Victoria Cooper+Doug Spowart Blog

Archive for April 2011

WORLD PINHOLE DAY: April 24, 2011

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‘Round the [w]hole world today pinholers were out having fun – Making their images for the 2011 WPD.

We have just purchased an OLYMPUS EPL1 a Micro Four Thirds digital camera. It features interchangeable lenses, 12 megapixel capture and HD Video – It’s not the latest and greatest but it is very reasonably priced @ around $450 at JB-HiFi or Harvey Norman.

What is exciting is we drilled out the body cover – put about a 10mm hole in the middle and stuck an old home-made pinhole into it and made pictures. In ‘LiveView’ mode you can even see what you are shooting and, better still, we are shooting pinhole movies!!! In fact out 2011 WPD offering will feature a ‘stilled’ image (SEE Below) with a link to a YouTube video.

Still from the Pinhole Movie: "Being There . . ."

HERE IS THE LINK   http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Yk4vnbzTqOU

Vist the WPD Site for other contributors:  http://www.pinholeday.org/gallery/2011/

Our WPD images:

2011    http://www.pinholeday.org/gallery/2011/index.php?id=924

2010   http://www.pinholeday.org/gallery/2010/index.php?id=2464&Country=Australia&searchStr=spowart

2006  http://www.pinholeday.org/gallery/2006/index.php?id=1636&Country=Australia&searchStr=cooper

2004 Vicky  http://www.pinholeday.org/gallery/2004/index.php?id=1553&Country=Australia&searchStr=cooper

2004 Doug  http://www.pinholeday.org/gallery/2004/index.php?id=1552&Country=Australia&searchStr=spowart

2003  http://www.pinholeday.org/gallery/2003/index.php?id=615&Country=Australia&searchStr=spowart

2002  http://www.pinholeday.org/gallery/2002/index.php?id=826&Country=Australia&searchStr=spowart

Written by Cooper+Spowart

April 25, 2011 at 11:32 am

EASTER 2011 – At the Beach: WOOLI

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Well Easter has come and gone – WOT DID YOU DO?  Did it rain? Were you able to get away? Did you mow the lawn? Did you get to the Beach? Did you do things that you’ve been hanging out to do?

Well, Here’s what we did . . . .

Entering the Sunlight: Entering the darkness

'White Shadows' The Book: On Wooli Beach

SEE: Other Wooli Books on our website


SEE: An introductory WOOLI BEACH video on YouTUBE

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April 23, 2011 at 9:31 am

April – QCP Artists of the Month

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SEE the site here: http://www.qcp.org.au/

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April 14, 2011 at 11:51 pm

GLEN O’MALLEY visits Toowoomba April 12+13, 2011

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Significant Queensland documentary photographer Glen O’Malley visited Toowoomba over the last few days to catch up with old friends and acquaintances. On the evening of April 12 he made a presentation and showed recent work to students from the Southern Queensland Institute of TAFE.

Glen is one of Queensland’s great photography characters. Well known for his street documentary photographs which go back to the earliest days of ‘art photography’  – his first solo exhibition was held in 1975. Coming from way up north, near Babinda, Glen has for years been a master of traditional black and white. In recent years he has ‘crossed over’ to the digital and that has opened up a whole new vision for him – one that is very coloured. Originally trained as an artist Glen considers his ‘colourist’ background has re-emerged in his digital capture.

Another aspect to the O’Malley style is that he is a surrealist. Images in recent exhibitions ‘Hotplate Heaven’ and the ‘Pet Show’ feature prosaic home environments which are inhabited by ordinary looking people who do the most bizzare things. His latest work for a new show at the Queensland Centre for Photography in June. The exhibition is entitled ‘What a night!’ and features not only his own work but also images by Kellie White.

Students viewing Glen and Kellie’s works

Glen and Kellie’s work feature images made at night or dusk with flash or torch work illuminating the subject. Technique is one thing but the images are something else – they are, as you might expect, surreal but there is more! The images appear as spontaneous, serendipitous and intuitive moments. Intrigue and mystery are embedded in each image and do demand intense and prolonged viewing

Glen frames his point

Some of Kellie’s images

Some of Glen’s work

Written by Doug Spowart


Written by Cooper+Spowart

April 13, 2011 at 1:47 pm

DOUG’s ‘Borderlines’ Book Wins QAIPP Photographic Book of the Year

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On April 9 & 10 the Queensland Division of the AIPP held its 2011 Professional Photography Awards. The photographic book of the year category was won by my BORDERLINES book, my FLIP-Book NARCISSUS MEETS HIMSELF ON THE ROAD TO BUNDANON was the runner-up. Although not a heavily contested category it was a great thrill to have the book receive the award as well as a SILVER WITH DISTINCTION certificate.

