealthy middle and upper classes of the time.
Has anything changed since then that would allow people to make and record their lives differently? Well computers and the internet have impacted dramatically, the way folks capture and share images, these cameras are more than perfect for recording family histories, and small and easy enough to share almost immediately. With most people's expectations of these images are along the lines of, can I see what is important, faces scenery etc, these cameras then serve this function well under the right conditions, outdoors in bright sun for example. They are then able to say to themselves, "I'll send it or have it printed for my Mum/Aunty/Friend".
Such is the proliferation of these small cameras, that no longer do you even need a computer for this, most photo labs, in Melbourne anyway, have the ability to accept all sizes and shapes of memory cards to enable printing from any cameras including phone cameras or accept bluetooth transfers. So already we have the ability to not only electronically share our phone camera images but now print them out using traditional min-lab i.e. small prints.
I believe that electronic sharing of these images is more than enough to justify their use, the proliferation of photo sharing sites out there along with websites interested in the idea of alternative image making means a body of work can be produced and shared easily and quickly with as many like-minded people as you can find. Provided you accept the limitations of these cameras, and plenty of limitations they have.
So what other things can we do with these cameras? Well unless you are prepared to accept great seas of digital artefacts and horrendous lens aberrations, it's highly unlikely that you will be making 1 meter wide prints and exhibiting them, if on the other hand you are happy with a small print there are some other options outside of online publishing. With access to any desktop publishing software and a decent quality printer, you can print your own cards and books thus adding some meaning to the work you are making using these discrete little cameras. Possibly even creating a level of revenue that could justify the time and effort spent on printing them. There are even several online services that allow you to upload and publish, books cards and calendars, to an online store. This is based on the premise of a small book as file sizes are still on the low side to make anything bigger than 6 inches by 4 inches. I guess though, a 4 or 5 mega-pixel phone camera is only months away?
Hmm waffled on a bit today sorry?
Anyway here's my table of pros and cons.
|Small, goes everywhere.||Small file size/s may inhibit output options, too many choices for the inexperienced.|
|Discrete, able to be used anywhere the user feels morally comfortable.||Certain social situations may not be the right place to make an image.|
Able to be sent anywhere anytime.
|Costs could become prohibitive, if not used wisely, not supported by all telephony providers.|
|Instant feedback.||Critical self-evaluation of images not encouraged.*|
|Almost infinite Depth of Field.||Poor Lens quality.|
|Wide Angle lens, wider angle of view than the human eye.||Wide Angle lens, wider angle of view than the human eye, requires skillful use and operation in terms of composition.|
|Zoom is digital.||Limited Zoom is digital resulting in high levels of noise.|
|Unpredictable results, giving weird colours strange movement and noise and blur.||Unpredictable results, may not be desirable depending on users aesthetic.|
|Unpredictable results.||No technical controls, f stops shutter speeds etc.|
|Limited choices means image maker must think hard about how to make a good image, without relying on zooming etc.||Limited accessory range.|
|Can be used anywhere where there is light.||Requires ample light, unless user can accept high levels of digital noise.|
I guess if I really thought about it, photographers like Garry Winogrand [his wikipedia entry] and Robert Frank, have helped the cause of the snapshot Aesthetic, I wonder though what Mr Winogrand would have thought of mobile phone cameras, as for Robert Frank, I'd like to ask him personally about his thoughts on the matter?
His large format colour work of the 70's helped make colour an accepted art form. The type of camera he uses, and 8 x 10 inch, using colour neg/C41, and the approach is at the other end of the scale to the way a phone camera user would work.
Pressure is mounting for the upcoming solo-show, have collected 2 images from a Pro-Lab, not happy with the 'look' of the prints at all. However, I have been fortunate to have been put in touch with an Art School that prints large format. Had a quick chat last week with the guy in charge of the printing and am now proceeding with 7 inkjet pints 1 metre square.
Now I've just got to find 7 times $140.00!
Outside said art school I found this piece of graffiti, and of course the only capture device I had was a mobile phone, I made 2 images with it and chose this as the best one that expressed the idea.I felt the context from the surrounding Architecture was needed.
Yesterday I started to ramble on a little about the image I made using all I had at the time, I think I wanted to philosophise a little about that, but neglected to do so, and today I'm focused on re-scanning 7 images for the Solo show which opens on the 21st of March at Trocadero*. Today I've uploaded another image, taken this way, and again this image is made for similar reasons, it was the only device I had at the time and the characteristics of it suited the image. I wanted to exploit the features of the device and have an incredible amount of DOF. Capturing the objects themselves and the reflection across the street was the catalyst for this. Which I hope in turn says something about shopping, consumerism, light, photography, and representations of the human form... as well as ideas of beauty.*Across the River Styx, opens at Trocadero Art Space, Level 1 119 Hopkins St Footscray on the 21st of March 2007 and runs until, the 30th of March.
Sitting here at home today, designing my catalogue for my solo show, 'Across the River Styx' I realised I originally posted the wrong dates.
The correct dates are:-
21st of March, to the 7th of April 2007.
Trocadero Art Space, Level 1, 119 Hopkins St,
Opening night is the 24th of March.
Once I have completely finished the catalogue, I will upload a pdf file for either of my readers, who might like to see it.
They are asking some pertinent and burning questions, among them:-
Does the digital shift constitute a revolution, or merely an evolution?
Does the shift represent a real democratization of photography?
Is citizen photojournalism worthy of its name?
Does the shift threaten the livelihood of professional photographers in fundamental ways?
Does the shift represent a shift towards more authenticity or truthfulness — or less?
Looks like others are thinking along the same lines, which is good I enjoy a good quest.
So yesterday I spent some time in VCA's Lab looking at my work on their monitors, with Andrew. Very very happy. Things are moving along nicely. The monitor differences were noticeable enough to come back and do some more tweaking at home, but not so much that I'm feeling swamped by it all.
The monitors they use are quite expensive and very finely calibrated, mine is a good monitor and is probably due for a calibration, I however prefer my monitor, a CRT, over theirs, LCDs. I am now actually getting excited about the show. For a while there in January it was all a bit nerve wracking, particularly in terms of timeframes and workloads, but thanks to Live Picture, things are on track. One day I'll write extensively about the experience of using Live Picture over Photoshop if both my readers haven't already deduced from my ramblings how easy it is to use, how elegant fast and graceful. Some days however you feel a little guilty spending so little time hammering away at an image, these past few weeks has been just like that.
On an unrelated note, I will be without interwebs for a couple of days this weekend. I may however still be able to post to my Mophone Blog, so if you're interested pop on over there and have a peek, who knows what might turn up?
Some interesting news, I submitted some work to an online exhibition, it was exhibited in the space recently, in Switzerland, and I didn't even leave Melbourne.
This is the e-mail I received from the gallery yesterday.
Your image was shown in the Musee de l'Elysee's exhibit ‘We are all photographers now!’ in the last few days. Enclosed you will find an installation view of your image that shows it in the wall.
The visitors to the exhibit are fascinated by all the different photographs that are being shown from participants like you from all over the world. Thank you again for participating and please feel free to upload more images to the site allphotographersnow.ch.
We also sincerely hope you will visit the museum. The dates of the exhibition ‘All photographers now!’ are from February 8th, 2007 to May 20th, 2007.
From the team at the Musee de l'Elysee</blockquote>
So there ya go eh? My first overseas showing.
Paid the final deposit yesterday, my solo show is signed sealed and delivered. Sadly though the invites have been delayed, but soon, very soon.
