Australia’s largest open-entry exhibition and competition, CCP Salon, is now in its 24th year and our photobook “YOU ARE HERE…” is in the show.
Presented by Leica and Ilford, with support from Affinity, this annual event celebrates the latest developments in photomedia practice around the country, and provides an exciting opportunity to exhibit work in a professional, high-profile context. Supported by 21 national leaders in the photographic industry, CCP Salon awards up to $20,000 worth of prizes over 26 categories, and visitors are invited to vote for their favourite image in the Michaels People’s Choice Award.
JUDGES: Janina Green – Artist, Dylan Rainforth – Writer, Michelle Mountain – CCP Program Manager, Naomi Cass, CCP Director – Non-voting Chair. Winners of the different categories will be announced at the opening on November 24th. The exhibition continues until December 17.
“You are here” a collaborative artists’ book by Victoria Cooper and Doug Spowart
This book is inspired by many years of travelling through the Pilliga Scrub along the Newell Highway in central western NSW.
On this major highway there is another journey for the road traveller that can take them metaphorically into outer space. This tourist attraction is called the “Solar System Drive” and extends from Belatta to Dubbo. The planets placed on signs along the highway lead to the “sun” which is located in the centre of the array at Siding Springs Space Observatory in the Warrumbungle National Park.
You are here traverses the liminal space between these two journeys, playing with the philosophical questions of place, space and time.
Details of the book: Pigment inks on cotton rag inkjet paper, 14 x 20 x3cm – extends to 6.3metres.
Planning the narrative of “You are here…” earlier this year.
As a final event for Maud’s Festival of the Darkroom on November 26 between 12.00 Noon and 4.00pm we worked with Louis Lim to convert the Maud Gallery front room into a public Camera Obscura. We invited members of the Brisbane photo community to join with us for a look back to the origins of photography.
What follows are photos from the event…
Set-up day with Louis Lim, Ana Paula Estrada and Gillian Jones
Cooper+Spowart: 16 years of Camera Obscura Collaborations
In our collaborative work, we are interested in both the physical construct and cultural conventions that inform and shape us. This includes the common rituals and structures that surround, support and transport us in our everyday lives. In this work we have extended the context of documentary photographic methodology to include the narrative potential of the camera obscura and architectural projections.
In the camera obscura work the viewer’s perception of the everyday is spatially challenged. The structures that can form camera obscura are everywhere, but some spaces present themselves as clearly suitable for the making. This could be a city office, a motel room, a country bathroom or even a car. Our work attempts to contextualize the experience of the camera obscura within a concept, space or site. Upon entering the darkened space, the viewer is initially displaced, as the familiar image of the everyday is dim and unrecognizable. Then after time spent in the camera obscura, the image becomes clearer and the familiar is re-established ultimately resulting in a relocation of the observer’s awareness of place.
Some background on the set-up for the Travelodge camera obscura:
Simple black garbage bags and some black electrical tape from the local 711 store. An aperture cut from a ‘found’ piece of aluminium – size around 8mm … we don’t use sophisticated glass lenses – these are direct light projections. A digital camera bares witness to our experience by capturing the image of the camera obscura projection.
OUR MOST RECENT CAMERA OBSCURA: ORPHEUS ISLAND BEACH TENT
(A collaborative event with John de Rooy, Spyder Displays and the Orpheus Is Photo Workshop)
TO VIEW OTHER CAMERA OBSCURA WORK BY COOPER AND SPOWART SEE THE LINKS
Our car converted into a camera obscura and driven across Australia:
Two New Zealand Camera Obscuras in the the Queenstown Rydges Hotel:
A public Camera Obscura performance and live video:
A camera obscura at the Queenstown Centre for Creative Photography:
A World Pinhole Day Camera Obscura at Mt Barney:
© 2013 Victoria Cooper and Doug Spowart for 16 Years of Camera Obscuras Project
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.
It seems that in the digital age many photographers still pine for the days past when the darkroom was familiar territory. While older photographers may have fond memories, today they share their darkroom love with new-comers, mainly younger and digitally native photographers. To honour the past and to celebrate the future of the darkroom we worked with the Director of Maud Creative Gallery Irena Prikryl recently to host a series of events and workshops to recognise analogue photography in contemporary photographic practice.
On November 8 a group of photographers responded to the call to attend an event at the gallery called DARK LOVE: Stories of the Darkroom. They were asked to come along with something special about the darkroom and tell a story associated with it. On arrival at the gallery their photographs were prepared and then hung on the wall. The presentations were timed at around 5 minutes and were quite fascinating.
