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Archive for September 2017

Cabramatta: Markus Andersen & the theatricality of light

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This 500 word book review was commissioned to appear in a national journal – however, due to the commissioning editor’s resignation, was overlooked by the later appointee. I therefore publish it here…

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MARKUS ANDERSEN’S BOOK – CABRAMATTA: A Moment in Time   (T&G Publishing)

 

On the table before me sits a book I’m about to read. A photograph of faces in a dark street appears on the cover and the semi-matte black cover image has the word ‘Cabramatta’ in large varnished san serif type. I lean forward and pick up the book and turn the opening pages. My viewing is rewarded by the usual information: title, author, publisher interspersed between blank pages and two full-page photographs. Two essays – text on white pages follow. I’ll read them later as I want to see the photographs and allow them to tell their story. I continue to turn pages and the photographs flick past as a movie of freeze-frames of urban shopping streets – raw colour, all contrasty with faces and shapes montaged against black voids.

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After my first ‘reading’ I put the book face down back on the table and I reflect on what I have just encountered. Profoundly I have an experience of ‘place’, of the busy shopping precinct, a cacophony of sound and food aromas all evoked in his mash up of fleeting glimpses.

In this, Markus Andersen follows a long tradition of street photography that documents scenes of life from the familiar to the bizarre. This canon includes the work of: John Thompson (social documentary), Weegee a.k.a. Arthur Fellig (crime scene), Henri Cartier-Bresson (decisive moment), Robert Frank (American reality), William Eggleston (the democratic subject and colour), Vivian Maier (viewpoint), Mary Ellen Mark (embedded and personal). These photographs were first presented in the 1800s as albums. As documentary photography of places and events increased in popularity and readership they were published in early forms of the photobook and magazines.

My first ‘reading’ gave me a holistic view of the work. I now return to the book slowly turn the pages lingering on each photograph, looking for the connecting or underlying meanings within the meta-narrative. Each image stands alone and independent where the cohesive bond is the stilled moments of chaos in the theatricality of light.

For many, the book may simply reveal insights into the cultural nature of this Sydney suburb. However for me Cabramatta, is a celebration of Andersen’s vision as a master of light and the microsecond moment. The strength of these photographs within a visual narrative is supported by the design, sequencing and flow of the book, seems to emulate a performance on a stage. As a ‘reader’ I am placed firmly as an observer or spectator.

No doubt each reader will create their own impression of the visual material they will encounter in this book. Once more I look at the book before me. The photographer in me muses on seeing Andersen in action on the street – I imagine a patient observer with a nervous twitch – waiting, waiting. There’s a momentary splash of light filled with a face or shape, a synapse impulse … the shutter fires, in synchronicity with a meaningful moment, before the scene on the stage changes…

 

Doug Spowart

28 March 2017

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Markus Anderson’s Cabramatta: A moment in time

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T&G Publishing

295 x 250 mm

96pp

Colour

Hardcover

ISBN 9780987305060

Edition 1,000

$50

ISBN: 9780987305060

 

 

 

 

The book is available through T&G Publishing’s website:

https://www.tgpublishing.com.au/our-books/markus-andersen-cabramatta-a-moment-in-time

 

James McArdle has written about Andersen’s Cabramatta exhibition shown earlier this year at the Australian Centre for Photography … Read his ‘On this date in photography’ blog HERE

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ADVANCE NOTICE: TALKING BOOKS & ANZ PHOTOBOOK AWARDS

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Australian 2016 Photobooks of the Year Finalists

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TWO SPECIAL PHOTOBOOK EVENTS IN BRISBANE ORGANISED BY THE PHOTOBOOK CLUB BRISBANE

Photobook Club Logo

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Event 1 – VIEW PHOTOBOOKS FRIDAY (FREE)

22nd September evening presents the very best of contemporary photobooks from Australia and New Zealand from the recent Photobook of the Year Awards.

Meet Libby Jeffery from the Award’s Patron MOMENTO PRO.

