Thoughtfactory’s image-text blog

an experimental image-text blog based in the southern Fleurieu Peninsula of South Australia

two studies

I have been struggling with a bursitis shoulder over the Xmas break  and, as a result,  the photography  has been minimal. It has been limited to what I could do on the morning and evening poodlewalks along the coast. I avoided walking in the bush due to the brown snakes. As I could only carry and use light weight  cameras, the  photography has consisted mostly  of macro with  some  scoping for large format photosessions in the future.  

This macro of quartz on the side of a granite outcrop, which  was made  with my  old  Sony NEX-7, an old Lecia Summicron 35mm lens and  a  Voigtlander VM/E Close Focus Adaptor, raises a question:  could I make a 5 x4 version using a telephoto lens?

I am asking this because over the Xmas break I have been looking at some of  the seaweed photos made by Peter Dombrovskis, which are in the  Dombrovskis: Journeys into the Wild, exhibition at  the National Library of Australia (NLA). The kelp photos are stunning. Likewise the granite  the  sandstone and the quartz studies. These are wide angle views,  close ups and low-contrast light.  This collection is  wilderness imagery with a sense of sublime terror with its roots in  the nineteenth century. This body of work is definitely not nostalgic kitsch, an idealising  falsehood, or an eco-porn generating desire for touristic or vicarious consumption.   Nor is it premised on an equivalency between visible and unseen worlds.

The NLA, to its credit,  has taken responsibility  for the  extensive collection of Dombrovskis' pictures --there are nearly 3500 pictures online.The state galleries didn't really collect this landscape  photography --it just wasn't seen as art photography.  Landscape is seen as an obsolete genre?  The work is too environmental and so too political? Or is it this eco-art's  emphasis on the real?  Or it's  concern  with the natural beauty of the wilderness?  

This  is an impressive body of work with  a high degree of ecological awareness. This  ecological gaze sought to aesthetically subvert the anthropocentric values associated with the idea of progress, mastery over nature,  and industrial development in Western civilisation.  This collection  is a cultural treasure.   

 I have only explored part of the  Dombrovskis collection, but what I have explored has persuaded me that I could,  and should,   do a lot more by way of 5x4 photography along the coast of the southern Fleurieu Peninsula. The photography  over the Xmas break has been mostly done on  the morning poodlewalks,  as the late afternoons along  the coast of the southern Fleurieu Peninsula have been  bright and sunny,  with minimal cloud cover and very contrasty light. 

The above picture  is one of the  scoped images  for a large format photoshoot was made with a Sony a7R111,  a Lecia Summicron 35mm ASPH lens and a Novoflex adaptor. I will need  an overcast early morning for there 5x4 reshoot,  as  the early morning sun currently shines directly onto these rocks. 

This is another similar study for a 5x4 that I made on an  early morning poodlewalk with Kayla: 

At the moment, due to the bursitis shoulder,  I cannot carry the Linhof tripod or the pack with the 5x4 Linhof along the coastal rocks.  So I am going to have to wait a while before I am able to undertake the 5x4 photo sessions. 

 I am just starting to realise that Victoria, not Tasmania,  is actually the home of large format photography.    Surprisingly, most of this kind of  photography  is  orientated towards the  landscape.  This  connects with what I am trying to do along the coast of the southern Fleurieu Peninsula.