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MAUD GALLERY CAMERA OBSCURA – for one day only

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The Maud Gallery window to become a Camera Obscura

The Maud Gallery window to become a Camera Obscura

 

festival-of-the-darkroom-header

 

As a final event for Maud’s Festival of the Darkroom on November 26 between 12.00 Noon and 4.00pm we worked with Louis Lim to convert the Maud Gallery front room into a public Camera Obscura. We invited members of the Brisbane photo community to join with us for a look back to the origins of photography.

 

What follows are photos from the event…

Set-up day with Louis Lim, Ana Paula Estrada and Gillian Jones

The Maud camera obscura team – Louis Lim, Doug+Vicky PHOTO: Louis Lim

The Maud camera obscura team – Louis Lim, Doug+Vicky PHOTO: Louis Lim

The Maud camera obscura team – Louis Lim, Doug+Vicky with Maud Director Irena Prikryl. PHOTO: Louis Lim

The Maud camera obscura team – Louis Lim, Doug+Vicky with Maud Director Irena Prikryl. PHOTO: Louis Lim

 

Outside looking in ––– The Maud Gallery Camera Obscura

Outside looking in ––– The Maud Gallery Camera Obscura

Camera obscura viewers sitting on the couch - note two holes... PHOTO: Louis Lim

Camera obscura viewers sitting on the couch – note two holes… PHOTO: Louis Lim

Inside the Maud Gallery Camera Obscura

Inside the Maud Gallery Camera Obscura

Inside the Maud Gallery Camera Obscura

Inside the Maud Gallery Camera Obscura

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The Maud Gallery toilet was also converted into a camera obscura

The camera obscura in the Maud toilet PHOTO: Louis Lim

The camera obscura in the Maud toilet PHOTO: Louis Lim

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OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Vicky standing before the two pinhole projection – someone came in and let the light in…

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Photographer Neil while making a photograph becomes a camera obscura imaging surface…

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Gallery Director Irena takes a tea break…

 

 

Cooper+Spowart: 16 years of Camera Obscura Collaborations

In our collaborative work, we are interested in both the physical construct and cultural conventions that inform and shape us. This includes the common rituals and structures that surround, support and transport us in our everyday lives. In this work we have extended the context of documentary photographic methodology to include the narrative potential of the camera obscura and architectural projections.

 

Bedroom Camera Obscura 2000 (Y2K)

Bedroom Camera Obscura 2000 (Y2K)

 

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Avochie Bathroom Camera Obscura

Avochie Bathroom Camera Obscura

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In the camera obscura work the viewer’s perception of the everyday is spatially challenged. The structures that can form camera obscura are everywhere, but some spaces present themselves as clearly suitable for the making. This could be a city office, a motel room, a country bathroom or even a car. Our work attempts to contextualize the experience of the camera obscura within a concept, space or site. Upon entering the darkened space, the viewer is initially displaced, as the familiar image of the everyday is dim and unrecognizable. Then after time spent in the camera obscura, the image becomes clearer and the familiar is re-established ultimately resulting in a relocation of the observer’s awareness of place.

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City of Dreams – Ibis Hotel sunrise over Sydney

City of Dreams – Ibis Hotel sunrise over Sydney

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The Travelodge camera obscura 2008

The Travelodge camera obscura 2008

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Some background on the set-up for the Travelodge camera obscura:

Simple black garbage bags and some black electrical tape from the local 711 store. An aperture cut from a ‘found’ piece of aluminium – size around 8mm … we don’t use sophisticated glass lenses – these are direct light projections. A digital camera bares witness to our experience by capturing the image of the camera obscura projection.

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Setting up the room

Blacking out the room

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We were watching TV ...

