abstractions

My b+w 8x10 negatives are on the way back to the studio after being processed by Chris Reid at Blanco Negro in Sydney. It seems that most of them are okay in terms of exposures and that only two sheets were fogged.

I've been going through some of my 2011 digital files  to dump the ones that are no good and to look  for ideas for the next 8x10 shoot. I was using a cheap Kodak EasyShare camera then  and most of the work t was playing around with abstractions  of dried saltponds  on the rock floor  at my feet. 

These salt pond abstracts are interesting  visual ideas, but they are in locations that  are too difficult to carry  an 8x10 monorail to.They belong to the sea abstract book. 

There is little work on visual  abstractions  in Australian modernism, even though modernism was meant to be the turn away from  visual figuration to abstraction. 

Abstraction, as it were, was a privileged space of visual modernism (eg., Kandinsky, Mondrian, Malevich). These artists made anti-materialist   claims that actively cultivated particualr forms of subjective transcendence from the practices of everyday life. It was  a retreat into idealism--self, mood, dream and spirituality---that ignored the social experience of abstraction.

A photographic abstrction needs to be premised on  photography's indexical  presence--the index is the name for the inscription of presence that appears to deny the evacuation of the figural in the abstraction.   

scoping for 8x10

Whilst my 8x10 black and white negatives are being developed by Chris Reid at  Blanco Negro in Sydney I've have been  looking out for, and scoping, more subject matter.

This picture is one possibility. The form is okay and it is  reasonably easily accessable  from the car park at Petrel Cove:

I  pre-visioned the picture  in black and white:

It looks okay. The rock face works better in black and white.

The problem  I have is that I don't have many other pictures  lined up  for the 8x10   apart from a  studio picture.

hard to find

I went searching for this "rock face" this afternoon and I couldn't find it. I found the area but I could not the rock. It was very different this time because it was heavily overcast, with rain threatening so  and there was no sunlight  on the rocks.

It's a minute section of some rock form on the foreshore. I was probably lying on on the sand to make it. That would make it rather difficult to reshoot with a large format camera, which is what I was considering.

This happens to me a lot. I take some snaps on a poodlewalk and I forget their location. Most are just a detail. I then spend ages trying to relocate the detail.

back on line

Exhaustive checks ended up with the conclusion that the electrical storm  of a week ago had caused   the studio's Fritzbox modem to frizz.   Surge protectors are useless for this kind of electrical interference apparently.   I had to get a new modem from Internode. The studio finally has  internet connectivity and I can now post online.

This is the second time a modem has been fried by an electical storm  this year. This digital storage and equipment  is nerve wracking. 

I've also managed to get my  old Lacie external discs properly formatted for the iMac. 3 years  of digital  files from  the digital cameras have  been backed up. The digital files of my film cameras have also been backed up.

Backup is making a duplicate copy to prevent a problem in the event of something like a computer failure. Archive is safe storage and at least one archive copy of your photos should be stored off-site (away from home).

I  now have two sets of backup at the studio--they have   already been backed up on a Netgear mirroring hard disc. So I  have three separate sets of my digital photos. This  double backup insurance  means that I'm feeling a little  bit more secure about  digital file storage  and hard disc collapse. I also have  the photos  on a Mac Pro  in Adelaide, which is also backed up. 

It's a  long way from the file cabinets, briefcases, safety deposit boxes and  the  fireproof safes of the analogue world.

The above  picture is  one of the ones that I took the day after  the electrical storm when I was walking  along the coast trying to make  more pictures  for  the  sea abstracts book. This project is not going well and  I'm frustrated by the failures.

cloud studies

An electrical storm swept through Victor Harbor on Monday night and the studio lost all internet and mobile connection. I suspect the electrical storm took out the modern. 

I was lost without the connection---after several days it still hadn't been restored. So I spent my time scanning  negatives from the archive.  

I managed to take some cloud photos  before the rain, thunderstorm  happened. The lightening was happening along the cliffs in the distance.  

There were  lots of people standing on the cliffs looking at the atmospherics,  taking photos of the approaching storm, and watching the pod of  dophins hunt for fish along the coastline. 

white rock abstract

It is  just a quick visit to Victor Harbor for the weekend.

I went  for  a quick walk along the  rocky seashore this afternoon  looking for rock and tidal pools that would be suitable for photographic abstractions. I had little luck. The ones that I took were very disappointing and  I deleted them from the digital camera.

I struggled, gave up,  and then  retreated to my comfort zone--rocks. The light was just  right was my excuse. However,  rocks forms are easier to handle than the movement of the sea. There is very little control with the latter. It's just hit and miss and its only  by chance that a Rothko style abstract would emerge.

I'm beginning to think that  my sea abstract project is going to be a difficult one to pull off.

solway rose

The roses were  in full bloom last weekend when we were down at Solway in Victor Harbor.  I couldn't resist taking a few snaps of the ones in the garden with the Olympus XZ-1 point and shoot:

Early morning light was best, just as the sunlight touched them.

Last year  I used to bring the roses  into the studio to  photograph them. The results weren't  all that great, as I was too slapdash with the composition and the lighting. 

on back country roads

When I was down at Victor Harbor on the weekend with Suzanne and Barbara Heath I drove around some of the back roads looking for material for my conceptual photography book. I spent several hours in the car driving on dusty roads and, to  my dismay,  there was little roadside vegetation that was suitable. 

The main problem I encounted was that most of the roadside vegetation has been so cleared by the dairy farmers, that  there is so little in the way of pink gums and Xanthorrhoea on the raodside  for me to work with.

I'm begining  to think that there may not be enough material for me to be able  finish the Blurb book. 

sea abstract #2

The weather has been stormy along the southern coast of the Fleurieu Peninsula these last few days. So I have sat on the rocks on the edge of the boat ramp at Encounter Bay, Victor Harbor with a digital camera making abstract photos of the water.

I've done this before and I wanted to experiment with no sunlight and the early morning sunlight. Looking at the uploaded  images on the computer screen afterwards I can see that sunlight works  best.  The lack of sunlight makes the image very drab and flat.

I've started   a little series  of sea abstractions in the form of a DIY book.

finally.....

I had an early morning photographic session this morning with the 8x10 Cambo along the back country roads just west of the city of  Victor Harbor.  I was able to  incorporate this shoot  into a session for the conceptual photography project on the pink gum and Xanthorrhoea combination.

The conditions were ideal--the wind had dropped, there was early morning cloud cover and  sunshine. I had been  been trying to photograph this scene for ages but the conditions had been against me. I had imagined it  with flat light but I decided to go with the early morning sun.

I used black and white film (Ilford HP5) on this shoot,  but I find myself wondering what it would look like in colour. Lush I thought. Probably too lush. I do have some 8x10  Kodak colour film sitting the fridge to try out,  but I am not sure how to scan the colour negative.