What follows is a photo of the attendee, their print and a brief comment about their stories …
Alex spoke about working with Liquid Light emulsions
Victoria Cooper discussed the making of this pinhole biscuit tin photo and the challenges of printing the 6x18cm negative
Thomas spoke about his current academic research in the multiple printing of a single negative.
Tammy discussed the making of a studio portrait.
Sandy spoke of the dangers of shooting large format in busy Sydney traffic.
Robyn told the story of the making of this award winning print – from its origins from a point-n-shoot camera to darkroom high contrast printing ‘Tipp-ex” and a little bit of marker pen… A great animated performance….
Rob discussed his interest in the darkroom and work with a 6×7 Pentax documenting how old heritage buildings in Brisbane are being cramped by the skyscraper…
Peter discussed his use of an ‘ancient’ bellows camera and reloaded 120 aerial film on spools to make this image… the old and the outdated still have currency in analogue…
Michael discussed his modern printing of a series of lantern slides that represented a panorama of Brisbane made in the 1870s(?) by the photographer a Mr Wilson(?).
Louis spoke of a camera obscura that he made in a children’s hospital as part of an artist in residence. He described the view of Vulture Street in Brisbane on the ceiling of the room and how children visiting the space were enthralled by the images on the ceiling and walls…
Jeff discussed the taking of this photograph and its connection personal connection with he and his brother’s lives. The photo was made relatively recently at a place where Jeff and his brother played as kids 40 years earlier.
Irena’s story related to buying her first serious camera – a Hasselblad and then taking some photos in Grand Central Station in New York. The camera was balanced on a railing and the shutter speed was long… The photo was recently printed in a Fine Art Print workshop at Maud with Doug+Vicky.
Chris Bowes was unable to attend but had come by earlier to install his personal investigation of self and sweat by placing un-exposed B&W photopaper against his body. The prints are then process yield a ‘Chemigram’. Chris will present a floortalk at the gallery. Check the Dark Love page for details…
David discussed that the origins of his 1980s photographic series was a response to the work and photobooks of David Hamilton. Hamilton was well known for his ‘soft-porn’ photos of young girls. Symons spoke about how he appropriated Hamilton’s photos by double printing copy negatives through a cracked mud image. Texts from Hamilton’s book were adapted by Symons using a redactive process to reveal an alternative story….
I commented about how a recent re-connection with pinhole photography during the Pinhole workshop last weekend had helped to resolve a need for a new project that Vicky and I will be working on next year. I passed around an 8″x10″ film pinhole negative that had revived my interest and love of the darkroom. PHOTO: Victoria Cooper.
Edwin discussed his experiences with film photography whilst on tour to India with his friend Russell Shakespeare.
Gail showed some photographs from her early 1990s exhibition ‘Hollywood Stills’ that was shown at Imagery Gallery.
CHRIS BOWES FLOORTALK – 26 November – details to be confirmed
A FINE ART PRINTING WORKSHOP WILL TAKE PLACE ON – Postponed to 2017
A CYANOTYPE WORKSHOP – Details HERE
AND THE FRONT GALLERY WILL BE CONVERTED INTO A CAMERA OBSCURA on November 26 (to be confirmed)
All portrait photographs and gallery documentations unless credited otherwise ©2016 Doug Spowart
Adele Outteridge and Wim de Vos are like ‘family’ for many artists and creatives in Queensland, and I’m sure around Australia and beyond. Their Studio West End has provided a space for artists to access printing technologies, be supported by mentoring and teaching provided by Adele and Wim, and also connect through the social meeting place that the studio was.
Over the years both Vicky and I have connected with them in many different ways; as co-teachers in an art college, as collaborators on art projects, attending events that each other had organised, learning and sharing skills and, at times, just sitting around – as other do – talking about art and artists…
Adele and Wim have for many years operated their business Studio West End in the suburb of West End in Brisbane in an old soft drink and later and ice-cream factory. They made these places little palaces of art, inspiration and creativity. The workshop was often converted into an exhibition space and example of which would be the project launch of EX LIBRIS: WHO OWNS THIS BOOK
Vicky and I attended the last day party on the 23rd of April and I made some photographs of the state of the studio and its conversion into neat stacks of crates on pallets. What follows is a small selection of the ABSOE Studio West End wake…
On October 30 Adele and Wim re-opened STUDIO WEST END at a new location –
241F Station Rd, Yeerongpilly 4105. Come to Gate 4, YCP (Yeerongpilly Corporate Park)
A large opening party was held on Friday evening with the new consecration of the new studio being performed by artist and raconteur Janet de Boer OAM. Acquaintances and friends were invited to visit the studio over the weekend and we went along for lunch the next day. We wish them all the best for the Studio’s continued operation.