More information has come to hand on the opening night, it is on from 4:00pm to 6:00pm, at Trocadero Level 1 119 Hopkins St. Footscray, not unusual I guess in some respects, perhaps a little early, but hey more time to party afterwards.
Don't know why but I was a little surprised to receive a text message yesterday announcing the arrival of the printed invites for my show at Trocadero. Surprised by the text message NOT the announcement.
Anyways, if you want hard copy invitations, I can arrange it to be delivered, I suspect however that a quick visit to the gallery, at Level 1 119 Hopkins St. Footscray, you'll be able to pick up some invites there. In case you have trouble finding the place, you actually enter from Barkly St., not Hopkins.
Contact me if you want a real invite, and I'll do my best to mail them out ASAP. [A word of warning, I'm a terrible at using snail mail, a real snail myself]
So again here's a low-rez, lo-fi image, of indeterminate subject matter, other than that one may have a vague idea that it is probably a photograph, there are no real indicators of what it is either way.
Does this a) make it a worthwhile object of contemplation, or b) yet another piece of detritus in the ever growing heap that is digital image making?
Went to the CCP yesterday, to see the Anne Zahalka Show, while I contemplate my response, consider this.
"The photographic process looks after itself when its natural inheritance is honoured. It can not understand any other way of working. But when what is passed on represents a loss, the process collapses."
When I recently heard about the current show at the CCP of Anne Zahalka's work, I was quite excited.
I spent some time at the show on Wednesday just gone, and well, to be frank, I was disappointed.
The show is really well hung, the staff at the CCP have done a great job. The large light box, in gallery 3 is mind blowing. The rest of the work itself however has a level of inconsistency about it's printing that makes me wonder if it is even by the same artist? I was really looking forward to seeing the work in gallery 2, her best known I suppose, but was sadly disappointed by the prints, they seemed to lack any richness, and I was not even sure they had been shot on medium format, due to poor sharpness and what appeared to be chromatic abberations. The body of work in gallery 1, the Artist series, really has me perplexed because it is so obviously digital, but the material it is printed on takes it almost to a sculptural level. The ideas themselves are of course engaging and humorous, but I'm kind of left gasping when there seems to be so little to tie them together.
"In a globalised world, cities are rapidly becoming homogenised spaces. At first glance difference is disappearing, we see the same cars, same buildings, and same franchises.
This work will explore the idea that the marks on the pavement and the minutiae found in the streets can tell you where you are and provide clues for deciphering the narratives of the cultural terrain."
While we're at it Incognita Nom de Plums' work is in itself beautiful and ephemeral.
Randomness and Aesthetics.
|ˈsɛr(ə)nˌdɪpɪti| noun:- the occurrence and development of events by chance in a happy or beneficial way : a fortunate stroke of serendipity | a series of small serendipities.
DERIVATIVES serendipitous adjective
ORIGIN 1754: coined by Horace Walpole, suggested by The Three Princes of Serendip, the title of a fairy tale in which the heroes “were always making discoveries, by accidents and sagacity, of things they were not in quest of.”
There has long been two loose schools of thought about photographic art. Photographic time or moments, and staged photography. The first often requires small cameras*, that are basically an extension of the users hands and arms allowing the photographer to freeze moments in time whether by chance or planning quickly and easily. The second often uses Larger Cameras, carefully controlled lighting and composition.
Both approaches, to art photography share a common concept, intent. Does this then mean a camera such as my new VistaQuest 1005, is excluded from the genre of art making because of it's lack of technical control? If I carry around my small camera with the intent of capturing some moment in time, and only occasionally get some random and serendipitous image as a result, is this less of an art form than much of today's 'street photography'? What part does randomness and chance play in image making using cameras?
Frederick Sommer, perhaps had a real handle on this idea many years ago, when he found an arrangement of illustrations from catalogues and magazines attached to the wall inside an abandoned miner’s shack in 1947, his point that in photographing anything we are always in some way arranging ourselves in relation to what we are serving as subject matter*By small cameras I mean 35mm and smaller.
In my quest to exploit explore and understand how my new keychain camera distorts the world I'm beginning to make some interesting discoveries.
This little camera needs to be held steady even in bright daylight. It distorts movement in interesting ways too.
The view finder is next to useless, adding more to the idea of chance to each image.
Colour and vignetting add to the charm of the images made as well, giving a distinct holga look to the images, which is good.
Despite the uselessness of the viewfinder I made a good one here, the holga-like vignetting and weird colours add to the image I feel.
Movement is weird here, a happy accident indeed.
This was taken in broad daylight, and 'from the hip' pleasantly surprised by the blur
If, photography is about, light, time & space, then the tool you use to capture these things should be immaterial. To my mind good craft is important but invisible. The tool of choice then would be a craft based decision, based on your final output. If the image never goes beyond the screen or small print or low resolution output like a newspaper then a low resolution device is perfect. What if however you actually want to go the next step and make a print or for that matter a large print, say bigger than A2?
Two megapixels isn't going to cut it, not even 5 megapixels. Big prints then are out of the question. Small prints or screen based work is all that will come out of these cameras, unless your intention is make some sort of statement about the tools themselves. So a phone-cam or small low-rez device is perfect if you don't plan on going beyond the screen or small prints. I feel these cameras are perfect for capturing brief fleeting moments, or for carrying around with you constantly in a ubiquitous manner. Sometimes you can even predict how these cameras are going to behave and produce interesting results
Throughout history, artists are often trying to distill their work down to it's essence. Photography is no exception, one way to do this is to remove all reliance on tools, and using a small CCD with only automatic controls is one step down this path.
This is the time of year, where many of the major art schools around Melbourne have there under graduate exhibitions. The RMIT Fine Art Photography Graduate Exhibition is on at Red Gallery Contemporary Art Space, 157 St. Georges Rd. Nth. Fitzroy until the 1st of December, I highly recommend it. Gallery Hours are Tuesday to Saturday 12-6pm. Red Gallery's phone number 9482 3550.
Gallery 124 in Sunshine are having a X-mas Show, I have some new work and some old work in the show. The old work is from a couple of shows I had in the early 90's and 2 of the pieces are from the yet to be completed series, Maps. Given the response to the Maps pieces I may well try and finish printing the work and exhibit it in either 2008, or 2009.
The Show runs until 21st of December 2007, the gallery is at 124 Hampshire Rd Sunshine.
‘Apropos - Human Rights in Art’ brings together international, national and community based artists to explore how contemporary practice can articulate and illuminate issues of human rights.
Apropos presents a wide range of mediums and approaches used by contemporary artists to critically respond to current human rights issues and the role of art within that dialogue. Including collaborative and community based projects, Apropos actively engages with the broader community and facilitates the artistic expression of those directly affected by human rights violations.
The works in Apropos respond to a diverse range of human rights issues including freedom from discrimination, environmental issues, refugees, poverty, labour rights, indigenous issues, humanitarian conflict and freedom of expression.
Participating artists include:
BUS Gallery 117 Lt Lonsdale St Melbourne, Films Screening @ RMIT Capitol Theatre 113 Swanston St Melbourne.
Victoria Park's 'ART$MASH' VPG's 2nd annual fund raising show.
Opening Wednesday 19th December 2007 5.30 - 8.30pm.
Exhibition runs 20th - 22nd December 2007.
I've a couple of small pieces in there.
Is this not the time of year that folks make lists? Given my list would be something along the lines of process film, make prints create new e-book/s, shoot more film, it'd be pretty boring. So I'm not writing one.
On another side note, the two prints I had in the show recently at Gallery 124 in Sunshine sold, thanks to Chris and Paul and the person who bought them whoever you are? As a consequence I've decided to print the entire body of work, entitled maps, as a series of small silver gelatin prints. So this gives me a year or so to find a space and make the prints.
