Archive for April 2014
Over 3 years ago photo historian and collector Sandy Barrie lost much of his extensive photo collection in the floods that inundated Ipswich and Brisbane. Within days of the catastrophe the photographic and professional conservation communities grouped together and attempted to save as much of the Sandy Barrie collection as possible. Several thousand negatives were removed to the photographic department of the Southern Queensland Institute of TAFE in Toowoomba for conservation work to be carried out. Conservator Vicki Warden and myself, supervised a team of students and members of the Toowoomba Photographic Society to do recovery work on the negatives. We managed to recover around 1,200 glass plate and film negatives from significant Queensland photographers like Dorothy Coleman and Thomas Mathewson. After recovery the negatives were packaged and stored in an air-conditioned space within the college.
Today, 30 April 2014, Sandy collected his negatives … While checking the condition and the subject matter he located his favorite image – a glass plate negative portrait of photographer Thomas Mathewson. It was a great moment!
In December last year Victoria and I were able to give Sandy a replacement plaque created at an event that celebrated the 150th Anniversary of Professional Photography in Australia. On December 12, 1992, photographic identities from all areas of photography in Australia gathered at the precise location where George B Goodman opened his studio in Sydney 150 years earlier. The plaque has the signatures of attendees of the celebration including; Olive Cotton, Toni & Adele Hurley, Dick Smith, David Moore, The Governor of New South Wales – Peter Sinclair, Ian Hawthorne, Peter Eastway, Brian Rope, Peter Hunter, Rodney Pforr and Robert Billington. Sandy organised this significant event.
The plaque was replaced by a spare one which I’d found in my archive and had been mixed up with similar sized objects in a solander box. I had the ‘spare’ as I’d assisted Sandy with the event and had designed the plaque. All that I needed to do was locate and print a portrait of Sandy and Master portrait photographer Ian Hawthorne made on the day.
Sandy was chuffed to have a memento of the important celebration returned to his collection.
The original Blog post about the flood from 2011
CAN ART BRING CLOSURE TO COMMUNITY TRAGEDY?
The exhibition SUNKEN HOUSES by Brad Marsellos and Heinz Riegler, Bundaberg Regional Art Gallery, March 12 – April 27, 2014
I’m standing in a dimly lit gallery surrounded by large-framed dark black and white photographic images. A somber soundtrack plays echoing the mood of the visual imagery. From outside the sound of rain pelting down enters the space and mingles with the exhibition’s audio. Rain is a sound that may normally not present a concern, particularly in a country frequently in drought, however the exhibition before me represents the effect that significant rain and runoff can have on our communities.
Just over twelve months ago, after days of torrential rain, the Burnett River at Bundaberg broke its banks submerging residential and commercial properties across the town. River cities historically deal with these events, however on this occasion the power of the river, and the duration of the flood, meant that after the water’s subsidence a significant area of urban space was obliterated. North Bundaberg suffered the most with houses washed off stumps, crashed into other homes and disappeared. What was left was utter devastation and a community dislocated, angry and in shock. The flood torrent had taken homes, belongings and also the sense of place and comfort that one feels in ‘being at home’.
Over those days the town had its heart wrenched from its foundations. Recovery, rebuild and move-on are the common expectations that usually follow such calamities. Government agencies and support groups rally in an attempt to facilitate the renewal and regeneration. However underlying the good works there still lingers memories, emotions and an all pervading the sense of loss.
When a community hurts the artist also shares that feeling and they may be called into service to make sense of, and perhaps through their art, help heal their community. So for local photographer Brad Marsellos, the story of the flood and the community became a 12-month project. Motivated to document and track the community’s response to the calamity Marsellos states he has: “… a strong passion for people and narrating lives, [and] believes photography allows the viewer to glance a moment in time and have the image take you on a journey.[i]”
The exhibition Sunken Houses, at the Bundaberg Regional Art Gallery, is the public presentation of Marsellos’ commitment to his community and this documentary project. In the gallery large black and white photographs are presented in wide bordered black frames. The photographs capture a sense of impending doom through dark dramatic light, and often-stormy clouds.
The curatorship and gallery craft involved in this show intentionally creates a space for contemplation of, and connection with, images of a community still in the shadow of the flood. All lighting in the gallery is subdued with the images spot lit creating islands of light. The accompanying soundtrack is described by the artists as ‘an immersive and emotive score’, and pervades the senses of the viewer. The composer was Heinz Riegler, a multidisciplinary artist who lives and works between Europe and Australia. The musical score was designed by Riegler to not only compliment the photographs, but to also represent his personal response to the stories and emotions of the Bundaberg community.
