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IAN POOLE photographer: eulogy

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Poole by Poole 2006

 

IAN POOLE photographer: eulogy by Doug Spowart

 

I was over in Wellington New Zealand attending the Photobook NZ conference when our mutual friend Simon Woolf came to tell me that Ian had passed away. Vicky and I had visited Ian and Louise at the Mater Hospital a couple of weeks ago and while Ian was in a difficult place we shared some past experiences. We spoke excitedly about how Ian came out of hospital recently to open ‘Floating’ at Woolloongabba Art Gallery. It was an important occasion as the exhibition featured work by his long-term friends Glen O’Malley and Yoshiteru Asai as well as artworks by Yayu, Ken Yamane’s grand-daughter.

 

Ian Poole, Glen, Ruby, Asai, Joe and Doug at the opening of Floating

 

Ian Poole and I shared quite a chunk of history – On hearing the news whatever I was to do that day in Wellington, and my flight home to Brisbane, my thoughts were with Ian, Louise, Nicola and Denise. What follows is a fragment of our connections and things that I remember about the guy…

 

Pinhole portrait of Ian Poole 1993 by Doug Spowart

 

My earliest memory of Ian was in the mid 1970s when I met him as an employee of Kodak in Brisbane. Ian had formed a commercial photography partnership with Greg Minns and I served him in my early sales position behind a wholesale warehouse counter in the Fortitude Valley head office. Over time I was to learn of Ian’s pre-commercial work as a part-time wedding photographer for some of Brisbane’s significant studios.

Ian Poole went out on his own in 1976 with the business name ‘Ian Poole does Photography’. He shared a studio in an old church in Warren Street, Fortitude Valley with commercial photographer and AIPP devotee and then Federal President David McCarthy. From there good wine, cigars and Fiats were funded through a diverse range of commercial commissions.

Ian and Denise were married and soon after Nicola was born. A long-term relationship with documentary/art photographer Glen O’Malley strengthened along with his interest in photography beyond the ‘job’ – for him photography was more than just what you did to earn a living.

 

Ian Poole and the IAP and the AIPP

Ian joined the Institute of Australian Photography (now AIPP) in 1975. An interesting bit of information about Ian is that he entered the very first Merit Awards (APPA) in 1977, and was awarded a Merit for a high contrast photo of a fuzzy hairstyled, seated, saxophone player. I remember that photo well.

In reflection, I always remember Poole being involved with the AIPP in some capacity either at state division level and in the late 1980s on the National Board. During the 1980s I served with Ian on the Queensland Divisional Council and remember many council meetings at Imagery Gallery that finished with us discussing the meaning of life and photography. Together, we also contributed to the development of education and training for photography in Queensland and served on many Arts Industry Advisory Council and Curriculum development committees.

 

Anonymous Torsos exhibition at Imagery Gallery 1990

Early exhibitions of his work

His interest in personal photography, and in particular the female nude, led to his work being presented in exhibitions. In 1984 I curated an exhibition entitled ‘5 One man shows’ in Stephens Gallery in the Brisbane City Hall, which included a selection of Ian’s nudes. Later in 1990 his first solo exhibition ‘Anonymous Torsos’, was held in Imagery Gallery (a gallery run by myself and my mother Ruby). He also participated in many group shows in galleries in Australia and Japan.

 

Doug Spowart and Ian Poole with the poster for Shot from down under    PHOTO: Victoria Cooper

The Japanese connection

Ian made connections with Japanese photographers through his co-ordination of AIPP events in the early 1980s. This led to an exhibition of 13 photographers organised by Ian and hosted by artist Rick Everingham in his Brisbane studio during Expo 88. Poole followed up this exhibit with an exchange show, ‘A shot from down under’ at Design Expo in Nagoya, Diacolo Gallery in Osaka and amazingly in the Kodak Salon, the Ginza, Tokyo. Ian coordinated a tour for the participating Queensland photographers who spent about 3 weeks in Japan travelling with the exhibition, attending the openings, staying with the Japanese photographer’s families and experiencing Japanese life and landscape.