We were watching TV …

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OUR MOST RECENT CAMERA OBSCURA: ORPHEUS ISLAND BEACH TENT

(A collaborative event with John de Rooy, Spyder Displays and the Orpheus Is Photo Workshop)

Our Spyder Camera Obscura

Our Spyder Camera Obscura

A DUO View of the scene and the Camera Obscura image

A DUO View of the scene and the Camera Obscura image

TO VIEW OTHER CAMERA OBSCURA WORK BY COOPER AND SPOWART SEE THE LINKS

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Our Website:

http://www.cooperandspowart.com.au/4_PROJECTS/RoomCameraObscura-Project.html

Our car converted into a camera obscura and driven across Australia:

http://www.cooperandspowart.com.au/4_PROJECTS/CarCamera-Project.html

Two New Zealand Camera Obscuras in the the Queenstown Rydges Hotel:

https://wotwedid.wordpress.com/2012/05/07/two-new-zealand-camera-obscuras/

A public Camera Obscura performance and live video:

https://wotwedid.wordpress.com/2013/04/22/camera-obscura-pinhole-event-foto-frenzy-a-report/

YouTube videos:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lyA5QP-mX-E

A camera obscura at the Queenstown Centre for Creative Photography:

https://wotwedid.wordpress.com/2012/05/07/camera-obscura-qccp/

A World Pinhole Day Camera Obscura at Mt Barney:

https://wotwedid.wordpress.com/2013/04/29/world-pinhole-photography-day-our-contribution/

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Closing off the hole

Closing off the hole in the Travelodge Hotel camera obscura

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© 2013 Victoria Cooper and Doug Spowart for 16 Years of Camera Obscuras Project

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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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ODE TO TARAGO CARCAMERA OBSCURA

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Just turned 500,000 kms on the Hay Plains near Balranald, NSW

Just turned 500,000 kms on the Hay Plains near Balranald, NSW

 

 

Today I was just remembering when I first bought

the Tarago as a new car…

It was a smooth car/van in 1986 even though it was a 1985 model.

… I was its sole owner

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Although Doug was a major driver and sharer of the running costs

then there are all those kilometers we three have travelled

Doug, Me and Tarago….

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We have travelled, camped, forded flooded creeks, pushed through tracks that only

four wheel drives should go, crossed the sea (Tasmania), been invaded by possums,

carried our art, groceries, garden waste, house moving, friends, family,

and even a tour group of Japanese tourists,

Dodged kangaroos except for one that jumped into the side of us,

driven through bull dust without getting bogged,

though – monsoonal rains,

locust plagues, searing heat,

snow, sleet and frost, wild winds,

And beautiful spring days …

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Dodged crazy drivers that were talking on mobile phones while simultaneously writing

in a book resting on the steering wheel!!!!

And then there was that really big spider that walked across the windscreen while I was driving…

was it inside or outside – not sure where that ended up?

The Tarago survived break-ins back in the Imagery Gallery days in Fish Lane …

There were the breakdowns… we all have so why not CarCamera Obscura Tarago?

But Treg… you always got her going again – Thank you so much …

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Tarago suffered our singing along with the old cassette tapes

of the Travelling Wilburys, George Harrison and Pink Floyd

We planned, we imagined, we argued, we laughed, we cried, we did many things

We ate fish and chips on the Great Ocean Road …

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We made the car into a camera obscura! And drove it across Australia …

Just as we celebrated 630,000 km …

the journey for our Tarago was to end….

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We said our farewells – April 10, 2016

The Tarago CarCamera Obscura will be auctioned we were told…

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A PICTURE STORY OF OUR TARAGO CARCAMERA OBSCURA

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Wooli Camera Obscura with the Tarago

Wooli Camera Obscura with the Tarago

TRAVELLING LIGHT-Invitation from the Qld Centre for Photography show

TRAVELLING LIGHT-Invitation from the Qld Centre for Photography show

630,000 km - the final reading

630,000 km – the final reading

Frontpiece for the Photospace exhibition at the Australian National University

Frontpiece for the Photospace exhibition at the Australian National University

Transcontinental Crossing graphic

Transcontinental Crossing graphic

The CarCamera Obscura in the Ottway Ranges

The CarCamera Obscura in the Ottway Ranges

The Tarago at the Combo Water Holes near Winton

The Tarago at the Combo Water Holes near Winton

The CarCamera Obscura folio was a finalist in the LEICA CCP Photodocumentary Awards

The CarCamera Obscura folio was a finalist in the LEICA CCP Photodocumentary Awards

CarCamera Obscura graphic - how it works...