Marsellos’ images go beyond the plethora of documentary and news images that were broadcast during the event and in its aftermath. These photographs, their presentation, and the musical score, work to touch directly with deeply etched memories of the flood. Writer and intellectual Susan Sontag in her book Considering the Pain of Others[ii], makes the observation that ‘pictures allow us to remember’. She adds that:
Harrowing photographs do not inevitably lose their power to shock. But they are not much help if the task is to understand. Narratives can make us understand. Photographs do something else: they haunt us.
On their own these photographs may haunt and shock. Usually the viewer would leave the room taking with them the emotional state that was created in the gallery space. But this exhibition is different, there is a ‘message wall’ set aside in the gallery for visitors to tell their story – to express and share how they feel. Visitors either added to the wall or paused to read the cards and reflect upon the comments already posted. Perhaps this is evidence of the relevance that, ‘narratives can make us understand’, as Sontag suggests.
While the curation of the images, space and the musical score drench the gallery with a sense of tragedy and loss, the ‘message wall’ gives a release to the emotive tension. The combinative effect then of the exhibition is to create an overpoweringly emotional cathartic experience. First proposed by Aristotle, later by others including Freud, catharsis is considered as a psychotherapeutic treatment. Aristotle defined catharsis as: ‘purging of the spirit of morbid and base ideas or emotions by witnessing the playing out of such emotions or ideas on stage.’[iii] An exhibition like Sunken Houses may re-connect the community with memories and their experience of the event and through that connection provide much needed emotional healing.
Does the exhibition then function in a cathartic way? A Bundaberg News Mail report on April 16, 2014 published online, reported that the exhibition attendance had at that time broken all gallery records and stood at 2,500 visitors. In the article Brad Marsellos made a number of comments relating to the response of locals and out-of-towners to the exhibition and their reaction to the show.
“Every time I visit the space I read the many stories, messages of hope, recovery and continued struggles by members of our town that have been touched by this natural disaster.”[iv]
“Everyone has an experience of the floods and tornados – whether it be as an observer from afar, a flood affected resident or someone who is still rebuilding both physically and emotionally today and I’m honoured to think this exhibition is assisting some with their recovery process.”[v]
At a time when it seems that the importance of art and artists in the community is being downgraded by government defunding of art agencies, grants and opportunities for art education, it is humbling to see the effect that art can have on the community such as this. While the images may live on in the memories of those who witnessed the Bundaberg floods of 2013, the sensory experience of image and sound through the art of Marsellos and Riegler, will represent a compassionate and empathetic contribution – one that made a positive difference.
20 April 2014
[i] Gallery didactic panel
[ii] Sontag, S. (2003). Regarding the Pain of Others. New York, USA, Picador, p.89
[iii] McKeon, R., Ed. (2001). The basic works of Aristotle. New York, Modern Library, p.1458
[iv] NewsMail. (2014). “Sunken Houses exhibition draws a crowd.” Online. Retrieved April 16, 2014, 2014, from http://www.news-mail.com.au/news/sunken-houses-exhibition-draws-crowd/2231539/.
Sunken Houses photographs © Brad Marsellos © soundtrack Heinz Reigler.
Installation photos and documentation of the artworks and review text ©Doug Spowart
My photographs and words are licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.
Light Readings: The photograph in books from the SLQ Artists’ Book Collection and the Spowart+Cooper Photobook Collection
On Sunday April 6 a group of around 25 artists book and photobook dillettantes attended a special ‘White Gloves’ event at the State Library of Queesnland. Assembled in the viewing room on level 4 was a selection of artists books and photobooks that addressed the topic of the photograph and the book. The 43 books were drawn from the SLQ’s Australian Library of Art Artists’ Book collection, the SLQ General Library, supplemented by books from the Spowart+Cooper Photobook Collection. The book’s selection was curated by SLQ Senior Librarian Helen Cole and Doug Spowart. Those attending the event were given a presentation by Doug Spowart to introduce the rationale for the selection. A discussion paper by Spowart is included in this blog post along with a bibliography of the selected books.
