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Archive for June 2019

MAKING BLUEPRINTS TODAY–Our World Cyanotype Day Australian Submission

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Making cyanotypes in Tasmania

 

We created some cyanotypes yesterday to contribute to the Australian World Cyanotype Day (WCD) travelling exhibition. Setting up a coating studio inside a friend’s house in Cygnet Tasmania we exposed the sensitised material on the front veranda and washed-out on the shadow side of the house. It all sounds rather an impromptu affair and in some ways it is, as travelling artists we have encountered these challenges before making-do with the site-specific needs of each art-making opportunity.

 

But what is difficult in Tasmania right now is the weather. We’ve been ready for weeks to make cyanotypes and yet the pervading conditions have been overcast or scattered heavy clouds between sunny gaps, rain or fog. And as cyanotypes work best with clear, bright and directly overhead sunlight it has been difficult. Added to this mid-winter’s low angle of sunlight at 43°south means exposure times have to be extended 3-4 times that commonly achievable up the east coast of Australia.

Making cyanotypes is a process that takes place over time. Chemicals are mixed, the substrate coated with a brush. On this occasion we were printing on cloth and due to the ‘flow-through’ the material we coated a few sheets sitting on top of each other. These super wet sheets then needs to dry. Cloth takes quite a while to dry due to the large amount of chemical absorbed in the fibers although drying can be accelerated by using a blow heater or hair dryer.

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Coating the material…

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Next a series of test exposures may need to take place to know, in the specific sunlight conditions you may be working in. After exposure the material is washed-out in running water – we add a little citric acid. And for an accurate density check the sheet needs to be dried a little. Then you can make your first exposure. At the moment in Tassie we’ve been working with 15 minute exposures!!

 

BOM – looking for gaps between the clouds

All this means that you may start out with sunny skies, do your tests and then start you exposure and the clouds come in – the Bureau of Meteorology website is regularly monitored to make sure that you have an adequate time over which to work.

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Making the exposure…

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Washing out after exposure…

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Finally it’s hung up to dry …

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10 starfish that are an invasive species with 8 bones of a Tasmanian wallaby by Victoria Cooper

Vicky’s work is a response to contemporary land and sea issues in Tasmania. The image is a double-sided cyanotype – shown here is the transparency of the work with the blending of the two images.

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Swatches of blue: a colour of Tasmania by Doug Spowart

Doug’s cyanotype continued his experiments in direct light-strike on cyanotype sensitised materials. On this occasion the folding and refolding over the duration of the exposure creates a pattern of different blue densities. These emulate, like colour swatches, the different hues and tints of blue in the Tasmanian landscape. This is also a double-sided cyanotype that in this photo is still quite wet and yet to dry down.

Both cyanotypes have been made on linen material and are about 30 centimetres square. The linen was purchased at a local charity shop as second-hand white pillowslips. The A Smith Gallery presentation of these fabric squares has them pegged to lines running across the gallery ceiling where they appear like flags.

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In The Maud Street Photo Gallery

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The cyanotypes that we have made will be included in an exhibition of Australian cyanotypers at The Maud Street Photo Gallery in Brisbane during August 2-15. The exhibition is being co-curated by The Cyanotype in Australia team Gail Neumann and us (Vicky+Doug), and will bring together works from all over the country. It is a follow-up exhibition to the WCD exhibition In Anna’s Garden’ curated by Stephanie Richter, Gillian Jones and us at Monash Gallery of Art last year.

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In Anna’s Garden

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This year’s show is entitled ‘Land/Sea/Sky’ and the show at The Maud Street Photo Gallery is just the beginning as the works will be forwarded to the A Smith Gallery in Johnson City Texas for showing on World Cyanotype Day along with other works from across the world. At the end of the A Smith Gallery show the works will be sent on for exhibition in New Orleans at the PhotoNOLA Festival.

Participants in the exhibition will make a contribution to the costs of the Maud show as well as courier delivery to the U.S.A. and back home to Australia.

 

AN INVITATION TO ALL AUSTRALIAN CYANOTYPERS

An invitation has gone out through various networks inviting cyanotype makers to participate in the Australian WCD Travelling exhibition. If you make cyanotypes please consider being a contributor to the show. If know someone who does please let them know about the exhibition and pass on to them the AUST_WCD_SUBMISSION.

