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.   

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.

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.

after the storms

The wild southerly storms eased on the weekend and I ventured out with cameras in the morning to photograph the  roadside vegetation  and to  photograph the rock forms  along the coast in the afternoon.

Though it was low tide in the late afternoon,  the sea was still very turbulent.   It was too  dangerous to go right  to the edge where the sea pounded  the rocks. The odd wave--roughly every  seventh one- -- was very high,  and the rocks were  slippery underfoot.

So I played it safe.

an encounter with photographers

I've come down to Victor Harbor after a three week absence, which  included a small  trip to Melbourne.  There has been a lot of rain on the Fleurieu Peninsula recently, and it was difficult to access Kings Head this afternoon  due to  the landslides along  the Heysen Trail. It was very muddy.

On the way Ari and I met a couple of photographers walking the Heysen Trail on their  way to Kings Beach. They werre  taking lots of photographs.   One  photographer had   a big, fancy  Nikon DSLR with a zoom lens--he also had two standard poodles which I'd  previously seen --- whilst  the other had a Mamyia DM22 medium format camera , which he had bought second hand  from a guy in Japan for around $3000.   It was cheap because it had a 3 year  old 16 megapixel digital back.

These kind of cameras are  not readily  available in Adelaide second hand.

As  we walked along the trail towards  Kings Beach I mentioned the medium format guy that I once started out with an old  Mamiya RB67, but that I found it heavy and had swiched to Rolleiflexes.   He added that he also  had a Mamiya RZ33 in his studio but  that it was too heavy to take into the field. 

When I remarked about the cheapness of the digital back  he said  that it wasn't  necessary to go beyond a 33 megapixel digital back,  unless you were doing billboard posters. That was useful information for me.

What I gleaned from the brief encounter was that a  new digital medium format camera is now under $15,000,  and  it can be acquired for around $10,000 new. Suddenly a digital medium format camera  becomes feasible.

Ari and I  pushed on to our favourite  location at the foot of the Newland Cliffs to check out the tide and  the wind conditions for an early morning shoot. The two guys weren't interested in coming down to the rocky outcrop--it was in deep  shadow and the rocks  were very wet and slippery.