So straight off the ranks, I spent all morning getting my butt kicked for not being packed yet. So what I thought it was more important to get my shot list to the gallery first… right?
Jokes aside, I am really not very good at packing. Like stuff? Camera gear, books, entertainment. I’m awesome with. Clothes? Rubbish. How the hell am I meant to know what I will feel like wearing in a week’s time?
Anyway, got it all packed. Doubt checked I had the exhibition necessities. 4 times at least. Got to the airport on time.
Now what the hell am I suppose to do? An hour till fly time. Instagram time. Have to let everyone know I still have head and stuff. Oh and a plane ticket. And that there is a runway out there and there are planes on it.
I am not the best at flying. I am not the worst either. But I do find the whole process a little nerve wracking. So the need to fly alone kind of sucks. I was thankful for the Artflight grant I had received which provided funding for a flight to and from my exhibition. I got a flight with Virgin (rather then my usual no frills Tiger and Jetstar options). Who ever thought that a 3.5 hour flight could be broken up so much by kind flight attendants continuously trying to feed me at no extra charge?
Landed in SYD 20 minutes ahead of time. Collected ye ol’ baggage, with my usual paranoid thoughts of “holy-flippin-shitballs they have definitely lost my luggage” when it out on the conveyor belt straight up.
Onward to the trainstation! On my previous trip to Sydney we sneakily walked to the next train station to avoid the $12 “station access fee” they charge people for using the airport station. I wasn’t about to walk a few km alone for the same of a few bucks, so straight in I went.
Someone forgot that Museum station has no lifts. So who is was the muppet carrying her big arse suitcase all the way up 4 flights of stairs. This one. Who was too pigheaded to take the kind offer of some guy walking past to help? This one. But I got up there. Onward to the Travellodge!
View from my perch.
Because no one is looking. And I am hobo-chic.
So I made it to the hotel safe and sound. After settling in (read: put all my stuff down) it was out for explore times! I made my way down into Haymarket and Sydney’s Chinatown. I didn’t know it at first but I was on the hunt for dumplings. And boy did I find them.
Since my trip to Viet Nam a few years back I have learnt that the best way to judge a good Asian restaurant is basically is how big is the line, and how many of those people in that line are not whiteys*? (*please note: I don’t say this to be racist. Its legit the case. Try it yourself and see if I’m wrong). Using this grand plan, I found myself lining up at a place called Old Town: Hong Kong Cuisine. The place was bustling and had dumplings steaming in baskets right near the enterance.
After waiting a bit to get in, I scored myself a great spot up at a bar looking through a window into the kitchen area; with a great view of all kitchen goings on. Directly in front of me were two chefs smashing out basket after basket of dumplings. Sit there for like 2 minutes and then tell me you don’t have a new found appreciation for those delicious little mouthfuls of fun. They take TIME. Made me eat that little more slowly when I got my first basket. The waitress apologise for the wait and let me know that it was their first night open. I was pretty astounded since the turn out seemed to be so good, and the service seemed to be running very smoothly.
While eating, the two chefs in front too to teasing my chop stick skills, then discovered I had not been given any sauce to go with them. It was quickly rectified by a few quick instructions across the kitchen to a waiter. The food was delicious, and the service excellent. I would never have guessed this was their debut. I highly recommend it. You can check them out at 10 Dixon Street, Haymarket.
Went back to hotel early to sleep in preparation of a busy day ahead.
Highlight would have to be being teased through a glass window by a kitchen full of people for having put a whole hot dumpling into my mouth. Good times.
Head On 2013, here I come.
So I was bad and missed last week’s lesson, but I got back on the horse for Week 3.
This week was the contentious issue of what is contemporary photography. Yeah. I can’t tell you how many times Iris or CLIP award rolls around and forums fill with questions about that is considered ‘contemporary’. In my years of attending these exhibitions my somewhat disgruntled opinion was that it was usually a photo of something not particularly interesting, shot in a not particularly interesting way. Extra points for it being a) really small or really big and b) including a penis.
We started the class by looking at a wiki page of the most expensive photos ever sold. We discussed whether we saw the value the image versus the amount paid. To me this seems almost irrelevant. People with lots of money are always going to spend tons of it on things, often inflated prices caused my a number of them getting that sudden and irrational competitiveness you experience on eBay auctions (usually escalating significantly after 2am). Yes, the prices paid seem ridiculous, but then asking the question “would you pay that much for that?” to a person on a yearly income of less then $50 000 is dumb. I realise its hypothetical, but if I was suddenly given the money, hell no would anyone spend it on that.
I digress. The reason we were being show this was because the day after the Rhein II was sold, The West Australian had it on the front page with a headline something along the lines of “Would you pay $4M for a photo”. The implication is that its a photo, its not worth as much as say a traditional artwork.