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For information about The Cyanotype in Australia and to join the the group’s FACEBOOK page: CLICK HERE

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To Download a PDF copy of the catalogue for the MGA exhibition click the link: In_Anna’s_Garden-CATALOGUE-FINAL-INT

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4 PHOTOBOOK EVENTS – Brisbane August 2, 3 & 4 2019

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4 PHOTOBOOK EVENTS OVER 3 DAYS – Check out the individual program

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Event 1 – FREE TO ATTEND

VIEW THE BEST PHOTOBOOKS

from the Australia & New Zealand Photobook Awards                  

From Friday evening August 2, Saturday 3 & Sunday 4, 2019

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  • It’s a FREE EVENT
  • Attend the ANZ Photobooks Awards Launch on Saturday at 12.30pm
  • You can view the books from 5.30–8.00pm on Friday and also Saturday & Sunday 10.30–3.30pm
  • Location: THE MAUD STREET PHOTO GALLERY – 6 Maud Street, Newstead, Brisbane
  • The Sponsor of the ANZ Photobook Awards is MomentoPro Books.

BOOK THIS EVENT THROUGH EVENTBRITE using this ink:

To Register to ATTEND THE ANZ PHOTOBOOK LAUNCH & VIEWINGS

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Event 2 – FREE TO ATTEND 

THE ALL PHOTOBOOK POP-UP SHOP

SATURDAY August 3, 2019 ALL DAY

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THIS EVENT WILL FEATURE:

  • The BEST Australian & New Zealand Photobooks
  • Talks by Libby Jeffery from MomentoPro
  • The latest Queensland Photobooks from the 2019 Melbourne Art Book Fair
  • Buy Second-Hand and new photobooks
  • A display of historical and rare photobooks
  • Photobook performances
  • Photobook table-talks

 

TO BOOK THE TALKS AND THE ANZ PHOTOBOOK AWARDS LAUNCH use these links:

 

LAUNCH The Australian & New Zealand Photobook Awards Brisbane Launch at 12.30pm

“CLICK THIS LINK”

DEMO by Libby Jeffery from MomentoPro about ‘How to make a photobook with MomentoPro software’

“CLICK THIS LINK”

TALK by Libby Jeffery from MomentoPro about ‘How to launch and market your photobook’

“CLICK THIS LINK”

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TO BOOK A $25 TABLE SPACE “CLICK” This LINK

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Event 3 – For a Fee

HAVE A PHOTOBOOK REVIEW

with the Doctors – Doug Spowart +Victoria Cooper

By Appointment

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We will work, one-on-one, with you to review book ideas, dummy photobooks and photos from projects being considered for a book and provide comments, critique and supportive feedback.

We can discuss relevant aspects of your photobook process including:

  • idea development
  • image sequencing and narrative
  • issues of texts and photos
  • aspects of contemporary and traditional book design
  • production options – DIY, Print-on-demand and trade
  • pricing > sales > promotion > distribution

BOOK THIS EVENT THROUGH EVENTBRITE using this ink:

https://www.eventbrite.com.au/e/photobook-review-with-the-doctors-tickets-62800959360..

 

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Event 4 – For a Fee

..NARRATIVE:

   Sequencing photos for photobooks

A full day workshop with Doug+Vicky

SUNDAY August 4, 2019

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One of the biggest challenges in making photobooks is the initial task of selecting images from the 100’s that you have captured to form sequences that carry strong communicative potential in a book.

This workshop is designed to engage the photographer with different processes of distilling images and structuring narrative flow in their photobook projects.

These ideas will be developed concurrently with the hands-on making of 3 photobook forms as ‘dummy’ books. A dummy is a tester, a sample book – it’s a physical object that you can you can hold and turn pages to review the changes that may be required to make a better book. Book designers may make many dummies as a key part of developing a great photobook.

The participant armed with these skills and knowledge will be better prepared to publish their photobook through print-on-demand options.