Come in and look at the books from 5.30pm — The viewing will close at 8.00pm.

Location: MAUD GALLERY – 6 Maud Street, Newstead, Brisbane.

 

ANZ Photobook Awards at Maud Gallery

 

TO BOOK this event do so on this Facebook page: PHOTOBOOK FRIDAY FACEBOOK EVENT

 

Event 2 – TALKING BOOKS SATURDAY (FREE)

23 September – a free day of presentations about making photobooks and talking about the latest local and international photobooks.

Saturday September 23 10.30am – 4.00pm

Location: MAUD GALLERY – 6 Maud Street, Newstead, Brisbane.

 

Libby Jeffery – MomentoPro

 

At 11.00am

KEYNOTE SPEAKER: Libby Jeffery from MomentoPro

Libby will talk about all things that make a difference for self publishers including:

  • Crowdfunding for projects

  • Working with editors, designers, reviewers, printers, distributors, publicists

  • The value of awards like Australian Photoboook of the Year Awards

  • Art book fairs

  • Print-on-demand services

 

From 1.00-4.00pm

HEAR FROM SOME LOCAL PHOTOBOOK MAKERS & THEIR BOOKS

 

Dane Beesley and his books

The images in Dane’s book The Road trace an unknown timeline to an unknown destination, where he appears only as a tall shadow. There’s an honesty, a quest for truth, perhaps a naiveté in the images reminiscent of cinéma vérité that captures the adolescent wanderlust it seeks to document.

 

David Symons and his book

David will show the ‘ins and outs’ of the work that he produced at the Siganto Foundation artists’ book workshops and a masterclass held at the State Library of Queensland earlier this year with UK artist Helen Douglas.

 

Neil Degney and his book You are here

The images in Neil’s book have been taken on the streets of inner city Brisbane over the years 2014 to 2017. The title references the ubiquitous wayfinding signs often found in unfamiliar environments that enable us to determine our geographical position and plan a course towards our intended destination. It is also my Instagram user name all the images have at some time been posted to Instagram. The photographs are taken with a camera phone and processed using an app called Snapseed. (Neil is scheduled in October to have the next exhibition at Maud Gallery).

 

Isaac Brown and his book This Rock Between Us

This Rock Between Us investigates the difficult relationship between my father and me. Hard, floating, and an unsubstantiated substance, the rock appears and vanishes from moment to moment. This handmade photobook attempts to represent the relationship as a physicality, as an object that exists ‘in-between’, and built, by my father and me.

 

HEAR ABOUT RECENT PHOTOBOOK EVENTS ACTIVITIES IN ATHENS, MALAYSIA & VIENNA

 

Louis at the Obscura Festival

Louis will be presenting some photobooks he had the pleasure of reading from his recent visit to the Obscura Festival 2017, as well as his recent work-in-progress photobook An Opened Letter.

 

Justin Ma

In March 2017 Justin Ma was invited to do a photography workshop with Antoine D’agata in Athens, Greece. The workshop was hosted by VOID, a new organisation in Athens focussed on alternative publishing, exhibitions and workshops mainly based around photography as well as other visual arts. During the event at Maud Justin will be showing a few examples of publications from VOID including their collaboration with Antoine D’agata’s latest book “Cidade de Pedra”.

 

Martin Parr talking photobooks with Vicky and Doug in Vienna

Doug and Vicky will talk about their experiences at the Vienna Photo Book Festival, meeting Martin Parr and Gerry Badger and show some of the books they bought home from the Festival.

 

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SEE BOOKS FROM AROUND THE WORLD

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TO BOOK SATURDAY PLEASE REGISTER ON THE EVENTBRITE SITE LISTED BELOW.

https://www.eventbrite.com.au/e/talking-books-photobook-club-brisbane-event-tickets-37573180394

 

Maud Gallery sign

Thank You Maud Gallery for supporting this Photobook Club Brisbane event.

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