A Small World exhibition

Avril Thomas is hosting  A Small World--A postcard exhibition  at  the Magpie Springs  gallery. It is the exhibition  after  the Weltraum  exhibition  in the 2016 Shimmer Photographic Biennale finishes.  The postcards consist of works on paper, they  are 6x4 inches and its international  in scope. 

The 100 or so works will be auctioned through an online auction site  with the proceeds going to help raise money for a cancer charity.

This is one of the pictures  that I am thinking of  entering into the exhibition:

The picture of clouds on the cliffs near  Kings Beach on the Fleurieu Peninsula,  is made with a rangefinder  35mm Leica  film camera,  so the aspect ratio of the negative is 3:2, which  if  uncropped,   will enlarge to print 4x6 inches. 

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.   

aboriginal presence at Encounter Bay

I've started  to research what happened to the Ramindjeri people, the traditional owners of the land,  after the conquest of their lands and British settlement of  the Fleurieu Peninsula. The settler history is a narrative of  from pioneer port to seaside resort' and this narrative is premised on the the ‘great Australian silence’ in regard to Indigenous people and their history. 

The research is  for the second historical  part of Fleurieuscapes project.  The art historical context of the project is that Australian arts practice abandoned the landscape in the 1960’s at the end of Modernism, the last major figures being Williams, Nolan and Olsen as arts practice entered post modernity and deconstruction. Whilst there are notable exceptions (Storrier, Robinson etc.), landscape representation was left to Aboriginal peoples as Aboriginal painting emerged from the deserts of Central Australia. 

The second  part of the Fleuriescapes project looks at the  significant  historical sites of the Fleurieu Peninsula from the vantage point  of the traditional owners (both the Ramindjeri and the Ngarrindjeri) in  a post-colonial Australia. This history is one where many of the traditional people living on the Fleurieu Peninsula and along the Corrong  were massacred. Those who survived had the power to govern their lives removed, as well as their connections to the land and the space, and as well as their language to articulate their view of what had happened to them. 

The picture below is of the site of an old sealing/whaling station at Encounter Bay, Victor Harbor  that preceded British settlement. The contact  is circa 1830's,  and one of the prime reason  for the Europeans to make contact with aboriginal people was to seek women. Eventually,  some of the Ramindjeri men and women  worked as harpooners and whale spotters. 

 There was another  sealing/whaling station at  Granite Island in Victor Harbor  Many of the Ramindjeri people succumbed to the small pox epidemic which swept the area in the 1830s and then to general disease.  In 1872 the whaling industry, which had started on Kangaroo Island around 1806,  and which produced whale oil  and bones for export,  closed down due to a lack of Southern Right whales.

Fleurieuscapes exhibition

My forthcoming exhibition  at Magpie Springs  in January 2016. It is the first step in the Fleurieuscape project and is a sampler,  as there are many more images in the project. Some of the images in the exhibition can  be seen on my website.

The project is premised on  photographs having an almost innate seriality: their sense is more easily accessed in the company of others; not just other photographs in a  show, but also  by other photographs by the same photographer.   In our contemporary digital world, with its networked technologies,   seriality is reworked as re-blog with the  image being re-configured and modified as they proliferate across the web.  

The Fleurieuscapes exhibition starts to  explore the regional land/urbanscape of the Fleurieu Peninsula in the contemporary world of a borderless global capitalism,  with its society of the spectacle. The regional is where we live amidst the commodity structure of a capitalism that transforms things into ghostlike appearances of themselves.

The project is a representation of the sensuous particulars of the Fleurieu Peninsula as a place to be in, rather than as a tourist destination or a wilderness. It is a landscape that has been largely shaped by human beings who cleared the land for sheep and dairy farming. The aboriginal presence prior to the white settlement has been more or less obliterated. Their presence is marked by absence and memory.  

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.

at Magpie Springs

This outtake from a photoshoot at Magpie Springs  in early autumn 2015  highlights how the little details  on the land that are usually overlooked can make a subject for a photograph. It is a photo of natural decay that is outside  the 18th and 19th century tradition of English rustic landscape painting, which in Australia, would become paintings of rural Australia featuring farmland, country lanes and river scenes. 

