Merivale, Christchurch

In February, just before going to Tasmania,   I dashed over to Christchurch, New Zealand, to attend my mothers' funeral. She was 97. 

I stayed in a motel in Papanui Rd, Merivale with my sister.   In the early morning I would walk down to the local shops to have breakfast and  I would take  a few snaps along  the way. 

Merivale is one of Christchurch's  more upmarket suburbs. In contrast,  to say Sydenham,  it is where the old money is. It didn't seem to have been that badly damaged by the 2011 earthquake. Or if it had, then the  insurance money flowed in quickly to repair the damage to the buildings.  

in Tasmania: the Midlands

I have just returned  to Victor Harbor after spending  2 weeks in Tasmania.

The first week  was spent photographing on the south west coast of Tasmania whilst Suzanne walked in The Walls of Jerusalem National Park and the second week was spent being tourists primarily in the Tasman Peninsula, south-east of Hobart. 

Our base was in Tunbridge in the Midlands which I briefly explored between weeks 1 and 2. 

This building  was in Campbelltown which is about 20 kilometres north of Tunbridge on the Midlands Highway.  

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.

using Colour Efex-Pro-4

When I started  going through the archives looking for material for the Adelaide street portfolio on the website I came across some old images of Andamooka that were made just  before the turn of the century.   I had scanned them after buying the Epson V-700 scanner, but I'left some of them  sitting in the archive because  I lacked  both the skills and the software to post-process them at the time.  

A good  example is the  photograph of an old shack that I made using  the Linhof Technika 70 and Kodak Portra 160NC film.  

I decided to see what I could do  with this image a couple of days ago.  I converted the colour digital file to black and white and then  worked on a black and white  version using Silver Efex-Pro 2 . It looked okay--much better than I expected actually -- so I started to  work on the original  colour image using Colour Efex-Pro-4: 

I'd forgotten I had this software on the studio's computers.  It had came as part of the Nik Collection  package that was a free upgrade when Google acquired the product--- I was eligible as I had previously bought Silver Efex-Pro-2.   I'd forgotten  about  Colour Efex Prox-4 as I was only interested in Nik's  black and white plug-in software at the time. I  used the latter as I found that Adobe Lightroom was  rather unsatisfactory  for  post-processing  the digital files of my black and white negatives.   

Richmond, Melbourne

When I was in Melbourne recently, I continued my  photographic exploration of  the Southern Cross Railway Station and the inner suburb of Richmond.  I hung around  in the former and I continued with my walking the latter. 

I had  briefly visited Victoria Street, Richmond,   with Stuart Murdoch after  our  Kodak shoot for a quick meal at the no frills Thy Thy restaurant. Whilst walking to the restaurant  I noticed that the Victoria Street  part of Richmond had radically changed from the one that I knew when when I lived in Melbourne in the late 1970s. I was working as a conductor on the trams and studying at Photographic Studies College. 

There were no Vietnamese restaurants anywhere in Victoria Street, Richmond.  The notable ethnicities  were Turks and Greeks.  Then Richmond was  identified as Struggletown. It was a working class suburb with cottages, pubs and factories. Richmond, by all accounts,   had started to become a little Saigon in the 1980s.

 Richmond  today is in the process of gentrification,  as a result of the exodus of manufacturing to the outer suburbs thereby making the inner city a much more pleasant place to live. Victoria  St is still  a gritty street,  and it has a vibrancy that Adelaide lacks,  and  what inner city Adelaideans long for and Sydneysiders now miss.   The Gouger Street precinct near the Adelaide Central Market doesn't really cut it. 

I  only had time for a couple of quick, hand held  snaps at dusk with the digital camera before the evening meal.  When walking back to the car after the meal I decided to return to Richmond  the next day  and  walk  Victoria St. I wanted to see if it was a food strip or more akin to an urban village. 

reflections on photography in Wellington

I've been continuing to search the web looking for more Wellington-based art photographers,  other than  those I mentioned in an earlier post on this blog and on a post here. I was interested in those art  photographers who had an online presence,  and  in my search I came across Mark Marriott, Hans Weston, Tracey Kearns. These are photographers with a body of work and who exhibit regularly. 

By all accounts Wellington has a number of  good active art photographers, non-profit galleries,  some small artist-run spaces and a photographic dealer gallery.  The  art photographic scene appears  to be lively, the work interesting, with much of it is  project based.  There are more reflections on the Wellington photographic scene  here.