CarCamera Obscura graphic – how it works…

The CarCamera photographed as a projection @ Bundanon in 2007

The CarCamera photographed as a projection @ Bundanon in 2007

A CarCamera Obscura on the Barkly Tablelands 2005

A CarCamera Obscura on the Barkly Tablelands 2005

Negotiating a hairpin bend at Mt Buffalo, Victoria

Negotiating a hairpin bend at Mt Buffalo, Victoria

 

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PHOTOBOOK WORKSHOPS by Spowart+Cooper @ Maud Gallery

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Doug doing a show 'n' tell with examples of their handmade photobooks

Doug doing a show ‘n’ tell with examples of their handmade photobooks and artists’ books

Vicky making a presentation on constructing narrative in the photobook form

Vicky making a presentation on constructing narrative in the photobook form

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As a companion to the exhibition of the Australian and New Zealand Photobooks of the Year at Maud Gallery we developed and presented a workshop series on the Photobook.

Our next series of Photobook workshops are in the planning stage – if you are interested please get in contact with us by filling out the form at the bottom of this page….

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  • These workshops are ideally suited to people who want to know what is happening within the discipline
  • How to DIY photobook projects within your studio workspace
  • How to access and master online Print-on-Demand photobook-making services – their needs and products.
  • One-on-one mentorships.

 

The program has the following 4 sessions:

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DIY PHOTOBOOKS: YOU CAN MAKE IT FOR YOURSELF

Show and tell tips, tricks and secrets

The photobook 'Borderlines' by Doug Spowart

The photobook ‘Borderlines’ by Doug Spowart

Participants will engage in a lecture presentation that will develop a broader understanding of what a photobook can be—extending them beyond just a collection of photos into a resolved personal narrative of high technical and aesthetic values.

$35

Wednesdays – 2.5 hours, 6pm-8.30pm

 

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DIY PHOTOBOOK DESIGN and INKJET PRINTING

Demonstrate, share and do – tips, tricks and secrets

Photoshopping a book

Photoshopping a book

In participating in this workshop you will gain awareness and knowledge of how to create documents and templates, design, colour manage (for books), select papers, prepare files, print and output self-made photobooks.

$70 including materials (limited to 8 participants)

Saturdays – 3 hours 9.30am-12.30pm

 

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MAKING IT – THE HANDMADE PHOTOBOOK

Demonstrations and Practical hands-on

Making a book

Making a book

  • Folding, stitching and sewing
  • Materials, methods and making
  • The 8-page single sided fold booklet
  • The 3-hole pamphlet stitch
  • Concertina and snake books

$70 including materials (limited to 8 participants)

Saturdays – 3 hours 1.30pm-4.30pm

 

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PHOTOBOOKS: THE ONLINE (PRINT-ON-DEMAND) + TRADE BOOKS

Demonstrate and share tips, tricks and downfalls

POD and trade books

POD and trade books

  • Working with Print-on-Demand service providers
  • Using Publishers and Trade Printers
  • Coffee table books, Zines and Newspapers
  • Colour management
  • Selecting a provider
  • The things that no one ever tells you…

$40

Wednesday April 20, 2.5 hours, 6pm-8.30pm

BOOK HERE: http://photobookspod.eventbrite.com.au.

