an open air studio

Whilst on  my poodlewalks I sometimes  set up an open air studio amongst the coastal granite,  and I then play around with bits of seaweed and flotsam  to construct a simple still life. 

This is a recent  example of such  staging:

On this occasion I was attracted by the colours and the texture of the seaweed. The image  worked better with the seaweed wet rather than dry.    

If  the image works then I reshoot with my film cameras. This rarely happens. One occasion when it did.  

coastal granite

Thanks to Madeline taking Ari for a walk this afternoon  I was able to walk along the foreshore rocks with Kayla and Maleko this Sunday.

There were  heaps of people  walking along the cliff top path, which is part of the Heysen Trail,  in the afternoon sunshine--with children, in groups, with their dogs.  They were still walking at 5pm. 

I suddenly realised that it was a long weekend--Queens birthday weekend.  People had come down the southern Fleurieu Peninsula coast for the weekend.   

salt ponds

One coastal subject matter that I had started to explore was the dried salt ponds among the rocks along the coast west of Petrel Cove. I had started to scope them with a digital camera. Then I saw the photograph of salt ponds  by Christopher Houghton made with a 5x4 camera and decided to photography the ones I'd seen  in black and white. 

I quickly found them to be very ephemeral--there in the morning, gone in the afternoon. So I spent several days on the various poodle walks looking for permanent saltponds  in different locations along the coast. I found a couple and I was ready to go back with a medium format camera. 

Then the rains cam after Xmas.   It rained  for several days and the permanent salt ponds that I had discovered were washed away.  A week has passed,  and though I have been back every day,  the salt ponds have  yet to return. 

rockpool photoshoot

A digital version (using the Sony NEX-7)  from  the  photoshoot with  the Rolleiflex SL66 (both colour and black and white) this morning. I had come across the rockpool  yesterday when I was  on a poodlewalk with Ari and Kayla. I needed cloud cover and a low tide to be able to do  it.

I had to wait for the low tide so that I could access the site. I  needed the cloud cover to soften the early morning sun whilst I waited for the tide to go out. Even then,  I was photographing with the sea swirling  around my shoes and tripod  legs.  

finding my feet

We are slowly adjusting to  the shift to Victor Harbor and sorting through---chipping away at --- the mess of reducing two households into one. Most of the boxes have been emptied and the records,  books, furniture  and clothes given way. 

Setting up Encounter Studio is on hold until the inducted air-conditioning  is put in, hopefully  next week. Until then,  I am working on  the Edgelands book amongst a heap of photographic stuff and books piled up  around me. 

The large format  photography hasn't  happened yet, which frustrates me, because I have been walking a young poodle pup.  But I've started scoping  some coastal landscape work around Victor Harbor  now that we are in autumn:

This  picture in the early morning light was scoped for a 5x4 colour picture last week when I was on a poodlewalk with Ari and  Kayla. The next small step is to load up the sheet film holders so that I am ready for action.

Fleurieu Four Seasons Prize

I've started  scoping for work for the  Fleurieu Four Seasons Prize for landscape photography. It's a competition and I don't  have much success in them. 

The Prize  is for a suite of four photos that are taken in the western part of the Fleurieu Peninsula over the four seasons.  I don't know this area very well  photographically so I've started exploring it on my away to and from Victor Harbour.  

On the way down this trip I  was looking for a late afternoon coastal location that would be suitable  for  5x4 film work, and which  had fairly easy access. This location looked a possibility. The picture was made at midday and so the light is terrible.  I will scope  it out in the late  afternoon  on my way back to Adelaide to see what  the light looks like then. 

reconnecting

I've started back working on my sea abstracts and pink gum and Xanthorrhoea  projects  which  have been constructed in terms of DIY books in progress.  It has been several months since I worked on them. I've  been waiting  for Posthaven to get their publishing platform up and running after migrating the work from Posterous.  

I've  also been scoping for subjects for an 8x10 colour shoot. The  new Toyo double  sided film holders are loaded with film--Kodak Ecktar 100ASA.  I've returned to a number of locations that I had in mind, but winter has changed things dramatically.  The winter grasses have returned and its a green world now as opposed to the dry landscape of a few months ago. 

 It's been frustrating as possible location after location has been rejected. I'm going to have to start with a couple of abstracts of the redgum trunks in the reserve across the road from the studio.  

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.