Lee Grant – Photography Blog

Archive for April 2009

Beyond history and the poetics of the everyday

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This quote is taken from a new book called Beyond History by Belgian photographer Vincent Delbrouck.

“I love to use the term poetic documentary to discuss my work. Something never finished, always recycled and definitely fragmented and anomalous, full of flowers, women and familiar bodies. Like a collection of poems, not a novel….I think art should not document reality, but (re)compose it. It is a way of dealing with life and photography; the real and the imagined, the past and the present, the liberty and the immobility. Just to question our love, our faces, our lives, as fragments in a strange family album with lonely figures and objects. Each of them interacting with the others, not only inside the pictures and compositions…”




beyondhistory2008-09-10_page_036Selection from the book Beyond History: Havana 1998 – 2006 by Vincent Delbrouck

I completely agree. My recent work Belco Pride is fashioned in this regard and is premised on the idea that one can visually construct a poem. I suppose it’s an ode to where I grew up and where I live. Not a survey or an ethnography and not quite a documentary (though it clearly could be), the process has been incredibly cathartic. Another quote which has had a huge impact on the way in which I work is the following one by  Professor A.C Bradley who lectured in Poetry at Oxford University from 1901 – 1906:

The nature of a work of art is to be not a part, nor yet a copy of the real world (as we commonly understand that phrase), but a world in itself, independent, complete, autonomous; and to possess it fully you must enter that world, conform to its laws, and ignore for the time the beliefs, aims and particular conditions which belong to you in the other world of reality.

Perfectly brilliant. After all, poetry can be found in all kinds of nooks and crannies and certainly in the myriad possibilities of our everyday realities.

scan_1_8Mikaela and Brittany from the series Belco Pride

blue_zola_a3editBlue Zola at the Charny Carny from the series Belco Pride

lee012Leni from the series Belco Pride

Written by Lee Grant

April 27, 2009 at 12:20 pm

Would the real rock’n’rolla please step up?

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Just had to post this bloody brilliant movie poster for Mad Max!! When Aussie cinema rocked hardcore……


Am planning on watching a bunch of old Aussie flicks…. you know the ones, classics like Don’s Party, Puberty Blues and The Odd Angry Shot. It’s all research of course!! If you haven’t seen any of these, be sure to check out the weekly section of ye olde video shop. Naturally one can’t go past the old poster designs either… the one above beats the pants off the next Mad Max installments. And you really can’t go past the classic old Holdens in this film. Plus here’s a clip from The Odd Angry Shot…. killer screenplay with the usual sardonic Australian wit and some universal home truths that won’t ever date:

Written by Lee Grant

April 19, 2009 at 9:58 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.


“It is what it is…” the photography of William Eggleston

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A trailer from documentary filmmaker Reiner Holzemer’s William Eggleston: Photographer.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, the man is a legend!

Written by Lee Grant

April 8, 2009 at 11:16 pm

Light Journeys Launches!!

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At last, after lots of work, Light Journeys has launched into cyberspace. Checkout our first feature artist, Melbourne based photographer Georgia Metaxas.

Many thanks to those who submitted and for those who haven’t we are now accepting submissions on a rolling basis. Spread the word and be sure to add us to your feeds or even better, subscribe to keep up with the myriad of amazing work being made by Australian women working in photography.