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NEW PHOTODOC SHOW Curated by Doug @ Maud Gallery

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In-situ - Frontispiece

In-situ – Frontispiece

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IN SITU: New Photodocumentary Work

 

At the end of 2015 I was the external assessor for the Queensland College of Art Bachelor of Photography Documentary stream. The work that I encountered from their recently completed documentary photography projects was inspiring. The projects that they had engaged in employed an ‘embedded’ methodology. Each photographer created stories expressing concepts and ideas that I felt deserved a wider audience. As some of the projects crossed-over into the slippery areas of art and concept documentation I felt that presenting the work in this context would encourage comment and discourse.

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Doug in an assessment @ the Queensland College of Art PHOTO: Earle Bridger

Doug in an assessment @ the Queensland College of Art PHOTO: Earle Bridger

 

I sought support from Irena Prikryl, Director of Brisbane’s Maud Gallery, with my intention being to curate a show of selected works. Over a week I forwarded to Irena websites and links to the student’s works – each submission was met with a response – ‘these photos are awesome!’ Irena then offered an exhibition early in 2016. In discussions with students I found that one of them was interested in curating and gallery management – so an honorary internship was offered to Gillian Jones.

 

The rationale for exhibition is as follows:

Every photograph is a document. A photographic document may be about a friend’s smile, a family event, a dramatic storm cloud or a dent in a car door. But, what about those documentary images that tell us about the greater aspects of life in our times? These other photographs can encompass the tragedies of human suffering, of rituals and habits, of things that escape our casual view of the world and documents of hidden acts, a performances or a ‘happening’.

The documentary photographs in this exhibition are made by photographers not working as the casual iPhone snapshot ‘photographer’ of today, but rather individuals who embed themselves in human and natural environments to witness, to empathise and to document with a camera so a story can be shared.

The documentary photographers in this exhibition present their work as evidence of what they have seen, felt and been touched by. This work represents new photodocumentary practice and will place viewers in situ – surrounded by issues of contemporary life…

 

The exhibitors who accepted the invitation were:  

Follow the links to the Maud Gallery website to see the projects (NOTE: Some links may now be inactive)

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Chris Bowes  for the work ‘Sweat

Richard Fraser  for the work ‘Pup play and beyond – exploring Brisbane’s BDSM subculture’

Gillian Jones for her work ‘Choice, Chance or Circumstance

Louis Lim  for his work ‘Waiting for Sunshine

David Mines for the work ‘Beautiful one day perfect the next?

Thomas Oliver for his work ‘Disconnection

Marc Pricop for the work ‘Our Place in The Valley

Elise Searson for her work ‘Karen’ Lyme disease sufferer

Cale Searston for his work ‘BLU

 

The show was opened by arts writer Louise Martin-Chew on March 9 who was to comment at the beginning of her address that:

I am not an expert on photo documentary: my interest is in art and artist stories. I’m interested in the way in which we may tell and share these stories most effectively, and it is the many narratives, often those that are hidden unless you are part of that experience, or sub culture, that is at the heart of this exhibition of new photography.

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Louise Martin-Chew opens 'In Situ' PHOTOS: Irena Prikryl

Louise Martin-Chew opens ‘In Situ’ PHOTOS: Irena Prikryl

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Well over 120 people attended the exhibition opening. A cash bar operated with the profits going to the Lyme Disease Association of Australia charity – associated with Elise Searson’s project’

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Opening attendees

Opening attendees

Opening attendees

Opening attendees

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Some views of the exhibition:

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David Mines' 'Beautiful one day perfect the next?'

David Mines’ ‘Beautiful one day perfect the next?’

Elise Searson's 'Karen' Lyme disease

Elise Searson’s ‘Karen’ Lyme disease

Richard Fraser's 'Pup play and beyond'

Richard Fraser’s ‘Pup play and beyond’

Thomas Olivers' 'Disconnection'

Thomas Olivers’ ‘Disconnection’

Louis' 'Waiting for Sunshine'

Louis’ ‘Waiting for Sunshine’

Chris Bowes' 'Sweat'

Chris Bowes’ ‘Sweat’

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Over the course of the exhibition each of the photographers presented a floortalk at the gallery. One contributor was Thomas Oliver, who is currently studying overseas in Toronto, Canada presented a Skype session in the gallery before his work.