 

Poole+Spowart at QCP: Photo Adam Finch

Working for the Queensland Government

By the early 90s photography was changing and the Queensland Government reviewed all their departments that had employed staff photographers. They decided that only 3 photographer positions would be funded into the future. The 3 positions were advertised in the public domain and Ian, not only applied, but also won a position. It should be noted that Ian around that time completed by part-time study a Graduate Diploma of Visual Art at the Queensland College of Art. The topic of his research was portraits of artists.

 

Australia Council Residency and sessional teaching

Poole’s interest in the art of photography needed to be pursued alongside the day-to-day grind of professional work. After completing the Graduate Diploma he sought and was awarded and Australia Council Artist in Residency in Tokyo where he immersed himself in his passion for portraiture and Japanese culture.

 

Ian Poole and photobook made in a workshop with Simon Woolf with Vicky and I in 2005

 

Ian’s assistants, peers and mentorees

Ian always had assistants, mentored those seeking advancement of their skills, as well as sessional teaching at the Queensland College of Art and the Queensland University of Technology. His endorsement of professional practice meant that through his patronage and support many of the Institute’s significant photographers came into the AIPP fold.

 

Poole and the Australian Professional Photography Awards

Soon after I became Chairperson of the APPA’s in the 1990 I championed the development of judge training and the need for judges to have extended their understanding and appreciation of the art as well as professional practice.

Into this space I brought Ian Poole – he had the ideas, debating skills, knowledge and understanding of art to help with this aesthetic transformation of APPA. His dedication to ensuring that the entrant who made special works, in Ian’s opinion, got a fair hearing. I’ve spoken to many awards entrants, at all levels, and they have a story about Ian ‘going into bat’ for one of their works.

Ian skills as a judge and inspirational speaker were recognised by New Zealand Institute of Professional Photography and he became an Australian judging ambassador for the NZIPP Awards.

 

Ian Poole and others at Toowoomba TAFE doing final year assessments

 

Support for TAFE Toowoomba and Nicola’s study

As a teacher in the photography programs at the TAFE college in Toowoomba I was always privileged to have Ian and many other professional photographers and artists carry out the final holistic assessment of student work as well as endorse and support my institution.

Nicola Poole and Doug Spowart

When Ian’s daughter Nicola wanted to pursue photography Ian arranged to bring her to Toowoomba suggesting this is where she needed to be. She enrolled and over the next two years she completed her diploma studies in 2003 with the Graduating Student of the Year Award.

 

Team Foto Frenzy – an Impossible Project 10×8 Polaroid by Doug Spowart – RHS Ian photographs Doug

Foto Frenzy

When Ian formed Foto Frenzy with a small group of photography identities including Darren Jew, Tony Holden, Cam Attree and Susan Gravina from Brisbane Camera Hire I was honoured to open the enterprise. Later, Vicky and I were invited as Artists in Residence for a month in 2013. While we where at Foto Frenzy we participated in workshops, re-configured the premises into a camera obscura, made 10×8 Polaroid Impossible Project images and held an exhibition of our photobook and image work.

 

Ian Poole, Diane Byrne and Eric Victor at the State Library of Qld looking at prints by Richard Stringer

John Oxley Library donation

One of many things undertaken by Ian that many may not be aware of is his donation of his professional photography archive to the John Oxley Library at the State Library of Queensland. For quite a few years he has been going into the Library to unpack and catalogue the work so that it can be successfully searched and retrieved into the future. Now much of Brisbane’s cultural history from buildings to fashion, ballet and theatre, portraits of the rich and famous and those curious dated art-directed advertisements of the 1970s and 80s, are there as a document of our times.

I’ve been around professional photography for nearly 50 years and I’ve seen the disappearance of numerous professional photographers and their businesses – but what of their photographs? Lost? – Not Ian’s work, which he has given in an altruistic act for Queenslanders and their history.

 

In conclusion

I was always fascinated by Ian’s business name – ‘Ian Poole does photography’, we now know he did much more…

At this time I, and many others, will reflect on and remember Ian Poole

– his legacy will continue on in all of us.