Had to laugh at this article
But serioulsy, what of the early experiences of computer generated art, sound, video, photography animations and so on. Well there is this book which has a special place on my bookshelf,
Even so something I've noticed in my cyber travels, particularly on flickr over the last 4 years or so is that notions of memory and identity don't seem to rank very high on most folks radar. As an artist it's often all I care about; in a creative sense anyway.
Amazing work, thanks to Marcus for the heads up
this work has it all simplicity, believability, connection, cerebral and spiritual, amongst many other things.
In my opion he just about could have said yes; or no; to everything, he's a surrealist after all.
This year sees me teaching a subject I haven't taught for several years. It is both an easy subject and a hard subject to teach. At my work we call it Folio. It is a subject designed to help students develop conceptual and technical skills in creating a body of work that they may use to either gain employment, or go to further studies. It also exposes them to many more photographers than they would normally see, or look at, and gives them an opportunity to learn to articulate about photographs beyond: "I like this because it worked" or "I took this because it looked beautiful".
At one level this is an incredibly liberating experience it can allow me to free associate and talk at length about what I think photography is and isn't, what is good about it and what I dislike, where I've seen it come from and where I see it going to.
It also relies heavily on the experience, for some of the time anyway, being a 2 way street.
All in all it's going to be a good experience, challenging but good nonetheless. This year I'm expecting folio to impact on what I write and how often I write here, so readers please forgive me if I go off on a tirade or start speaking in jargon. After all what does constitute a good photograph, is there such a thing as a bad photograph, is it important to pay attention to the kinds of details that have long been important in photography like good craft, how important is the substance behind a photograph, should a good photograph hide more than it reveals?
These are some of the questions I hope to encourage my students to contemplate and try and articulate in language and their photographs.
Just found out about this new inkjet paper that uses similar technologies as fibre based papers. One of the reasons I still use a darkroom is because of this paper type only being available as a wet process, it is called fibre based paper and uses a material called Bartya.
I've yet to get my hands on some but a reliable source is impressed, anyways from a website that sells the paper.
HARMAN PHOTO Professional Inkjet GLOSS FB Al Paper is a premium quality, nanoporous paper on a true photographic fibre base. It is designed to produce instant dry high quality images on a wide range of photo-dedicated inkjet printers, using dye or pigment inks. Uniquely the paper incorporates a layer below the ink-receiving layer called Baryta. Baryta is a special coating that is traditionally applied to fibre photographic paper base prior to coating with the emulsion layers. The technical benefits of this layer include greater detail and definition, extended tonal range, and excellent archival properties. In addition Baryta coated fibre papers have a unique look and feel which have become the standard for fine art photographers worldwide over the course of more than a century. The paper contains Alumina, which gives a high degree of glossiness, optical image density and vibrancy.
Can't wait to get my hands on some.
Recently, I received an e-mail from the developer, that Version 2 will be released shortly.
The funniest part, for me, however was in his e-mail he stated that he knows no-one who uses a Windows box, and wondered if I could help him find a tester for the Windows version, and of course I, actually, am in the same position, all the Photographic power users of Photoshop I know run Macs.
Here's a screen-grab in my flickr stream.
We're all used to spam, we have various ways of dealing with it. This morning I received and e-mail that surprisingly got missed by my spam filter. Surprisingly, and thankfully. The e-mail asked me to visit a new site, one it turns out is dedicated to art and photography, but not your usual on the wall stuff. It is an online TV show dedicated to Photography and Art.
I had a quick look and what I really like the most was the segments on off the wall TV ads, I will go back and explore more.
It seems that they are trying to be some sort of high end youtube for photographers and artists. Mainly your usual polished and somewhat titillating commercial work, not too difficult mind you.
Scale and size, are almost irrelevant on the internet. Real in 'our hands' prints are reliant* on scale, as part of the grammar of photography.* is reliant even the right word?
Food for thought*.
[From 2point8 » The Future is Alor]
I particularly like these ideas,
future of photography will not be found in the hushed walls of the gallery, or in the download-disabled watermarked-protected sites of copyright-scared photographers. The future’s already out there, in cheaply printed print-on-demand books, in small collaborative global-web-ventures, in xerox copies taped to lightpoles, affordably editioned prints, and in sites like Mark Alor Powell’s.
* thanks to TK for the heads up.
Dear Friend, it was good to catch up the other day. Thank you for sharing those thoughts with me. I've always been interested in others journey's down the photographic creative path, and to all intents and purposes yours is going admirably well. Like all journeys involving exploration and "discovery" there are bound to be days of euphoric highs, and of course deep black lows. This path will be lonely and at times densely populated, sometimes by others on the same journey, other times by folks sitting on the side of the road. Those sitting may offer advice.
"..it's already been done"
"...your old stuff is better than your new stuff"
"...get a life"
"no one will be interested in, or buy that"
Notice I said sitting by the path?
Why are they there? Perhaps they had good intentions to begin with, and just got exhausted. Perhaps the prospect of a never ending journey frightened them, perhaps the chance that they MAY just succeed was to frightening for them to contemplate? I can't speak for these other people, I do know that the journey will never end for many, myself included, and that is what makes it so attractive; to me. Having a purpose to use our eyes and share what we see is one of the best reasons I can think for getting out of bed each day.
Photography is a wonderful craft full of exciting possibilities and potential. It can used to record and document, to interpret, to create. You can choose to explore ideas, or wander the world camera in hand hoping to catch that one that got away. And like all crafts it will takes many many years to 'master'. When I say craft, I don't just mean the technical fiddling, f-stops shutter speeds, choice of lenses, or cameras. I mean truly appreciating the full power and impact of what a photographic image is capable of. Historically, culturally, philosophically. Learning these things won't happen overnight,you can accelerate the learning by enrolling in a college dedicated to photography though, and appreciating them and understanding them will take a lifetime. A lifetime of dedicated study, thought and questioning, above all questioning.
After we spoke recently, I remembered Baz Luhrmann's film Romeo and Juliet. I had just begun full-time teaching when it was released. It was an old story re-told, in a refreshing and interesting way, and I'm sure English teachers the world over breathed a sigh of relief. This is what artists do, retelling an old stories in new and exciting ways. Artists understand their own humanity, well, and they live in and understand their own culture just as well. Sharing and re-telling is how many artists do what they do so successfully, tapping into those ideas that appeal to so many folks in a profound and intriguing way is your biggest challenge, dare I say, a lifelong task, but a worthy one no less.
Put on your hiking boots, pack a bag with some film, some memory cards, a couple of cameras, and a tripod, and get out there; the light is always gorgeous.
David's work reminds me of Joe Deal's seminal body of work in the 70's entitles "The Fault Zone", and perhaps not surprisingly, shot in LA as well.
[From lens culture: David Maisel]
Prior to 1995, this kind of work would have taken a few years to filter here to Australia, and maybe longer to make it to the shelves of some of Melbourne's Colleges of Tertiary Education. Now time is an inconsequential aspect of seeing this kind of work. I wonder is this a good thing or a bad thing?
Hetty Johnson, please, I prefer coffee over tea.
Recently, an opening of an art exhibition by artist Bill Henson was cancelled, after Hetty Johnston complained to the authorities. Allegations that both federal and state laws were broken have been laid, at this point no one seems to know for sure who will be charged, with either the federal or the state charges. The Federal charges are apparently different to the sate ones, being that the Roslyn Oxely Gallery's website contained some of Henson's work depicting people of indeterminate ages in a variety of stages of undress. The state charges it seems are being laid because of the invitation that was printed and no doubt widely distributed.