Doug Spowart’s discussion inspired by the ‘Light Readings’ event: A nomenclature for photos in books
For one hundred and fifty years the making of ‘quality’ photographs had been almost exclusively the domain of the professional practitioner. Outside of the professional photography scene vernacular photography, made popular due to the enabling technologies of ‘you press the button – we do the rest’ companies like Kodak, usually produced results that were of an inferior standard. There were of course exceptions – ‘prosumers’, as we would call them today, image-makers from the camera club movement, dilettantes and artists whose visual acutance and mastery of process suited photography.
Today digital technology has interceded and now anyone can make photographs. From a range of informed sources it is easy to predict that nearly a trillion photographs will be made in 2014. These images from phone camera snaps to video grabs, from high-end pro digital cameras to surveillance satellites, as well as a plethora of straight and enhanced images will be made and used for a range of outcomes. It seems that now anyone can make a photograph and almost anything can be done with it.
Like photography the publishing of books was once a closed world, as it required specialist processes, skilled artisans and financial entrepreneurship. But this powerful structure of gatekeepers too has also been dissolved by the empowering digital technologies of computers, software, computer-to-press and print on demand workflows. Making books has never been easier. Photographers particularly have embraced the opportunity and launched a revolution creating all kinds of photobooks to extend the bland form of the traditional photobook. Bruno Ceshel, founder of the photobook publishing and promotion enterprise Self-Publish Be Happy, comments that:
From the stapled fanzine assembled in a student bedroom to the traditionally printed photobook, these publications not only reshape our understanding of the medium but offer exciting and sometimes radical ideas. (Ceschel 2011)
Whilst photographers have embraced this new found direct publishing paradigm artists have made books with photos in them for decades. For them the processes of printmaking and multiples that they employ, along with access to printing press technology, is accessible and ‘doable’. Additionally artists have experimented with communication concepts that included the democratic multiple publications. Artists employ a range of media and the photograph was just another tool that they could access to create their art.
A significant connection between photography and the artists book is discussed by Anne Thurmann-Jajes and Martin Hellmold in their 2002 exhibition and catalogue ars photographica. They state that: ‘In very general terms, it is possible to say that half of all artists’ books produced to date have been based on photographs.’(Thurmann-Jajes and Hellmold 2002:19). It is interesting to note that the first book of the modern American artists book genre is Ed Ruscha’s book of photographs entitled Twenty-six Gasoline Stations.
The artist’s use of photography has created a degree of frisson. A point of contention for photographers was their ownership over the term ‘photographer’. Essentially photographers claimed that while artists may have made photographs, only photographers made ‘real’ photographs – artists just took photographs. Ruscha provocatively denounced the preciousness of the fine art photography movement that came out of the 1960s and announced that all he wanted out of photography was ‘facts, facts, facts.’ (Rowell 2006:24)
Thurmann-Jajes and Hellmold go further in that they propose differences between the artist and the photographer in the conceptual aspects of making a book based on photographs:
The authors of photo books followed photographic tradition, according to which the photograph as such was decisive, becoming the bearer of meaning. … By contrast to the photo book, the artists’ book is not the bearer, but the medium of the artistic message. (Thurmann-Jajes and Hellmold 2002:20)
Interestingly, the photobook and the artists book share a lost history that Johanna Drucker discusses in her 1995 book, The Century of Artists’ Books. She states that:
The photographic book became a standard of artists’ book activity, and its history belongs to the early 20th century in which the concept of the book as an artistic form was taking on a new, vital identity. (Drucker 2004:63)
These were works which were considered avant-garde, experimental, and innovative when they were made; they broke with the formal conventions of earlier book production, establishing new parameters for visual, verbal, graphic, photographic, and synthetic conceptualization of the book as a work of art … they were part of a history which was temporarily forgotten at the time artists’ book emerged in the 1960s. (Drucker 2004:63-4)
Despite these shared histories and theories of ‘differences’ the nature of the creative process, the disciplines of artist and photographer may present an interesting conundrum. Nancy Foote, for example, may question the ‘us and them’ argument by her observation in a 1976 article in Artforum, The Anti-Photographers that: ‘For every photographer who clamors to make it as an artist, there is an artist running a grave risk of turning into a photographer.’ (Foote 1976:46)
Today the photograph continues to pervade all kinds of books by artists, artists–photographers, photographers and photographer-artists in collections like the Australian Library of Art at the State Library of Queensland. At this time it is important to review the field of creative book production that utilises the photograph and consider what has been created to date and in the SLQ collection, as well as look for emergent trends.
