The Weird and Wonderful Land of Oz…….
Well, the review went well and I’m frankly pleased with we’re I’m at – though I’m not going to get complacent any time soon. Helen was good in reminding the rest of the panel (Nigel and Martyn) that I still have a good amount of time to go… two and a half years to be precise and I must say it was good to hear it as sometimes I pressure myself into thinking that I’m finishing at the end of the year! Art school deadlines are pretty different to the ones I’ve been used to in the past, but like I said… no room for complacency.
It was also good to have re-affirmed that my approach to photographing (that is, working from my instinct) is working! I know there’s a bit to hash out however I’m feeling positive about being on track (with an eye to some cool new projects), and it seemed that everyone else was too! Finally I feel like I’m being understood!
So, what else did I walk away with?
- more reading and research to do with Australian documentary (I really know very little compared to the American and European experiences);
- finding more Australian women photographers – which the panel enthusiastically spewed forth a number of names, which again I’d never heard of (which leads me to think that women photographers are indeed left at home holding the babies!);
- keep shooting by following my instincts (which I definitely feel more comfortable doing);
- keep blogging and writing;
- and reading and looking I guess.
I know that I want to maintain an Australian sensibility to my work. I guess in the way that Trent Parke or Max Dupain and Olive Cotton’s work feels. I like to explore the awkwardness that often displays itself between the photographer and the photographed, but I want still to convey a sense of familiarity. As Australians, I think we’re still learning to define ourselves – both to the world but also to ourselves. We’re a bit like a teenager whose parents are divorcing – unsure, gangly, angry, in denial yet somehow hopeful and defiant. We’re losing our innocence but in the process gaining a new sense of purpose and feeling of being comfortable in many skins. I dunno, maybe this metaphor doesn’t work but that’s how it feels to me to be Australian in these strange times. And I suppose that it’s this very thing that I’m trying to convey too. So my journey into the Land of Oz begins! We shall see what comes of it hey?
Finally, one last observation. A number of the images in my top 12 (see post below) are of people sitting or lying on their beds. A number of my own images are of people on their beds. I only realised this last night as I was reading through my blog and preparing for my review. Interestingly, the panel all noticed this as well, with Nigel commenting on the fact that of all the spaces to photograph someone, a bed is one of the most private. Mmmm, certainly it’s been a sub-conscious approach (I’d hate to hear what Freudians think of this!) but interesting nonetheless. I guess if I had to intellectualise it, a bed is the last refuge, representing alternatively, the end of a day; an alternative to the womb (?); somewhere we are safe (or should be) and somewhere we can relax and assume a truer sense of who we are? Babies, teenagers and old people all know this. And lying down…. well we don’t do enough of it in this crazy world do we? Perhaps if we did, we might look up more?
And with this thought, I shall bid thee farewell!