A Small World exhibition

Avril Thomas is hosting  A Small World--A postcard exhibition  at  the Magpie Springs  gallery. It is the exhibition  after  the Weltraum  exhibition  in the 2016 Shimmer Photographic Biennale finishes.  The postcards consist of works on paper, they  are 6x4 inches and its international  in scope. 

The 100 or so works will be auctioned through an online auction site  with the proceeds going to help raise money for a cancer charity.

This is one of the pictures  that I am thinking of  entering into the exhibition:

The picture of clouds on the cliffs near  Kings Beach on the Fleurieu Peninsula,  is made with a rangefinder  35mm Leica  film camera,  so the aspect ratio of the negative is 3:2, which  if  uncropped,   will enlarge to print 4x6 inches. 

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a day trip to the Mallee

On Thursday the wild, stormy winter weather eased and we had a day of overcast skies, little rain and no wind. So I loaded the large format cameras into the Subaru Outback  and took off for  a day trip the Mallee along the Mallee Highway. 

I needed to continue to  photograph the silos with the 8x10 Cambo  for the forthcoming Weltraum  exhibition  in the Shimmer Photographic Biennnale. I photographed  at Peake and Lameroo.  The silo at Geranium was  difficult and I left it for another occasion. I didn't make it to the Victorian Mallee as 220 kilometres one way was  far enough for a  day trip.  

Maleko accompanied me on the day  trip.  It was his first time on a photo trip. 

After I finished the  silo photoshoot in  Lameroo   I briefly  photographed around the town.   I struck up a conversation with a wool buyer  who had seen me photographing the silos about the history of the Murray Mallee.  He informed  me that the  last train on the Mallee Highway  railway line had been around October 2015,  and  that the silos along the Mallee Highway now stand empty. The wheat is now picked at the farm gate up by trucks  and then taken by road to either Pinnaroo or Tailem Bend.  

That is  is the end of an era that began with the vegetation clearance,  agricultural development,  small farms and  the railway infrastructure in the early 20th century.  

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scanning vegetables

It's been cold, windy and wet on the southern coast of the Fleurieu Peninsula these last couple of weeks.  There has been little to no opportunities to do any large format photography, nor to  go camping at Murrayville on the Mallee Highway to continue the work on the silo project.   

I've spent my time  writing the texts for the Weltraum exhibition at Magpie Springs in early September,  the Abstraction  x 5 exhibition at the Light Gallery in late September,   the Mallee exhibition at Atkins Photo Lab in mid-October ,  and the talk to the Flinders University Philosophy Club on 'Philosophy, Photography and the Environment' in late October. 

I decided  to take a break from the writing by scanning some vegetables that I'd purchased at the Victor Harbor Farmers Market on Saturday morning. I  used  the Epson V700 flatbed scanner:


In scannography ---ie., using a  flatbed scanner and computer exclusively for generating imagery-- the positioning  of an object takes time to look right. The focus of scanner photography is strictly on the object. So I could do seashells or seaweed gathered from the  beach. It is low cost photography. 
  

re-photographing

The wet,  cold  stormy weather has passed. It is still cold in the morning (I wore gloves on the 7am poodle walk  this morning),   but the wind has dropped, the sun has returned and the sky is blue.  I've picked up my cameras again,  and I've started thinking about photography.  -

I picked up the Sinar F2 5x4 yesterday, got  my pack out, and loaded the battery into the light meter  only to put it down again as I didn't have anything in mind to photograph.    However, I used the digital on yesterday's  evening  poodle walk.  The picture below  is a scoping  study that I made on this morning's poodle walk  along  Baum Rd in Waitpinga using my Sony  (APS-C)  digital camera:

I have photographed this tree before--probably a couple of  years  ago.  It was 5x4 film and I  choose an overcast day with light rain to obtain the dull, gloomy look. I  wasn't all that  happy with what I did in colour.

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The Mallee project

The  Mallee group of photographers meet for lunch today at the Ramsgate Hotel in Henley Beach, Adelaide   to discuss the exhibition schedules of their lens-based photography work about the Mallee.  The Mallee photography group is small --it consists of Eric Algra, Gilbert Roe and myself--- and it recently came  together through our mutual interest in exploring the Mallee photographically.   