In this research project Senior Librarian Helen Cole and I have collaborated to bring together a selection of books to survey the nature of the photo and the book. Whilst most books have been sourced from the SLQ Artists’ Book collection some books have come from the SLQ general area and some, mainly emergent photobooks have been drawn from my personal collection. In bringing these 43 books together in the one ‘white gloves’ space there has been an ability to create come kind of order from the divergent practice.
It would take a courageous and brave commentator to propose a definition or a canon for the photo and the book. Instead I will suggest a spectrum of activity and assign some characteristics that may aid those interested in the topic to compare, sample and discuss. I will use the term nomenclature as it best describes the devising or choosing of names for things in this type of discussion.
As the visible light spectrum has a rainbow of seven main colours this discussion has seven as well. Each has a specific characteristics and terms associated with it – although, at times certain books may challenge attempts to place them within this spectrum. The 7 colours are:
1. Red – The ‘Classic’ trade photobook
2. Orange – Print on demand trade-like photobook
3. Yellow – Emergent – PhotoStream* [of Consciousness] or Insta-photobook*
4. Green – Photozine*/ broadsheet / newspaper
5. Blue – Experimental’ or ‘Freestyle’ artists book
6. Indigo – Artists book
7. Violet – ‘Classic’, ‘Book Arts’, Livre d’artiste book
*Names I have considered to best describe these emergent forms
This spectral approach accepts the notion that the use of the photograph may be by either photographer or artist, and the nature of their creative products may enable their books to reside in generic areas. In many ways the transition of the rainbow metaphor from red to violet could represent the pure book forms of the photographer at one end and the purest artist form at the other at the other. This suggests that 1-4 would be photobooks conceived and produced by photographers. And those books in 4-7 would be principally books made by artists using photography. And at times the nature and form of the book may defy this nomenclature and be in a grey area, or a tint or shade, or even a blend of colour opposites!
Just as Johanna Drucker found when she attempted to define the artists book my categorising the practitioner’s discipline and the type or style of a book that they make also may be challenging. Drucker came under fire even though she predicted that her proposition would ‘… cause strife, competition, [and] set up a hierarchy, make people feel they are either included or excluded’ (Drucker 2005:3). More recently, in 2010, Sarah Bodman and Tom Sowden from the Centre for Fine Print Research at the University of the West of England sought to define the canon for the artists book in the 21st century. They did this by creating a survey of world practitioners of book making by artists in every conceivable outcome, including the emergent eBook. They found that the heirarical form of a tree diagram was ‘too rigid and too concerned with process’ (Bodman and Sowdon 2010:5). They discovered that their respondents wanted to alter the diagram to satisfy the, ‘cross-pollination that is often required by artists’ and added in, ‘connectors across, up and down to bring seemingly disparate disciplines together.’ (Bodman and Sowdon 2010:5)
Rather than a rigid definitive structure, I present this spectral organization a guide where we can bring some concepts into a critical debate that will extend the ideas, and the motivations, behind those who create these communicative devices. Ultimately researchers, and those interested in engaging with and exploring the nature of the photo in the book, will add their voices to the conversation. Then new dialogue, scholarship and opportunities for thought on the topic will advance understanding of the book that carries its message with the photograph.
At the end of this blog post I have included the bibliography of selected books for the ‘Light Readings’ event.
Dr Doug Spowart April 14, 2014
Bodman, S. and T. Sowdon (2010). A Manifesto for the Book: What will be the canon for the artist’s book in the 21st Century? A Manifesto for the Book: What will be the canon for the artist’s book in the 21st Century? T. S. Sarah Bodman. Bristol, England, Impact Press, The Centre for Fine Print Research, University of the West of England, Bristol.
Ceschel, B. (2011). “The Best Books of 2010.” Retrieved June 6, 2011, from http://www.photoeye.com/magazine_admin/index.cfm/bestbooks.2010.list/author_id/68/.
Drucker, J. (2004). The Century of Artists’ Books. New York, Granary Books.
Drucker, J. (2005). “Critical Issues / Exemplary Works.” The Bonefolder: An e-journal for the bookbinder and book artist 1(2): 3-15.
Foote, N. (1976). “The Anti-Photographers.” Artforum September: 46-54.
Rowell, M. (2006). Ed Ruscha Photographer. Gottingen, Steidl Publishers.