What perplexes me is why now? Also, how does the website figure in all this? Henson has been using these kinds of models for over 20 years now. I attended both the NGV and AGNSW retrospectives of his work in 2005, as did over 115,000 other people, [at the AGNSW alone] not one single complaint then, at all, and to quote Miss Johnston, "period".
Some of Henson's supporters have suggested that the current Senate investigation about the representation of children in the media has been the catalyst for this, I tend to agree. There has been a real shift in the last few years, in public perceptions, about photography and how it is used. Is this a good thing or a bad thing, I'm not sure. One of my hopes about the democratisation of photograph digital promised seems to have blown up in our faces.
Personally, Bill Henson's prints inspire awe in me. The size of the prints alone would humble anyone. His mastery of lighting and technique divides photographers, both for and against. The richness and intensity of the colours he gets from his prints is probably only something I will ever aspire to. Seeing his prints displayed in a gallery moves the work to the experience that I suspect many early Christian's would have experienced seeing art for the first time in their Cathedrals.
None of this translates to the web or the small screen, the place where Mr Rudd made his sweeping judgements, nor to small postcard size reproductions, the image no doubt the Miss Johnson based her opinions on.
Over the years I have felt uncomfortable with some of the images depicted in Bill Henson's prints, but in the end the depth richness and subtlety of the prints wins out. As a bonus, Miss Johnson has done society a favour by generating some debate about what constitutes art in particular lens based art, Bill Henson's prints are indeed Art with a captial 'A'.
As an artist who attempts to educate, I'm faced with many technological conundrums. This esaay, beautifully broken down for reading, on the web, very eloquently articulates many of these conundrums.
[From the art garret]
And to think it was all written in the late 1990's!
This image was made from inside a stationary car.
The light AND dark were what drew me in.
The 'colour' of the light, a contributing factor as well. Pre-digital, I would probably NOT have contemplated making this image. The technical considerations, costs, and the effort involved to produce a quality result, may have outweighed the actual result.
The question remains though, would I have even "seen" this image pre-digital? Has digital allowed me to see more or better?
Also given the recent bruhaha over Henon's work, how many people can appreciate the power that Digital has unleashed on the world of photography? How many will understand, the dichotomy of photography, that is; the 'representation' of an object and that of an 'expression of an idea'?
I've created a new site. This site is a photographic art site, and will showcase the best photographic art work being produced on the net. It will have a peer based review process and publish twice a year.
The premise behind altfotonet is this; historically, fine art photography has been, and continues to be exhibited in galleries, some state run, some commercially run, with several hardcopy publications to support 'the system'. These organisations simply use the web to advertise what they are doing.
The state run galleries justify their budgets, by putting a process of selection in place. This process requires LENGTHY written applications. As far as I can tell, these applications, need to fit into the current school of art thought. This then meets the needs and demands of the publicly funded art scene, resulting exhibitions that fit some notion about relevancy, for the galleries.
Commercial galleries are only interested in work that sells, or is easily sellable.
Fast forward to 2004, flickr comes into existence, photography has become even more democratised than George Eastman could have ever hoped, through the cheapness, availability and quality of digital devices. Sites like flickr.com and deviantart.com flourish. These sites prove that academia has become its own worst enemy, people, are making images using unique ideas and approaches, without the need to be "published/exhibited".
This new site aims to address this. It aims to filter the noise of sites like flickr and deviantart, which have plenty of talent out there, and allow the best to be given a venue to be recognised by people who know good images and ideas when they see them, but not have the academic hurdles in place of the state owned and run galleries.
Will it succeed, I don't know? I do plan however on giving it a go for a few years to see what happens, hence the bi-annual aspect. The reviewers are people I've met in real life and on the net, we all have similar approaches and outlooks to image making.
One thing I am not sure of, I probably am alone on altfotonet, in being the only one who feels that there is some level of subversiveness left in the web that justifies the existence of such a site.
So if yo have an idea you want published online in an online gallery such as this, pop over the submit page and find out how to submit a proposal.
Thanks to all who applied for the inaugural issue of altfotonet.org. Due to the overwhelming response, the publication date has been pushed back. We are busy working hard in the background here getting all set up and ready. In the meantime, start getting those applications ready for the 2009 Isssue.
Traversing a polarized history, landscape photography shifted from scientific exploration to the idealization of nature and the spectacle of human ‘progress’. Lost along the way was a sense that photographs of the land can speak to an ecstatic experience.
Occasionally life gets a little overwhelming, altfotonet.org is running behind, most other projects are on track. In the interim it seems some time last year Alec Soth stopped blogging, in some ways I don't blame him. This blog seems a worthy filler, even if, the author, comes at things from a slightly different perspective.
Thanks to beek for this heads up.
Which of corse begs the question, what makes a good photograph these days?
I would add for those undertaking advanced/tertiary in their field, these shortcut proceedings, but not as much as you would think.
Great series of images on News-stands of New York USA.
[From Rachel Barrett Photography]
Thanks to TK for the heads up, via del.icio.us of course.
Again I would have linked straight to the set about news-stands that most appealed to me, except the navigation is flash driven, ah well it's not hard to find that link.
Thanks to JIM JOHNSON, at (NOTES ON) POLITICS, THEORY & PHOTOGRAPHY
To the best of my knowledge no comparably prominent newspaper in the U.S. devotes this sort of sustained attention to photography.
More links and sites to come I'm sure.
A couple of days ago, I posted a youtube video of a radio announcer talking about creative output and quality. The Radio announcer is Ira Glass, I actually was recommended, the video by a deli.cio.us account contact and fellow flickrnaut, thomask.
Now here's an idea
... and yes; I have a laptop again
One of my teachers from my under-grad years is having a show. I found out through facebook of all places. Here's his description of the show.
'Some feeling' explores the act of an emotionally driven exploration of the landscape at night as a documentation of things that can’t be seen, but instead felt. Instead of searching for a location that would evoke a specific feeling, I have allowed the way I feel emotionally to direct me toward a landscape that I recognise as being representative of a certain emotion. Some Feeling is the result of documenting external representations of internal feeling states.
"Opening night - Tuesday 30 September, 5.30 - 7.30pm"
Tuesday, September 30 at 5:30pm - Saturday, October 11 at 5:00pm
First Site - RMIT Union Gallery, Storey Hall Basement
This just in, my inbox [from Photospace in Collingwood]
The spring exhibition program at PhotoSpace starts with an exhibition in September titled "In a Moment".
This is an open entry exhibition of original work by artists who enjoy the unexpected quality and playfulness of instant film such as Polaroid or Fujifilm. If you would like to be involved in this exhibition please email the gallery asap.
Also during September Lynette Zeeng will be running a workshop at Gold Street studios in Polaroid transfer. For more information please visit www.goldstreetstudios.com.au or ring Ellie Young on (03) 5424-1835
'In a Moment' runs from 3 to 20 September 2008.Viewing hours: Wed to Sat 12 to 5pm, Sun to Tue by appointment
34 Dight Street, Collingwood
PO Box 1612, Collingwood VIC 3066
Contact details: Veronica Hodgkinson
T: (03) 9415-6139
As a consequence, I've revisited roid rage from a couple of years ago, and now am in the process of editing the set down to 4, currently, I'm at 9, pretty surprised I managed to get it to that so quickly really.
"The social role of sport is to provide an outlet for intelligent people to behave like brainless people"
... Nothing is achieved outside the game; noone is wiser or can add a benefit to the world beyond the fury of the struggle.*
Here here, Robert Nelson.
