Results tagged “art”

Road Trips, PhD, and an Iphone

2011-01-11-map1-600px.jpg

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.

Currently Reading, and Recent Exhibitions

Books

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.

Photography Exhibition

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.

Western Australian Art

br_141572_extralarge.jpg

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.

No mean feat in this day and age of flickr, photo-blogging and iPhone photography.

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.

Sellers Art Prize

Art Season is kicking off big time! Along with this show, there is the Melbourne Art Fair, and It's Not fair.

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]

So much on; so little time!

Sydney Biennale 2010

Fisrt Edit Sydney 2010 [Biennale]
Uploaded with plasq's Skitch!

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.

TED Talk

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.

Online Presence

My online presence just grew by another site, this time the site is called Fine Art America and is the American equivalent of Redbubble.

Stuart Murdoch - Fine Art - Fine Art America - FineArtAmerica
Uploaded with plasq's Skitch!

Whether this pans out to any sales or more recognition I have no idea, we'll see I guess.

Another Book Publishing Venture

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.

There's Hope for Us all

Two Projects

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.

AIPAD - News/Events

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]

Readings

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.

A New Year; a New Change?

2009 back catalogue
Uploaded with plasq's Skitch!

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?

Larry Sultan, California Photographer, Dies at 63
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.

[read on Larry Sultan, California Photographer, Dies at 63 - Obituary (Obit) - NYTimes.com]

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.

COD

Just launched this month; COD, the death of cool, a new e-zine that uses text and photography in a blog format, as an open ended; narrative; that like all good art photography is open to interpretation.

this is not COD Magazine »
Uploaded with plasq's Skitch!

My first flip through it's virtual pages, was indeed interesting and engaging. It also seems to be an experiment in collaborative publishing, I plan on interviewing the main contributor and publisher Annene von Durchgerockt, over on the altfotonet.org blog shortly.

Exhibitions, I'd wish I could have seen

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.

Can digital photography be made art?

We have reached a certain point here in the history of western art, where history seems to be somewhat insignificant, or perhaps less significant. My training in the arts, had a heavy emphasis on what had gone before it [In all the arts]. The path was/is to an extent linear, but not in a mathematical/chronological sense. The great/new artists of the past, tried/explored/created something that had not been seen/heard before; more importantly though 'borrowing' and sometimes even outright theft was not uncommon, that, 'theft' was then re-invented.

Now we are so far down this slightly linear path albeit curved, twisted, and modulating, path that Modernist Art History is hardly taught at art school.

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 a path to real discovery"1
It is as if the past prior to the turn of the century, the one before the last, matters not a fig.

What then for young people starting out? Who do they emulate, copy ridicule; other post modernists? Any wonder few people feel they understand modern art.

For me, part of this whole history of art, was the materials, concepts, & techniques explored by all artists, often in combination of all three. Not like the idea alone, as Duchamp said:-
"I am interested in ideas, not merely in visual products"2
However; for some myself included, it is difficult to reconcile the quality of brush strokes, in a Caravaggio to the day to day rumblings/ramblings of my own highly digitalised life. Image making in particular using a camera, has become a single point perspective about the moment. Millions worldiwde are participating. With so many 'creators' is anyone a 'consumer', should there be, will there ever be again, does there need to be?

Part of the difficulty in trying to be both an artist and a business person is this: You make a picture because you see something that is beyond price; then you are to turn and assign to your record of it some cash value. If the selling is not necessarily a contradiction of the truth in the picture, it so close to being a contradiction—and the truth is always in shades of grey—that you are worn down by the threat.3

If 'art' is materials, processes, concepts, techniques, how then does digital photography one of the least tactile processes known in the history of art, fit in to this equation? Given that the process of Digital photography is even more removed from the average person's ability to control and manipulate results to match their own emotions and ideas does this make it less of an art-form. Or does it? Photographic prints are still able to be manipulated to match vision and emotion, by more people more easily and more often than in the history of the medium so far. But do people want to, how many stories can be told ultimately? Stories that are expressed iin a unique way; exploiting medium's unique characteristics?

For me Digital photography, is the most cerebral it has ever been. It far more removed from the tactile wet process than many imagine, music too has always been non-tactile, in the sense of appreciating it and responding to it. Therefore being non-tactile like, music, does this make digital photography more art like, only with it's own rules in terms of speed.

In my own mind, I keep coming back to speed; digital almost instant, comparatively speaking. For many it is the 'act' of making an image that is paramount, eg barb, and pw-pix. Caravaggio had no say in the idea of speed, each brush stroke was deliberate and carefully considered.

For digital photography to real art, modern art, it needs to be freed from the constraints of it's birth and development in the last century, it needs to embrace the speed and connectivity that the internet allows, the culture jamming that is being conducted out there as well as loose any connection to the idea that it alludes to truth, or evidence.4

References

  1. Roberts Adams, 'Why People Photograph' ISBN 0-89381-597-7, pg 39,
  2. thinkexist.com
  3. Roberts Adams, 'Why People Photograph' ISBN 0-89381-597-7, pg 43
  4. For a more detailed and complex exploration of this idea, see Fred Ritchin's 'After Photography' ISBN 978-0-393-050240

BANKSY?

gallery or street?

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?

Hat tip to AVD

Looking Back

Two Years; today:-


pink

One Year today:-


Sunshine Melbourne Victoria Australia 2008:04:13 16:28:19

It's been a while since I did this.

It's no coincidence that I uploaded 2 mophone shots. Looking at my 'organiser' on flickr, I see a few shots, around April 2007, where I remember beginning to think about using a phonecam in a more concentrated and excuse the pun focused way.

But the real reason I did this today I feel, is because I picked one of my books of Robert Adams' essays, and felt inspired to look back and see where I've been and think where I could possibly go.

In the past I have talked at length about why, what and how I do what I do, Mr Adams, sums it up far more succinctly than I ever could.§

*Attention only to perfection, however, invites eventually for urban viewers — which means most of us — a crippling disgust; our world is in most places far from clean. Photographs that suggest an Arcadian landscape are recognisable from the city dweller's perspective as partial visions, and they make us uneasy. We feel defencelessness against what we will encounter on the street. How can trees in a National Park save us from the concrete-and-glass brutalities of a BIG city? The answer is, in simple emotional terms at least, that they cannot; to be reminded of the trees makes city streets seem worse.

*page 104, 'Beauty in Photography Essays in Defence of Traditional Values'

§ The actual place names have been changed/removed, to better contextualise it, both were recognisable as American.

Robert Adams, Hasselblad Award

One of the major influences on my photographic direction has been justly awarded the Hasselblad prize. His influence stems not only from his photography as subject matter, but his writings as well. I have bought and read many of his books over the years, 2 of the most influential are,

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.

2 3  

Tags

Find recent content on the main index or look in the archives to find all content.