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Gillian Jones presenting her floortalk

Gillian Jones presenting her floortalk

Thomas Oliver giving his floortalk by Skype

Thomas Oliver giving his floortalk by Skype

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The exhibition concluded on the 20th March with a dinner for the exhibitors and gallery members within the white walled empty space of the gallery.

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The artists' dinner @ Maud Gallery

The artists’ dinner @ Maud Gallery

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In my comments at the opening of the exhibition I stated that a documentary photograph does not exist until it is publically distributed. The exhibition, In Situ: New Photodocumentary Work, put this work and the stories it contains before an audience. Everyone seeing it may interpret this work differently; such is the nature of the photodocument. Perhaps the true value of photodocumentary work can be summed up in Louise martin-Chew’s closing statement:

The power of this collection of works by a very talented group is simply summed up I think: Art may not be able to save the world, but it has an unparalleled ability to help us understand the individuals that comprise a community, a country, a continent = the world. And that may be sufficient.

Thank you to Irena Prikryl and Maud Gallery, Gillian Jones, the contributing photographers and Louise Martin-Chew for a memorable and powerful photodocumentary exhibition of new works.

 

Dr Doug Spowart

 

 

Louise Martin-Chew’s opening address can be seen on her website: HERE

 

New-PhotoDoc Catalogue

New-PhotoDoc Catalogue

A catalogue of selected works from the show can be downloaded: NEW-DOC-CATALOGUE

Each of the photographer’s works can be seen on the Maud Gallery website under the participant’s names in the OUR ARTISTS menu – they can be purchased from the site as well.

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Unless attributed otherwise all texts and photographs are ©2016 Doug Spowart

1993 THE BRISBANE PHOTOGRAPHY SCENE: Ian Poole Guest Editor

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Cover-PHOTO.Graphy Vol4 #5

Cover-PHOTO.Graphy Vol4 #5

 

From 1990 to 2001 I edited and published a journal called PHOTO.Graphy (ISSN 1038-4332 and earlier called ‘News Sheet’). This journal was created to fill a gap in the discussion, critique and commentary about a segment of the photography discipline within Australia. Occasionally I would engage guest editors to add their voice to the conversation. Ian Poole was the Guest Editor for Volume 4 #5 – Here is my Editorial introducing to Ian’s view of the art photography scene in Queensland in 1993.

 

Ian’s survey of the Queensland art photography scene makes for interesting reading nearly 25 years on… Mentioned in the survey are; Rod Buchholtz, Andrew Campbell, Ray Cook, Victoria Cooper, Marion Drew, John Elliott, Peter Fischman, Craig Holmes, Andrew Hurst, Chris Houghton, Susan Leway, Kerry James, Gail Newmann, Glen O’Malley, Charles Page, Graeme Parkes, Ray Peek, Howard Plowman, Rhonda Rosenthal, Maris Rusis, Doug Spowart, Ruby Spowart, Richard Stringer, Carl Warner, Jay and Younger. Charles A. von Jobin is also featured in the issue.

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A PDF of the full issue is available HERE: PHOTO.G-Vol4n5r.

 

 

scan 2scan 3

scan 4

scan 5

scan 6

 

 

PHOTO.G-Vol4n5r

POETICS OF LIGHT: Pinhole Book and our work

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It’s not everyday that you wander into an art gallery bookshop and you stumble across a book with your work in it…! A favourite gallery bookshop for me is the QAGOMA bookshops in Brisbane – it’s always worth spending a little time there to see the latest books, to do a little in-store pre-reading, and to check out the ‘Specials’ table where the unaffordable book often becomes affordable.