So, now we came to the part where we discussed how photography as art is struggling against the opinion that the camera does all the work for the photographer, and that it is of lesser value then traditional mediums (painting, sculpture etc). Art photography started to become larger, with technical advancements; in an attempt to almost gain authority through sheer size. Photographic artists started to meddle with the idea of showing the intervention, making the photographer’s hand percent in the work. An example of this could be Jeff Wall’s Double Self Portrait.
Discussion narrowed further into what we thought made a photo contemporary. It was refreshing to see that I was not alone in my cynicism, with no smiling, ambiguous content and ‘accidental’ composition were brought up to be characteristic of the genre. Jokes aside, I do feel more aware of the things that contemporary photography tries to do. It is very much about keeping away from the obvious. Making sure that not everything is said in the photograph and leaving a lot up to interpretation by the viewer. Often its the supporting material in an artistic statement which really brings the photos purpose to light.
So contemporary photography. Don’t say it all in the photo. And sometimes put a wang in there for good measure.
So… it has been a long time since my last blog post. So i thought I would pull my finger out.
Last Wednesday was the first week of PCP‘s (Perth Centre for Photography) Summer School. The 4 week program is run by Juha Tolonen. He himself is an accomplished photographic artist, having been exhibited both locally and overseas. He entitled the series of lectures as ‘The Consolutions of Photography’ and aims to discuss the why of photography.
I was pretty excited to be able to get into a bit more photographic thinking. Conceptual art is something that is often overlooked by alot of photographers, instead looking for those glossy shiny sharp images everyone turns through in magazines.
I thought I was going into the class alone, but turns out there were alot of familiar faces in there.
He passed through various ideas about photography, including one of those questions that I am sure plagues most artists; why bother? Why, if everything has been photographed before, would I bother. Pretty dark and dreary, but something which is easy to feel in the image saturated land of the internet.
I suppose for me this question comes down to, yes there is probably a photo of most things; but I haven’t taken it yet. I haven’t try to put my own ways of seeing into practice on that location/person/object. Not to say I feel the need to photograph everything ever.
Juha also said that he preferred this level of image saturation over the alternative. Which he swiftly demonstrated with this blog: http://kimjongillookingatthings.tumblr.com/
Through the duration of the class we discussed a number of photographer’s styles, including the concept of vernacular photography; the photography of the commonplace. This also intrigued me, as I often feel like some of my favourite images of my own are of relatively unremarkable things. I suppose I am interested in the way that the commonplace can be represented in a new way, a way in which is gains additional significance. A nostalgia of a kind?
A name was mentioned, which was not familiar to me. Vivien Maier was a working nanny who passed away in 2009. Her was was only discovered after her death, which to me makes for a brilliant story to a most humble of photographers. Her work is of an almost unfathomable level of honesty, depicting both the city she lived in and the people around her with incredible beauty. I encourage you all to take a look at her work if you are unfamiliar.
Something to leave you with, a point was raised during the class. Though photographers take images of people, it is often not the people depicted who are alter represented by the images, but the photographers themselves. Though to some this may seem say, I hope that someday, other peoples face might be attributed to my name also.
A legacy of the faceless.
Many have wondered at the sense of having a FotoFREO show all the way out in Midland. I myself was surprised to see it listed, but once thinking about the limited number of larger venues in Fremantle and the fact that so many are already allocated its really no wonder. And boy was this a big one…
Midland Atelier is an innovation of Perth’s prestigious FORM. It utilizes the Midland Railway Workshop site and its cavernous spaces for use by creative talents from around the region, nationally and internationally. Divergence is a collective of images from over 60 photographers spanning 15 countries. Sound big? That’s because it is. I visited the show yesterday while a number of artist talks were being held and despite being there for over 2 hours I still didn’t manage to see it all.
You have to congratulate FORM on their abilities to combat a number of large logistical obstacles; the first of which being that there is virtually zero hanging space around the Atelier space. What did they do? Hire a big mob of rent-a-fence and hang from it. I can hear the purists out there groaning; as I know I did at first, but lets be clear that this was always going to be a site specific install. What more fitting method could you think of for a vast industrial space but an industrial hanging solution?
I arrived a little later in the day so only really caught the presentation being made by Ketaki Sheth; a renown Indian photographer who was showing a series of portraits of twins in the machinery-filled Power and Boiler House. The series, called ‘Twinspotting’ is an astonishing collection of portraits of Indian immigrants to the UK. Each frame has a haunting sense of duplicity even when the sitters aren’t that physically alike.
She opened by telling the listeners of how she first began photography and would justify her choice to her parents by calling it a postcard business. Her first observations of Britain when she herself immigrated there were that it seemed so alien to her that the elderly didn’t live with their family.
What resonated with me about Ketaki, was that each image projected or hung would initiate some greater story about that moment in time, or that person pictured. She lived her work, and knew acutely and intimately the details of what that image really meant. She made the effort to get to know a lot of the people she had sit for her which is something I feel I lack in my own personal work.
After destroying a watermelon and mint icy pole (darn it was good), and floating around the few images of Michelle Taylor’s Awkward Beauty series, which had been shot on site at the Workshops site; I moved onto the monstrous space that is Block 2.