The Toowoomba Chronicle ran a quick news story with portrait and story – See text only here CHRONICLE 13 April





Written by Cooper+Spowart

April 13, 2011 at 9:46 am

Flood Image Salvage – Sandy Barrie Collection

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On January 12 and 13 as floodwaters rose in Ipswich and Brisbane the inundated one of Australia’s largest private photographic collections. This massive collection has grown over a lifetime of careful and persistent work by photographer and historian Sandy Barrie. With tonnes of material to shift, including thousands of glass plate negatives and 2,000 cameras, Sandy could only try to keep stacking important things higher and higher in his house as the water rose around him. The water came up to about 30cm from the ceiling on the top floor of his home – drowning just about everything.
For short time after the flood Sandy was uncontactable and friends searched desperately for him and ways to attempt salvage of whatever could be saved. Fellow collector and historian Marcel Safier took charge on the ground and assembled a volunteer workforce who set about the massive task ahead. Through advice given by former Queensland Museum curator Brian Crozier I made contact with representatives from the Australian Institute for the Conservation of Cultural Materials. Unfortunately most AICCM members are linked to institutions who were also suffering inundation and were therefore challenged by their own workplace problems. None-the-less it fell to AICCM member Lydia Egunnike to offer advice and support to the recovery project. See the Queensland Times news piece about the project.
With Marcel and his team, one of Sandy’s family George and Lydia the recovery began. The Incinerator Theatre was accessed as a clean workplace and teams setup to wash and dry photographs and other materials. A record of this activity was made by another great supporter of the salvage project Peter Marquis-Kyle. The Brisbane ‘volunteer army’ visited Sandy’s street and swept all before it leaving piles of wet, muddy and increasingly mouldy ‘junk’ in the street. As in many circumstances in Brisbane and Ipswich at the time many recoverable items may have been lost in the urgency to ‘clean up’ after the deluge.
At the time Toowoomba was cut-off by the devastating tsunami of Grantham and the Toowoomba range. However both Vicky and I had been working via the telephone and internet trying to coordinate whatever we could. On Monday we were able to travel to Ipswich and collect about ten cartons of negatives from the Dorothy Coleman collection. Back in Toowoomba we had assembled our own team of photographers, students and members of the local camera club in the photo department at Southern Queensland Institute of TAFE.
Local conservator from the Cobb and Co Museum Vicki Warden, also an AICCM member, guided the Toowoomba TAFE team through the delicate steps to unpack rinse large format film negatives and dry them. It was important to also treat the packaging that enclosed the negatives as it included indentifying information. Before long three darkroom sink areas were buzzing with activity and string-lines setup around the studio and corridor spaces were being filled with drying negatives and packaging. John Elliott, a local photographic identity, made a video of the activity that can be viewed at youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BbfXDVKxiVk.  See also the story published in the Toowoomba Chronicle (2.1 mb)  about the TAFE recovery work.
In Toowoomba we processed around 800 negatives in around three days but time was running out for the flooded materials as mould began to grow on packaging and negatives. Due to health concerns, as fungal products can be dangerous to health, we had to abandon work on the Coleman negatives. Lydia, using her own car, drove the 90 kms from Ipswich to Toowoomba with glass plate negatives from the Poulson and Mathieson collections. Vicki came by again and briefed the TAFE team on handling glass plate negs and we got underway. The work continued for another three days during which an estimated 600 negatives were treated.
At this time the recovered negatives have been re enveloped and are being kept in cool storage until Sandy is ready to receive the material back into his care. There are some amazing images – so much of the excitement of the recovery work was the deep sense that something was able to be saved. When each negative was removed from its wet and stained envelope the person doing the work was able to connect with a part of photographic history – or, perhaps, part of all our histories.
We are indeed indebted to the work done by the volunteers and by heroes of the project like Marcel, Peter, George and Anita, and AICCM members Vicki and, in particular – Lydia.
In the meantime Sandy is trying to re-establish a home and the life that was once filled by so many treasures.
We wish him well.

SCU Acquisitive Artists Book Award – February 26, 2011

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Judge: Prof Ross Woodrow

Judge: Prof Ross Woodrow

The 2011 Southern Cross University’s Acquisitive Artists Book Award was announced at the Next Gallery in Lismore on February 26. Shortlisted works represented a cross section of the discipline from sculptural books to the ephemeral oddities, readymades, recycled, sticks ‘n’ feathers and solidly traditional weighty codexes. The exhibition was a ‘something for everyone’ sampler of contemporary approaches to the art—whatever that may be.