Thurmann-Jajes, A. and M. Hellmold, Eds. (2002). ars photographica: Fotografie und Künstlerbücher. Weserburg, Bremen, Neues Museum
A Bibliography of the selected books
From the Artists’ Book Collection of the Australian Library of Art, State Library of Queensland and the Spowart+Cooper Photobook Collection
Red – The ‘Classic’ trade photobook
Photographs by Catherine Chalmers
Essays by Steve Baker, Garry Marvin, and Lyall Watson
(Spowart+Cooper Photobook Collection)
Afghanistan, or, The perils of freedom
Stephen Dupont 1967- ; Jacques Menasche 1964-; Stephen C Pinson; New York Public Library : 2008
Steam : India’s last steam trains
Stephen Dupont 1967- ; Mark Tully
Stockport : Dewi Lewis :1999
Foundphotos / DickJewell
London : s. n. :1977
FromMontelucotoSpoleto : December1976
Sol LeWitt 1928-2007.
Eindhoven Netherlands : Van Abbemuseum ; Weesp Netherlands : Openbaar Kunstbezit :1984
Journey of a wise electron
Peter Lyssiotis 1949- ; PeterLyssiotis 1949-.; PeterLyssiotis 1949-.
Prahan, Vic. : Champion Books :1981
Eat : Jan-Mar 2001
Sydney, N.S.W. : J. Pursey :2001
Tour of duty : winning hearts and minds in East Timor
Matthew Sleeth 1972- ; Paul James (Paul Warren), 1958-
South Yarra, Vic. : Hardie Grant Books in association with M.33 :2002
Signs of Australia
Richard Tipping 1949-
Ringwood, Vic. : Penguin Books :1982
Intimations : with selected poetic responses by Michele Morgan
Surry Hills, NSW. : Point Light :2004
Orange – Print on demand trade-like photobook
Various fires and MLK
Scott L. McCarney 1954-
Rochester, N. Y. : VisualBooks :2010
Reportage : a retrospective 1999-2009.
Robert McFarlane 1942-; Jacqui Vicario; StephenDupont 1967-; National Art School (Australia); Momento Pro.
Bondi Junction, N.S.W. : Reportage :2010
Flashback : SE Queensland flood event January 2011
Strawberry Hills, N.S.W. : Momento :2011
Yellow – Emergent PhotoStream* [of Consciousness] or InstaPhotoBook*
Designed by Hans Seeger
Little Brown Mushroom, 2013
(Spowart+Cooper Photobook Collection)
Georgia Hutchison and Arini Byng
Melbourne, Australia, 2013
(Spowart+Cooper Photobook Collection)
Scott L. McCarney 1954-,
Rochester, NY : ScottMcCarney/Visual Books :2008
Call of the wild
Matthew Sleeth 1972- ; Josef Lebovic Gallery.
Sydney N.S.W. : Published by Josef Lebovic Gallery :2004
Signed up : 22 postcards
Richard Tipping 1949-
Newcastle, N.S.W. : Artpoem :c2010
Green – Photozine*/ broadsheet / newspaper
(Spowart+Cooper Photobook Collection)
LBM Dispatch #6: Texas Triangle
Alec Soth and Brad Zellar
Little Brown Mushroom, 2013
Edition of 2000
(Spowart+Cooper Photobook Collection)
Blue – Experimental’ or ‘Freestyle’ artists book
Ten menhirs at Plouharnel, Carnac, Morbihan, Bretagne, France
Jihad Muhammad aka John Armstrong 1948-
Hobart Tas. : J. Armstrong :1982
Detour ; Kõrvaltee
Christiane Baumgartner 1967- ; Lucy Harrison 1974-; Grahame Galleries + Editions.
Leipzig, Germany : C. Baumgartner & L. Harrison :2004
No diving II : evidence
Peter E. Charuk
Hazelbrook, N.S.W. : P.E. Charuk :2005
The story of the gorge
Victoria Cooper 1957-
Toowoomba, Qld. : V. Cooper :2001
Victoria Cooper 1957- ; Photographers of the Great Divide.
Toowoomba, Qld. : Photographers of the Great Divide :2005?
Space + Time
Ken Leslie ; Grahame Galleries + Editions.
Atlanta, Ga. : Nexus Press :2002
The river city : eyewitness document
Helen Malone 1948-
Yeronga, Qld : H. Malone :2011
Ron McBurnie 1957-
Townsville, Qld. : R. McBurnie :1996?