 

BOOK THIS EVENT THROUGH EVENTBRITE using this ink:

https://www.eventbrite.com.au/e/narrative-sequencing-photos-for-photobooks-tickets-62800120852

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ANZ Photobook Awards at Maud Gallery

 

 

 

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

 

These events are coordinated by Doug Spowart and Victoria Cooper

 

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PETER EASTWAY – The New [Photography] Tradition

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A box in the mail

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A box came in the mail the other day and in the box was a book from the photographer Peter Eastway. I have known Peter for over 35 years and have followed his many and varied careers – as a photographer, editor and publisher, darkroom and digital Guru, AIPP advocate, photography commentator, judge, lecturer and mentor.

 

Our paths crossed many times as our interests, activities and creative pursuits were very similar. Over the years Peter published more than a few stories about my work as well as articles I wrote for his magazine Better Photography. Around 1990 Peter was invited to come on my Imagery Gallery Photo Tours to central Australia and Africa to enthuse and inspire the photographers on the tour.

When monochrome photography and the darkroom re-emerged in the 1980s as an exciting ‘new’ trend in the professional photography awards scene Peter became interested in my work. At the time my B&W photographs had on two occasions won the AIPP Australian Professional Photography Awards ‘Highest Scoring Print in Australia, one of them was a 10”x8” contact print. I had also won categories in the Australian Hasselblad Masters Awards.

Peter came to my darkroom in Toowoomba, witnessed my technique, and published a Better Photography story about my technique. One of the main aspects of my work at the time was my use of Leica 35mm cameras and a printmaking style that employed what I called ‘dramatic theatrical effect’ by utilising very heavy burning-in and local dodging.

From the ICONS series ….PHOTO: Doug Spowart

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Within a short time I found my entries in the AIPP Awards coming up against Peter’s prints and some of his images were even made on photo tours that he had undertaken for Imagery. One year he won the AIPP Professional Photographer of the Year – I was the runner-up. Since then my partner Victoria Cooper has referred to Peter as #1 and me, #2!

AIPP Australian Professional Photography Awards with one of Peter’s Professional Photographer of the Year award winning photos of Africa on the cover

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Eastway photographing on tour in Bhutan PHOTO: Roger Skinner

 

When you get to know Peter you quickly understand his capacity for grasping ideas and knowledge, assimilating into his process and then to make images that are uniquely his own.

 

 

 

Back to the book… I turned the opening pages and read Peter’s introduction for ‘generational change’ in photography. He challenges those who have fixed ideas about emulating the great past masters like Adams and Weston and how digital photography has transformed the photographic image and the possibilities available to enhance the way the subject is presented. What follows in the book are very detailed reviews of the ‘making’ of Peter’s images over the years including his transition from analogue to digital. This book is a handbook on Peter’s process and also a manifesto where he claims the establishment of a ‘new tradition’ in photography.

 

Ephraums’ book cover

I turn a few more pages to the first photograph he discusses and dissects. To my surprise Peter acknowledges Eddie Ephraums‘ and my technique as having a significant influence on his B&W work. As I have already said Peter’s way is to grasp, master and go far beyond the initial inspiration. In this way he has come to lead a whole new representation of the lens-seen reality and created for the viewer images of the mystical and sublime. Whether it’s a landscape photograph, an ancient architectural form or a portrait Peter makes images that are seductive to behold, ponder and visually explore.

There is no doubt that he now inspires new a generation of photographers and created disciples and followers for whom this tome will be a ‘book of revelations’, a Bible for those whose wish to understand the eye, the process and the aesthetic of the photographer.

If there is a new tradition and Peter’s work will no doubt continue to influence photographers but his never-ending exploration of the visual world and how the idea of the human seen reality can be transformed through capture and rapture in processing will continue to advance the art of photography.

What interests me is that when I look back at the photographs I was making in the 1980s and 90s I didn’t think at the time about being a follower of a particular ‘tradition’. I just did, as I still do now, what seemed appropriate at the time. Perhaps Peter’s motivation is the same and the only ‘tradition’ that we follow is the constant renewal of the discipline by progressive practitioners…

Thank you Peter for a copy of your book … and for the opportunity to appreciate and consider your work.

 

Doug Spowart

May 20, 2019

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To read more and order Peter’s New Traditions Book –
CLICK THE LINK: Better Photography Online Shop New Traditions Book

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HERE’s SELECTION OF MY MONOCHROME WORK FROM THE LATE 1980s and EARLY 1990s …

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Images and text © Doug Spowart

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Creative Commons-by-nc-nd.eu

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.

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