The other day I’d escaped from some research work at the State Library of Queensland by walking through the preparations in QAGOMA for the 8th Asia Pacific Triennial to drop by the gallery bookshop. I held and flicked through a few books when a large volume entitled Poetics of Light with a big white reduced price label – $99.95 to $59.95.  The title seemed familiar to me – then I saw the sub-title Contemporary Pinhole Photography, ‘yes, I remember that’, I thought to myself.

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The book "Poetics of Light'

The book Poetics of Light

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I flicked a few pages at the front of the book and one of my pinhole/zoneplate photos … a few pages on there was one of Vicky’s … I kept turning pages and I witnessed a compendium of amazing lensless imagery …

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My 'The Sentinel' page

Doug’s ‘The Sentinel’ page

Vicky's 'Banksia lineup'

Vicky’s Banksia lineup

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

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The last couple of years for us have been full of life-changing experiences and dealing with the issues of the moment, my being made redundant at TAFE and the subsequent time spent job searching, selling our house, lecture and writing commitments and amazing house-sit opportunities for friends – I’d completely lost track of this book and the exhibition that it compliments.

The Poetics of Life exhibition and book celebrates the donation of the pre-eminent Pinhole Resource Collection to the New Mexico History Museum (NMHM). The Pinhole Resource was founded by Eric Renner in 1984 and became the world’s centre for all things pinhole. Through personal research, workshops, networking and publishing Renner led the resurgence in pinhole photography, its techniques, images and its discourse. In 1989 Renner was joined by Nancy Spencer as a co-director of Pinhole Resource and co-editor of the Pinhole Resource journal.

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The Poetics of Light Exhibition

The Poetics of Light Exhibition

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Over the years Renner and Spencer amassed a unique collection of pinhole and camera obscura images, cameras both old and contemporary and texts, books and references about the art and practice of pinhole photography. Much of this material was donated by practitioners as a way of contributing to the ‘Resource’.

The Pinhole Resource Collection became part of the permanent collection of the Photo Archives of the New Mexico History Museum in 2012. This research archive is has the largest collection of pinhole photography and paraphernalia in the world with over 6,000 photographs, cameras, documents and books, as well as an entire run of Pinhole Journal. The NMHM has a website with images available to be searched by author’s/artist’s name, and also includes education resources and a blog.

So what is it about the pinhole image – why would anyone want to make photographs with a lens-less camera…? Renner and Spencer, in the book comment that: ‘describing the mystery of pinhole images is difficult, the concepts of soul, depth, yearning, timelessness, and archetypal feeling all contribute to the kind of visual reality produced, one perhaps only seen in a dreamlike state.’

We both felt privileged to have been selected for this book and exhibition and felt excitement at the opportunity to be recognised for our long practice in this worldwide movement.

Whilst much of our contemporary work centres on the camera obscura each year we participate in the yearly World Pinhole Day in late April – SEE our 2015-submission post HERE.

In the late 1990s I (Doug Spowart) was to state that: “pinholing creates images by simplicity, there is no techno-pretence; the images speak as murmurings, incantations of nostalgia, of mystique and memory; they are incisive and nebulous simultaneously; the process is an enigma.”

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The Sentinel, Mt Buffalo

My pinhole (zoneplate) image from the Poetic of Light exhibition and book was taken at The Sentinel at Mt Buffalo using a modified 4×5 Graflex camera. In 1999 ILFORD featured the image in a PROPHOTO Magazine feature on my work. A story about the image is featured on our old website HERE

In a statement about the body of work, The Rocks of Ages, Victoria Cooper discusses her view that image is a result of the connection of technology, process, photographer and subject in the space/time of pinhole photography.

“These images formed part of an ongoing documentation of my corporeal and psychological experiences with the land. They were created using an ancient imaging device, the Pinhole, and analogue photographic materials. Each handcrafted image was then selectively toned to identify with memories other than the eidetic captured within the film. This process is slow and considered – the subject’s light remains on the photographic paper as not a direct document but rather as a visual exegesis of a time and place.”

