One of the strands in my style of photography in and around poodlewalks is to shift away from the literal and transparent. My name for this shift is abstraction--ie., finding ways to underscore the photograph as surface, as flat; even though there is an optical space within the photograph. This is often filed by photographic educators under 'ways of seeing' that depend on, and are shaped by habit and convention.
An example of the photograph as surface:
At the opening of the Abstraction x 5 exhibition, which includes abstractions by Graeme Hastwell, Beverley Southcott, Stuart Murdoch, Adam Dutkiewicz and myself, we launched the Abstract Photography book. The exhibition and launch was yesterday at the Light Gallery in Adelaide to a full house.
The book was written by Dutkiewicz and myself, and it recovers the lost modernist abstractions made in the 1960s by Adelaide photographers, has a couple of essays by Adam and myself and a number of abstract photographic images by Adam and myself.
This is an abstract of the trunk of a river gum in the reserve across the road from the studio in Encounter Bay, Victor Harbor
I've taken a number of photos over the Xmas break with a digital camera--a Sony NEX-7--- mostly as a study for a large format shoot. I am thinking about using the 5x4 Linhof in an early morning shoot.
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.
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 started a little series of sea abstractions in the form of a DIY book.
The stormy weather finally has gone from Victor Harbor. Today started with a glorious spring morning--crisp, clear and still. As there was no early morning cloud cover, so the 8x10 black and white shoot that I had in mind was a nonstarter. I needed soft or diffused early morning light for the shoot.
So I took a walk along the boat ramp near Whalers Inn Resort at sunrise in order to photograph the sea at the edge of breakwater in Encounter Bay. I had some abstractions in mind, which I wanted to explore in the early morning light:
The sea is gentle in this part of Encounter Bay, and so I was able to sit on the rocks at the water's edge without worrying that I'd be swamped by every seventh wave. I didn't have that much time before the sunlight became too bright and the highlights on the white caps of the waves blew out.
This is pretty much how I see the rockface in the coastal landscape just west of Victor Harbor and around Kings Head.
It is the constantly changing play of light on the rock forms along the coastline that caught my eye and intrigued me. I tend to see the rockface in terms of abstractions---organic abstractions, as it were. Abstract modernism in this form makes sense to me as a photogrpaher.