Archive for January 2013
MONDAY JANUARY 28 2013, an eerie silence has fallen over Toowoomba. The howling wind, driving rain and the bumping of things on the roof and around the place has gone after being ever present for three days. I strain to hear something—ah! There’s a birdcall or two (have not heard them for days), a car drives down the street … and then there’s nothing again.
The s-s-plash emptying the rain gauge is a very benign sound, and then I realise what the difference is … there is none of the constant noise of the B-Double trucks, the 8,000 of them that grind through Toowoomba every day. Every highway in-or-out of town is closed.
I hear more birds and sun is coming out—there is something of a Toowoomba experience of the past, a kind of déjà vu, perhaps even nostalgia for a time before trucks took over this town.
UPDATE: January 29 – the ‘noise’ has started again…
Emptying the rain gauge for the third time since Friday – Another 120mm – I didn’t empty it on Sunday as the outside weather conditions were too nasty.
We went out just now after being cooped up by the weather. Lots of bits of trees, occasional branches, eroded footpaths and water running everywhere. East Creek at the bottom of our street is fairly tame and seems to have contained itself throughout the deluge—nothing like January 10, 2011. (SEE the image below)
Our thoughts are with friends, acquaintances and people who we don’t know at this time who are experiencing significant hardship as a result of ex-cyclone Oswald.
More stories Toowoomba Chronicle – Click HERE
Stay Safe ….
Doug + Vicky
Not many people would pick me as a wedding photographer – Well, I’ve been to many, shot a few and even been employed as the wedding photographer. One of my photographs was the highest scoring wedding photograph at the AIPP Awards in 1991, and in the mid 1990s, I won the award ‘Queensland Innovative Wedding Photographer of the Year’ on two occasions. Masquerading as a wedding album, one of my artists books is even held in the State Library of Queensland’s rare books collection. SEE: http://srlopac.slq.qld.gov.au/cgi-bin/Pwebrecon.cgi?BBID=1381161
My wedding photography ‘career’ began auspiciously, as I guess most photographers do – with a family wedding. I was a naive 18 year old studying photography part-time at the College of Art in Brisbane. At the time I was working with an old Mamiya C33 and an M3 Leica with a Metz 202 flash, and the idea of shooting a wedding an adventure. At the time I was working at Kodak and some of my clients helped me out with advice and the ‘slip your prints in’ album that was the final outcome for the project.
All went to plan – I did the bride in the mirror at home, in the church during the ceremony with flash, the bride and groom walking up the isle, a quasi-documentary bride ‘n’ groom outside the church, family groups, bride and groom in the rear window of the car and the cake cutting. My brother Garry did marry Sheridan Draisey at All Saints Church and I had the photos to prove it.
Kodak printed the images; probably at their colour lab in Sydney as the Brisbane lab was still doing black and white processing exclusively. The prints were slipped into the pages and passed on to the happy couple.
A few years ago I heard through the family grapevine that the album was falling apart and that images were fading. I wonder how many photographers experience this fear of whether their goods and services will last and the possibility of the disgruntled client appearing from the past with faded, leuco-cyan (reddish) or yellowed prints and the grunge of time coating everything? Eventually I was reunited with the album and its sorry condition. What to do?
I scanned the images and used simple Adobe Photoshop techniques to remove casts and reconstitute faded colours. All images were reprinted on inkjet pigments and archival papers and the pages fitted into a new album cover. A CD-Rom was included loaded with the restored jpeg images. The original album was assembled as best as possible, wrapped archivally and inserted into a container for safe keeping and the new album similarly presented.
On the next convenient occasion the album was represented to the client (my sister-in-law). She excitedly reviewed the album and recounted the wedding, and the stories of those in the group photos were updated – even perhaps made alive by their remembrance and telling.
My experience made me think about how photographers constantly push ‘photo memories’ as a selling point for choosing a professional photographer for important events. And I wondered how often the pro photographer’s images may, as in this case, not last as well as everyone might have expected. I came to also reflect upon how memories are recreated through photographs and how important the photograph of times past is for people – particularly as they age.
As the photographer and re-creator of the album I was rewarded by the experience and how many a faded image may be restored to its memorable potential by Adobe Photoshop. It is interesting how digital imaging was once touted as being the death of photography – it may very well be its salvation.
Dr Doug opens the FOTO FRENZY Photographic Centre in Brisbane
The much awaited reopening of the expanded FOTO FRENZY Photographic Centre in Coorparoo took place on Friday, January 18, 2013. Attended by a crowd of around 100 well-wishers the event heralded a new beginning for dilettantes of a wide range of photography interests including:
- photography workshops
- photographic gallery
- fine art printing, mounting and framing
- photographic darkroom hire
- studio hire
- one-on-one consultations
The Foto Frenzy team includes Brisbane photo identities Ian Poole, Cam Attree, Tony Holden and Darren Jew. All four are photographers and have specialist areas of activity from photography as art, to location and underwater photography, nude and glamour photography and photography as personal expression. Darren Jew is well known in photo workshop circles for the ‘Faces and Places’ workshop that he established with Jim McKitrick in the late 1980s.