 

What follows is a selection of pinhole images made by Cooper+Spowart

 

Vicky's shortbread biscuit tin 6x17cm panorama roll film

Vicky’s shortbread biscuit tin 6x17cm panorama roll film

 

Myall-trees-pano prom Dodo land Young-boulder

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Other pinhole works by Vicky from film boxes and other cameras …

Myall-Trees Myall-lake

4x5 Chrome film exposed in a film box

4×5 Chrome film exposed in a film box

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Doug’s pinhole/zoneplate work from the 1990s

Doug's Graflex 4x5 fitted with a zone plate

Doug’s Graflex 4×5 fitted with a zone plate

Hand Dmarbles Girraween

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The CarCamera

From 2000-2008 we converted our Toyota Tarago into a travelling camera obscura and completed a transcontinental crossing from Adelaide to Darwin in what we called our CarCamera Obscura. Here is a small selection of work from this project…

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The CarCamera in the field

The CarCamera in the field

The CarCamera on the Barkly Tableands during the transcontinental crossing

The CarCamera on the Barkly Tableands during the transcontinental crossing

cc-BarklyDuo

 

VIEW A DIGITAL MEDIA PRESENTATION OF CARCAMERA IMAGES

 

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In a time where digital photography has impacted upon old analogue technologies we saw digital as just another opportunity to explore. When we were loaned a Fuji S1 Pro camera in the later part of 2000 we fitted a pinhole and made images…

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A pinhole digital photo made with a Fuji S1 Pro camera in late 2000.

A pinhole digital photo made with a Fuji S1 Pro camera in late 2000.

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There are still more challenges … photography has some more to give, and, be discovered …

 

Oh!! And I bought the book too …

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All images (except the NMHM exhibition instalation) © Doug Spowart and Victoria Cooper

 

ROGER SKINNER: A Life in Light – the book

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Roger Skinner and the blog author at the APSCON book launch

Roger Skinner and the blog author at the APSCON book launch

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Roger Skinner is a prolific image maker, artist, photobook maker and poet. Skinner has won many of Australia art photography awards yet he also pursued an interest in the camera club movement. Celebrating 50 years of his photography Roger has compiled a weighty book divided into the subject themes that he chose to explore. Earlier this year he spoke with me about his self-published folly – 500 books, over 300 pages of colour and black and white photographs, every page a picture with consideration for the double page pairings. He also asked me to write a foreword to the book. In September Roger visited the printers in Canberra, picked up the proofs and brought them around to our house-sit in Queanbeyan with his print coordinator and brother Ian. What a moment to witness as the table before us was covered with the uncut pages of the book … A few suggestions and some corrections were made – then the presses rolled.

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Ian Skinner, Vicky, Roger and Doug looking at proofs

Ian Skinner, Vicky, Roger and Doug looking at proofs

 

For many years Roger was a director of the ‘Contemporary Group’ in Australian Photographic Society. Although he resigned his membership of the Society many years ago he was invited back to the APSCON convention at Tweed Heads to launch the book and make a presentation about self-publishing. As the proverbial ‘prodigal son’ Roger gave the 100 or so attendees the back story to his life in photography from the first photograph to those made relatively recently. He alluded to the complexities of self-publishing and the anxiety associated with committing to a personally funded book project in the many thousands of dollars. However his presentation was not intended to dissuade others from considering making their own books, but rather the realities of such an undertaking.

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Roger Skinner presenting his book story @ APSON Conference

Roger Skinner presenting his book story @ APSON Conference

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Towards the end of Roger’s lecture he asked me to come forward and officially launch the book. As I stood before this APSCON audience I was reminded of my first experience as a presenter in 1977 as a young budding photographer. Then, as now, the audience contained some of my mentors and heroes. These included Bill Smit gave me my first experience of a properly setup darkroom and printing techniques. And Graham Burstow, the Toowoomba photographer who inspired me in the late 1960s, and who is still as lively as ever with a new show just opened at the Gold Coast City Art Gallery. Like Roger my APS membership has now lapsed – I first joined in 1967 – perhaps I digress.

