Archive for July 2006
It’s been a little quiet on this front thanks to school holidays and the annual bout of flu. Typical, go on holidays and spend it coughing up a lung!
Anyway, managed to spend a good amount of time photographing whilst away and developing some new as well as some old ideas. Also have been pouring over mags and books soaking up other people’s work (good to keep up with who’s doing what!).
Thanks to an ABC doco, I also found out about Gregory Crewdson an amazing American photographer. I knew of his images but not much about the way he works. It was insightful and a lesson for me to see that contrary to Cartier-Bresson’s ‘decisive moment’, Crewdson is about meticulous planning, stage management and manipulation. Wow! A new language for me to think about….
His themes are largely about the vernacular of suburbia and along with Larry Sultan I’ve been excited to see this sort of colour work.
Colour is still fairly new to me – being a B/W person – however Martyn has encouraged me to use more colour and really, it’s a whole new world and language. I’m loving it.
Here is a recent photo from a new body of work about couples:
I’ve decided to do this series mainly in response to the depressing subject matter of my sub-thesis (which whilst fascinating can be draining) which is ‘The spectacle of suffering’. Since it is a work-in-progress, it may well change however I am at least beginning with this.
I love this photo and I thoroughly enjoyed photographing this couple. I may go back to do more; I found lighting a bit tricky with the portable flashes – a little harsh, though I did want that effect of ‘warts and all’. This photograph however was taken using only available light which meant sitting very still for some quite long exposures. They were fabulous!
Managed to visit the dreaded dentist this morning (no thanks to a broken tooth, not because I felt like it!) which effectively landed me on my couch feeling sorry for myself and watching a few documentaries about a) the 2003 Sydney Biennale and b) Alfred Stieglitz.
I had no idea that Stieglitz was married to Georgia O’Keefe (a gorgeous, amazing woman!)! What a bizarre match! Nevertheless, despite PBS’ pedestrian story-telling it was interesting and laced with some beautiful images. Which got me to thinking about some of my early influences in photography – namely Julia Margaret-Cameron and Cecil Beaton and the poetic nature of some of the former’s work in particular. In trying to identify a style to my own work (looking at what I am producing now as opposed to 15 years ago) it is interesting and I think a useful excercise to chart progress or change – if any – and the reasons why I am currently working as I am.
To date my post-graduate study has seen little in the way of self-analysis, at least in terms of an art context – which indeed is a language I am still trying to grasp. Coming from Social Sciences I can justify the value of my work and what it may contribute towards a cultural history and why even I choose the subjects/themes that I do, however I feel in a sense ‘blocked’ by the barriers of the seemingly gigantic and imposing theatre of the art world. Surely psychological…
I guess one of the great things about art is that nothing is impossible and there are no hard and fast rules – at least not to my knowledge – so there is always room for new interpretations of old subject matter.
Anyway, hungry kids call… will try to define what it is I’m doing exactly, next post. Still trying to figure this one out actually. May even post some photographs…
Oh, and I’ll definitely go along to this year’s Sydney Biennale which is currently showing all over Sydney. The theme this year is “Zones of Contact”.
Friday 30th June 2006 – post Year 1 review:
Well ,after some trepidation about the process of this annual review – that is not being overly sure what to expect – I feel that it was a worthwhile exercise. Of course I knew it would be though one never knows how these things go until it’s all been and done.
Certainly I have walked away with some sense of where I should be heading, though I am still unsure as to how this needs to fit into what I am actually doing. I think though that it’s all actually just me – too much thinking things through (typical Type A personality!)
Despite my seeming inability to get beyond my ‘block’, I feel positive that I am indeed on the right path.
So, resolutions post this meeting are in the order of the following:
- Keep shooting the way I am (which is on the books anyway, with the following planned: Indigenous boxers; Sudanese in Suburbia; my rural family; and maintaining the projects that I already have).
- Keep up with the mixed use of colour and B&W as well as digital and medium format.
- Consistently take notes even if they seem incongruous at the time of thinking them…
- Start to think (and write) about the way I practice, edit, shoot (my influences) etc…. What am I trying to convey? (This was a good point to take away from the review, as I’d previously never given it any thought – it has always been an automatic ‘gut’ process).
- Just start writing the mini-essays!!!
- Think some more about the themes I am working with. What are my intentions, and discuss what is actually emerging as a result of shooting? I think that this will be key to the way in which I progress the thesis, both in terms of the writing and studio practice. Hopefully via this process, whatever I end up actually doing (at least for the sub-thesis) will become more coherent and possibly singular?