Lee Grant – Photography Blog

Posts Tagged ‘belco pride

Dead Calm…

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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…….

One door closes… at last!

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If you’re in the neighbourhood, come check it out folks! If not, I’ve posted a selection of 30 images from the Belco Pride series on my website.

Written by Lee Grant

June 17, 2010 at 6:48 pm

CM09 Artist Watch

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OK, so the quiet on this front is not because I have ceased writing this blog but because I get nearer to D-Day everyday and I still have the proverbial shitload of work to do…. but I couldn’t resist posting  my pick of the Critical Mass 09 entrants – all 575 of them whose entries (including yours truly) arrived neatly packaged on a CD all the way from the USandA. Don’t worry I definitely won’t be posting all 575! Just 15 of my faves… and yes, I went through all 575 of them!! And despite the overall caliber being pretty good (some of it a little repetitive and honestly, some of it pretty bad) my favourites belonged to the following photographers and really appealed to my aesthetic sensibilities….

One interesting observation is the number of works that explore ideas of belonging and connection to place (similar themes to my work in Belco). Maybe this is a reflection of my Generation (X) and the fact that we are all nearing the big 40….? Mortality inevitably looms and we start to think about how we fit in the big jigsaw that is our crazy, beautiful world…. and what better place to start than where we grew up? Odes to origins…. yeah….

Anyway, take a look for yourself:

Benine_S-02Shannon Benine

Hamon_D-05Deborah Hamon

Lueck_S-06Simone Lueck

Stebbins_C1-05Catharine Stebbins

Girner_S-06Sarah Girner

Hillen_S-07Sean Hillen

Malakoff_S-10Sarah Malakoff

Feldsztein_V-01Vanina Felsztein

Deiss_D-06Dorothee Deiss

Button_E-10Ernie Button

Pike_A-08Alexis Pike

Sims_C-05Christopher Sims

Bush_R-03Ryan Bush

Ingram_J-03Jessica Ingram

And other than fellow photographer and e-buddy Rebecca Dagnall, I think I was the only Aussie! The submissions were mostly from Americans but it was peppered with some interesting work from Canada, Europe and South America. It’ll be interesting to see who makes the final Top 50….

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!

Godforsaken: Photography, prisons and incarceration

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After  recently photographing the now empty Belconnen Remand Centre as part of my Belco Pride series, I came across a rather interesting blog called Prison Photography: the practice of photography in sites of incarceration when doing some further research into the culture of incarceration.  I’ve been wanting to photograph in Belco Remand for a while now but never had any luck. Now that they’ve shut down and moved their tenants to the new Alexander Maconochie Centre, I was able to get a pretty good tour of the place thanks to an open day… billed, believe it or not, as a family event. And the families were out in force – kinda weird and I dare say a bit of a joke for the parents showing their kids where home could be if they were naughty (my kids intuitively refused to come!). Seemed a strange PR excercise – if indeed that’s what it was – as it really reinforced how appalling conditions can be in such a place. Perhaps the popularity of the occasion simply boiled down to a case of schadenfreude, wanting to see how law-breakers can live alongside our shopping malls, schools and suburban homes. In any case, I was suitably dismayed and (I admit) aesthetically delighted with the original interiors and fittings.

Somewhat disturbingly, visitors were greeted with the following German quote “Arbeit Macht Frei” (which is a slogan known for being placed at the entrances of a number of Nazi concentration camps during WWII. It translates roughly as “Work makes one free”).  “I still haven’t found what I’m looking for” was also scrawled in English below it. Overall quite a surreal, confronting and sad experience.

Anyway, here are just a few pics from the sojourn:




belco_remand_4Belco Remand Centre, 2009 (Belco Pride Series)

Of course there is a long tradition of photographers telling stories about prisons and exploring the culture and brutality of incarceration. How they gain access is a mystery to me. Here are some images from just a few photographers who have made some jaw-dropping images in prisons. For more insightful ruminations on prison photography go check out Prison Photography:

CP_02James Nachtwey, Prisoner on the chain gang, Alabama 1994 (Crime and Punishment series)

mikhaelsubotzky305Mikhael Subotsky (Beaufort West series)

8Yana Payusova Eye of Faith, 2005 (Russian Prison series)

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


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Well, probably the first thing I should do is to apologise to any of you who may have taken a look at my ‘new’ website this last week. I’m afraid it’s been one of those things where everything that could possibly go wrong, kinda did…….. at least in terms of my website renovation. Seems my drop-down menu didn’t work in Internet Explorer (don’t ask me why cos I have no freaking idea and I checked it in about 3 other bloody browsers which were all good!). Anyway, I figure that most people still use PCs, so I quickly patched it up only to decide that to deal with it again in the near future would do my head in and I really couldn’t face such a bad idea……… What this means then, is that I’ve gone with a fancy pants website developer in San Fran called LiveBooks. Lucky for me they love students, are cheap and completely idiot-friendly.

So if you can be arsed, check it out…….. HERE.

Other than faffing about on the website and avoiding writing my dissertation, my suburban photo-life has been quite productive…. I goddamn love suburbia! At least my studio practice is coming along! 😉

from the series “Belco Pride”

Written by Lee Grant

August 22, 2008 at 10:02 pm