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Light Journeys presents Marian Drew

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Light Journeys is proud to present Brisbane based artist Marian Drew as our featured artist for March:

from the series Australiana

(courtesy Marian Drew)

Written by Lee Grant

March 5, 2011 at 12:46 pm

Dead Calm…

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OK well maybe not so much. I know I’m not posting anything these days and partially this is because I’m a bit over it, too busy and I think the blog was really aimed at tracking my own progress with my studies, which now thankfully is finished, approved and done. Also, I want to spend less time blogging and writing about photography and actually make them instead! And like most people I have to earn a living so making work is (out of necessity) squeezed in between everything else that is going on. Anyway, I do have a future online project being planned so keep an eye out and I shall make a final post here later in the year to notify everyone, before finally putting this blog to sleep.

In the meantime there are a few things worth blogging about. Firstly, my friend Andy Adams over at Flak Photo is running a promotion month for Hijacked 2 which is currently touring Australia as an exhibition. You can also buy the book which I can highly recommend – it will be money well spent, rest assured. You can check it out at Andy’s website or on Facebook here. Or better go see the exhibition or attend a launch party. Dates and venues are:

Australian National University – School of Art Gallery, Canberra
8 September – 2 October 2010

Monash Gallery of Art – Melbourne
29 October 2010 – 16 January 2011

Queensland College of Art Gallery Griffith University – Brisbane
19 February – 24 April 2011

Anne & Gordon Samstag Museum University of South Australia – Adelaide
13 May – 1 July 2011

John Curtin Gallery, Curtin University – Perth
21 July – 11 September 2011 .

Also, I’m heading down to Melbourne tomorrow to attend the opening of the Bowness Photography Prize at the MGA, in which I am a finalist with the following image. So attention Melbournites, make it out to the Gallery for a beer and some great photography!

Another little gem discovered recently is the work of Ketaki Sheth, an Indian photographer who is currently showing work at the Photo Ink gallery in New Delhi, India. Her series “Twinspotting” is terrific and definitely worth a look. If you can spare the very low price of $20, you can buy the book at The Book Depository here.

Lastly, please help support a very worthwhile project over at Kickstarter by Marc McAndrews. I posted about Marc’s new series Nevada Rose a little while back and he is now working on publishing the book  for release next year. But as we all know, the world of self-publishing is still expensive (especially if you want to do it well) and Marc is looking for backers to help him with the scanning costs. Every dollar will help and he only has till October to raise the funds. So get your altruistic hat on and support a fellow photographer. It’ll come back to you eventually and if you commit to $125, you’ll actually get a signed copy of a first edition book, definitely a good investment and a quick turnaround on a good deed.

Stay tuned for more good things happening…….

Still Life: Nostalgia and Domesticity

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Had the pleasure of having coffee with Marion Drew today thanks to Anne O’Hehir. It was brief – I stole away for half an hour from work to meet them – but great. Interesting to talk to Marion about her still life series particularly as I’ve been obsessing over this genre in the last few weeks. I’m chuffed to say that we exhibited together in the Josephine Ulrick Award up at the Gold Coast Art Gallery. Marion showed this work:

Rainbow_lorikeet_on_Queensland_needleworkRainbow Lorikeet on Queensland Needlework (courtesy Marion Drew)

She told us that the needlework had been made by her mother many years ago which I thought was a really lovely connection. Which then made me think more about some of my own intentions with the still-life genre, namely to use the trinkets and objects I’d inherited from my grandmother as a way to stay connected to her. My Gran, Judaline, was quite a formidable presence in our lives – we spent most of our summers in the one-horse town where she lived in Northern NSW. It was without fail, hot, dusty and often (to a precocious suburban kid) boring, but we always managed to occupy ourselves; exploring the farm (when she lived out of town) and imagining ourselves as wild cowgirls (I was Calamity Jane!) taming the wild beasts of the bush… and when she moved into town, spending all hours of the day (and sometimes night) at the local pool across the road. When trips to the local milkbar wore us down we always had her fabulously retro TV to watch all those fantastically wrong American 80s shows. Ah, it was the good life. My fondest memory though was always the kitchen and the dining table setting. Vintage tablecloths with a variety of crockery (the blue Willow china only coming out for Sunday lunch) and a mish-mash of bone-handled cutlery as well as the ubiquitous salt and pepper shakers cast in a variety of animal shapes! The picture of that table is still clear in my mind and I know for my own still-life work, that I want to recreate the memory of that, to somehow hold on to that distinctly Australian vernacular aesthetic. Distracted by other things in life, I wasn’t really photographing at the time my Gran died, a regret I still feel deeply. She was always very houseproud and her home was very much a reflection of her consummate collection of things. I suppose I would have liked to have some kind of tangible memory of that domestic space in which I spent a large part of my childhood, photographs then as momento mori. Instead I find myself recreating that nostalgia though images like this one, using inherited and thus precious objects:

_MG_9856…still-life from a work-in-progress

Written by Lee Grant

June 30, 2009 at 10:32 pm

Waving the WWW-wand.

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The beauty of being online is finding out where you can end up as you never know who might stumble upon your work. Case in point, I have found some interesting virtual portals where my work seems to have mysteriously landed or where an interest in my work is being fostered. It’s small steps but encouraging nevertheless.

You can visit here for a preview of my new series Belco Pride, here for an interesting virtual magazine “R” (I’m in Issue 14), and Culturehall for a new initiative founded by David Andrew Frey. I’m still in the process of uploading my work (no batching tools unfortunately) so be sure to come back or visit some of the other featured artists! Interestingly each of these avenues sought me out rather than the other way around, so I’m feeling like the blood-sweat and tears is well and truly worth it (kinda weird too, since it all manifests by huddling around a computer screen in my very messy home office!)… who would have thought!?