Thursday's Age has a review of an exhibition, the Basil Sellers Art prize, where Robert Nelson eloquently describes the function of sport in Western Culture. I'm still trying to find and online reference that I can link to. But he very eloquently describes the middle classes fascination with gladiatorial contests.
I dream of the day when art and sport get equal footing in our media.*Robert Nelson, page 16 the Age 13.08.2008
A review of a show of work by Hiller & Becher at MOMA, this is a rarely seen pictorial landscape that gives some context to the whole body of work, that unexpectedly ceased recently, with the death of Becher
[From Industrial-Strength Art]
These two photographers are secondly only to robert adams in my Photography Book collection.
A few days ago I posted a mention about an exhibition review in 'The Age', it seems the author, Robert Nelson found my article and sent me it, in it's entirety. So with much fanfare, here is the article.
‘Basil Sellers Art Prize’, Ian Potter Museum, University of Melbourne, Parkville, until 26 October
The social role of sport is to provide an outlet for intelligent people to behave like brainless people. Everyone knows that there’s no intrinsic point in shifting a leather ball from one post to another, no matter how energetic or invested the contest. Nothing is achieved outside the game; no one is wiser or can add a benefit to the world beyond the fury of the struggle.
Intelligent people also recognize the costs of sport, severe and permanent injuries, which burden our hospitals every weekend. But sport is a sanctioned release from responsible thinking, and all these scruples are put aside. The whole point of sport is to insulate you from things that matter.
The habit of getting excited and screaming for no good reason creates a momentary dome of ignorance; it’s a hallowed asylum of folly, a carnevalesque institution of mania against the onus of wisdom. Important and urgent questions should be discussed, like global warming; but the clamorous distraction of sport assures even the brainiest people that they too can enjoy the mind of an idiot.
I was therefore skeptical of the ‘Basil Sellers Art Prize’. Why conceive a lucrative prize around sport? Sport is the antithesis of art, because art is all about a purpose beyond the work.
Art engenders speculation, a portal to new insights and imaginative growth. Like music, science and philosophy, art promotes an intoxicating wonder for where the mind can reach. Sport offers no similar transcendence, because it lacks any admirable purpose beyond its own arbitrary exertions.
Once inside the show, however, I had to admit that some of the works are brilliant. The masterpiece is ‘Bicycles’ by James Angus, which should have won the prize. The sculpture is a track-bike that merges three separate frames, with three tyres, train-drives, handlebars, pedals and spokes. The machine is throbbing with a sense of immanence, as if growing through speed. As its form is replicated, the bike is caught in its own vibrations, as if each shudder and thrust in a stressful ride causes the bike to reproduce itself, to project more versions of itself as tremors of staggering zeal.
The craftsmanship of this sculpture matches the concept. I hope that the artist can gain one of Elvis Richardson’s trophies, which amount to a gaudy army, like a field of slayers, such as little boys might play with. So many wins! The copious ripper victories, represented by a horde of trinkets, makes you reflect on the utter futility of winning, unless you get financial reward (in which case you could do something valuable with the prize money).
Elsewhere, Richardson’s trophies reveal their own entropy, as her noble cups are rotting away, just as they deserve. It’s the neglect to which all sporting victories are destined, because they’re essentially trivial and ultimately give history nothing to remember.
Kate Daw & Stewart Russell celebrate a marvellous moment from the Olympics in 1968 when Peter Norman rose to the podium, performing a black power salute with a black athlete. You feel that Norman really earned the beautiful monument that Daw & Russell create for him. Tellingly, Norman’s brave political action completely displaces any memorableness of his athletic achievement.
Some of the works are cheeky, such as Scott Redford’s hilarious video, which shows men spraying the word ‘dead’ onto surfboards only to cut them up. On another monitor, two young women in bikinis come into a luxurious apartment to perform this morbid office. Laying the boards between the floor and foot of the bed, the beach-babes clumsily hack the wobbling boards with a saw, which sticks and jambs the further they get into it. The bodies of the women convulse erratically in this sacrilegious castration of surfing prowess.
I felt that the winner, Daniel Crooks’ video, ‘Static no. 11 (man running)’, maybe deserved eleventh place. It shows a man on a running machine in a gym. But something odd happens. The integrity of the filmed image is stretched across a vertical gulf, which yields a slippery fill of reciprocal flows, as in an irregular mirror. The director of the Potter, Chris McCauliffe, gives a clever analysis of the work, “like an eerie photo-finish caught up in a time warp”.
It made me reflect that maybe this “abstract ballet” deserves to win after all, because it’s the closest to sport and the furthest from art: it doesn’t reveal a purpose beyond its own tricks, an electronic banality striving for hermetic excellence.
robert.nelson @ artdes. monash. edu. au
When does a photo album become a book?
This image from flickr by a commercial photographer working in the states has me thinking about what differentiates a photo album from a book? More specifically, a 'Photo Album' from a 'Monograph'. Is it just me or does the phrase 'Photo album' have connotations of a highly personalised history, family or otherwise, whereas a 'Monograph' has slightly more serious undertones, with a whiff of Academia?Which of these values, defines one over the other, can one be both?
Time to make another I guess?
The Opinionator - Kara Kidman
Henson's horror week has pulled the sporting beanie from our eyes -- art is truly a waste of time.[From what more can I say; ]
NGV, Ian potter is having a photographic exhibition of Rennie Eliis' photography later this month. If you are into street photography, this is the show for you.
And a word to all those big camera zealots out there, his main camera? An Olympus XA.
Rennie Ellis saw his photographic excursions as a series of encounters with other people's lives. His photos can be as straight-forward and blatant as a head-butt or infused with enigmatic subtleties that draw on the nuance of gesture and the significance of ritual. Often his images ask more questions than they answer.¶
*thanks to TK for the heads up.
on several levels
Also fwiw, my contempt for bean counters and bureaucrats, has reached a new low.
Despite all that's been going on for the last few
weeks months, I've gotten involved in a little group exhibition at 'The Workshop Bar" in the city. The show is called, 'Guzzle it', it opens today, at 5:00pm.
Be nice to see some familiar faces.
The photography show at Workshop, runs till the 14th of December.
While we're on the subject of photography and art exhibitions, it's the crazy time of year for art and photography shows as all the graduates from the major art schols are showing around town.
VCA, are showing at the VCA gallery, RMIT Fine Art graduating students are showing at the Brunswick st Gallery, the First Year Students next month Tuesday 2nd December 2008, 6-8pm @ Hogan Gallery, 310 Smith Street, Collingwood just to mention a couple.
The Rennie Ellis show was somewhat timely this year, several students used a similar approach with a more personal focus in their folios, but what I really found interesting about that was that they predominantly used film. Food for thoughtwhen I get time, some time ANY time!
Words Without Pictures
WORDS WITHOUT PICTURES is purposefully multi-voiced and multi-layered . It includes essays , discussion forums , debates , one-to-one conversations , and questionnaires . Words Without Pictures is using this range of formats to gauge a broad range of opinions about photography before they become received wisdom. We offer the ideas that begin this year-long process fully aware that subsequent discussions on this site will determine the directions the project will take. Words Without Pictures invites you to contribute your perspective on the directional shifts in photography and help us define their meaning .[From Words Without Pictures]
A couple of days ago, The NYPL, joined the commons on flickr, one of the series of images they've added is from a body of work taken by a federal employee on Ellis Island, Looking at this work, and thinking about photography in "general" and in particular flickr, has anything changed, in the last 100 or so years?
