Lee Grant – Photography Blog

Archive for August 2009

Light Journeys presents Robyn Stacey

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Light Journeys is proud to present Sydney based artist Robyn Stacey as our featured artist for September:

stacey_robyn_4from the series Empire Line

(courtesy of Robyn Stacey)

Written by Lee Grant

August 26, 2009 at 10:01 pm

Collecting Photography Books

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I’ve just gone a little bezerk over at Amazon and the Book Depository…. Bit dangerous shopping online isn’t but I finally gave in to the wish lists and bought the lot. I figure… what the hell, I’ve got a ‘permanent’ job now (God that sounds so…. incarcerating!) and so am supposedly an upstanding tax-paying citizen…. well, I’m defending myself against the dreaded affluenza but then again books surely don’t count? After all they are nourishment for both the soul and mind!

Anyway, here are some of the titles I ordered. Can’t wait to get a staggered lot of pressies! Yay!

49 cover 081 Diane Arbus Magazine Work 0893815233.02.LZZZZZZZ

51ecA+46N0L._SL500_AA240_ alecsoth14 cover_strangely_familiar egglestonbook

suburbanworld somephotos-286x300

Written by Lee Grant

August 20, 2009 at 10:21 pm

Delicate and Exquisite – the work of Eliot Porter

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Today was a good day at work. Firstly because I was late (which makes the day shorter) and secondly because I had a long lunch, which I don’t usually do. The lunch was had with the lovely Anne O’Hehir (NGA Assistant Curator of Photography) and with Sydney based gallerists, Mary Meyer and her lovely husband and photographer, Bob (who run Meyer Gallery in Darlinghurst). We ended up giving them a whirlwind tour of our photography collection in storage. And this is where we looked at the work of Eliot Porter, who I’m amazed I’d not heard of before (OK, OK I’m not really a landscape photographer!). The Getty Centre had a show of Porter’s work in 2006 called In the Realm of Nature. Here is their blurb:

American photographer Eliot Porter was among the first to successfully bridge the gap between photography as a fine art and its roots in science and technology. Porter promoted the use of color photography from the 1940s until the mid-1970s, a time when most serious photographers worked in black and white. Porter’s work was widely published and used as a powerful visual argument for nature conservation. He explored new ways of presenting the natural world and his artistic and technical contributions to bird and landscape photography transformed these genres.

The work is simply…. exquisite. They are dye transfer prints, a process that William Eggleston would later use extensively and brilliantly. However it was Porter who would use it first with his incredibly delicate images of nature (some calling him the true ‘father of colour photography’… Mmm, not so much Eggleston?). Here are some images, which I have to point out are quite poor, web reproductions and really don’t do the works justice. The prints in the NGA collection (part of a portfolio edition of only 250), are, in a word…. stunning.


13809401_zmAspens by Lake, Pike National Forest, Colorado, September 14, 1959

P1990-51-4404-3Looking South Over Upper Cascade Lake, near Keene, Adirondack Mountains, New York, February 1, 1965

It’s too bad that this process no longer exists. I know there are a few people who still use it, making their own chemistry…. I wonder what the contemporary alternative to dye transfer prints would be?

These images are some more of Porter’s that I found online and really love, though we don’t have them in the NGA collection unfortunately. Too bad cos it would be divine to see them in all their dye transfer glory……

P1990-51-3317-2Peeling Birch Bark, Great Spruce Head Island, Maine, June 24, 1969

P1990-51-3384-3Rose Petals on Beach, Great Spruce Head Island, Maine, July 1, 1971

P1990-51-2996-2Crab Legs Left by Crows, Great Spruce Head Island, Maine, July 17, 1949

(All Eliot Porter images are © 1990, Amon Carter Museum, Fort Worth, Texas. Bequest of the artist)

Note the date on the last photograph… 1949 people!!! Looking at these works also affirmed that large format is the direction I want to take my work (Porter’s prints are 8×10″ contacts). I’m completely excited about new ideas (very different to my usual work) that I’m developing for after my studies, though at this point (mostly for financial reasons) I’ll stick with the 4×5! Baby steps right…

Lastly, I have some work in a group show called Surfacing at the new Belconnen Arts Centre. Quite appropriate as it’s a selection of four images from my Belco series, interestingly no portraits. Anyway, if you’re in town and want to check out our brand spanking new gallery, come along.

artsACT and Belconnen Arts Centre Incorporate invite you-2

Oh, except I have to mention that you can’t come to the opening unless you get an invite from the Centre directly… To those I spammed with an invite, my sincere apologies. I got into trouble after the Director got wind that I’d forwarded it on…. Oops…. Come along another day…. some great paths by the Lake to rollerskate on!

Burning the Midnight Oil

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Well, it’s been a little quiet on this front I’m afraid as thesis deadlines loom and the pressure kicks in. Not to mention beginning a full-time job at the NGA (eek, I’m officially a ‘pube’! That’s shorthand for Public Servant btw). Good for the likes of being an upstanding and responsible citizen/mother/bill-payer, but crap if you are trying to continue an art practice. Really, it has to be said that full-time work is a crime against humanity and an even worse one against artists! How do you people do it!? Sure, I have a little more money than before but really, I don’t even have time to spend it! And being around other people’s art at work, only serves to deepen the anxiety of wanting (needing) to make more work but not being able to find the time…. If anyone has any advice about how to juggle this dilemma, I’d love to hear it!

Suffice to say, that this blog may continue to lie low for a little while longer. Have managed however to (just) maintain some sense of creative output. Here is my latest offering from a series about Sudanese migrant families living in suburbia.

_MG_9942Nyakoor outside her home with sons, Aleer, Chut and Duot

_MG_9938Sunday best… P. Diddy, eat your heart out!

Films are yet to be processed but I shot a few on the dig to show the kids. Amazing how ingrained the idea of instant imaging has become. Even when I was shooting on the medium format the urge was to see the result straight away. Took a little bit to explain the virtues of analogue photography! Anyway, it’s been great fun making these images and to offer each family a portrait sitting. Everyone gets quite dressed up and usually I feel like a mega-dag. The boys especially rocked in their suits!? I wonder if my son would wear one???

Anyway, see youse for now….

Written by Lee Grant

August 3, 2009 at 8:33 pm