 

Doug Spowart

NOTE: I hope that all this is correct – should their be any errors I am happy to make the corrections

 

What follows are some published works relating to Ian, some links and some other images…

Ian Poole’s website: https://poolefoto.wordpress.com/

Photo.Graphy Journal: Ian Poole Guest Editor

PHOTO.Graphy Journal – Ian Poole Guest Editor

 

QCP ALT Catalogue — Curated by Ian Poole

Ian Poole curated show at Qld Centre for Photography

 

f11 Magazine Ian Poole Folio

f11 Online magazine: Ian Poole folio

 

Ian Poole – On the lounge

https://wotwedid.com/2012/05/17/ian-poole-aipp-on-the-lounge/

 

 

Some images by or about Ian…

 

Ian Poole and Kev Hudson judging the 1982 Brisbane National Exhibition of Photography at Imagery Gallery

Doug Spowart in Imagery Gallery Darkroom by Ian Poole

 

Ian Poole moving out of Berry Street

Toula, Ian and Louise at the Photobook Club meeting at the Cobb & Co Museum Toowoomba

Ian and Doug at a Foto Frenzy opening

Ian Poole photographed by Wayne Radford at the exhibition End of the roid curated by Doug Spowart

Ian Poole at the opening of ICONS at the Cobb&Co Museum in Toowoomba

A Foto Frenzy opening

The opening of Foto Frenzy

An animated Ian Poole at an AIPP ‘On the lounge’

Foto Frenzy Polaroid group setup PHOTO: Victoria Cooper

 

 

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Ian Poole, Glen, Asai at the opening of Floating

 

Farewell Ian….

 

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ADVANCE NOTICE: COOPER+SPOWART @ AIPP Brisbane ‘Hair of the Dog’ Conference

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Hair of the Dog header

Hair of the Dog header

 

On the 6th of February we will be presenting a breakout session at the annual AIPP Hair of the Dog Conference in Brisbane. Our presentation, entitled OPENING-UP THE PHOTOBOOK will provide a commentary on the contemporary photobook/artists book. Our spiel from the HOTD website states:

 

The photobook has emerged as a ubiquitous form of story telling. Now everyone makes these books to varying levels of expertise. Photobooks and albums have always been the domain of photographers. To maintain their leadership and innovation in this discipline, professional photographers need to be aware of the options available and emergent trends in the photobook. This Breakout session will present a contemporary view of the photobook in all its forms from simple photo-zines to print-on-demand productions and handmade artisan books.

 

We will be giving attendees a digital presentation to introduce the topic and a major show ‘n’ tell session will follow that will unpack the contemporary photobook/artists’ book. The books presented will come from our collection including some of our own works. A special part of this session will be inclusion of books from Australia’s best print on demand service providers ASUKABOOK, BLURB, MOMENTOPRO and PICPRESS who have given us examples of their most innovative books.

As a result of this session participants will be able to consider innovative and new commercial publishing products that will provide them with a point of difference from competitors and the general public.

 

Doug Spowart and Victoria Cooper and their C.R.A.P. display

Doug Spowart and Victoria Cooper at the State Library of Qld’s 2015 Art Book Fair

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Victoria Cooper and Doug Spowart are leaders in the fields of photobooks and artists’ books. Their books are held in major rare books and manuscript collections of the National Library of Australia, State Libraries and other significant public and private collections. In the last 10 years both have completed PhDs that related to the book and visual storytelling. They have both been awarded Research Fellowships at the State Library of Queensland. In the last 12 months Doug has presented lectures on photobooks at Photobook Melbourne, the Ballarat International Foto Biennale and the Auckland Festival of Photography.

 

FOR MORE INFORMATION VISIT:

http://www.hotd.aippblog.com/index.php/speakers-2016/doug-spowart-victoria-cooper/

PRICING INFORMATION:

Earlybird Rates (End January 15th, 2016)

AIPP Member 2 Days plus the Business Masterclass on Monday – Early Bird $420 After Early Bird $520
AIPP Member 2 Days Only (Sat & Sun) – Early Bird $290 After Early Bird $390
AIPP Member 1 Day (either the Sat or Sun) – Early Bird $200 After Early Bird $280

Student 2 Days plus the Business Masterclass Monday – $150
Student 2 Days (Sat & Sun) – $120
Student 1 Day (either the Sat or Sun) – $90

Non-Member 2 Days (Sat & Sun) – Early Bird $435 After Early Bird $585
Non-Member 1 Day (either the Sat or Sun) – Early Bird $300 After Early Bird $420

 

Hair of the Dog header

Hair of the Dog header

WISEMAN ON SAFARI @ Brisbane’s Maud Gallery

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Respectfully Intruding by John Wiseman @ Maud Gallery, Brisbane

August 6  – September 13, 2014.  The exhibition was opened by Ken Duncan on August 8.