Rustic landscapes do not depict a famous spot, view or monument; rather their intention  is to represent the countryside and rural life. They do so in an idealising manner. It's an ideal landscape  exempted in the pictures of wineries, food and colonial architecture designed in a picturesque setting for  the tourist with taste who  is able to view, and describe  the land in terms of pictures.  

These would be pastoral landscapes as they both celebrate the dominion of mankind over nature and the scenes depicted  are peaceful, often depicting ripe harvests, lovely gardens, manicured lawns with broad vistas, and fattened livestock. The settlers  has developed and tamed the landscape – it yields the necessities we need to live, as well as beauty and safety. 

7.25 am

Yet another picture from Halls Creek Rd, Waitinga, which is located in  the southern Fleurieu Peninsula,  South Australia:

This one was even more planned than the other pictures that I made on Halls Creek Rd:---the time was down to the minute in order to ensure that the early late autumn morning light fell across  the twin trunks of the eucalypt.  Without that early morning light the picture would have been dull and flat. I would have walked past the scene. 

along Halls Creek Rd, Waitinga

Halls Creek Rd is a part of the Heysen Trail. It runs not south and and it is where I often walk in the evening with the standard poodles. It  offers protection from the strong,  southern coastal winds and it has lovely afternoon light.   

This picture was made in the  late winter. There are fields where sheep and cattle graze  on the western and eastern sides of the road. This, in effect, is a strip of roadside vegetation between farmland.  A lot of the spaces on the Fleurieu Peninsula are like this. Most of the land has acquired capital value and has become a commodity. There is no Arcadian  natural simplicity that stands in opposition to, and a compensation for,  urban life in the postmodern city here. It is the landscape of white settlement. 

It all looks quite different in late spring as the green grass has dried  and it has become a golden brown. It would be a different photo in summer. Late spring, however,  is not a good time to walk along  back country roads,  such as this one  with the standard  poodles.  The dried grass seeds along the side of the road become caught up in the poodle's woolly coats and they are very difficult to get out. Miss one and they spiral their way  into the body within 24 hours. 

photographing at Venus Bay, Eyre Peninsula

This picture of  porous limestone rocks was made at Venus Bay on the Eyre Peninsula in South Australia in 2013. It is just south of Streaky Bay.  We were on a weeks holiday there with Heather Petty. Whilst there I  avoided  photographjng the panoramic  landscape views of the  cliffs and the Great Australian Bight and focused on the details which fascinated me.   

It had been many years since we had last been there,  and I'd never forgotten this part of the Eyre Peninsula.   Yanerbie, with its massive white  sand dunes that extend up to 4.5 km inland from the coast, was firmly planted in my memory, and  it is a favourite  photographic location of mine for photographing  landscapes in South Australia.  Landscape, currently has an inferior status in the  contemporary visual arts. It's not a fashionable subject in the art  institution. 

The picture was made on the headland of Venus Bay in the late afternoon along the western part of the South Head Walking Trail which offers views of the eastern end of the  Great  Australian Bight. The small settlement of  mostly fisherman  style shacks that hug the coastline of the bay,  borders the headline,  and  the trail  around it offered an interesting early morning walk for the poodles.  

roadside vegetation

This picture was made one afternoon along Halls Creek Rd in Waitpinga on the Fleurieu Peninsula in South Australia. Halls Creek Rd is part of the Heysen Trail,  and  I often walk along there on a  late afternoon poodlewalk in the winter time. It's fenced on both sides of the road, it is protected from the southwesterly winds , and the western sunshine gently lights up the vegetation.

It's a pleasant walk in the late afternoon and  I've made a number of photos/studies  of the roadside  vegetation along this section of the Heysen Trail.  This was one of the first: 

On this occasion I exposed  some old Portra NC 160 ASA film that had been sitting in  the 6x7  film back of the Linhof Tehnika 70 for 5 years or more.  I thought that I'd better finish the roll  of film and  have it developed as I had nothing to lose.  Though the negatives were a bit flat and the colours  were washed out  the  digital  files were okay when  I scanned the film. Some  of the pictures looked a  bit odd,  but I didn't mind.