What follows is a documentation of the new space and its migration into a new space for art making, teaching and mentoring artists…
ALL photographs and text ©2016 Doug Spowart
Brisbane is not a place not known for its photobook makers… there’s not much happening. Occasionally a gem from Dane Beesley, a few college student publications made for assessment and, every now and again, artists’ books/photobooks from yours truly and Victoria Cooper. So it is an exciting time when a new book is made as a total production from concept to printing and binding in Brisbane. That book is by photographer and photobook self-publisher Ana Paula Estrada and is entitled Memorandum. The book was completed as a project associated with Estrada’s Siganto Foundation Creative Fellowship in the Australian Library of Art at the State Library of Queensland.
Memorandum is a conceptual bookwork and is concerned with concepts of aging and memory, remembrance and the recounting of stories. In this book Estrada presents evocative associations where the photograph infers a memory or moment re-called.
At a first glance Memorandum could seem to be just a book of straight portraits featuring old people. The are multiple images on successive pages occasionally interspersed with a range of other photos and ephemera. Each of the people pictured in this book have been interviewed by Estrada and shared with her stories of their lives. Fragments of their memories, exhumed from the depths of memory, or in some cases, from lost recesses of the mind caused by age-related memory impairment or varied stages of Alzheimer’s disease. Estrada’s portrait sequences present the subjects with subtle expression changes. Turning the pages of the book are like a conversation with the person – animated and suggesting a dialogue is taking place.
Facing pages are sometimes blank to create a punctuation or pause in the conversation. Sometimes images and other ephemera are on the verso pages. These act as windows to the conversation – they need no caption, they are physical evidence of existence, substantiating the memory. They act as memory maps placed before the reader as additional information. Many of these images have been sourced from the person in conversation. Other photographs have been sourced by Estrada from the archives of the State Library of Queensland to illustrate the memory relayed to her in conversation with the subject.
Memorandum has achieved the notice of the world-wide photobook community:
Harvey Benge comments on the book https://harveybenge.blogspot.com.au/2016/08/ana-paula-estrada-memorandum-new.html
The Royal Photographic Society’s curated photobook exhibition https://issuu.com/bjsdesign/docs/photobook_exhibition_2016_catalogue
Shortlisting for the Artspace Mackay Libris Artists’ Book Awards 2016-librisawards_illustratedlistofworks
Shortlisting for the Encontros da Imagem Festival (Braga, Portugal)
A review by Gabriela Cendoyo (in Spanish) can be seen HERE
The State Library of Queensland BLOG about the development of the book can be read HERE
The Australian Library of Art at the State Library of Queensland and the National Library of Australia have both bought copies.
I was honored to have Ana Paula approach me to write an essay to accompany the book. My text is printed as a broadsheet page folded and inserted into a pocket in the book’s cover. My essay is as follows….
Sitting here, I’m trying to recall the earliest memories of my life as a child. In this process of reflection I attempt to delve back into my memory searching for images, thoughts, experiences and feelings. What I find are personal, unique and fragmented memories that seem to have the appearance of photographs.
As I remember more of my childhood, I wonder if there is another way of visualising memories? But what emerges again in my mind are stilled photographic moments in particular, one of a family group. These photo memories have no colours, just black and white and slightly sepia. Wide white borders surround each memory and the corners are slightly bumped showing the patina of being handled. It even seems plausible to me I could even turn the memory over, and there would be a caption there in someone’s handwriting.
How could I, at 3 years of age, have known the significance and the outcome of my father’s posed group – my brother, mother and me? Other aspects of the photograph, like how youthful my mother appears, or how my father was not yet bald, give me something to base what I think should be my memories of that time. Could it be that I remember the photograph and have forgotten the moment of its making?
Writer and critic John Berger claims that, ‘All photographs are there to remind us of what we forget.’[i] Does this mean that because we have photographs, we allow ourselves to forget? What I do know is when we want to remember – we look at photographs. And when it comes to remembering there are social rituals that help us do this. Every family, for example, at some time or another, gathers together and the musty pages of photo albums are turned, old yellowed Kodak print packets thumbed through and the slides are held up to the light with everyone squinting to see some glimmer of recognition in the tiny frame. We have seen the archived baby photos, the wedding couple, holidays and kids playing at the beach, the new house and the other treasures that vernacular photography presents as a personal record. Through this ritual we encounter the rich archive of our family and ancestor’s lives. These now become ‘conditioned memories’, whether real or fiction. When we next see these photos we will think we remember the moment of their making and not necessarily our moment of first encountering them.