I spoke of Roger’s A Life in Light book as being a brave venture. Of how all photographers have libraries and that they learn principally from the books of others. I told them about the great variety of Roger’s work: was he a pictorialist? A photodocumentist? An abstractionist or a poet with a lens…? It gave me great pleasure to launch the book and I encouraged those present to support Roger, and their interest in photography to buy a book that very day … many did.

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Doug Spowart launches Roger Skinner's 'A Life in Light' PHOTO: Victoria Cooper

Doug Spowart launches Roger Skinner’s ‘A Life in Light’ PHOTO: Victoria Cooper

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If you have an interest in seeing a collection of inspirational work created over 50 years then A Life in Light may be an ideal book to have in your library – to purchase:

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Book $40.00 each

Postage and packing in Australia $13.40

Email address is rojpix@ipstarmail.com.au

Direct Deposits to Newcastle Permanent BSB 650 000 Acct No 915531504

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SOME SAMPLE PAGES FROM BOOK

.Roger Skinner's book 'A Life in Light'

Roger Skinner's book 'A Life in Light'

Roger Skinner's first photos

Roger Skinner's book 'A Life in Light'

 

 

HERE IS MY FOREWORD TO THE BOOK ‘A LIFE IN LIGHT’ by ROGER SKINNER

 

The life and work of the regional artist

I have known Roger Skinner for over 30years and I can say that in the art of photography, he is a regional artist who cares little for his farawayness from the city. Spending a lifetime devoted to the camera and its image Skinner has pursued a range of activities in the camera club movement, professional photography associations and the photomedia art scene. Although he has an interest in the photograph as a historical document, Skinner’s practice also includes investigations into the nude, landscape, light painting, the self-image and environmental portraiture. His work has been extensively exhibited in solo and group shows, he has won numerous awards in every field of photographic endeavour, and his work is held in major private and public collections.

Not only is Roger Skinner the consummate artist, he is an organiser, facilitator and committee member. He is a builder and champion of networks that provide opportunities for others. Many will know him for his coordination of the Muswellbrook Art Photography Prize, an award won by major Australian photographers and judged by elite Australian curators, critics and commentators of the art. As a conference presenter, teacher and mentor, he has inspired and enthused many to extend their photography activities. For some time he was Education Officer at the Muswellbrook Regional Arts Gallery, and has also served as the Director of the Contemporary Group of the Australian Photographic Society.

But has the remoteness of his practice affected recognition for his own work? Apart from significant urban artists who have taken to living fashionably in the country after they have achieved their fame – how many regional artists have well deserved recognition in this country? Not many … not many. Recognition or not Roger Skinner just gets on with making his art and pursuing his other activities.

The regional space, people and their stories have revealed themselves to Skinner. His eclectic visual style exudes a kind of poetic response to the subject and life. Roger Skinner’s photographs tell us not only something of his interest and his eye for the world, but also how these photographs can touch with our experience of life and tell us something about ourselves.

Proximity has located Skinner in regional New South Wales, and despite a modicum of national infiltration of his work, this isolation may have served him well. However one could ponder the broader recognition and opportunities for his work had he lived in the creative networked proximity of a big city. Perhaps the extensive body of work presented in this book may enable a repositioning of his work within a pantheon of significant Australian photographers.

Dr Doug Spowart

Co-Founder – Centre for Regional Arts Practice

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IMAGES OF THE BOOK FOLLOW…

 

Roger Skinner's book 'A Life in Light' Roger Skinner's book 'A Life in Light' Roger Skinner's book 'A Life in Light' Roger Skinner's book 'A Life in Light' Roger Skinner's book 'A Life in Light'

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All texts and photographs except that by Victoria Cooper  ©Doug Spowart

 

 

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