Archive for October 2016
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
The ‘staff’ take a break in a pinhole time-lapse movie made by Ross Eason…
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
A COMMENT ON THE 2016 LIBRIS ARTISTS’ BOOK AWARDS
In his announcement speech for the 2016 Libris Awards at Artspace Mackay judge Sasha Grishin makes the observation that: ‘The contemporary artists book is characterised by boundless freedom’, and adds that: ‘… it has absorbed many conceptual frameworks, many art mediums and technologies and goes across the spectrum of the senses.’
Visitors to Artspace and the Libris Awards encounter an open space with islands of book presentation devices. Plinths of all sizes – some encased, others at floor level, there are shelves on walls, books as mobile installations hung from the ceiling and other books with ‘pages’ covering large expanses of wall. This is not an easy walk-through exhibition as each work beckons, siren-like, calling for the extended gaze of the reader.
On this occasion the winners were:
- Dalrymple Bay Coal Terminal National Artists Book Award $10,000 Acquisitive Award went to George Matoulas and Angela Cavalieri, with the text by Antoni Jach, for Europa to Oceania.*
Grishin’s comments about the work were:
After much soulsearching I decided to allot the winning entry for the major prize to a collaborative and fabulous artists book by two Melbourne‐based artists, George Matoulas and Angela Cavalieri, with the text by the novelist and playwright Antoni Jach, titled Europa to Oceania. The three linocuts are by Angela, the three collographs are by George and there are another two collaborative foldout prints. The two artists, one of Greek extraction, the other from Calabria in Italy, with wit, profundity and beauty explore the migrant experience at a time when the Australian social fabric is under stress with the question of refugees and migration.
Highly commended in this award were:
Gracia Haby and Louise Jennison’s Closer to Natural
Monica Oppen’s Metropolis
Tim Moseley’s Kange pholu wanda
Peter Lyssiotis’ Blind Spot
- Mackay Regional Council Regional Artists Book Award for a local artist went to May‐Britt Mosshamer for Tapping the knowledge.*
Grishin’s comments about the work were:
As much as one fought the temptation, the $2,500 award had to go to the local artist, May‐Britt Mosshamer and her effective piece Tapping the knowledge. In art you can say very important things with a bit of humour in your back pocket. This work is all about the flood of information and the drought in knowledge.
The highly commended, or runner‐up entries in this category were:
Denise Vanderlugt’s I used to wrap rainbows
Jo Mitchell’s For Mary
- Artspace Mackay Foundation Youth and Student Artists Book Award (under 26years), went to Brooke Ferguson and her The Small Garden (for M.S.).*
Judge Grishin’s comment on the work:
This is an award that is about taking risks, a punt and choosing the unexpected, the promising and the challenging. It is literally a once in a lifetime opportunity for an emerging artist to gain national recognition plus a handy fistful of dollars. I selected the work by the 25‐year‐old Brisbane‐based artist, Brooke Ferguson and her The Small Garden (for M.S.) The MS stands for the wonderful veteran artist, Madonna Staunton, where young Brooke Ferguson was inspired by a poem by Staunton and with gouache, pen and ink and pencil has created a fragile concertina – a beautiful sensibility from a promising young artist.
In my opinion some books call for special mention. Caren Florance’s Pleasure demolition is transfixing. The suspended brown paper sheets with a hand printed letterpress phrases from poetry by Angela Gardner are animated by the flow of air and movement in the space. Forever moving, the oscillation of the pages becomes a machine for the generation of concrete poetry… phrases twirl and merge, poetic moments where new meaningful/less messages materialise.
The individual pages of Jamian Stayt’s Soulless evolution are pinned to the wall making what may seem like a vast wallpaper pattern. However, Stayt’s work invites a closer reading of the cipher hidden within the layers of the image. He presents some big questions where contemporary notions of tradition are challenged and rapidly changing technology has intertwined agency in the evolutionary pathway for humanity.
Julie Barratt’s Blair Athol recut refers to Solastalgia: a theory on the contemporary human condition for a deep loss of place. In one part of the installation there is a book of dark photolithographs where maps are encroached upon by black inks. For the reader this growing blackness evokes a gloomy absence. Facing the dark pages in the clamshell container are vials of coloured soils, plant fragments and found objects. Although collected from this disturbed place, these samples are vibrant and alive – perhaps they are the vestiges of childhood memories that recall a different time before the destruction of the physical place by coal mining.
Many books feature photographs as the primary carrier of the narrative. Ana Paula Estrada’s Memorandum employs the medium to document elderly people and their connection with life through personal photographs and how their memories are re-lived through viewing these photos. The book, conceived and made through the Siganto Foundation Creative Fellowship in the Australian Library of Art at the State Library of Queensland, is a complex assemblage of contemporary portraits, photo-glimpses from family albums and a narrative conveyed through the turning of pages.