This conceptual bookwork by Ana Paula Estrada is concerned with the human condition of memory. Perhaps more specifically this work deals with concepts of ageing and memory, remembrance and the recounting of stories. The work also comments on the interpretation of stories and the retelling of what could be referred to as meta-stories in the form of a book.
As the pages of Memorandum are turned – people will be met. There will be conversations through the sharing of photographs, documents and news-clippings of these people’s lives. Through the process of making this book, memories have been revisited, refreshed and retold anew. These stories are offered for reader’s contemplation, perhaps even for future remembering. Memoranda, such as these, may be about other people’s stories – but in many ways they may stir our memories and become part of our stories as well.
[i] Berger, John. Keeping a Rendezvous [in English]. Granta in association with Penguin, 1992.
- Black soft cover, Section Sewn (Exposed Spine), 21 cm x 15 cm Stock: Ecostar Uncoated It contains a small 8pp booklet, fold out pages and a tipped in 112gsm translucent page
- 170 pages and 86 photographs
- Selling price $80
Other details about the book:
Photographs & Text:
Ⓒ2016 Ana Paula Estrada
Subject´s personal photographs.
John Oxley Collection, State Library of Queensland.
Design & concept: Ana Paula Estrada
Essay: Dr. Doug Spowart
Artwork: Linda Carling
Colour management: Martin Barry
Printing: Allclear in Brisbane, Australia
Typefaces: Chronicle Display and Aparajita
Paper stock: 120gsm &140gsm Ecostar
First edition, 2016
Print run: 200
More information about the book and how to purchase a copy can be found on Ana Paula’s website.
Ana Paula Estrada’s Memorandum makes a significant contribution to the contemporary photobook genre in her ability to resolve the conceptualisation, capture – in photographs and recorded interview, the design and coordination of a complex concept into the simple form of of a book. And in doing so give us an opportunity to consider contemporary issues of our time through the photobook.
October 31, 2016
PHOTOS OF THE BOOK LAUNCH
AVID READER IN WEST END BRISBANE
ARTLANDS DUBBO CONFERENCE: Regional voices missing
Today we were to present a paper at the ARTLAND DUBBO REGIONAL ARTS AUSTRALIA CONFERENCE. Earlier this year we made a submission based on one of the conference themes and were excited to learn that our submission was accepted and that we were going to be able to add our story and project activities in regional arts in Australia to the conference.
However, then we found that the conference fees, despite ‘early bird’ and presenter discounts, combined with the costs to get to Dubbo and be accommodated were enormous. We had to look at support options for grants in Arts Queensland and the Regional Arts Fund and we found that none either ‘fitted’ with our needs or could be responded to in time to register. We therefore withdrew our presentation.
As regional artists, although we’ve been in Brisbane of late, and also independent researchers we have noticed many opportunities at conferences and seminars now require presenters to fund their place in the program. Now that might be affordable to academics, those employed in arts management or facilitation or those who have taxable incomes where such can be an allowable income tax deduction, but others just cannot afford to bear such costs.
It seems to us that many voices in the field of art in Australia are being kept out of the conversation by the cost of participation and the lack of grant support.
There is no doubt that ARTLANDS DUBBO will be a success and all who attend will benefit greatly from the shared experience and networking possible but for us, on this occasion, we stayed at home and worked on our art.
For those interested what follows is our proposal that related to the conference theme – REGENERATION: Exploring arts and cultural development using creativity that positively impacts on community vitality and well being.
Artists in residence programs provide unique opportunities for artists to explore their practice while contributing to the community’s cultural development. We will discuss ‘3 tiers’ of community engagement in our Nocturne AIR Projects: artist as creator, community as creator, and social media as a creative flux for interactive engagement.
We will present a background on the Centre for Regional Arts Practice (Centre) that we formed in 2007 as a response to the circumstances and challenges of artists living in regional Australia. From the beginning the ‘Centre’ has engaged in advocacy, representation, commentary and the development of projects for regional artists and the communication of regional art perspectives.
The ‘Centre’ engages in artist in residency programmes that enable the development of community based Nocturne Projects. These projects have been sponsored through the regional galleries of Muswellbrook, Grafton, Bundaberg, Miles and Armidale. We have also self-funded Nocturne documentary projects across eastern Australia and Tasmania.
3 Tiers of Engagement
In developing the methodology for our AIR Nocturne Projects we identified 3 tiers of community engagement, these are:
- artist as creator;
- community as creator: artist as facilitator; and
- social media as creative flux for interactive engagement.
Artist as creator:
We will talk about how our AIR work allows us to explore themes, both personal and collaborative, in the investigation and representation of “site” and “place” in the Australian landscape. We work to connect contemporary social issues with historical, scientific and mythological insights intrinsic to each site. Critical to, and inherent in, this work is these visual narratives that are deeply rooted in the recording and interaction with each place.