Portrait of an Australian
Jonathan Tse 1967-
Robertson, Qld. : J. Tse :1998
Marshall Weber 1960- ; Christopher Wilde; Sara Parkel; Alison E Williams; Isabelle Weber; Booklyn Artists Alliance.
New York : Booklyn :c2002
Normana Wight 1936- ; Numero Uno Publications.
Milton, Qld. : Numero Uno Publications :2009
Philip Zimmermann ; Montage 93 : International Festival of the Image (Rochester, N.Y.)
Rochester, NY : the author :1993
Indigo – Artists book (Inkjet – gravure – photopolymer – screenprint)
Lost and found : a bookwork
Lyn Ashby 1953-
Vic. : ThisTooPress :2007?
The ten thousand things
Victoria : Lyn Ashby, Thistoopress :2010
Lismore : J. Davis :c1995
Tommaso Durante 1956- ; Chris Wallace-Crabbe 1934-; Elke Ahokas
North Warrandyte, Vic. : Tommaso Durante :2011
Tommaso Durante 1956- ; Kay Aldenhoven
Warrandyte, Vic. : TommasoDurante :2003
Noga Freiberg 1962- ; Peter Lyssiotis 1949-.; Masterthief Enterprises
Burwood, Vic. : Masterthief :2003
Fred Hagstrom ; Densho Digital Archive.; Carleton College (Northfield, Minn.). Archives.
Saint Paul, Minn. : Strong Silent Type Press :2010
Cars of the fifties : book number 247
Keith A. Smith 1938-
Rochester, N.Y. : KeithSmith :2006
Violet – ‘Classic’ ‘Book Arts’ Livre d’artiste book
Through closed doors : 7 paraclausithyra
Susan J. Allix 1943-
London : S. Allix :2005
A gardener at midnight : travels in the Holy Land ; from drawings made on the spot by Yabez Al-Kitab
Peter Lyssiotis 1949- ; Brian Castro 1950-; David Roberts 1796-1864.; Nick Doslov; David Pidgeon; State Library of Victoria.; Masterthief Enterprises.; Renaissance Bookbinding.
Melbourne : Masterthief :2004
New branches on an old tree
Susan Purdy ; Blue Moon Press.
Melbourne : Blue Moon Press :2006
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.
Text: © 2014 Dr Doug Spowart Photos: ©2014 Victoria Cooper and Doug Spowart
THE BUNDABERG COMMUNITY NOCTURNE
In our past Nocturne Artist in Residency projects in Grafton and Muswellbrook we were the photographers selecting and documenting place in the nocturnal light and then uploading the images of Facebook for community to see and comment. As part of the Queensland Festival of Photography 5 we were approached to undertake an Artist in Residency in the central Queensland’s Wide-Bay Burnett region. Centred on Bundaberg, Childers and local coastal towns, the project included an exhibition of our Nocturne works and a Facebook documentary project. On this occasion we decided to connect with local photographers to collaborate with us in the documentary project.
As a preliminary to the project we visited Bundaberg in early January and began initial documentary work. In the 1980s Doug had a significant connection with amateur photographers from the camera club movement in Bundaberg. For some time he had contact with the region’s photo guru Ray Peek so a visit to the hero of the Bundaberg’s photography scene was a necessity. So too was a connection with Shelley Pisani from Creative Regions and key people from the Bundaberg Regional Galleries including exhibitions Officer Trudie Leigo. The Facebook site was established, initial images were uploaded and ‘Page Likes’ attracted.
On our return in April we met with the group of Bundy photographers that applied to work with us through a formal Expressions of Interest process. A special Nocturne photography introductory workshop was conducted at which techniques and workflows were discussed and demonstrated. Of particular concern were issues to do with personal safety and security. Then the photographers were set loose to shoot subjects of personal interest, optimise them and upload to the Nocturne Bundaberg Region Facebook page. Within a few days the Facebook page had 180 ‘Likes’, numerous comments, shares and 3,500 views. Via an online group photographer participants were provided with support, feedback and mentoring to enhance their photoimaging skills. Although many are accomplished photographers, we were happy to work with those that required assistance or to review work when requested.
On Saturday the 12th of April our exhibition ‘Speaking About Place’ was opened at CHARTS gallery in Childers and the Bundaberg Regional community was fully engaged in the project. Over the next few weeks the addition of new photographs will continue and the community will be invited to begin a new dialogue about the region. They will, through the Nocturne Bundaberg Region project, be ‘Speaking About Place’.
