Archive for January 2008
The kids and I have allowed ourselves a pyjama day today and the weather has been perfect for it (overcast and miserable). So whilst the kids are being entertained by Will Ferell, I’m scanning, printing, archiving and generally trying to catch up on everything before the year really kicks in! Eek!
Throughout all this I’m realising that I have a veritable photographic collection…. of people mostly but also places. I noticed this quite obviously on my Flickr site, where I have arranged most of the sets of images according to groups, activities, customs and rituals. Seems that I can’t quite shake that anthropological bent but let’s face it, people and what they do is hell interesting!
Last week I made a quick trip to Sydney with Martyn and fellow photographer Cindy to visit the AGNSW for the August Sander show as well as catch some more contemporary fare at the ACP. It all made for good viewing and Martyn’s lecture The Face of Australia at the AGNSW exploring/debunking the ‘archetypal Australian face’ raised some interesting (potentially subversive) ideas about physiognomy and type in portraiture.
Which leads me to the new year’s round of portrait prizes – first off the ranks being the Moran Portrait Prize (man, it feels like groundhog day and I know I’m penny-pinching already in the anticipation of disappointment!). I’m thinking of submitting the following image…. we’ll see:
The annual Parkes Elvis Festival more than lived up to its growing repute as the Elvis capital of Australia. I’ve never seen more Elvii (the agreed consensus for plural Elvis’) in one spot. And given the heat of almost 40 C plus, I’m mightily impressed by their die-hard dedication to the King.
This year’s theme was Blue Hawaii.
Highlights included the Elvis and Priscilla look-alike and sound-alike competitions (the former my personal favourite – see pics below), renewal of wedding vows – Elvis style with 28 couples re-declaring their committment to one another. The cutest of course, was the couple who’d been married for 66 years, braving not only the elements but the onslaught of Elvii with their walking aids…. there wasn’t a dry eye in the house!
Here are some of my photos from the weekend (I’ll post more on my Flickr site eventually):
I’m going for the Elvis typology….. A la Bernd and Hilla Becher…. ;) Though I’m not sure if I prefer B&W to colour?
It’s only January and already I’m tired……… I’ve just read the news headlines: “Man’s body undiscovered in unit for 1 year”, “Police officer remanded on rape charges“, “Russian beheads friends for ‘trying to eat his dog'” etc, etc…. I mean bloody hell…. what the??! Our world can be such shit sometimes.
Anyway, I digress a little…. life can be too surreal at times. We can be so in our own bubbles then pop! Read the damn news and hope like hell that we aren’t part of that world where bizarre and awful things happen to people that couldn’t possibly be real! But it sort of does actually and it happens everyday to you, to me and to them and to the point that we don’t even notice anymore until someone like the ABC thought it newsworthy. And yet still, there’s a hopefulness that somehow it’ll all get better… sometime, one day…..maybe, perhaps.
Picking up a copy of the latest Photofile yesterday and I came across yet another Australian photo-wunderkind, well at least in my opinion. Graham Miller, from way out West (Fremantle) where it seems that innovative and industrious and interesting photographers are being made. For me, Miller’s work conjures up a sense of that bubble and the isolation that we all contend with and yet there’s something simple and pure and hopeful in his images. Cinematic in sensibility they recall the suburban aesthetic of Greg Crewdson’s ‘Twilight’ series and of Australian films such as Lantana or Jindabyne (both directed by the genius Ray Lawrence), the latter of which is based on a Raymond Carver short story, whom Miller suggests is a great influence for him. The ‘homagesque’ (I just made this word up but I like it) references are clearly there but they work beautifully in their own right.
Suburban zeitgeist indeed.