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Maud Gallery window

Maud Gallery window

 

John Wiseman’s photography exhibition Respectfully Intruding at Brisbane’s Maud Gallery presents an invitation to go on safari and peek over his shoulder while he observes and photographs wildlife on the African savannah or in the Costa Rican rainforest. Luckily for us his invitation is to the gallery and the trials and complexities of journeys to exotic places are made easy for us. He also saves us the trouble of waiting, waiting, fighting impatience and the agonies of cramped photography vehicles and observation hides. Dust, flies, mosquitoes, things that will sting or eat you are not part of Wiseman’s plan. We are also spared the burdens of travel, airports, border guards with guns and the grind of life in these exotic lands. What we are given are his photographs.

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Maud Gallery installation

Maud Gallery installation

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In the white spaces of Maud Gallery, a kind of ‘safari of wonder’ is encountered –as the visitor wanders through the exhibition of wildlife and flora images. Rhino, elephant, leopard and lion of Africa inhabit the front room. Then in contrast to the ochres, browns and blacks, there are birds, flowers, frogs and snakes in green, yellow and turquoise of the rainforest that inhabit the large inner gallery. The bridge between these two environments is the photography style and vision of John Wiseman.

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Leopard

The Lioness

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We are no stranger to subjects like these as they have adorned National Geographic magazines, a thousand Attenborough ‘Life on Earth’ TV programs and countless coffee table books. We may have become so familiar with these subjects that these new works may just become just another ‘one of those’. But I would say look again. Wiseman is no quick snap wildlife shooter – his images exhibit careful consideration for subject and the moment captured. His arrangement and design of the image and concern for lighting takes images to the perfect moment that we think only Photoshop fakery could reveal. But these are real images from single exposures straight out of the camera without much post capture treatment.

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Blue Eyes

Blue Eyes

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Individual images stand out and draw your attention to the framed photograph – for those who love cats, a stunning image of a leopard with clear eyes will hold you in it’s mesmerising and piercing gaze. In another photograph entitled, ‘Family Portrait’, a lioness and four playful cubs look off camera with ears pricked up, attention aroused – for the viewer there is an ability to take in that frozen moment. Someone with an understanding of safari photography will wonder low long and what patience it took for Wiseman to get such an image.

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Family Portrait

Family Portrait

Hummingbird

Blue Hummingbird

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In the Central American space humming birds dance and glide in many frames. Frozen in flight, something that is particularly difficult to photograph, these birds are like airborne jewels with iridescent colouring attracted to equally colourific blooms. Once again Wisemans mastery of technique gets the photo but his sense of design, moment of capture, concern for background and subject placement make these extraordinary photographs. A multiple electronic flash setup is used to create these images and in a few photos Wisemen has synchronised the flash with a slow shutter speed allowing a frozen moment, as in the other images, to be combined with the blur of the wings in the longer moment of capture. For me this tells the greater story of the little bird’s hovering capacity and the beauty of this feathered flight.

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Hummingbird

Hummingbird Feeding

Scarlet Macaw

Scarlet Macaw

Toucan in the rain

Toucan in the rain

 

The Costa Rican rainforest also has its share of frogs that perform for Wiseman’s camera. Colours, backgrounds, movement and clarity once again reflect Wiseman’s fascination for the natural world. Other images that evoke response include a toucan in the rain, and the sinister shapes of snakes, the most beautiful of which hides camouflaged in the framework of a heliconia flower.

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Frog

The Serenity of Sleep

Snake on heliconia

Viper on heliconia.