The project will continue as a Facebook page and from this community resource may emerge exhibitions, books and other online opportunities. It is envisaged that many of the local photographers will make available images to the ‘Picture Bundaberg’ Archive, which is administered by the Bundaberg Regional Libraries.
The Nocturne Bundaberg Region Media Release follows:
Speaking About Place: The Nocturne Project
Speaking About Place – an exhibition of collected images from The Nocturne Projects from Muswellbrook to Grafton as well as images from the Bundaberg region. Nocturne Projects showcase a variety of photographs highlighting the beauty of the early evening and its nocturnal light. Speaking About Place will be on show at the Childers Art Space (CHARTS) on Saturday 12 April in conjunction with the Queensland Festival of Photography 5.
Toowoomba-based photographers Doug Spowart and Victoria Cooper work in the early evening’s nocturnal light, a time of day where the afterglow of sunset and the glow of streetlights transform the everyday experience of place into something magical. Photographs created at this time require long camera exposures and therefore produce images that can capture blurred movement of people and vehicles.
“An important aspect of the Nocturne aesthetic is the affect of colour in different light conditions: ambient daylight, artificial lighting, car head and tail light trails. These images create a sense of drama, something that you’d generally see in a setting for a movie scene. It’s a place where stories could be told or evoked” Mr Spowart explained.
Spowart and Cooper initially visited Bundaberg early January to commence stage one of their Artist in Residence at the Bundaberg Regional Gallery. As part of the Speaking About Place exhibition, Nocturne Project: Bundaberg Region has selected 21 photographers from across the region to work alongside Spowart and Cooper through April. Photographers will have the opportunity to gain invaluable nocturnal photography skills from two leading artists. After the initial capture the artists select and optimize images that are then posted on social media sites like Facebook. Selected images will also be digitally displayed during the Speaking About Place exhibition.
“If a picture is worth a thousand words, how do you gather the thousand words from a community by showing them pictures of where they live? We aim to extend the experience and ultimately perception of place in the Bundaberg region. These are just some of the questions we’ll be exploring with the local photographers” Ms Cooper said.
Speaking About Place will be officially opened by the artists Doug Spowart and Victoria Cooper on Saturday 12 April at 2:00pm at Childers Art Space (CHARTS).
The exhibition will be on show from 1 April to 25 May and more information can be found via www.brag-brc.org.au, www.nocturnelink.com, and the Nocturne: Bundaberg Region project page on Facebook: www.facebook.com/NocturneBundabergRegion
A Queensland Festival of Photography 5 exhibition and project
Our camera obscura work and Centre for Regional Arts Practice Survey Books are included in this show.
USQ MEDIA RELEASE: Shining a light on the art behind the teachers
WE KNOW they must be good at their craft, right? After all, they are the ones responsible for teaching tertiary students in this region all about sculpture and painting and drawing and photography and graphic design and ceramics. They are the best in their fields. But all too often the artistic endeavours of our local educators is not seen by audiences because they are simply too busy to exhibit, or reluctant to sing their own praises, or far too focused on the raising the profile of their students’ work instead of their own. That’s where Simon Mee – Associate Lecturer (Collections Curator and Arts Management) at University of Southern Queensland steps in.He is curating an annual series of exhibitions featuring the artist behind the teacher.
Last year it was the work of local high school teachers that was showcased in an exhibition called “Not Just A Day Job”; this year the light will be shone on our tertiary educators in the “Switching Lanes” exhibition opening in the USQ Arts Gallery on April 1. “I don’t think we always get to see the art behind the educator,” Mr Mee said. “But an exhibition series like this allows teachers in the area to engage with each other and support the value of what we all do. “It’s also good to flip things over and show students what teachers can do and let the teachers lead by example.”
The “Switching Lanes” exhibition does not have a theme – artistic educators from USQ, the Bremer and Southern Queensland Institutes of TAFE were given carte blanche to create what they want. This approach guarantees enjoyment for audiences – there may be a few surprises amongst the artworks – but also provide the greatest learning opportunities for students.
“The upside for students is that they get to see artists push and play with their craft,” Mr Mee said. “It’s living practice, – it will have a raw edge – and if it’s a disaster, then students will learn from seeing that as well. Art is not about creating a product, but about taking risks and growing. It’s all about doing what you love.”
Switching Lanes will open at the USQ Arts Gallery on April 1, and run from 9am to 5pm, Monday to Friday, until April 23. Entry is free.