The Foto Frenzy team have been together for twelve months in a modest facility just a short distance away from the new home. Now with the larger facility and the linkup with Susan & Jacob and Brisbane Camera Hire new and amazing opportunities for the business and the clients that they service are available.
As someone with a history in photography that connects with most of the Foto Frenzy team, as well as being a former Director of the photo gallery and workshop—Imagery Gallery, (that operated in Brisbane from 1980-1995), I was asked to open the new Foto Frenzy Photographic Centre. Some of my comments in the opening speech were…
The other day I was made aware of a TIME magazine article in which the claim was made that 10% of all the photographs ever made in the over 170 year history of photography were made in 2012!! This statement is evidence that with digital photography, including the now ubiquitous mobile phone, means that anyone can take photographs—But does that mean that everyone IS a photographer? My opinion is no—Because there is something special in the blood of the photographer that enables them, or demands of them, that just seeing and snapping isn’t enough.
True photographers want to ‘craft’ and create images that are about significant visual communication. Sometimes powerful, sometimes sublime, sometimes nonsensical or humorous and sometimes, perhaps even bland and boring. We know of these kinds of photographs because they tell us about beauty in the world, of atrocity, of feast, famine and of love and the human condition. These images inspire us and drive us, perhaps even spur us on to be better photographers ourselves—and this is where we encounter the need for networking, training, nurturing support, guidance and technology support. This is where the Foto Frenzy suite of services will link with our lives.
I congratulate the Foto Frenzy team and Brisbane Camera Hire for their vision, entrepreneurship and financial commitment in establishing this photographic centre. And what I see are the great opportunities for those of us interested in being a part of what photography is, and where it is going—to have a place that will be a hub, or should I say, a frenzied hive of activity.
It is with great pleasure that I declare the Foto Frenzy centre open….
Ian Poole in his thank you advised the attendees that Cooper and Spowart were to be, in a couple of months, the Foto Frenzy’s first Artists in Residence.
SPECIAL NOTE: We will be conducting a range of workshops @ Foto Frenzy over the following months. The topics of our workshops and consultations will include aspects of our PhD research into photobooks, creative photography practice, narrative and story telling in the photo sequence and aspects of social media, in particular Linkedin, Blogs and YouTube. We will also be available for one-on-one project/concept development.
To let us know you would like to be advised of the workshops when they become available
Contact us <Greatdivide@a1.com.au>
Cheers Doug and Victoria
When a community challenges its elected representatives
On January 11th we attended a public meeting to join the protest against a Toowoomba Range development that would change the nature of a highly visible part of our town and diminish liveability values of an area close to where we live—the background of the protest and personal reflections on the meeting follow…
At a special meeting of the Toowoomba Regional Council on December 21st approval was given to a major commercial development at the ‘Top of the Range’—the main road transport entry to Toowoomba. The development, it is claimed, is required to service the needs of the local community with a McDonalds, a KFC and a convenience store that will operate 24 hours per day. The development is conditional on the installation of traffic lights, by the developer, at the intersection of the Warrego Highway (Cohoe Street) and Herries Streets.
It is claimed that responses provided by the community against the development in the pre-approval stage were not adequately considered in the Council’s decision.
Concerned residents called the protest meeting at St Luke’s Church because the development was given the go ahead despite their objections and those from other stakeholders. As the area is currently mainly residential with adjoining motels and a service station their objections included the 24 hour presence of:
- safety issues of the proximity of the traffic lights at the crest of the Range creating mayhem for trucks and busses—gearboxes, clutches, mechanical and loading problems that may require breakdown vehicles and Range holdup and delays;
- traffic/car park noise;
- overnight carpark lighting; and
- cooking odours permeating the local environment.
The meeting was chaired by East Toowoomba resident Kate Powell and those addressing the meeting included State Government members Trevor Watts & John McVeigh, TWU state secretary Peter Biagini and councillor Mike Williams. Questions and comments from the floor were clapped, hissed and booed depending on the feelings of those in attendance. Councillor Mike Williams was indeed a brave man to attend such a meeting however his answers provided understanding of council process and procedures—he refrained from answering questions relating to the specific council decision to approve the development. He did comment that he had voted against the development in the December Council meeting.
The Second Toowoomba Range crossing was a side issue, but one which stirred the crowd. They were advised that authorities felt that the current crossing would be satisfactory for traffic densities of up to 23,000 vehicles daily and that was expected to be by the year 2020—BUT that number of vehicles is using the crossing every day NOW! And … 25% of those vehicles are heavy transport.