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In an artist’s statement Wiseman states that he finds in his photography adventures: ‘The intoxicating excitement of the animals of Africa; the size, beauty and grace of these creatures and the love of the chase.’ And that most certainly is evident in the photographic works presented to us in this exhibition. And unlike many who venture, or have in the past, ventured into exotic lands in search of the hunt and big game with a gun – John Wiseman has been, and shot big and small game, and presented his trophies of the living things for us to observe and share his excitement and wonder of these things.

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John Wiseman reading up on Costa Rican birds

John Wiseman reading up on Costa Rican birds

 

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Doug Spowart   18 August 2014

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Texts and installation photos © Doug Spowart 2014     Photographs from the exhibition © John Wiseman

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YOU ARE INVITED: Meet the Artists Talk @ Foto Frenzy

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MEET-cooper+spowart-ADV

Meet the artists, see their work, hear them talk about creativity, invention, tinkering with art, and how to pursue personal directions in art-making and life.

The artists will also launch their Foto Frenzy workshop series and Artist in Residence.

Foto Frenzy
Unit 3, 429 Old Cleveland Road
Brisbane, QLD 4151
Australia

Wednesday, 27 March 2013 from 6:00 PM to 8:00 PM (EST)

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The event is FREE but seating is limited. Please book through Eventbrite

Click Here Eventbrite-logo

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Victoria Cooper and Doug Spowart of Photographers of the Great Divide, are visual artists working in the fields of photoimaging, books as art, cultural research and education. They have collaborated on many art projects and exhibitions of book works that have featured their room and car camera obscuras.

As part of their PhD studies research and artworks produced were in the form of Photobooks and Artists Books. Both are Masters of Photography and Honorary Fellows of the Australian Institute of Professional Photography.

Spowart and Cooper have both lectured in Australia and New Zealand on the topic of the photobook and artists’ books and their book have been purchased for the rare book and manuscript collections in the State Libraries of Queensland and Victoria, and the National Library of Australia.

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Visit <wotwedo.com> for the Cooper and Spowart Workshops.

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WOTWEDO.com

LAUNCH: WOTWEDO.COM – the Cooper+Spowart workshops

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For over 30 years Doug Spowart and 20 years for Victoria Cooper, have participated in training for creatives including artists and photographers. The pair has lectured in art and photography at TAFE colleges, universities, workshops, conferences and seminars for students, amateurs and professionals alike. Now, during April, May and June, through WOTWEDO.COM @ Brisbane’s Foto Frenzy, they offer a range of specialised & bespoke training and consultation services.

Victoria Cooper and Doug Spowart

Both Doug and Victoria are Masters of Photography and Honourary Fellows of the Australian Institute of Professional Photography (AIPP). Throughout most of the 1990s Doug was the Chairperson of the AIPP Professional Photography Awards. In the mid 2000s both Vicky and Doug were involved as AIPP representatives in writing national photography TAFE level curriculum for Certificate and Diploma of Photography programs. In the last 10 years Victoria and Doug have engaged in part-time university study in photography and the world of artists books and art.

in 2013 Doug and Victoria are taking a sabbatical from TAFE teaching to pursue post-doctoral research and to re-engage with their arts practice. These workshops are part of their ‘Leap of Faith’ initiative that was introduced in their earlier blog post.

Do review their WOTWEDO workshop program and see WOT-THEY-CAN-DO for YOU!

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THE WORKSHOPS

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SERIES 1: TINKERING WITH PHOTOGRAPHY

Is your photography becoming formulaic (predictable) and more about digital technology and post-production than about the hands-on experience of taking photographs? Do you want to investigate possibilities of making a personal style beyond Instagram, Lomography and Hipstamatic filters?

This series is crammed full of projects and ideas that will present you with challenges, weird stuff, things you’ve heard about but never had the chance to try, and things that require a rush of the creative thought juices. Use this workshop to reconnect with your love of photography.

Dates (Tentative) 6 Sessions: Monday, April 15, 22, 29 and May 6, 13 & 20, 2013.

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SERIES 2: LOOKING GOOD IN PRINT–PHOTOBOOKS

By now everyone has made a photobook and in many ways current technology makes it easy to make one. But a photobook can be so much more – it can be a hand-made artwork or a super-slick prestige trade styled publication.

The Looking Good in Print: Photobook introductory session and workshop series will connect participants with concepts and techniques on how to personalize and create photo-stories in the form of the bespoke self-published photobook.

