Lee Grant – Photography Blog

Archive for October 2008

Big Ambitions

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So, I’ve bit the bullet and invested in a new camera…. And boy do I love it… I think almost more than my Hassleblad! So what the hell is it you ask? Well, here is a picture:

Shen-Hao 4×5 Field Camera

A Shen-Hao field camera. To be honest I’d never heard of it until I saw it for sale on Ebay. I researched (god I love the net!) and found that there wasn’t a single bad review for this camera and the fact that it was pretty much a knock-off of the camera I really wanted (Ebony 45S) which I cannot afford due to it’s cool pricetag of AUD$5000, well…. this one seemed like a good alternative. And after running a few Fuijoroids through it to test everything out (RIP Polaroid, I had to use Fuji’s Instant 100 F), I’m completely excited and rearing to go large format. Everyone thinks I’m mad, but those of you who get it, know that I’m not at all…..

Anyway, here are my first shots taken with this contraption of genius!

Charlie

Pia

And whilst I’m yet to work out how to work the camera like a genius (OK, so I forgot to close the shutter here, but it’s kind cool still, no?), I’m cooking up all manner of new ideas…. Part of the reason to use this camera, was to really slow down. Everything else in my life is harried and rushed and crazy… (modern life can really suck sometimes). Photography is one of the things in my life – other than my kids – that makes me feel right, so I figured, why not slow this down… at least then something in my life will be slow and quiet and more contemplative… cos the kids sure as hell aren’t! ;) And in a world that’s filled with instant everything, maybe going backwards and reclaiming the analogue is a worthy excercise in itself? So stay tuned folks for Lee’s large format adventures….

The Road to Nowhere….

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One of the things about familial responsibility is that you don’t tend to travel as much – not sure why this has been in my case but I’d venture to say it’s mostly a lack of the proverbial dough that helps make travel and adventure possible. Before kids, my life was pretty footloose and fancy free… in fact it was quite nomadic until bubba #2 came along (an adventure of a different kind!). So since then, though I’ve managed to squeeze in a few overseas trips – sans enfants I might add – I’ve lived vicariously through friends and now it seems through other photographers’ blogs.

A recent unearthing came via Pause To Begin‘s blog of a New Yorker (sheesh, who isn’t these days!?) called Timothy Briner. His series called Boonville is amazing – at least what I’ve actually seen of it so far, and I love that he has shot the series in B&W, kinda refreshing in this colour saturated world. Reading about his travels criss-crossing the continent over 10 months, both solo and with his girlfriend made me green with envy (and yeah I know travelling ain’t easy! But try living in the one town for more than 8 years when you’ve got gypsy blood! It’s almost the stuff of curses!).

I’m particularly interested in comparing the American experience of being on the road to the Australian one and how such experiences have been expressed through the use of photography. Two incredibly vast and diverse countries but with quite different histories…

A couple of Australian examples of photographic road trips that come immediately to mind are Trent Parke‘s Minutes to Midnight and Wes Stacey’s The Road series.

Caravan Park, Queensland, 2003 (Courtesy Stills Gallery)

Wes Stacey, The Road (Courtesy of Photo-Web)

They are quintessentially Australian images, almost mythical in quality. I often wonder whether or not this Australian-ness is only observable and perhaps understood by Australians? I figure probably not because when I see American ‘road’ photographs, I feel very much like that is how America feels and would be like (wonderlust as opposed to wanderlust!). But perhaps this is simply someone else’s mythology?

Anyway, whatever it is, it’s been fuel for me throughout my dry spell of no travel. Perhaps I should simply get that bubble caravan that my kids want, hook it up to Elvis our (not-so) trusty Holden and drive off into the sunset? On the other hand, in this age of highly inflated petrol prices and now seeming financial uncertainties, perhaps armchair travelling is the way to go? Besides, the idea of two kids bickering and fighting their way across Oz in a confined space doesn’t bear contemplating…. at least not right this minute!

Fancy being this bloke!?

Running with wolves and a bit of Sugar….

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So, it’s been a few hectic days… actually weeks! I’ll try to keep brief as I have a date with my couch, a bad DVD (Forgetting Sarah Marshall) and 2-minute noodles for dinner (the kids are away and I’m simply hopeless at dinner for one!).

So first up and to follow on from my last post, I’m posting Nachtwey’s Ted clip that we were all looking forward to seeing. It’s moving, there is little doubt about it, and he produces eloquent and meaningful work… but really, I was kinda expecting something a little more earth moving; maybe I’m just feeling a little bummed about traditional documentary these days – I also just came back from the opening of the 2008 Leica Documentary Prize exhibition tonight, which I realised I’d already seen (and critiqued on this very blog) earlier this year. Ho hum… I’m waiting for the revolution:

This morning I also got an alert via APE about a post that Amy Stein had written regarding a new documentary film called “Who does she think she is”. Well, you can imagine my excitement, relief and anticipation for a film about the difficulties faced by women in the art world! I’m quite relieved to see that it isn’t just me banging on about this issue – and whilst I don’t like to re-iterate the argument for the sake of it – I do believe it’s an important discussion for the art world to have and to recognise. Here’s a sneak peek:

Looks tres interesting indeed.

Lastly, and cos I’m hungry, I’ll sign off with a photo I took at the weekend at a friend’s place. I dunno why, but I love this picture. I feel like I’m in a kid’s picture book… the kind I still like to read…..

Sugar

Written by Lee Grant

October 8, 2008 at 7:58 pm

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