Lee Grant – Photography Blog

Posts Tagged ‘australia

Dead Calm…

with 7 comments

OK well maybe not so much. I know I’m not posting anything these days and partially this is because I’m a bit over it, too busy and I think the blog was really aimed at tracking my own progress with my studies, which now thankfully is finished, approved and done. Also, I want to spend less time blogging and writing about photography and actually make them instead! And like most people I have to earn a living so making work is (out of necessity) squeezed in between everything else that is going on. Anyway, I do have a future online project being planned so keep an eye out and I shall make a final post here later in the year to notify everyone, before finally putting this blog to sleep.

In the meantime there are a few things worth blogging about. Firstly, my friend Andy Adams over at Flak Photo is running a promotion month for Hijacked 2 which is currently touring Australia as an exhibition. You can also buy the book which I can highly recommend – it will be money well spent, rest assured. You can check it out at Andy’s website or on Facebook here. Or better go see the exhibition or attend a launch party. Dates and venues are:

Australian National University – School of Art Gallery, Canberra
8 September – 2 October 2010

Monash Gallery of Art – Melbourne
29 October 2010 – 16 January 2011

Queensland College of Art Gallery Griffith University – Brisbane
19 February – 24 April 2011

Anne & Gordon Samstag Museum University of South Australia – Adelaide
13 May – 1 July 2011

John Curtin Gallery, Curtin University – Perth
21 July – 11 September 2011 .

Also, I’m heading down to Melbourne tomorrow to attend the opening of the Bowness Photography Prize at the MGA, in which I am a finalist with the following image. So attention Melbournites, make it out to the Gallery for a beer and some great photography!

Another little gem discovered recently is the work of Ketaki Sheth, an Indian photographer who is currently showing work at the Photo Ink gallery in New Delhi, India. Her series “Twinspotting” is terrific and definitely worth a look. If you can spare the very low price of $20, you can buy the book at The Book Depository here.

Lastly, please help support a very worthwhile project over at Kickstarter by Marc McAndrews. I posted about Marc’s new series Nevada Rose a little while back and he is now working on publishing the book  for release next year. But as we all know, the world of self-publishing is still expensive (especially if you want to do it well) and Marc is looking for backers to help him with the scanning costs. Every dollar will help and he only has till October to raise the funds. So get your altruistic hat on and support a fellow photographer. It’ll come back to you eventually and if you commit to $125, you’ll actually get a signed copy of a first edition book, definitely a good investment and a quick turnaround on a good deed.

Stay tuned for more good things happening…….

The Long Hot Summer

leave a comment »

A reminder at the end of a hot and humid day!

Light Journeys is calling all women to submit to a curated group exhibition on the theme of Summer, to be featured on the website in 2010. Deadline for submissions is March 1st 2010.

The equinox has passed, the axis has tilted and the sun is above us once again.

The summer cycle, with its atmosphere and festivities and its warmth and glare, is etched into the Australian psyche as well as our photographic histories. Whether in Max Dupain’s sunbather or the bodysurfer on the cover of a ‘Day in the Life of Australia’, summer is an icon that is deeply revered. But what else can this particular time and space evoke that moves beyond images of surf, sand and blokes with their beer? How can we as artists re-imagine the nuances of this season? And what about the photographic experience – deep shadows and the vividness of our stone hard light – how does the searing quality of our sun influence our vision?

All women working in photography in Australia, including prior featured artists, are invited to submit 2-3 images exploring the theme. Images should be resized as follows:

72dpi, 1000 pixels wide, sRGB profiled. Please re-title your images to surname_firstname_number.jpg and send to submit@lightjourneys.net.au

Now pick up your cameras and start shooting. Another long hot Summer is coming to an end….

australia1from the series Where the Heart Is

Written by Lee Grant

February 28, 2010 at 6:40 pm

Light Journeys presents Nikki Toole

leave a comment »

Light Journeys is proud to present Melbourne based photographer Nikki Toole as our featured artist for November:


from the series Skater (Phase 1: the Stance)

(courtesy of Nikki Toole)

Written by Lee Grant

October 26, 2009 at 7:59 pm

Burning the Midnight Oil

with 4 comments

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

New Year… New Goals and some Light Journeys

leave a comment »

Well, first post for 2009 and I can report that it’s HOT! The weather that is… but also for projects planned this year.

It’s my final year at uni and I’ve already warned family and friends that it’s gonna be hell (though preferably in a baby-blue Karmann-Ghia rather than the proverbial handbasket!). Lots of writing and shooting still… I’m getting worried that I could just end up doing a W.Eugene Smith with his Pittsburg project…. Belco is too interesting to stop and I admit I have difficulties knowing when a project is done. My instinct – along with advice from others – is that I’m not there yet. I guess I’ll know when I get there? It’s all about the editing…. a photographer’s toughest challenge it seems…

On another note, my co-conspirator U.K Frederick and I have also put out a call to Australian women photographers to submit to a new initiative we have set up called Light Journeys. Our first submission date is March 8th (International Women’s Day) so if you are an Australian woman working in the field of photomedia please visit our temporary site for details by clicking on the banner below:


And spread the word, this project is about supporting each other, getting some of your work out there and promoting the amazing (often underrated) talent we have in Australia!