An example  of a project based  body of work  is the  recent book by the poet /photographer Mary Macpherson.  Old New World, consists  of  her photographs made over seven years  about the changes in New Zealand society as seen in the small regional/rural towns throughout the country.   The narrative is one of a shift from a traditional New Zealand, to places of prosperity and development that look very different to the 1960s and 70s. Peter Ireland interpreted the work "as a melancholy lament for the steady disappearance of the New Zealand of her childhood and youth, especially since the economic “reforms” of the 1980s." 

Maybe not.  There  is a section that deals with places that have been changed or transformed through development. Ireland says that:

The road trip is a bit of a guy thing, and, formally, her imagery then tended to echo the style pioneered here by Robin Morrison and furthered by other male photographers such as John McDermott and Derek Henderson [ie., The Terrible Boredom of Paradise]

However, the  photographic  works that Macpherson says that she thought about before making her Old New World photographs  were Stephen Shore’s Uncommon Places (for his photographing of everyday streets and buildings with tremendous formal sophistication)  Joel Sternfeld’s American Prospects (his restrained, yet socially charged images) and Walker Evan’s photographs of buildings.

photographing in Wellington

Suzanne and I spent a week in the lower part of the North Island of New Zealand. This included Wellington,  Tongariro National Park,  parts of the the Waikato district and New Plymouth. It was a holiday built around us walking the Tongariro Alpine Crossing.  

 I was able to do some photography in and around Wellington as well as the standard tourist snaps of  the Tongariro National Park.  The picture below was made from our  room at  the Travel Lodge,  which was where we were staying whilst in Wellington:

Due to the short time we had in New Zealand,  I  mainly photographed through  the windows of the hotel  and when I was walking the streets in the early morning and in the early evening. Walking the city  was limited by being on holiday but I was able to build on my previous visit. 

Wellington is a very visual city and I enjoy walking  it and exploring it's nooks and crannies.These  allow me to see beyond the obvious and to find things that are hidden away amongst the ever changing shade and light.  

Fleurieuscapes: out take #1

This image is an outtake from the 15 images that have been selected for my  forthcoming Fleuriescapes exhibition  at  the Magpie Springs Gallery in 2016.  Apart from me nobody thought much of  this particular  image:

The  digital files (ie., scanned 5x4 and medium format negatives)  for the exhibition are with  Atkins Pro Lab  and I will check the small test prints  when I return from  my  New Zealand in the second week of December.  The exhibition, which  will be  in January/February  2016,  is from a  body of work that has been made  over the several years that we have been coming to Victor Harbor as  weekenders, and then more recently,  from when we started to live on the southern coast of the Fleurieu Peninsula early in 2015.

silos + coffee with photo friends

I started  on the  large format silo project yesterday evening with a  black and white   shoot of the silos at Talem Bend using the 8x10 Cambo in late afternoon.  However,  the conditions were not ideal  for this kind of photoshoot.  

The sun is now quite intense even before it disappears below the horizon, and the clouds that I wanted  for cloud cover did not eventuate.   There were  clouds  in the sky when we were in Adelaide,  and it looked promising as we drove along the south-eastern freeway to Talem Bend.   But the clouds  hugged the coastline of the Fleurieu Peninsula coast,  rather than moving inland across the Murraylands.   So, to my dismay,  it was clear blue sky at the silo location.  

The next stage of the silo project was  organized today whilst  I was in Adelaide having  a coffee with Peter Barnes and Gilbert Roe at Cafe Troppo in Whitmore Square.   This stage  consists of   a photo trip with Gilbert  in mid-October 2015  along the Malle Highway ---probably the section between Pinaroo in South Australia and Toolebuc in Victoria. We have agreed to  camp at Ouyen and  to make trips  out from that base.  Gilbert will be using his pinhole camera.  

in Ballarat

I was in Ballarat for a few days to see the Ballarat International Foto  Biennale 2015. I had some photos in the Time exhibition  by the Atkins  Photo Artists,  which was  in the basement of the Lost Ones Gallery. The exhibition was part of BIFB15's  Fringe Festival.    

Whilst I was  in Ballarat I took the opportunity to  wander the streets taking  some photos of the architecture 

These snaps were mostly made whilst I was walking around the town looking  at the various exhibitions in the core and fringe programmes.  It was continuing on with what I  had done a couple of years ago when I was there for BIFN 13.