The exhibition venue, whilst modest in size, amply accommodated the works and gave an intimate viewing experience to the books. Importantly the gallery places the works within the centre of the Lismore Central Business District enabling a very public connection to artists’ books as art gallery presentation content. This is contrary to the almost secular way in which this kind of work is presented in libraries and specialized venues.

Professor Ross Woodrow, from the Queensland College of Art, as this year’s judge was charged with the responsibility of selecting works to compliment the books already held by the university’s library that are used not only for exhibition and reading, but also for lecture discussion samples.

Woodrow listed his three principal criteria for selection; (1) the best books for the collection, (2) personal taste and (3) books that look like books and acted as books. His selection of 3 books confirms this criteria:

  • Lyn Ashby: The Ten Thousand Things, digital prints, Arches Watercolour paper, boards, 24 x 30cm closed, Edition 50.
  • Peter E Charuk: Glacies Lux, digital photographs, 21 x 34cm
  • Peter Lyssiotis + Ann-Marie Hunter: A Modern Forest, screenprint, 26.3 x 17.5cm Edition 10, Publisher: Mastertheif / Psyclonic Studios

Viewing books @ the NEXT Gallery

As usual the judge’s selections have created some contention in the artists book scene. Some commentators on the awards seem to miss the point that this is an acquisitive award that contributes to the university’s teaching library of artists books. Each acquisitive award event is presided over by a different judge and different areas of artists book practice will be represented in their selection. Ultimately the winner is everyone interested in artists books as the collection will quite possibly become one of the most diverse, in terms of examples of exemplary practice, in the country.

More viewing of books

An online catalogue is available for viewing on the Next Gallery Site

Check it out!



Judging the Myrtle Street 2011 Pinhole Photography Competition

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Over the last few days we’ve been involved in the judging of a new and unique photography award – The Myrtle Street 2011 Pinhole Photography Competition. Initiated and organised by artist and gallerist Jay Dee Dearness of Myrtle Street Studio this is a new and exciting opportunity for pinhole photographers to present their best works.

Our comments on the judging were:

‘It was a great pleasure to judge this competition for Jay Dee and the Myrtle Street Gallery. We enjoyed the variety and quality of the images presented.
We approached the judging of this work from the point of view that, as there are endless devices, methods and materials for the capture and production of pinhole photographs the image had to utilize the qualities of the pinhole in support of a visual concept. These image qualities include; long exposure subject movement, maximum depth of field and a softness of image that evokes mystery and an appearance like a memory. These elements are characteristic of lensless photography and form the basic ‘language’ of the pinhole image.
The image, for the pinhole photographer in the landscape, encapsulates the experience and the ‘feeling’ of ‘being there’ during the extended time of exposure. For other pinholers the image evokes a kind of romantic softness and sometimes a mystical immanance within rather than precise detail of the subject’s features. With this in mind we chose the images that satisfied these criteria, although all of the images entered have many of these qualities.’
The winners can be viewed at  http://www.myrtlestreetstudio.com/blog. An exhibition will open from Saturday 9th of April.  You can also vote for a People’s Choice Award.

Written by Cooper+Spowart

April 8, 2011 at 8:21 am

TWINSCAPES Opening – March 12, 2011

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Japanese pinhole photographer Hideharu Matsuhisa presents the exhibition The TwinScapes @ the Caloundra Regional Art Gallery  – March 9 ~ April 10.

PHOTOS: Mark Schoeman

Hide has been a regular visitor to Australia for many years – staying with Brisbane photographic identity Ian Poole. For 7 years Hide has been working with pinhole film cameras in Japan, the US and Australia. The Caloundra gallery exhibition is a selection of his color pinhole images made over this period.

As pinhole photographers and friends to Hide we supported his exhibition by providing pinhole cameras and other resources. We were invited by Hide to include two camera obscura images to be included as visiting artists in his show. On the morning of Saturday 12th we presented a lecture on pinhole photography to around 40 participants. After lunch John Waldron, (Cultural Heritage & Collections Manager, Creative Communities, Sunshine Coast Council) presented a commentary on Hide’s approach to pinhole photography (SEE http://lucidamagazine.com/?p=414).  We officially opened the exhibition.

The TwinScapes exhibition features color pinhole imagery that has the profound feeling of a memory – in encountering the works the viewer may have a sense of looking at the image of a past experience. Hide’s feeling for the sweeping expanse of the Australian landscape is complimented by the tight compositions of urban Japanese buildings.

Thanks Hide for sharing your “light” with us.

'Trees in fog' by Hideharu Matsuhisa

GIRRAWEEN National Park Weekend, March 25, 26 & 27

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Back on granite @ Girraween

I wonder if our shadows are still there

when we return I will check the rock and let you know.

Vicky under the picnic tree

Doug taking a break

Written by Cooper+Spowart

April 7, 2011 at 12:48 pm

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