The range of options for making photobooks will be discussed and samples of hand-made, inkjet printed and hand-bound artists’ books, print-on-demand books will be available for viewing.

Dates (Tentative) 5 Sessions: Wednesday, April 10, 24, and May 1, 8 & 15, 2013.

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SERIES 3: INTEGRATED SOCIAL MEDIA

When you Google yourself, or your business, what kind of response do you get? Is your online presence a bit thin or based on content from Facebook, a website maybe, and a few social mentions?

This introductory session and workshop series is designed to help you to start developing an integrated online presence. It will illustrate how an integrated approach to using platforms like Linkedin, WordPress Blogs, YouTube and Behance Folios can create a ‘wall’ of search engine locatable, quality references and social media mentions as to who you are and what you do.

Dates (Tentative) 5 Sessions: Tuesday, May 21, 28, and June 4, 11 & 25, 2013.

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MORE INFORMATION & BOOKINGS

VISIT <www.wotwedo.com> for further details and bookings or contact Doug and Victoria by email info@cooperandspowart.com.au

Bookings through:

Eventbrite-logo

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WOTWEDO.com

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

JUDGEMENT DAY @ SQIT PHOTO

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The assessment team with teacher Alison (left) and student Aidan (seated)

As the end of the teaching/learning year draws to a close the annual assessment day for student folios draws near. This year 5 Brisbane photographers joined with local professional identity Syd Owen to provide this important industry connection with the Southern Queensland Institute of TAFE’s Photoimaging department’s students. The team was (left-right) Alison Ahlhaus, Syd Owen, Andy Cross, Mark Schoeman, AIPP Queensland President Jan Ramsay, Cam Attree and Ian Poole.

The assessment team looking @ work

This year assessment consisted mainly of final folios from the Certificate IV in Photoimaging (CUV40403) and a Diploma of Photoimaging folio. The folio submission consists of 16-20 high quality 20×30.5 images from work made throughout the year as course work. Students also present a photobook for assessment. The photobook represents a major component for holistic assessment of a broad range of professional practice from image-making, optimisation and online output through print-on-demand book service providers. Importantly the photobook project necessitates the development of a conceptual body of work which the student melds into a personal narrative.

Ian providing student Aidan with some feedback

These photographs of the event provide some representation of assessment day activities. The Photoimaging Team, Alison Ahlhaus, Rachel Susa and myself greatly appreciate the special connection that this industry liaison provides for the college, the students and the ability it provides for our student work to be moderated against contemporary industry standards in photoimaging.

Cam, Jan and Ian looking @ a student photobook

Jan and Doug towards the end of the busy day  PHOTO: Mark Schoeman

RUBY SPOWART: Artist Talk @ Queensland AIPP

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RUBY SPOWART: Art Photographer

Around 30 photographers gathered to hear about the life and photographic art of Ruby Spowart in Brisbane on June 13th. Now in her mid 80s, Ruby has over the years participated in a range of photographic pursuits that have led to some quite substantial achievements. She is a triple Master of Photography, Fellow and Honorary Fellow of the Australian Institute of Professional Photography; in her academic studies she has achieved a Certificate in Art from the Queensland College of Art and also an Associate Diploma of Visual Art from QUT. Recognised for her contribution in visual art she was awarded a Don Fraser Fellowship of QUT and, earlier in her career in the camera club movement she was awarded both an SSAPS and an APR Medal by the Australian Photographic Society. She co-founded Imagery Gallery in Brisbane that showed exhibitions of photography for fifteen years from 1980-1995. Her photographs have won major art photography awards in the 1980s and 90s including the Muswellbrook Photographic Award and the McGregor Prize for Photography and is held in major regional art collections and the Queensland Art Gallery and the National Gallery of Australia.