While getting my 'back home and catching up dose of blogging' this morning, I came across, a piece by Joerg Colberg about wish lists. While I'm no fan of Holiday/New Years lists, I was quite surprised to see that we agreed on several points.
Of course we disagreed on several as well, but that's for another discussion.
On the off chance Mr Colberg reads this entry, here's my response to "truly self-published photography books", [my free e-books have been available for some time and I hope to produce another this summer]. As for his thoughts on vernacular photography, I guess my approach, doesn't have enough portraits to count as vernacular? Some food for thought, there too though, I mean what exactly is vernacular photography, and exactly what is it in the 21st Century, is there even a difference?
But the point I want to discuss here is his wish for less typologies in 2009. How serendipitous! I have been thinking about this stuff for a while too.
Over the years I've watched with amusement and fascination several 'trends' come and go in the art/photography scene here in Melbourne, I'm sure there are others who can cite more trends as my professional creative photographic practice only began in the late 80's.
In the late 80's in Melbourne, Australia, it was all about sculpture & Photography, it seemed at the time to get a show, your work had to have some sculptural component to it. Then there was the Starn Twins. Everybody seemed to be using all sorts of materials and processes to get their point across. The early 90's saw the backlash against the beginnings of digital, which to a certain extent continues today, so work was 'obviously' analogue, not unlike, Joel Peter Witkin's work.
Lately there's been a challenge by the documentarians, and the artisans, over what is is a document and what is art. The current state of play now seems to me to be large scaled works, emphasis on large, that have an element of documentary and are usually some form of typology.
What has happened to the elements of surprise and surrealism that photography seems so good at?
Frederick Sommer, my favourite artist of the 20th and so far the 21st Centuries, understood this really well. He saw the connections between, art and life so well and vividly, he understood the camera's ability to lie and misrepresent, he understood, how to pose questions gracefully elegantly and deeply.
Perhaps, post-modernism's reach still manages to stifle notions of poetry and mysticism, amongst many other things? Or perhaps a down side to the democratisation of photography by digital is that the time required to examine and contemplate is discouraged, by the process itself, and hence less thought about the 'potential' meaning of a photograph?
I'm researching/planning a long blog entry soon, these 2 sites [photographers] will form a part of my musings.
Firstly Frederick Sommer, who I first learnt about in Art School in the late 80's
Then there's good 'ol Uncle Ansel Adams, who I probably 1st learnt about before returning to study sometime in the early to late 80's
I am very familiar with the Frederick Sommer site, but for some reason I think this was my first visit to the Ansel Adams one. Boy Oh Boy! The differences speak volumes, and from what I'd heard about Ansel Adams, perfectly fitting. Both great photographers whose contribution to the history of art photography is immeasurable, but worlds apart Philosophically.
or... Why I do what I do, the way I do it.
This is not much more than a historical backwater, where, after chatting to a photographer on flickr about film grain of all things, I felt the need to lay out my cards. So, please do not read around siesta time, or after the consumption of alcohol.
The classic way to begin these things is to ask yourself, 3 questions. What, Why, How. So here goes.
What?Interesting, engaging, beautiful images; with a camera or cameras, that express something more than what was in front of the lens when I pressed the shutter, or perhaps question the notion of what all the above is, amongst many other things. Memory and Identity figure in there pretty highly too.
Why? Well that's a bit longer and harder to answer, here goes though.
Picture this, it's 1984 or 5. I am a twenty something living and working for the weekend [as a cab driver]. After a year or so I realise this is probably not going to lead anywhere engaging. So I decide I'd best get back to school and give something a go. Also, I had recently bought a 35mm SLR camera; [duty free] and was pretty disappointed with the results. I wanted better, and some obscure part of my imagination had often looked around and 'seen' things and thought "that would make a good photograph". Some research and digging around had me apply to the 2 main Colleges that taught Photography in town. I got interviewed, but lucked out, [knowing what I now know this is no surprise]. Both recommended a folio building course, one even recommended what was then Brighton Technical School. I enrolled. It took 2 years to get a handle on my craft and produce a decent folio. Then on to University I went. Another 3 years of working on my craft, with the accompanying exploration of history and theory. Modernism was considered passé, and with Post-Modernism at it's height, it wasn't that interested in art as finely crafted objects, more ideas, or that's how I interpreted it. Nonetheless I was interested in finely crafted objects, namely photographic prints. Prints that were interesting, engaging, beautiful, irrespective of their subject matter, but above and beyond all else photographic.
While I was at art school, I'd learnt about many aspects of our rich photographic history, and the ideas that surrounded it's current state of play. One such idea was Pictorialism. In the mid to late 1800's photography was still struggling with it's identity, organisations like the Linked Ring, were busy trying to promote photography beyond it''s humble uses and into, the realm of art. In doing so, they used techniques, that involved heavy manipulation of their negatives & prints, to make them look more like paintings.
Here's a list of the Photographers Wikipedia consider members:-
Those of you who know me in person pre-flickr will see a pattern.
Other Photographers I was exposed to at College, were, Robert Adams, Lewis Baltz, Joe Deal, Richard Misrach, to name but a few. Robert Adams, was part of a group of photographers in the 70's who had been labelled 'The New Topographers'. This was all very new and exciting for me, as I had, through a series of experiences prior to returning to College gotten, interested in 'Landscape Photography'. All these photographers still adhered to the ideas about photography, that a photograph was just that, yet, unlike Ansel Adams, their subject matter was far from sublime.
What I wanted to be sublime was the print, the silver gelatin or 'Type C' print that hung on a wall and people looked at and admired for it's inherent beauty and for the ideas it expressed, in the context of a broader photographic history.
Next; How?Image credit, The Met Museum in New York
So we've established in the beginning, I was interested in what I would call a fine print. Based on the concerns of other photographers who've gone before me. Such as Ansel Adam's Technique, and later, feebly attempting to explore the surreal and philosophical underpinnings of Frederick Sommer's ideas. The next and final question is how, do you make/get a fine print?
When one starts to get serious about your prints, it easier to produce good prints from good negs, plenty of shadow detail, not too blown out in the highlights, with hopefully a long scale of tones, [all based on a well published list of characteristics of materials]. Long scales of tone, then give you license to push them, the tones, [not the 1st year students, around in the darkroom]. Grain was a no-no, and high contrast was considered bad form, unless you had a good reason for it. Remember this is based on the ideas that the f64 group had pioneered.
This necessitated knowing your materials intimately, both film and paper. [I still use the same film today as when I started exploring materials over 20 years ago, but not the same developer or paper.] It also often meant lugging a tripod EVERYWHERE, because like good ol' Uncle Ansel, you shot at the smallest possible aperture to get the maximum amount of Depth of Field, usually on Medium Format or Large Format Cameras to help keep grain to a minimum. To keep your images sharp, you not only ALWAYS used a tripod, but a lens hood as well. Depending on your film developer combination*, even on bright sunny days, the best you sometimes could get was 1/8 a second at f22. Being a 'landscape' photographer, I never practised hand holding at low speeds, and today I still feel a little weird shooting wide open.
As a consequence you rarely photographed on a whim, and unless you are lucky enough to have a boot full of gear with you at all times,making images required a level of preparation and planning that would make trips to the Himalayas look like a picnic in the park. So; given the effort required to get your gear to the spot and with hopefully good light, you also needed to get the best neg you could, you were always trying to make sure you exposed the negative correctly, and then developed it to it's full potential, if you were developing your own black and white film. I think I'm pretty good at developing my own b&w, but when compared to the 'masters' I learnt from I've another 20 years of practice to go.
Bad negatives, and I've plenty of them, were the bane of my life, but often got fewer and further between, as I became more skilled at my craft. Ever wonder what to look for in a bad neg?