Members of the audience voiced their emotional outcries as well:
- ‘What an ugly entry this will provide to the our Garden City’;
- ‘What have you done to my beautiful city’; and
- ‘How can you approve another ‘fast food’ outlet in this town … there are already 7 in Toowoomba?’
It was agreed that the Council’s decision would be challenged by the appeal process and to achieve that a committee of nine members were selected from the floor. One attendee quipped that: ‘For council to fight a legal battle derived from this meeting they will use the money of those ratepayers here tonight protesting!’ And a legal battle is where this protest is leading…
What we felt important is the recognition that government, council or administrative bodies need to consider that commercial ‘development’ should go hand-in-hand with community values.
Dr Doug Spowart
The protest group has established a website called FRIENDS OF THE TOOWOOMBA RANGE – To visit click HERE
For more information see the links to some Chronicle Newspaper reports:
On the road and in the street
In past years after a day’s travelling doing fieldwork we usually aim for an overnight stay in a country town to rest for the night before attacking the road again. On arrival in the town we drive down the main street to inspect the available/affordable accommodation options. By nightfall we are usually ensconced in the motel room: organising our day’s imaging, catching up with emails, dinner and so on. The next day we move on . . .
This year during our summer field trip, motivated by the results of our recent Wooli Nocturne Project, we decided to document at twilight an aspect of each town where we stayed. This meant arriving early so that we could walk down the main street before sunset. Our objective was to survey the site-specific arrangement of town’s Xmas display, (whether present or absent), and identify features that at dusk would also be artificially illuminated. Returning later we would shoot under the deep blue/magenta skies of the early evening and the night lights.
In this work we are not alone, as photographers across the history of the art have used this montage of artificial and natural light effects to document urban environments. The development of this work has been influenced over time by a sustained interest in artists like Edward Hopper and Jeffrey Smart, and the photographers Eugène Atget, Brassaï, William Eggleston, Joel Meyerowitz, Gregory Crewdson and Brian Brake. More recently in Australia, artists and photographers notably Bill Henson and Mark Kimber have also explored aspects of this genre.
Recognising that the inherent nature of this transient light evokes the uncanny, an unseen presence or the interstitial filmic moment captured as a still is fundamental to our project. In this work the documentary photograph is not just a record of the idiosyncratic nature of each town’s main street and its Xmas light show as in these lighting conditions everyday objects are transformed from their daytime function. The prosaic nature of these towns, when photographed in the dusk light, becomes part of a found aesthetic: a site-specific monument to nocturnal light; a visual narrative of light, colour and form.
Xmas Street Nocturne: A site-specific project by Victoria Cooper + Doug Spowart
5 January 2013
Towns and cities imaged:
On December 7, 2012 we mailed off to David Dellafiora in Geelong our contribution to the 2012 Field Study. We met David at the Artspace Mackay Artists Book Forum in 2010 where he presented a lecture on mail art and coordinated a collaborative project which dealt with the idea of the assembling book as a democratic multiple.
David Dellafiora is a quietly spoken person and not one to push his significant history and activities in the world of mail art. He was however an enthusiastic distributor of A5 fliers, call-to-action invitations to participate in numerous mail art projects that he coordinates. Field Study, Kart, Wipe and others are projects that are essentially ‘assembling books’, where artists worldwide submit multiple artworks by mail to David. At specific times throughout the year David coordinates a team that assembles, packages and mails out to all contributors a copy of the compiled project. A part of the production run is retained with copies being offered for sale to artists, galleries and collectors. The income from this activity finances the production costs and the return postage. Field Study publications are included artists book collections such as the V&A, Museum of Modern Art New York, State Library of Victoria and the Ruth & Marvin Sackner Archive of Concrete & Visual Poetry.
The Field Study contributions are called emanations and can include all kinds of things including: ‘documentations of performances, actions and exhibitions, tracts, rants, instructions, manifestoes, reflections and experiments.’ A selection of pages can be seen in the illustrations from last year’s report at the end of this post. They are a mashup of Fluxus, DaDa, Surrealist inspired, zine-ish paste-up, rubber stamps, torn up letter ransom notes and concrete poetry. In its assembled form the power of Field Report is apparent as it becomes a snapshot of artistic, social and/or political commentary on the times that are current at the time of its publication.
This year we contributed a piece that related to our commentary on extractive mining industries overtaking our regional communities. This is a variant to the Artists’ Survey Book #12 that has featured in past WOTWEDID posts. The page was printed using a high quality photocopier and each page, 100 in all, were signed and numbered by both of us. It was remarkable to see our workbench covered with the repeating pattern of 100 pages taking up an area of about 3 square metres.
We look forward to receiving a package from Field Study International later on this year. And, for anyone interested in future Field Study projects, check out the Field Study Blog or review some of the accompanying documents that follow in this blog post.