More exciting  news, I’ve been asked to exhibit some of my work in an upcoming group exhibition about family at the ACP in Sydney. This comes as a result of my recent portfolio review so definitely a worthwhile experience as you never know what opportunities can come out of being persistent. The show is scheduled for July and I’m currently going through images to see what might fit. The theme is an interesting one and it’s been a challenge to decide which way I want to interpret the idea of family, especially since Family is something I photograph a lot of, both in the term’s traditional sense but also in its various other social and cultural manifestations.

And finally, since every new year requires some sort of resolution, I resolve to be less frantic about my work and to enjoy every aspect of the process more (not that I already don’t but being more zen about it might help?). Since I’ve been out bush for the last 2 weeks – back to our favourite place in the world, Bristol Point – I am feeling refreshed and feel a little spring in my step…. now if only it would cool down a little…….

Below are a few still-lives that I have begun working on with fellow photographer Carolyn Young. We shot them large format and they make a refreshing change to portraiture. Interestingly the genre of still-life is a loaded one (more than I initially realised) but it’s an interesting one to explore nevertheless and I dare say we’ll continue with the project throughout the year.


Still Life II (in collaboration with Carolyn Young)


Still Life IV (in collaboration with Carolyn Young)

The Road to Nowhere….

with one comment

One of the things about familial responsibility is that you don’t tend to travel as much – not sure why this has been in my case but I’d venture to say it’s mostly a lack of the proverbial dough that helps make travel and adventure possible. Before kids, my life was pretty footloose and fancy free… in fact it was quite nomadic until bubba #2 came along (an adventure of a different kind!). So since then, though I’ve managed to squeeze in a few overseas trips – sans enfants I might add – I’ve lived vicariously through friends and now it seems through other photographers’ blogs.

A recent unearthing came via Pause To Begin‘s blog of a New Yorker (sheesh, who isn’t these days!?) called Timothy Briner. His series called Boonville is amazing – at least what I’ve actually seen of it so far, and I love that he has shot the series in B&W, kinda refreshing in this colour saturated world. Reading about his travels criss-crossing the continent over 10 months, both solo and with his girlfriend made me green with envy (and yeah I know travelling ain’t easy! But try living in the one town for more than 8 years when you’ve got gypsy blood! It’s almost the stuff of curses!).

I’m particularly interested in comparing the American experience of being on the road to the Australian one and how such experiences have been expressed through the use of photography. Two incredibly vast and diverse countries but with quite different histories…

A couple of Australian examples of photographic road trips that come immediately to mind are Trent Parke‘s Minutes to Midnight and Wes Stacey’s The Road series.

Caravan Park, Queensland, 2003 (Courtesy Stills Gallery)

Wes Stacey, The Road (Courtesy of Photo-Web)

They are quintessentially Australian images, almost mythical in quality. I often wonder whether or not this Australian-ness is only observable and perhaps understood by Australians? I figure probably not because when I see American ‘road’ photographs, I feel very much like that is how America feels and would be like (wonderlust as opposed to wanderlust!). But perhaps this is simply someone else’s mythology?

Anyway, whatever it is, it’s been fuel for me throughout my dry spell of no travel. Perhaps I should simply get that bubble caravan that my kids want, hook it up to Elvis our (not-so) trusty Holden and drive off into the sunset? On the other hand, in this age of highly inflated petrol prices and now seeming financial uncertainties, perhaps armchair travelling is the way to go? Besides, the idea of two kids bickering and fighting their way across Oz in a confined space doesn’t bear contemplating…. at least not right this minute!

Fancy being this bloke!?


with one comment

Continuing my obsession with human endeavour and the way we arrange our domestic and social spaces, I’m finally looking at Motels. Well, I’ve already started but am looking to work collaboratively with my friend and fellow photographer U.K Frederick (whom I mentioned a few posts ago), who is writing her thesis about the car in popular culture.

We are due to photograph the Embassy Motel in Deakin, a Canberra icon which sadly will be knocked down to pave the way for, you guessed it, more ugly apartments. Prime real estate of course and in a fairly exclusive suburb, it still retains all the charms (and most importantly, dagginess) of yesteryear.

I’m actually excited about working creatively with another artist. I’ve generally avoided this in the past as I like to work alone, you know “in the zone dude”, but I have a hunch that this collaboration will be a fruitful one. We work along very similar themes but with completely different viewpoints which is all the more amazing since we actually have very similar aesthetics too. Plus we don’t shit each other. Can’t get better than that hey?

Anyway, will undoubtedly have some work to post from this venture over the next few weeks. Here’s a few teasers in the meantime:

Room 241

Motel parking lot

Motels are bizarre kinds of places and from my limited research to date, they come in all flavours, shapes and sizes. Misty Keasler did a nice series on Love Hotels in Japan and her compatriot, Alec Soth’s genial oeuvre on Niagara is also situated in forlorn and antiquated Canadian motels. There’s something kinda dirty about these love motels which is really attractive but I think kind of sad too because they seem to represent a forbidden space where the lonely or isolated share fleeting moments of intimacy that they don’t seem to find in their everyday lives. Only the furniture stays the same… and perhaps the routine staining of bedsheets…..

Love Hotel, Japan (courtesy Misty Keasler)

Fairway Motor Inn, 2005 (courtesy Alec Soth)

Now, I wonder if there are any no-tell motels around here?

Written by Lee Grant

July 28, 2008 at 10:41 pm