Here's a list of 'straight photography' no-no's unless the idea or the print is enhanced by it*.
The one thing bad negatives taught me, and many other people was, "How to make a good print".
So how many photographers on any of the social websites out there walk EVERYWHERE with a tripod, a medium or large format camera, have tested their materials and equipment extensively and know their place in the broader history of photography?
Well not me that's for sure. That's why I love my mobile phone and my desktop publishing software, and flickr and the web in general.
In part three, I will elaborate.
*Artists Like Joel Peter-Witkin and The Starn Twins, took this all to another level, as their work is the antithesis to these ideas, and I admire and respect these artist's work immensely.
Image credit, Calumet
*At one point in my experiments, I used a Developer called pyro, with a recipe for it, that lowered my favourite film down from 400 ISO, to 6 ISO, it gave beautiful long scale negativess, but was very tricky and messy to work with, in the end I settled for, and still use my own hand made D25.
Life and time commitments make it difficult to plan shooting around good light and the best seasons these days, to then process film on top of that, means a lot, not to mention that materials, such as black and white papers, are running out as well. this puts me in a quandary and means, my creative energies would be better spent exploring ideas and the world around me, using other means, preferably with a lens and a light sensitive material of some sort.
Technological changes mean I can get good quality images quickly [excellent ones If I'm careful in an analogue sense] and easily using the smallest of devices. The caveat being they will probably only ever exist in cyber space.
Why then not explore other ideas now. I mean all that other stuff, I'd felt was important for all this time, is important, but how important in this image saturated media landscape? Why not just see if I can't just get the ideas across using the simplest of tools with nothing more to deal with then the 3 most important elements of photography, Light, Time, Space. well hey presto! Here I am using a mobile phone and or a small camera set to VGA, to hopefully get some idea across about the world I see and am somewhat incongruously part of, that I can share in real time or in a myriad of other ways.
There is somewhat of a leap of faith here between finely crafted silver gelatine prints, and the bulk of work I'm producing these days. So let me retrace my steps slightly.
Somewhere between 1994 and 2004, I started meandering in other directions. A Dip Ed and an MA, were two of them, computers the internet and DTP were other side interests. All the while, digital cameras are following Moore's Law, to an extent, and desktop printers are getting better and better. By 2004 I'm hooked into flickr using my Nikon Coolpix 5400, bought after travelling the world. This is the first digital camera I owned that I thought capable of producing reasonable A4 prints. It is however not the 1st I ever owned. The first I owned, had died a quiet death in Wales on the same trip, but in the interim had produced 13,000 plus images, a tiny selection of which made one of my 1st e-books, "buy, buy, buy". But I digress.
As I said 2004 and getting a flickr account, was somewhat of a turning point for me. The first few years on flickr were pretty insane, but eventually I picked up on some patterns and ideas that were not dissimilar to the real world, particularly amongst amateur photographers. For example.
Anyway, I enjoyed those first few years prior to the Yahoo buyout immensely, I still do enjoy my time on flickr, but in a much more pared back kind of way. Two of the factors I enjoy about flickr, are, the amount of folks who seemed prepared to push the envelope on photography, and the interface design, particularly compared to 'deviantart' and 'fotolog'. In the beginning though it,flickr or my experience of it, was still somehow tied into the idea of a polished and finished 'object' and the stuff I'd learnt at University.
Somewhere around 2006/2007, things slowly moved in another direction. I knew it was pointless obsessing over colour as colour management is still very poorly misunderstood idea, not to mention, interfaces and browsers interfere with these factors anyway. I began wondering then, how I could add a layer of complexity to my images that was uniquely digital, how I could use flickr and the internet to exploit that? So I stopped post-processing my digital images, then began looking at other ideas.
Maps have always fascinated me. They, give some clue to your geographical location, which in turn hints at who you are, and in turn may give some clues to your culture. One thing that is unique to digital photography is, Exif Data. Digital exif data maps to the second when you made the image. The Web itself has grown to allow people many ways to geographically and visually place images into maps. These images then add data to larger databases that collectively and individually add to the greater understanding of who we are, and where we are.
Time, place, identity/memory are driving factors behind much of my output. However I'm also still am not only interested in what makes a photograph "good", but now, how I can use the simplest of tools to create images this way. ultimately the biggest change for me though is, that I carry at least one and often 2 or 3 small digital cameras everywhere, and can work at an intuitive level that I've never been able or allowed myself to work at before.[Once i've learnt how to exploit or overcome the shortcomings of each device.]
Intuition is for me the most difficult of creative processes to justify in this day and age of huge staged, or manipulated, images that adorn the halls of many Arts institutions. For me, seeing comes before speaking.
Let me finish off by, presenting one of my favourite little poems I picked up while studying at art school, it for me sums up art and photography so well;
"In modern thought, [if not in fact]
nothing is that doesn't act
So that is reckoned wisdom which
describes the scratch but not the itch"
I realised today I may have muddied the waters slightly with my terminology, particularly in relation to the ideas about 'straight photography' and a 'fine print'. 'Straight photography' was a precursor to the 'Fine Print', the idea of a Fine Print is deeply entrenched in modernist ideas of what constitutes art. The fine print can be a means to an end, but isn't necessarily so for many artists. Emmet Gowin for example, makes sumptuous prints but his ideas and philosophy go beyond those of the object and far and beyond Ansel's ideas about art and photography.
I feel like I've opened a can of worms here, I'll see if I can dig up the abstract from my MA to help.
If I'm not back in a week send a search party!
Edit; well that didn't take so long after all. Download it and have a read if you are so inclined, please bear in mind that this is the summary, and the whole object needs to be seen t get a better idea of what I was on about. The finished piece, exists in the R.M.I.T. Library.
Unless you've been living under a rock of late, jpgmag.com announced it would be closing this week.
This appears to have spurred a flurry of activity in the blogosphere, according to the a photoeditor blog. Plenty of opinions to boot as to why it folded. Personally I have no idea, other than perhaps the market can't handle an online and a print publication? The idea seemed great at the start from my perspective, but never sat that well with me, I wish it had continued, as I'm all for giving everyone a shot.
In other news, [thanks to poodly on flickr, who writes junk for code]RMIT, has set up an online journal, called Second Nature, and is taking scholarly submissions, of text, no word on images yet?
Looking at this site, today, I had an epiphany. Photography has reached the same place where painting was when it was famously announced that "from this day forward painting is dead"
Here's how things looked in the early 1800's. you could almost argue a precursor to flickr.
Have things gone pear shaped?
The tyranny of distance, and idea proposed by, Geoffrey Blainey, is to some extent still in place, and sometimes the internet amplifies it, other times it diminishes it. Sometimes, both.
These exhibitions all look interesting, I found out about them via the internet, but of course it is not possible for me to visit any of them.
Of course seeing screen versions of these images, if the galleries in question have an online exhibition, in no way replaces the experience of seeing them in the flesh.
Or does it?
Soon to show Sony 2008 Photography Awards. Opening night, 14th of April, 7:30 -9:30pm, runs for 2 weeks
[From Obscura Gallery]
My apologies, as this is a flash driven site I can only link to the front page. Once there, click on either the right hand panel or the exhibitions link.
Thanks to "sergemarx" on twitter for the heads up.
Completely unfashionable in today's post modern world, but an ongoing inspiration for me no less.
This is my favorite quote regarding, the job I do to pay the bils.