Community as creator – artist as facilitator:
Beyond our own work Nocturne AIR Projects we develop, in conjunction with the local gallery education officers programmes that provide creative development to suit each community’s needs. Included in these programmes may be workshops, practical digital photography shoot-outs and assignment work, image enhancement and file optimisation, one-on-one mentoring, developing social media skills as well as photobook and zine making.
Participants, whether they use hi-tech DSLR cameras, point-n-shoot cameras, tablets or smart phones, connect through meetings and workshop sessions. To provide a continuous stream of inspiration, feedback, instruction and support we establish closed Facebook groups for participants.
Social Media as a creative flux for interactive engagement:
All of the major Nocturne AIR Projects are connected to the broader community by a Facebook page. It enables an online space for sharing and presenting the project work. In the more recent projects, where there was an issue of distance for the regional community members to participate in the project, we managed two FB pages: one for those closely involved in the creative development of the Nocturne Project and another for the gathering and sharing stories through the broader community.
Using the methodology of the three tiers of engagement we believe we explore arts and cultural development using creativity that positively impacts on community vitality and well-being.
Western Downs Regional Council’s Community Development Officer Carollee Murphy stated the following about our Nocturne Miles Project:
Thank you for empowering our community with practical photography and book-making skills. Nocturne Miles installed a greater sense of shared space and community pride. The multi-modal outcomes of this project have been far-reaching, especially through social media and have painted Miles and district in a new light.
A LINK TO OUR NOCTURNE PROJECTS CAN BE FOUND HERE
We came to Orpheus to share our knowledge, skills and experience of photography and the book. We were ready to assist and encourage – motivate and create with the participants… We had plotted and planned for months – but nothing could have prepared us for the Orpheus experience we were to have!
We were amazed with the boundless energy and enthusiasm for all things photography. In particular:
• Everyone’s participation in the lecture presentations
• The amazing camera obscura that John de Rooy & Spyder Displays had made
• The fun everyone had with pinhole imaging, lumen printing and other ‘photo play’ projects
• The playful and the deeply considered work made by everyone
• The individual creative development towards making books
• The joy that everyone expressed from making and crafting fine images and books
We appreciated the special access to the incredible equipment from Kayell, Hasselblad, Nikon, Epson and ProPhoto.
The support workers and organisers were photo experts, construction workers and logistical whizzes while always with a smile and good humour. So much happens behind the scenes of the great Orpheus Drama. But there was another endless creative space – the kitchen. And it was those that worked from dawn to well after we all had dined that we owe our sustained creative energy, fed our bodies and delighted our taste buds.
All this made the working environment possible as we, with the amazing Les Walkling, worked together to share our knowledge, passion and inspiration for photography. It was inspiring for us working with Les – his dedication to sharing his great knowledge and experience. He is truly unique in Australian photography. Thank you also for your words about our contribution to the Orpheus Photo Workshop …
… I loved every minute of the ‘Doug & Vicky Roadshow’, and I even ‘re-named’ the main lecture theatre the ‘Doug and Vicky Studio’. What memorable times were had in and around that space. Every aspect of Doug and Vicky’s presentations were informative and entertaining, and I don’t think I have ever loved photo books so much, nor ‘played’ so joyfully with my photography. What a difference it makes working with skilled presenters who are at the top of their field and not afraid to share their love and devotion to what we all adore; our photography. I can’t thank them enough for their contribution to Orpheus 2016, their generosity and tireless expansiveness, and the difference they have made to our photographic lives.
WHAT FOLLOWS IS AN ALBUM OF PHOTOS FROM THE WORKSHOP
Special thank you to:
John and Pam de Rooy our hosts and organisers – the rocks that underpin Orpheus
Tutors Murray, Ross and Rod for their ever-present support
Brenda, Dave and Nikolaj – an amazing Chef team
Marta and Jimmy from the JCU Research Facility – where would we be without their support?
Libby and Geoff from MomentoPro for their enthusiasm and collaboration in the book projects
Epson, Kayell and Canson for the fabulous papers and printers
William from Hasselblad and John from Kayell for the exceptional access to the gear
Nikon and the wonderful range of quality professional camera equipment.
AND… A very special thank you to all the photographers, now new friends, with whom we shared the experience of Orpheus 2016 …
We are now getting ready for our next island workshop: on the Greek island of SKOPELOS
May 2017 for 2 weeks of art photography about ‘place’ making cyanotypes and photobooks + Greek culture, wine and food. SEE HERE FOR MORE INFO