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. 

Silos in a landscape

This is the kind of  picture of silos in a landscape  that I plan to do with respect to that section of the silo project  which is based around the Mallee Highway.  I also referred to the project here. 

This plan is to make the pictures  in black and white  primarily using a Cambo 8x10 monorail. A few will made in colour using the Cambo 5x7 monorail.   The use of colour will be the focus of picturing the silos in the Wimmera. 

at the Cotter River, Canberra

On a recent trip to Canberra  to visit my family,  I briefly explored the Cotter River with Judith Crispin. She knew the area well from exploring it photographically whilst working at Manning Clark House, and she kindly  showed me some of her favourite places along the river valley. 

It was an all too  brief visit,  but I  find  the location and the region----- the Namadgi National Park ----very interesting,  and I will certainly revisit it the next time I am in Canberra. The next trip will be primarily a photo trip. 

in Wellington, New Zealand

I spent a couple of days in Wellington, New Zealand. I hadn't been there since I worked in the CBD as an economist and lived in Hataitai on a ridge above the shoreline of Evans Bay in  the early 1970s.  I was expecting a lot of changes and I was prepared to be  rather disorientated. 

It was a quick photography trip built around renewing my NZ driving licence and I spent the two days that I had available walking around the CBD and  the inner suburbs such as Thorndon; then seeing  photography  exhibitions and checking out the art hubs/centres when the wind turned into a gale and/or it started  raining heavily.   

Wellington is a very walkable city, it is easy to get around, and it offers good photographic opportunities due to  the  CBD being on a narrow coastal plain located between Wellington Harbor and the Wadestown  hill face.   

The art hubs/centre that I came across was the Toi Pōneke Arts Centre that is run by the Wellington City Council. Its gallery featured paintings by Sally Griffin. I wasn't able to see her photographs at the PhotoSpace Gallery  as the exhibition was not hung. I did see a small selection of the 8 x10 black and white Ahu Ahu Ohu  work  of Andrew Ross, a Wellington photographer, made during his  residency at  Tylee Cottage in Whanganui in 2009. 

I also managed to see the Photoforum at 40 exhibition at the City Gallery, which is also run by the Wellington City Council. The Photoforum exhibition traces the development of art photography in New Zealand and  the  growth of photography as an academic subject.  The general acceptance of the practice of serious photography today in New Zealand, are part of PhotoForum's success. Whilst the exhibition  is primarily a visual history of PhotoForum it is also  a chronicle of the development of modernist photography in New Zealand.

I bought the book, PhotoForum at 40: Counterculture, clusters and debate in New Zealand which is edited by Nina Seja, and Fiat Lux - 51 photographs by Andrew Ross, which is  based around  his Wellington images that focus on what is disappearing---the  fading past.    


along the Heysen Trail

I  came across a  fallen log whilst walking along the Hesyen Trail near Jagger Rd, Victor Harbor  yesterday.  This is part of the Cape Jervis to Kuitpo Forest section of the trail  and it is standing to Encounter Studio. 

I was looking for some subject matter to finish off some old film that had been sitting in the 6x7 and 6x9 film backs of my Linhof Technika 70. This is the digital scoping picture that  I  made in the late afternoon whilst on a poodle walk  with Ari and Kayla. 
Though I used to use this  camera  a lot, it has has been sitting in a wooden box in a  cupboard unused for several years. I have been using the Rolleiflex 6x6 instead. These  are  much quicker and easier to use as the  baby Linhof  functions like a view camera. You line  the image up through  the  ground glass, take off the viewing plate,  put the  roll film  back on, expose the film, take the  roll film back off, then put the  viewing plate back on  to line up the next image.  It is a slow work process--- very similar to large format photography. 

 I  had pulled the Linhof  out of the box a couple of days ago as I'd  wanted  to finishing exposing the  old 120 rolls Kodak Portra 160 VC film  in the  two film backs  so that the 2 rolls  could be taken  to Atkins on Monday along  with some 5x4 sheet film to be developed. This scoped image suited the 6x9 format. 

I scanned the film last night and I noticed the expired film is flat compared to the new film.  It was  made just before the showers crossed across the landscape. So the light is flat.   This image was converted from colour using Silver Efex Pro-2. 
I actually enjoyed using the baby Linhof. Since it offers alternatives to the square format  the camera  and the two lenses have been taken in to be  serviced in Adelaide.  I also ordered a second hand Super Rollex 6x9 film back from England to use instead of  the  very old one that has wooden rollers and is lacks an automatic counter resetting.

a note on photography

It is  now generally acknowledged that the photographic image has become firmly established as the predominant form of online imagery, and  that photography is now an increasingly pervasive mode of cultural production. 

However, the field of photography has expanded to such an extent,  with the various social media platforms,  digitalisation and the elaborate infrastructure, diversity of technologies  and computational processes,  that photography's specificity as  a specialized discipline or medium no longer makes much sense.  Photography is a form of art,  not a medium in the sense adopted and developed by modernist formalism in the late 20th century.  

We can go further and say that the  photographic is  no longer best understood as a particular art; it is currently the dominant form of the image in general in western culture. 

So we should think in terms of photography in art rather than art photography, since photography plays an important role in contemporary art beyond what we may call photographic art. One aspect of that role was the way that photography was used to change the status and thereby the character of the traditional ‘arts’ of painting and sculpture. 




in Melbourne

I was able to spend  5 days in Melbourne last week. The last time I was in Melbourne on a photo trip was  2 years  ago and I was photographing under the South Eastern freeway.  

The time was  divided  between  a scanning tutorial at Photonet on Wednesday and Thursday  for my (5x7 colour  and 8x10 black and white negatives) and  some photoshoots.  One on my own at Footscray on Tuesday,  and the second  one at Merri Creek in the Clifton Hill/Northcote area with Stuart Murdoch  late Thursday afternoon after he'd finished work at the Northern College of Art and Technology in Preston.    

As I was travelling light  on cheap Qantas flights (2 hand held cameras)  the Thursday photoshoot with Stuart was a scoping exercise  for a future 5x4 photoshoot. Stuart had photographed in the area 20 years ago and he was reconnecting with that body of work. 

I was walking around looking for  some suitable locations and times.  After walking around a bit in the drizzle we found something to work with near Rushell Reserve  in North Fitzroy looking towards  an old railway bridge: 

It is an edge land shoot.  What attracted both of us is the incongruity between nature and industry--Merri  Creek was the site of heavy industrial use throughout much of the 20th century, being home to quarries and landfills,  and a drain  for the waste runoff from neighbouring factories.  The best time is in the  late afternoon during  the  winter months.  

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.

at Hall Creek Rd

The recent shift to Victor Harbor Life is making it difficult to do large format  photography. It has gound to a halt as we sort out all the stuff from the Sturt  St townhouse in Adelaide. 

I did come across a  suitable  subject  for a 5x4 colour shoot  on a recent poodle walk before Kayla arrived,  but I cannot get to it for the  early morning light at the moment as I am walking Kayla along the Encounter Bay beach at dawn.Nor can I take her  yet  on a photoshoot as she is only 6 weeks old.      

So photography is  on hold.