Results tagged “photography”

Cameras... again?

I'm often asked what is the best camera to buy.. the answer used to be ...depends, on your perceived needs and uses,; no more.

The best camera to buy is one that you will carry EVERYWHERE, and use ALL THE TIME.


It's that time of year when, I attempt to coax aspiring photographers away from the 'P', 'A' or 'Tv' settings on their cameras. For many many years we at PIC photographic imaging college used the ever trusty Pentax k1000. Simple, solid reliable, durable [even in student hands] an all round great beginners camera. No clumsy interface, no strange dials, one that could take a photo without a battery even.

When pic first bought a digital camera, a Canon 350d, it was ruined beyond repair in it's 1st year of life. By contrast, most of our Pentax K1000's are more than 15 years old and some are over 20 All still going great guns, even after numerous trips to the the camera technician.

The principles of exposure, depth of field, focus, and good picture making, have not changed. All the controls on a camera I need to teach someone how to make good images, are; manual aperture control, manual shutter control, manual focus, [d.o.f of field scales on a lens would be handy too] a tripod mount, and the ability to add a cable release. I care not whether these controls are electronic or mechanical.

Now, call me an idealist, but surely would it not be in the interests of camera manufacturers world wide to make such a camera? We enrol enough students to employ 6 full-time teaching staff and several assistants and technicians year in year out for more than 20 years. We still have over 30 Pentax K100's in our store, we have associated lenses of several focal lengths, filters UV, and coloured, cable releases macro lenses and close-up re-copying facilities, the lenses are all 'K' mounts .

I dream of a digital camera, that has minimal electronics, shutter aperture and white balance controls and no more, with a "normal focal length lens as standard, with d.o.f scales marked accordingly, with the ability to add a cheap cable release, and of course a tripod mount.

Canon, Nikon, anyone?

... crickets....


Flickr recently introduced a new feature, that shows nearby photo for any geo-tagged photo, no suprises that my recent work shot in and around Korroit Creek has nothing by anyone except myself. The info and interface was sadly buried a little and took more digging than I expected, for flickr anyway.
Flickr: Everyone's photos taken nearby
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But It's Still a Camera

It should be noted that before the advent of the focal-plane shutter, reflex mirror, and motor drive even old-fashioned cameras were virtually silent. Indeed, that is one of the reasons that so many great photographers loved using rangefinders like the Leica. They were small, quiet, and unobtrusive.--David Schonau

This quote from David Schonau, raises a good point. [The complete article is about a politician attempting to bring in a law in the USA, that all camera phones have an audible shutter.] While he is correct in that Leicas and similar range-finders are virtually silent, they are STILL cameras. Everybody in western culture knows what a camera is and is capable of, but the dual functionality of a mobile phone camera makes this more of a intriguing and potentially confusing issue. One that is still being debated. It even impacts on an approach and style of phone-camera photography, as seen in That's MR poplabs' stream on flickr. Other people such as Mr Sco, use the device's dual functionality to capture some of the best candid portraiture I've seen in a long time, while I Nancy's candid work draws on a more formal style.

Tyranny of Distance

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?


Browsing my film archives of the last few days, looking for work for the upcoming group show I'm in, I am once again struck by the power of photography and memory. The search reminded me of several locations, that I'd not visited for some time, and some images I'd made that for whatever reason, I'd never gotten around to printing. Now with the ability to publish my work as a book, either electronically, or as hard copy, it maybe time to revisit this older work, some spanning more than 20 years, to give it fresh life and an audience.

100,000,000 geotagged photos

Geo-tagging an idea close to my heart reached a milestone recently on flickr

[Code: Flickr Developer Blog ยป 100,000,000 geotagged photos (plus)]

I like the idea of creating a collective narrative of who we are and where we are, something only made possible by the internet, computers, and sites like flickr.

The inaugural issue of has been launched.

The process has me wondering now about the differences between brick and mortar galleries and e-zines, and website and blogs. What differentiates a magazine from a gallery, a blog from a website, a website from a bricks and mortar gallery, a blog from an e-zine?

My plan with altfotonet, is to build a repository of photographic art work that represents the current focus of where people are trying to take photography, with the help of the other members of the selection committee. A kind of beacon for others to follow.


... are here to stay

But what of the implications, for the future of image making?

This image of the inauguration of President Obama, speaks volumes.

Image credit,

Cheap Hi Resolution Scans

In, 2007 I had a, solo show which was scanned and printed at VCA, they now offer these services to anyone. While their print service, in terms of cost, may not be for everybody, their scanning services are, in my opinion. To the best of my knowledge, C>Lab is only one of two places in Melbourne that offer 16 bit tiff scans, at a reasonable price. From their website,

The C>Lab now offers its digital photographic services to artists and fine art photographers working outside of the Faculty of the Victorian College of the Arts at The University of Melbourne. The C>Lab provides a consultative-based service to clients who require a more personalised approach to their print/artwork production. Whether it be a one-off print or an entire exhibition C>Lab can provide you with what you need.

Their blog too maybe worth watching for up and coming interesting art work.

A Conversation with Joshua Lutz (Conscientious)

A few days ago, I mentioned a reference to a body of work, by a Photographer, who had published the work in a book many years earlier on an area called Meadowlands, well today I discover that another photographer has spent 10 years working in the same area, and, has also published a book and an exhibition. This time however in colour. Joel over at Conscientious, has interviewed the photographer

Joshua Lutz just had Meadowlands published, after spending ten years on the project. His book (and recent show) had me curious about the background of the project, and I approached Joshua to talk about it.