None of us live in the Mallee, but  each of us has developed a broad photographic  interest in exploring  the South Australian  and  the Victorian  Mallee.  For some  of us, especially Eric,  this interest  goes back several years. What is interesting is that we  approach the Mallee from diverse perspectives.  

What we  decided  over a convivial  pub lunch on a windy winter's day was to come together to put on a series of group exhibitions over a period of years as we gradually built up a body of work about this region of southern Australia.  We decided to exhibit  on a small scale in  Adelaide in late 2016, then produce more work for the Ballarat International Foto Biennale in 2017, then doing extra work to exhibit in some regional towns in the Mallee--eg., in Mildura or Murray Bridge.   This  photography gallery in Mildura was mentioned, for instance, as was this one in Murray Bridge and this one in Horsham.   

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picking up the threads

I've done little film photography since the start of winter, though  I have  been scoping with the digital camera.   

It's been  too cold, wet and windy along  the coast of the southern Fleurieu Peninsula to use the film cameras. Today was the first time, in fact, that I used a film camera on a tripod since  the  photoshoot along the Mallee Highway.  

I  re-photographed this image  late this afternoon whilst on a poodle walk ( with Ari and Maleko) using my  medium format cameras--( the Rolleiflex SL66 and  the Linhof Technika 70).  This is the digital image from my earlier scoping with  the late afternoon light: 

That re-photographing  felt  like I was picking up the threads again re film photography after going through a fallow period---it's been  about a month since  the Mallee Highway  photoshoot.

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winter light and French expeditions

This picture of the  Tobin House, one of Adelaide's Art Deco buildings, made whilst I was wandering  along North Terrace in Adelaide's CBD around  5pm. I was enjoying watching the winter light playing across the facades of  the buildings along North Terrace. 

I was on my way to  the opening of Frédéric Mouchet's interesting  exhibition at the State Library of South Australia. The exhibition centred around the South Australia of the French explorers in the  18th and 19th centuries in that Mouchet has retraced their journey around the unexplored coast of Nouvelle Hollande,   including Kangaroo Island, Encounter Bay (Victor Harbor), Spencer Gulf and the Great Australian Bight.

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a disappointing Lamaroo photoshoot

The general consensus is that film-based, large format photography will endure in the digital age due to its simplicity  i.e.,    relying on minimal technology to render a high-quality image. It is true that there is very little that can go wrong with a view camera from the standpoint of technology failure. 

The picture below  is the result of my first steps in the 8x10 Mallee Highway  silo project. This  is a silo at Lamaroo that I photographed whilst returning from Canberra in 2015.  I had scoped the silos  on my way to Canberra  a week earlier,  and I thought that they would be a suitable place  for me to start.   There was easy access  to the silos,  no security and the silos  suited  the afternoon light. 

As it was raining when I arrived in Lameroo, I waited in the Subaru for the squall to pass,  then  I carried  the Cambo monorail out to the location  to make a couple of photos. It started raining just as I finished the shoot, and it rained all the way on the drive back to Victor Harbor.  

The 19th century  photographic look of the  sculptural form of the silo imposed on  the landscape is what I am after. Though there  is  an emerging  climate of photographic nostalgia  for traditional photography and the craft of handmade images,  traditional photography for me  is  just large format + film;   rather than alternative photographic processes,  such as the wet plate  process,  tintypes or ambrotypes.  

Unfortunately,  my  old 240mm Schneider Symmar f5.6 lens could not cover the movements of the Cambo's raised front standard; the trees in the shade on the right of the silo have no detail;  the negative has streak marks from the tank development of Ilford FP4 Plus at the Analogue Lab in Adelaide;  and scanning  the negative  with the Epson V700 flatbed scanner  has caused  Newton Rings  to appear on the digital file.   

All in all this is a  disappointing,  and somewhat disheartening result. Sure  the project and equipment are a low budget, but I had  been hoping for better results than this.  

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