Also on the good news front, I’ve been selected as a finalist for Head On: Australia’s Alternative Portrait Prize. The show opens the same night as Inheritance (the group show I’m participating in) at the ACP in Sydney on April 30th.

And lastly, the Josephine Ulrick and Win Schubert Photography Award was opened last weekend by Glenn Sloggett (last year’s winner) at the Gold Coast Arts Centre. The winner this year is Polixeni Papapetrou for her image Sisters Rock:

sisters-rocks-2008Sisters Rock (courtesy Polixeni Papapetrou)

Below is Papapetrou’s statement for this image:

Sisters Rocks is from the series ‘Games of Consequence’ 2008. In this body of work, I recreated my childhood memories of my play in worlds beyond the home to reflect upon the freedom that we enjoyed in these arcane spaces. I wanted to use the depth and complexity of the natural world as a backdrop in which I could explore some of the idyllic and darker aspects of growing up. For me, the land still represents a space without constraints and a place where children can attempt to define their individuality through their surroundings. Whether portrayed as idyllic or threatening, the landscape is still experienced as a metaphorical shelter. The sheer bulk of this landscape does not intimidate the children and they are comfortable with their own freedom. Even though the children are involved in reckless activity in defacing the natural landscape, they inhabit the landscape as their private space in which they create their own culture.

Naomi Cass from the CCP was the Judge this year and made the following comments about the work:

This was a difficult decision to make and there were a number of outstanding works in this exhibition.  I’m drawn by the meeting of two strong features in the work – the one being the narrative and the other the strong formal qualities of the work – the narrative is  challenging – looking at youth culture and the wanton destruction of nature and yet there is an innocence and a beauty arising from the children  – formally the composition is very pleasing with an even, almost filigree like detail across the surface arising from the texture of the rock – the trees and graffiti and against this is the foreground middle ground and background of the landscape. The action takes place in a relatively shallow almost stage like environment with massive gestural  rocks in the background – this work is both beautiful and sad.

The Josephine Ulrick and Win Schubert Foundation for the Arts also provides an additional $10,000 for works to be purchased for the collection. This year’s acquisitions are:

Karen Casey Lets shake Series #1, 2009
Ella Condon Cousin Johnny, 2007
Michael Corridore Untitled 5-14, 2008
Rod McNicol Portrait of Ansophie, 2009
Susan Purdy Detail 2 of ‘the lost forest’, 2008

Congrats to all. It is an honour to be considered and shown alongside some of Australia’s best contemporary photographers. The show continues through to May 17, 2009.

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A Youtube encounter with Alec Soth

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Here are a couple of interesting videos of one all my all time favourite photographers, Alec Soth:

Written by Lee Grant

March 6, 2009 at 7:35 pm

“Slay Normalcy and Save the World”: LARPing and Monster Camp

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NOT having TV can have its downsides, like missing out on a screening of the following documentary Monster Camp on ABC :(  I love everything about re-enactment and role-playing cultures and it looks like this is a quirky look at some of the characters known as LARPers (Live Action Role Playing) that inhabit the peculiar World of Warcraft.

Nevermind, I’ll have to catch it on DVD, thanks to my lil’ sis Nattie for telling me about it and thinking of me! Funny how people now seem to have an idea of the kinds of stuff I like to photograph. I’ve got a pretty good stream of ideas coming from various friends and relos. Keep em rolling in folks.

There are a number of photographers (interestingly many of them women) who have looked at re-enactment. Here are a few examples:

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An My Le from Small Wars

25friendxlarge1Elena Dorfman from the series Fandomania

greta-prattGreta Pratt from the series Nineteen Lincolns

And lastly one from my own series, The Medievalists:

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Lee Grant from the series The Medievalists


Web-forums and collectives: helping each other to help ourselves

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Well, I think the journey is well and truly underway with PhotoForum NZ posting an article about Light Journeys. Thanks to Abby Storey for the write-up and for the support from everyone so far. We are still in the process of designing the site and are looking to launch it late March/early April. So keep those submissions rolling in ladies!

On another note, the kids and I have been crook these last few days (don’t worry, I’ll spare you the details!), which has meant a lot of sleep but also a bit more web-surfing than usual. It was good to check out sites that I haven’t had a chance to for a while and also to discover some new ones.

What was most interesting – I think I’m noticing more since starting out the new venture with Light Journeys – was seeing how other photographers around the place (OK, mostly the States) are pooling their resources and talents to promote their work in a collaborative but mutually supportive setting. The Exposure Project is one such website that I was pleased to find along with the We Can’t Paint Network and it’s affiliate magazine Wassenaar, Pause to Begin and Ahorn Magazine.

Check them out. The lesson I take from these initiatives, is that there’s strength in numbers. C’mon fellow Antipodeans, shouldn’t we just ditch the stupid tall poppy syndrome and just help each other out? I could only find one local example of a similar collective and that’s the Melbourne based, the f2.8 group. My only issue with the latter is the fee requested for membership and whilst I get it (it takes time and money to put these sites together), my preference is to see a voluntary contribution button rather than having your visitors feel excluded because of a fee imposed membership requirement. It smacks a little of the fee-based photo-comps that are all around…. Outrageous! How the hell does an artist NOT have to pay their way to be noticed? But hey, that’s just my opinion.

Do let me know of other Australian (even New Zealand) based, grass-roots collectives that support emerging photographers, that you might know about…. Unfortunately my web-surfing time allocation is much reduced these days…. unless of course I’m sick!

Anyways…. here are a few Holga snaps from my ongoing series about Australia, “Where the Heart is”:

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Bronte, Stony Creek

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Bloody Possum! Bristol Point

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Skippy the Roo, Bristol Point

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