BIFB 2015 IS COMING

I’m getting excited. The Ballarat International Foto Biennale, a celebration of all things photographic, begins on August 22nd.

With its core artist program, fringe exhibitions, workshops, folio reviews and much more, BIFB 2015 is promising to be the best yet.

Once again, as part of the Fringe, I will be exhibiting at Gallery On Sturt. The theme for my show, Time Lapsed, will be memory and time.

Late one night, feeling bored, I watched the movie The Rover starring Guy Pearce (which I enjoyed – I’ll watch almost anything set in the Australian bush). There is a scene where Pearce’s character enters an old building and I found myself thinking, “I know that place”. After some head scratching I realised the building in question was the old pub at Hammond, a ghost town on the Willochra Plain in the Mid North of South Australia.

 

Hammond Pub

Hammond Pub 1992

Seeing this I was filled with the urge to visit the Mid North, an area I feel a real connection to. This stems from having spent a lot time travelling and photographing in the region, mostly during the 90s. Many of the resulting photographs were included in my exhibition Postcards from forgotten places held at the Flinders University Art Museum in 2006/7.

TEROWIE

Terowie 1996 (from Postcards from forgotten places)

My wish to revisit a few of these sites (some of which I hadn’t seen for twenty years) was soon granted when, not long after that late night in front of the TV, my friend Mike and I headed up the Main North Road for a quick road trip around the Mid North.

Warnertown

Murray Town 2015

We had a great time and it occurred to me that it would be good to rephotograph some of the subjects I’d shot previously. This led to me contemplating the themes of time and memory and realising that I had an exhibition in the making.

I found it interesting to see sites visited in the past, contemplating my recollections of them and how they appear to me now. The weather, the light, one’s state of mind and even who you are with at the time can influence memories of a place. Revisiting that place one might find those memories challenged. Differences in the above factors along with changes in the place itself, however subtle, and even changes that may have occurred in one’s self, can help create a new perspective and, in turn, new memories.

Booloroo Centre 1995

Booleroo Centre 1995

Twenty years is a reasonably long time. In that period there have been many changes in the world including the emergence of digital technology. I couldn’t have imagined on my first visits that I would one day return with a digital camera.

Booloroo Centre 2015

Booleroo Centre 2015

Of course, the digital revolution is of only minor significance compared with all the political upheavals, financial crises, acts of terrorism and natural disasters that have occurred in the last two decades.

However, in parts of the Mid North, where things have barely changed at all, it’s as though time has stood still. All the madness and chaos of the outside world have barely registered. This all makes for a nice place to retreat to for a while.

BLACK ROCK 1995

Black Rock 1995

BLACK ROCK 2015

Black Rock 2015

 

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The rise of ‘Phoneographers’

Panorama_Snapseed

I have this thing about phone cameras. I try not to use mine. Maybe I’m being a bit too precious, but it’s like I don’t want to end up taking what I might consider to be a great photograph but, due to the small file size, feel that I can’t really do anything with it. I suspect it has something to do with my age and the era in which I developed my photographic skills.

Of course many would disagree with me on this. I am aware that there is a whole movement of ‘Phoneographers’ out there producing nice pics. I see all the apps at work and am particularly amused by the amount of phone pics I see that have the appearance of being made with a toy camera. Personally, I’d rather use a real Holga or Diana.

However . . .

Having said all that, I was at the tennis at Kooyong for the first time last week and was really taken by the atmosphere. A great venue with lots of history. I enjoyed the day but couldn’t help but wonder what the atmosphere would have been like forty years ago when the Rolling Stones played there. I just had to take a photo but didn’t have a camera with me so, out came my phone . . .

Furthermore . . .

I do see a lot of photographs taken with phone cameras that I really like. One of my face book friends, Sam Oster, takes beautiful pics with hers. I recommend visiting her website, there may not be any phone pics there but her work is great and well worth a look.

Digital v Film

Benalla

Mansfield Cemetery 2011

Yesterday I had an interesting discussion with a photographer who told me that after exploring digital photography, she has decided to stick to shooting film. Good on her!

This discussion led me to think about my own transition from working with film to shooting digitally. After giving up my darkroom, I continued to use film for some time having the negatives processed and then scanning them. Once I bought and set up a top of the range printer I decided this was definitely the way to go. I was very happy with the prints I began to produce. In fact, I found that when a print would come out of the printer, I would get a buzz that was very similar to the one I would get when I produced a good print in the darkroom. Also, of course, I was now able to produce my own high quality colour prints.

It was then only a matter of time before I went the whole way and bought a DSLR. I have to admit to going through a kind of grieving process. The thought that I would no longer return from a road trip, get in the darkroom, process my film and eagerly open the developing tank to see what I had, kind of saddened me.

I think that this grieving process was essential for me to go through so that I could move ahead in the wonderful new world of digital photography.

However . . .

I do still love the charm of film.

Maybe this is the reason I like using toy cameras so much. They keep me in touch with the way I practiced photography for close to thirty years.

I just can’t imagine giving up on film completely.