SEE Ruby’s curriculum vitae

Ruby has created an immense body of work in the following techniques:

  • Polaroid 10”x8” colour photograms (1980s)
  • Polaroid SX-70 multi-image (joiner-style works) (1980s)
  • Massive pseudo-panorama landscapes (1980s & 90s)
  • Camera toss mosaics  (1980s & 90s)
  • Large-scale photo mosaics  (1980s & 90s)
  • Artists’ books and photobooks (2000-2012)

Her most recognisable works, particularly from the AIPP APP Awards successes, comes from her work with Kodak High Speed Infrared film and a Leica M2. The images are usually of outback Australian landscapes and are heavily sepia toned.  SEE a folio of works in Ruby’s Behance Folio

Jan Ramsay introduces Ruby and Marianne

Queensland AIPP President Jan Ramsay enthusiastically introduced Ruby and Marianne Irvine (recently awarded AIPP Honorary Life Membership) who, we learned was to interview Ruby as part of the evening’s presentation. At first Ruby discussed her life and touched upon the following points;

  • Her mother was a keen artist who painted in oils
  • Her schooling was cut short by World War II, as she had to help out on the farm as her brothers had enlisted
  • She had always done things with art-making; enamelling, ceramics, china painting, drawing
  • Ruby joined the Numurkah Camera Club (in Victoria) and the Australian Photographic Society in the mid-1960s
  • Had served as National Membership Officer in the APS
  • Had participated in all levels of the camera club movement in Queensland in the 1980s
  • Founded Imagery Gallery with son Doug in 1980 and was a director until the gallery closed its doors in 1995
  • Exhibited extensively throughout the 1980s and 90s
  • Founded Imagery Gallery Tours with Doug in 1982 and over 17 years undertook around 40 outback safari tours around Australia, as well as tours to New Zealand, Africa and South-Western USA. It was noted that Imagery Gallery Tours may well be the Australia’s first Photo Tour business.
  • Ruby became involved with the AIPP and the APP Awards in the early 1990s and served as the administrator for many years
  • In the early 2000s Ruby cared for her husband who was in ill health and she moved to the Gold Coast on his passing in 2006.

‘Uluru elevation’ – Infrared film image by Ruby Spowart

This presentation was illustrated by examples of artworks and personal images from these recollections. Marianne Irvine then led a lively discussion around the infrared work and travelling in the Australian outback. The concept of taking photographs with film was commented on as many in the audience did not have a significant connection with infrared film, processing, fine print making on fibre papers and the variations of the toning processes that were employed by Doug, who had printed most of Ruby’s work—although she did hold up for the audience to see an image that she announced as her last APPA Gold awarded print, and said that she, ‘had printed that one!’

Doug explained the infrared film process as it existed 20 years ago and connected his knowledge and skill in the darkroom with the prints before the audience. SEE: Doug Spowart’s infrared film ‘How To’

Ian Poole interjected that the images were masterworks made by the photographer Ruby, and the printer Doug, and that the APPA print scores and labels on the print backs provided a wonderful provenance for the work as high quality ‘vintage’ prints.

When asked about her beginnings in art photography Ruby explained the creative space that was created by Imagery Gallery’s presence within the Brisbane photography scene. During its 15 years of operation Imagery Ruby and Doug showed over 200 exhibitions of photography, they curated major exhibitions of Queensland photographers work, some of which were shown in China, New Zealand and Noumea. She had found, as she believed many others had as well, that Imagery Gallery had provided inspiration for new ideas and directions of photography, exploration of themes and the presentation of photography within the gallery context.  SEE: IMAGERY GALLERY Biog

Marianne asks Ruby a question …

Questions from the floor enabled other insights into Ruby’s process and workflow to be revealed. The presentation concluded with everyone being presented with the Patterns in Time catalogue of Ruby’s work and an invitation to visit her on the Gold Coast to see more work from her extensive practice. Ruby advised that she was making her work available to interested purchasers and many attendees eagerly approached her at the conclusion of her presentation.

It’s not often that we can gather together and meet with photographers who have been a part of the recent history of the discipline and who in some way may have helped create that space and opportunities that we enjoy today—this occasion was certainly one of these. Thank you to Ruby for sharing her story and her art, to Marianne for her chairing the meeting, thanks also the AIPP Queensland Division and in particular Jan Ramsay for coordinating this and other events for the benefit of AIPP members and those interested in photography.

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Doug Spowart with contributions from Vicky

The Spowarts: Vicky, Doug, Ruby and grandson Ted.   Photo: Mark Schoemann

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