"We can give beginners directions, about how to use a compass,we can tell them stories about our exploration of different but possibly analogous geographies, and we can bless them with our caring, but we cannot know the unknown and thus make sure the path to real discovery"1
1 Page 39, Why People Photograph.
How quickly we forget... how quickly.
This article, by a British writer is tired of Bansky, I can't help but wonder; the irony of his work being sold in galleries?
[...stumbling across his work in alleys and splashed on buildings throughout London. And occasionally the artist has created work both bracingly timely and incisive (”NOLA", is a particularly good example). But it is impossible to contain the raw energy of street art in a formal art space, where any anti-establishment strains in his work are bled away beneath the expensive track lighting.]
Isn't selling this kind of art in a gallery the height of cultural hypocrisy anyway?
Eastman House is not only re-running the New Topographics: Photographs of a Man-altered Landscape, from 1975; but this exhibition, entitled, Nature as Artifice: New Dutch Landscape in Photography and Video Art
The description “Dutch landscape” may evoke an idyllic vision reminiscent of Dutch landscape paintings, but today the Netherlands is known for its planned, manipulated landscape. In the last two decades a number of Dutch photographers and filmmakers have taken contemporary Dutch landscape and nature as their point of departure. George Eastman House presents a major survey of this new work, titled Nature as Artifice: New Dutch Landscape in Photography and Video Art, on view June 13 through Aug. 16. It is a companion show to the Eastman House summer exhibition New Topographics, originally mounted in 1975, illustrating the profound influence of that exhibition on the generations that have followed.
The tyranny of distance lingers.
16 October 2009 – 4 April 2010
Photography Gallery, Level 3
[In 1967, the NGV established the first separate curatorial Department of Photography in an Australian art gallery and since that time we have delivered a continuous program of exhibitions and publications featuring the rich history of photography. The heart of our activities is based on the permanent collection which now numbers over 15,000 photographs, of which 3,000 works are by international artists. This year marks the 40th anniversary of our first acquisitions to the collection and, as such, it is timely to ‘re-view’ what has been achieved. National Gallery of Victoria]
I will be visiting this exhibition over the coming months I hope to use it for some inspiration in at least blogging, we shall see.
Larry Sultan, California Photographer, Dies at 63[read on Larry Sultan, California Photographer, Dies at 63 - Obituary (Obit) - NYTimes.com]
By RANDY KENNEDY
Published: December 14, 2009
Larry Sultan, a highly influential California photographer whose 1977 collaboration, “Evidence” — a book made up solely of pictures culled from vast industrial and government archives — became a watershed in the history of art photography, died on Sunday at his home in Greenbrae, Calif. He was 63.
I have to admit, I've not seen much of Mr. Sultan's work, but the little I had has stuck in my mind, another book to add to my collection I guess.
This is a screen grab from iView Media Pro, it shows I have 108 images from 2009, queued up for upload,to flickr. My 2008 file has 34 also awaiting upload to flickr. Making a total of 142 images. Based on a loose regime of 3 images uploaded a week I have 47 weeks worth of images to upload. This is only counting my phone-camera, there are a few from my Nikon Coolpix 3700 and my Vistaquest to upload as well.
As I head into my 5th year of using flickr, looking back things have changed, changed dramatically. When I first started using flickr, I would upload almost daily, and spend innumerable hours connecting with all the other great people I'd 'meet'. Now, I have to remember to upload and some weeks it takes me so long to pick, which images to add, to keep the flow happening in my stream, I give up and leave it for a few days. Fortunately the altfotonet group still has some outstanding stuff, as does several others, where some cross posting occurs. Other changes to my online activity come from external sources like twitter and facebook. Now if I could just find a way to get paid for all my online activity?
So I spent the morning here reading the online issue of the New York Times, with particular attention to the arts section. Very disappointed I was, so I flipped over to one of my favourite archives of modernist theory American Suburb X. Some great articles, and worth a read, even if you feel modernism is dead. My one complaint, well two really, the formatting of the pages is broken in places making reading off and difficult at times, and the line height of the text a little tight for my liking in Safari, anyway. The pages can be awfully slow too. A small price however for the sheer volume of information provided. A must for all those interested in photography's reach in the late modernist period of art history.
I just wonder how the publishers of American suburb X are getting their hands on such material, while articles 6 to 10 years old may not be cutting edge, they certainly are still informative and when it comes to getting up to speed on post modernist theory,and a worthy leaping off point.
For anyone who cares, I'm reading some great books on Art photography, and creativity, at the moment.
Source has allowed me to draw some possibly dangerous parallels between my life and several of history's well known artists, such as Hemingway and O'Keefe. I have learnt some interesting things too about early digital images from the reconfigured eye.
The list of show I want to see grows!
Frederick Sommer at Bruce Silverstein
Best known as a photographer, Sommer (1905-99) never restricted himself to one medium, and this sprawling, museum-quality survey shows how closely his photography, drawing, painting, and collage work were linked.
Frederick Sommer, Untitled, 1991, © Frederick and Frances Sommer Foundation, Courtesy Bruce Silverstein Gallery, NY
The photographs cover a lot of ground: desert landscapes, portraits, and nudes, pictures of cut-paper constructions, found-object assemblages, and Dubuffet-style abstractions conjured from smoke on glass or paint on cellophane. Hung alongside spidery drawings or more fluid, densely worked paintings, a wall of these images could spark enough energy to power the gallery. Collages of anatomical etchings underline the physicality and continue Sommer's focus on decay and mortality.
From The New Yorker.[From AIPAD - News/Events]
Today, I have begun the ball rolling for two projects, an application for a PhD, and a show at the CCP. The show application, will focus on a body of work, I shot recently and may form a larger project, over time; one day a book I hope. The PhD, is at such an early developmental stage, I am reading a book that will help me decide where to go., the book is entitled, The Craft of Research. It has already proved to be a great help.
I have submitted images for consideration to either competitions or exhibitions to both the CCP and an American organisation called, Artists Wanted recently. The outcomes of both of these submissions won't be known for at least 2 or 3 months, so in the meantime, I sit and wait.... oh and make more images. The Artists Wanted competition/exhibition allows, public voting on each artists gallery, while the work is individually judged on its merits, so feel free to swing by and vote on my gallery.
This image comes from a flickr stream, by, Eric Fischer, in particular his set, Locals and Tourists Set. Red is for tourists and Blue for locals, yellow being for indeterminate photographers. I am surprised by the large amount of blue to the North of the city? And disappointed by the lack of blue to the West, MY neck of the woods.
I Recently signed up for another book publishing idea, this time over at, SoFoBoMo, the challenge is to produce 35 images in a pdf format book in one month. So I plan on uploading a book of 35 images minimum by the 19th of July. "SoFoBoMo is short for Solo Photo Book Month - a group event where a bunch of photographers all make solo photo books start to finish in 31 days.
SoFoBoMo 2010 is running from 1st June to 31st July."
Fingers crossed, I've a busy month ahead, a return to the EOTOB program for 2010, albeit a short 7 day stint this time, and a few days off to make images, in what can be gorgeous winter light.
In graphic design, Marian Bantjes says, throwing your individuality into a project is heresy. She explains how she built her career doing just that, bringing her signature delicate illustrations to storefronts, valentines and even genetic diagrams.
I quickly visited Sydney on Friday and Saturday, an exhaustive and exhausting 2 days of art food and walking! I didn't shoot as much as I would have liked, but, here is the first edit, from my time up there.
More on the Biennale itself later.
Here's a small slideshow, roughly cut together using sampled sounds from freesound.org. Credits to the following for sharing their samples/sounds and allowing them to be re-sampled, DJ Chronos, gleeman,j uskiddink.
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]
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 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.
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.