As usual the artists’ book as exhibition defies direct touch and the turning of pages for narratives to be revealed and for the book to speak of what it has allowed the artist to create. But for the 72 books in the exhibition to be read the visitor would need to stay for the duration of the exhibition, working through the night with white gloves and torchlight. The exhibition reconnects and continues the significant contribution of the Artspace Mackay’s Libris Award to inspire artists and create a space discourse on the book in all its forms. In doing so the assembled exhibition represents cutting edge survey of Australian artists’ book practice.
Some works will become part of the Artspace Mackay collection; others will be re-packaged and returned to their makers. While the exhibition is dispersed its spirit will continue in the form of the gallery’s excellent illustrated catalogue, the text of Grishin’s speech, reviews, videos and other commentaries such as this, as well as the memories of the readers who viewed the show.
In two years time – the next iteration of this important event in the Australian artists’ book calendar will take place again. Wouldn’t it be nice if the whole collection could be purchased and held in perpetuity as a record of the discipline? Until then …
Dr Doug Spowart
16 October 2016
A VIDEO FLY-THRU OF THE EXHIBITION
OTHER BOOKS FROM THE EXHIBITION
All photographs and videos ©2015 Doug Spowart. Main text (except Judge Sasha Grishin’s words) ©2015 Doug Spowart With thanks to Victoria Cooper for her suggestions and edits.
IMAGINE COMBINING ARTMAKING – PHOTOGRAPHY + BOOKS, eating Greek food and drinking wine, watching the blue of the Aegean Sea, experiencing Greek lifestyle and the mythical landscape?
We plan to work with participants to capture the experience of ‘being there’ and to tell stories about the place in books and photographs.
The workshop topics will include:
- The cyanotype process to produce prints on paper and cloth to reference the Aegean blue
- Working with found objects and inkjet negatives from photos made on excursions
- Making bespoke photobooks that you will handcraft during the workshop
- Aspects of documentary ‘placemaking’
- Using online photobook making services to design books
- A sharing of our techniques to optimise and enhance digital photographs.
A detailed website has been prepared by Steph Bolt and SKOPELOS WORKS ON PAPER
(This workshop has been completed)
Session 1 of 2 (November 1, Tues – Melbourne Cup day) 6.00-830pm
Session 2 of 2 (November 6, Sun) 9.30am – 4.00pm
KEY THINGS YOU WILL DO IN THIS WORKSHOP:
- Make a pinhole camera
- Make a pinhole
- Take, process and print black and white film and paper pinhole photographs
- Introductory B&W darkroom
- Experience the aesthetic of retro-photography, photo history & hands-on image making
NOTE: THE PROGRAM HAS 2 SESSIONS
FILM PROCESSING WORKSHOP
(This workshop has been completed)
(November 2, Wed) 5.30-830pm
This session will provide you with an opportunity to experience the dark art of B&W FILM PROCESSING. Importantly this session is intended as a ‘see how it’s done’ as well as a ‘do it yourself’ activity. You will be invited to bring along a 35mm-24 exposure or 120 black and white film that will be processed by you as part of the workshop.
INTRO B+W PRINTING WORKSHOP
(November 9, Wed) 5.30-830pm
(This workshop has been completed)
In this session you will encounter and experience the Dark Art of PRINTING B&W NEGATIVES. The topics will cover all of the key information required to setup and work in a darkroom making your own prints. If you processed negatives in series 1 you will have a contact sheet made.
This session is a ‘show and tell’ of the following topics. Handouts and URL links to useful sites are included in the session notes provided.
PRINTING SUPERVISED WORKSHOP
(November 12, Sat) 1.00-6.00pm
(This workshop has been completed)
A supervised printmaking session using your negatives. After being introduced to an enlarger for the session you will make test prints, select the appropriate contrast grade and use basic print enhancement techniques to produce your own prints.
- You will work with a specialist darkroom practitioner to direct and support the printing session enabling you to make the most of this special opportunity.
- This session will include a critique of the work created.
- After completion of this series participants will be able to hire the Maud Gallery darkroom either as an individual or with mentored support.
(November 20, Sun) 9.30am – 4.00pm
(This workshop has been completed)
The Cyanotype Workshop will provide for participants an introduction to the creative potential of the process.
Topics will include:
- Sourcing and mixing your own chemicals
- Selecting suitable subjects to image
- Selecting the best materials to print on
- Handcoating paper and cloth
- Sunlight exposures as well as using UVexposure units
- Processinng and drying
FINE ART PRINTING WORKSHOP
(This workshop has been postponed to 2017)
In the FINE ART Print workshop you will learn from the experience of working alongside Doug Spowart & Victoria Cooper hand-making a Fine Art print.
- In this fine art printing session we will work with one of your negatives so you can learn how to select the best image to work with, print and finish a photograph to the highest FINE ART standard.
- Working in a small group of 2-3 participants, advanced darkroom techniques, equipment and processes as well as creative printing controls will be demonstrated and performed.
- At the end of this workshop you will have a finished FINE ART print ready for framing.
Photobook workshops planned for November 14+15
PHOTOBOOK CONCEPT, DESIGN & PHOTOSHOP
(These workshops have been completed)