Archive for April 2007
Well it’s been a strange sort of week – guess I’m in a bit of limbo with the kids being on holidays (doing more kid stuff than usual which is pretty exhausting really but great fun too!). Anyway, have also had internet issues having recently changed ISPs but this now means that I should have my website up and running pretty soon…. finally!
Uni went back on Thursday which was great and we had a visiting artist from Canada called Adad Hannah who works with video stills. Very much in the mode that is trendy at the moment, particularly in the art world. I enjoyed his seminar which gave an insight into his work and work process and I was fortunate to have a ‘tutorial’ with him later in the day, where I got to show him some of my work and talk about some of the issues that I seem to consistently grapple with. His insight was interesting and certainly gave me food for thought, though methinks we are working two very different disciplines from two very different angles. Acknowledged that my approach is more ‘traditional’ and perhaps even somewhat old-fashioned, but this is actually what I like about my work. I don’t particularly care that it’s out-of-fashion since that is not why I do the work that I do. (Interestingly, he also pointed out that this is precisely what Martyn probably likes about my work as it’s a little bit of an up-yours to the current approach of photography in the art world, in that I am not trying to overtly change my style into something more ‘art-school’, though to be honest this has crossed my mind and has given me a few crises of confidence). Nevertheless, Adad made some good points about the ‘cohesiveness’ of my work, which is definitely an issue that has been problematic for me. I’m really rather ADHD in my approach (there really is too much to photograph and I suppose I simply want to photograph it ALL!). So, I came away with things to think about – which is all good in my opinion. At the very least, Adad seemed to think that I was technically very proficient, which frankly I thought was hilarious given how much I hate flash and cringe at the thought of bad lighting! But it was nice to hear anyway and my ego didn’t really mind!
As a result of the meeting and lots of thinking afterwards, I have decided that I have a good project to follow-up with, much closer to home in that it’s quite personal but I will be able to be pretty objective as well. Won’t divulge details just now suffice to say that I reckon it’ll rock’n’roll!
Man, I am really wondering what the hell my final show will look like actually! All I know is, that I like to tell stories and will just continue to do this……There is no doubt though that I will need to improve my editing (much more ruthless!)
Will write more soon no doubt…….. Here is a photograph that I really like (I suppose it has some meaning for me).
Operation Solace, 1RAR, Somalia (from the War Veterans Series)
This year was the first time in years that I didn’t photograph the ANZAC day parade and events, which was odd yet a relief too. It’s really an intense subject matter. However I did do my patriotic duty by watching two interesting documentaries on our beloved ABC, Denton‘s exploration of Gallipoli as a place where Australian identity finds some meaning and the other on Vivian Bullwinkel, a truly remarkable woman. I wondered throughout the programs about how people were back then compared to today. Are we really made of different stuff? It was pretty interesting, I’m sure I could write more about it but I won’t just here (kids are currently being babysat by the tele! tut tut!)
Whilst on the theme of war vets however, take a look at this mind-blowing series by Nina Berman (who won a World Press Photo award for Best Portrait earlier this year). It’s called Marine Wedding. For me this is one of the most powerful anti-war statements to come from the USandA camp since the invasion of Iraq in 2003.
And so another month has passed us by with no posting…… Mmmmm, it’s a chronic state of affairs when it comes to my (in)ability to be consistent with such things. But to be fair, life is pretty busy…. And it shall remain so!
Despite my disparate moments of actually writing down my thoughts and ideas, I have managed to keep the momentum up with the photographic side of things. I’m on a roll actually and thoroughly enjoying every minute of it! Interestingly I am once again pursuing the theme of Australian masculinity having recently photographed Shearers as well as Wrestlers, both series which I will endeavour to continue documenting. I am also continuing in a collaborative capacity with my son Charlie, the tongue-in-cheek series of the ‘new Ned Kelly’, which sees the new incarnation doing everyday childhood activities (riding his bike, beachcombing and exploring his historical roots!). Keep an eye on my Flickr site for new images which are posted regularly……..
In terms of more academic pursuits, reading has been high on the list (OK, with the writing down the bottom of that same list!!). However having admitted my ongoing procrastination shame (yes I know Chaitanya!), I am researching the following subjects which will surely be noted in the short-medium term, as brief essays or something along those lines……:
- Expressions of national identity in Australian art and popular culture (focusing on stories and images of the bush and bush life, with an emphasis on rural and pioneering subjects, since this has historically been seen as unique and integral to the nation’s identity.)
- Further to this, an exploration of Australia’s experiences of war and how this has also framed cultural and political understandings of what it means to be Australian.
- And again on the ‘Australia’ theme, looking at more recent cultural as well as political directions and influences in terms of a ‘globalised’ super-culture and what impacts this might have upon established notions of identity and the current struggle to re-imagine Australia’s place in the world (I hope to include the indigenous perspective here as well).
Naturally, despite my social sciences background – read, anthropology and visual ethnography – the above will be researched in the context of art theory and culture, at least to the best of my ability. My other research foci have been more in the realm of:
- Photo-theory (particularly in the context of journalism with its varying and shifting trends);
- War-pornography in photo-media, or warnography with reference to modern mass communication tools and the rise in ‘trauma tourism’ for example. Naturally these arguments cannot be asserted without reference to the ongoing issues of ethics and morality as well as implications of the law.
So there you have it! Not all tripe and despite the obvious absence in communication, the MPhil is chugging along!!
And now for something a little different…. a couple of recent pics (not necessarily linked to the above I might add, at least for now!)
Sam (from a new series on tattoo subcultures)
Morning Tea Spread (from the series “The Shearers”)