I'd be curious to chat to Joshua and see how much the place had changed, and if Ray Mortensen's work had any influence on him, or the idea?

Glossy; yet Dull

I want to share a couple of sites with you, if memory serves me, I found them either using boing boing, or my news-reader. Firstly a body of work in the vein of Stephen Shore, by Tim Carpenter, I like the work but it just doesn't seem to have the strenght of Shore's work, maybe it's the light, not sure, nor does it seem to have a cohesive depth? Secondly, yet another, photography re-contextualsing the Dutch Painters, this work by Julie Blackmon, is a prime example of the 'cold' and intellectual style that made Anne Zahallka a name in Australia in the 80's, despite this, some of the images, are indeed quirky and slightly edgy.

In the depths of summer holidays here and after extensive discussions with Gary, on both flickr and his blog, and mine, I've managed to the find the energy to pick up the idea of publishing work in cyberspace, again using, this time with a slightly different approach.
Flickr is a deep and exponentially expanding resource, why not tap into that? Which I have now decided to do. Gary has also come on aboard as an editor, and his background combined with the other editors, will hopefully produce some fine examples of what people are doing out there in the big wide world.
The selection process therefore has changed now, either, use your existing or new flickr account to apply, [then join the companion pool], or alternatively go down the email path, both are now outlined on the submissions page.
I hope to have the inaugural issue up and running by the end of this month, warm weather and a boozy busy social life permitting.
The next stage of the plan is to apply for ISSN, but we need a minimum of one issue to apply and I feel 2 would be grounds for an even more solid application.

How I got Here Part Three?

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.

Film & Darkroom / Black & White Papers / - CALUMET

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.

  • 35 mm DSLRs produce better images than point and shoot cameras
  • Shallow Depth of Filed has some special magic quality about, which in turn, spawned a slather of cults/followers/groups 11,000 on flickr at time of writing
  • Skin/sex sells, but I guess I knew that already but had forgotten it
  • Subtlety/complexity was often overlooked
  • Democracy exists in a way I'd never experienced it before [is this a unique web/forum thing?]

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"

Online Portfolios

Haven't had a close look, could be a good idea for temporary online exhibitions?

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Light Floods

glow in the lounge

More on Stats

Stats for your account |
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Here's some boring stats from my flickr stats page.

I wish there was an easy way to find all these images and add them to groups and add tags etc.

Image Usage

Since flickr enabled their users to turn on stats for their accounts it's been interesting to see where some of the traffic comes from on my photostream

One of those sources is a site called, they are one of several sites out there, pulling data from flickr and allowing users to search for images based on the creative commons idea of sharing images. While this site accounts for less than 1% of my total views, it's good to see that tagging pays off even if people are looking at my stream for reasons other than artistic merit.

Some Clarification...

Yesterday, I talked about inspiration, and after an online encounter with a friend and reader, I realised that inspiration probably wasn't the best choice of words? I think perhaps MOTIVATIONS might be a better choice? These days, I make images to either 1. make prints from, 2. use online , or 3. use as tests, sketches or ideas for further exploration, [usually online].

When I plan on making prints, my approach varies, but often, I either use a kind of harvesting approach or have a very specific idea I'm exploring and shoot that. When I harvest it may take months or years for me to be ready 'see' for the image what it really is, which often then leads on to further image making. In quiet times like the height of summer [when the light is god awful], I often reflect back and look at older images made over the last 20 years and make discoveries which in turn could lead to, more discoveries or another show.

Online uses can be from as simple as a decorative image for a blog entry, or part of some of the ideas I'm dabbling with online, or for the sheer fun factor of it, and then there is a huge overlap with point number 3.

So what I meant was I guess that the location we stayed at for those 4 days, didn't fit into any of these 3 motivations. Of course that's NOT to say something won't come of the images I DID make some time down the track, so who knows....


Mt.Sturgeon at Dusk

I recently spent several days in a location that would make many photographers weep. Mt.Sturgeon at the foot of the Grampians in Western Victoria, is a spectacular Sandstone outcrop, at the Southern End of the range.

When I was first inspired many years ago to take up photography seriously, Photographers like Ansel Adams and Edward Weston, were big influences. Grand vistas, fine prints, sharp and in focus images made on big cameras, to me these were all REAL photographs... then.

This location seemed to be a perfect spot for making some good images, like that, of truly a spectacular landscape. In 4 days I shot, 35 frames on a borrowed Pentax K100d, 20 or show shots on both my digital low rez devices, a roll of 127 and 2 rolls of 120 on my Hasellblad. Uninspired doesn't begin to explain how I felt. Why?

The light swept across the peak in an incredibly dramatic way that at the right time was positively breath taking. The peace and tranquility made it a cinch to 'switch' over to 'photography' mode. there was no reason NOT to be inspired. Yet I wasn't. I remember in 2000, when we were on our honeymoon in New Zealand, I started to question my need to make images that were not remarkable, we were on 10 day tour in a rental car, and weren't stopping for any great length of time anywhere so good light was elusive, and time limited my options to explore composition. So why bother making images at all? I guess we all move on?

Ever since my Uni days, I've tended to operate on at least 2 levels of varying approaches and ideas to photography, I guess this place just didn't fit into either notion, currently, I would argue that, low rez digi, is one of those levels I'm exploring and my maps idea is another.

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