I started my wanderings by following the Photographer’s Cut of the Pilbara Project; a series of images taken throughout the scenic Northern region of our state. It was interesting to see the array of majestic natural landscapes alongside gritty industrial landscapes of the mining sections of the area. Beautiful as they are, the landscapes just don’t grab me as solidly as the silhouette of a forest of power lines does so I was happy to see there wasn’t a bias.
Amongst the internationals I was surprised to see a series based on a place I know inside out. Ed Janes has a series of images on display of the South Coogee Powerhouse. To me, this place is heavily overshot. Everyone loves to go there and feel that little bit outside of the law, and I’ll be the first to admit I am one of those people. I dont meant this to be a critisism as he has presented some really lovely views of the place which I think are quite original. Yes we have the late afternoon light coming in through the western windows, but he also has a number of great detail shots in the mix. Beautiful, quiet, small moments. A few shards of glass against a brightly coloured surface or a reflected pillar in a perfectly still puddle. I also commend him on a great image of the ceiling of the eastern gallery. Perfect geometry gets me every time, though heavy HDR and exposure blending isn’t really my cup of tea.
Stay tuned for Episode 2 of my exploration of the show, when I get back there to see what I missed this time around.
Divergence will run till 15th April 2012, opening hours are 10-4 Wed-Sat and more information can be found here.
Last night was Opening night for 12 Months of Separation. A joint show between myself, Alanna Kusin, Amber Bateup and Amanda Wakelam. There was a smashing turn out of our family, friends and people who have supported us along the exciting road of putting the show together.
Amber is showing as series of black and white images taken at local gigs, both official and unofficial, Amanda is showing as series of double exposed shots from her 365 project while Alanna’s work is portraits which she has had printed and then lovingly hand coloured and tea-stained. My work is a wall-full of Nat-spew (ie: combination of urban landscapes and fashionista babes, commenting on the similarities between beauty and decay).
As with all exhibitions there is so much groundwork to cover in the leadup that you think about it non-stop. Its on your mind from the moment you wake up till you fall asleep at night. I love the process but also appreciate the relief once it’s all on the wall.
Speaking of hanging, special shout out to my sister Dee who was there to help me hang my monstrous series and who kept me on track when I got distracted. In fact thank you to everyone who was involved, from people who sat for pictures, to the ones that helped keep our heads from exploding. We appreciate the efforts of every one of you.
The show is up at Origins Gafe + Gallery till the 29th March 2012, 8.30am-4pm daily so please come down and take a peek. We are all very proud of what we have made and would love to be able to share it with you all.
On a side note a nice big cheers to Andrei Buters for his write up at OnePerth.
Another day, another city, another exhibition!
I am proud to be involved in a panoramic inclined trio of photographers showing work at the end of March at Brunswick Street Gallery in Melbourne.
I will be humbly showing some holga panoramic stitches. All of which are done in camera.
My fellow photographers are Barney Meyer and John Warkentin, two gentlemen who specialize in exceptional panoramic images. Not only are they exceptional, but they are often HUGE! Make sure you come down to check out the talent, some images will be spanning distances of 4 meters! From March 30th 2012 till April 12th.
Click the pic for the LOLZ
Its that time of every second year again… FotoFreo. And yet again I am going to plague you with my trials and tribulations of putting together an exhibition.
Myself, and 3 of my fellow Ex-Tafe Nyerds are putting together a show under the banner of 12 Months of Separation. The concept being that we exhibit work that we have produced since graduating, highlighting where each of us have traveled photographically since.
Though I have not fully confirmed (or shot…) all of the images I’m planning on showing I have been a busy bee. You may notice in your travels that ALL OP SHOPS ARE NOW VACANT OF FRAMES! This is because I have acquired them all. Every last one. [if citation is required, please make further inquires with Charles]. I am trying to keep it thrifty.
We have a crowdfunding page up at the moment. Whats crowdfunding I hear you asking? Well its where we humbling request you give us dollars in exchange for REWARDS! Yes, shiny new things for you to cherish like a newborn. All donations go into the draw to win an original piece of their choice from the show, not to mention our endless gratitude on making our show that little bit more magical. If you are interested, please head over to here.
Wishing you a very lovely New Year, the time of year when you can mentally begin anew. Now get out there and do it!
Or, if you are like me, dwell a little nostalgically on something you found from a while back.
I love working with designers because there is a certain element of care taken when shooting their garments. When a stylist rolls in a rack of clothing its no big deal, but for a designer; these garments have been laboured over stitch by stitch; having started with an idea and then having had to flesh it out into reality. It is this intimate connection with the pieces which can bring something to a shoot that can not be found in any other way.
I had the pleasure of working with a local talent. Yan Zion is an award willing graduate from Curtin. She has shown her garments both here and overseas. She took the time to collaborate with me on a shoot recently. Each of her garments is carefully conceived and constructed. I found it hard to believe that one was even made from toilet paper. I hope that you enjoy her work as much as I.