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A Spectrum: Photobook to Artists’ Book

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About 4 years ago during post doctural research I was involved with at the State Library of Queensland as a Siganto Foundation Research Fellow I submitted a paper concept to a call-out for contributions to a major book on photobooks being prepared by a significant contributor to the international photobook discipline at that time. Unfortunately the publishing project was never realised and the essay did not enter the critical discourse on photobooks.

Recently there has been much discussion about terminologies in photobooks and some aspects of the artists’ book are beginning to blur. I passed the paper on to a UK PhD candidate who found interest in the discussion that I raised and suggested that I self-publish the essay.  

So here it is…

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Spectrum

. A Photo Spectrum: Photobook to Artists’ Book 

.. [DRAFT@January 21, 2015]

 

The contemporary popularization of the ‘photobook’ is arguably attributed to the three published commentaries that have become seminal texts on the subject, the first of which: The Photobook: A History Volume I was released in 2004 by photographer and photobook maker Martin Parr, and photo historian Gerry Badger. Commentator and photographer Tim McLaughlin observes: ‘The term “photobook” which never really existed before Parr and Badger (most dictionaries still do not recognize it), would, within a few years, come to identify a growing industry…’(McLaughlin 2013). Interest in the photobook has never been greater. Digital technologies have emancipated photography and book publishing and now anyone can take photos and make their own photobooks. Accompanying this publishing revolution are awards, ‘books of the year’ lists, catalogues, and an auction market. Specialist online and bricks-and-mortar bookshops now service an ever-increasing buying and collector market.

Although photobook publications have aesthetic definitions for what a photobook is, the term has a lot of ground to cover. Photography writer and teacher David Campany recently noted in Aperture’s Photobook Review that: ‘The compound noun ‘photobook’ is a nifty little invention, designed to turn an infinite field (books with photographs in them) into something much more definable’(Campany 2014). But while the ‘infinite field’ may be ‘easily defined’ the term photobook can only serve as a generalised umbrella for the plethora of photobook products that shelter under it.

The definition of photobook today could include a roughly printed or photocopied zine-like object created by a child, to a blatantly over-designed limited edition book. In between these bookends lies a range of products: Print-on-demand and hand-made unique state, small editions, self-published or bespoke books, ephemeral items, newspapers, pamphlets and zines. Although many of these published forms may not have the universal distribution and commercial opportunities afforded a trade published book, they are, none the less, part of the broad practice of the contemporary photobook. Additionally many of these books occupy much of the emergent contemporary scene and tend to be overlooked as the critical discussion is usually focussed on the photobook exemplars from the past.

The boundaries of the photobook discipline are blurred by their intersection with a variety of other book genres including the expansive mediums of artists’ books and zines. As independent publishers of books, artists have for over 100 years communicated their ideas and stories using their chosen media in book form. Artists have embraced photography and the various forms of photography from found collaged photos, to screen-printing, photo etching and gravure, as well as actual silver gelatin, type C, inkjet or laser prints in their artists’ book works. Anne Thurmann-Jayes commented in the catalogue for ars photographica, an exhibition about artists and photographers and their photobooks, that: ‘In very general terms, it is possible to say that half of all artists’ books produced to date have been based on photographs’ (Thurmann-Jajes 2002:19). For that reason any discussion of the photobook needs to consider a broader range of contributors to the discipline as well as other forms of the book where photographs act as carrier of the visual communiqué.

In her essay Thurmann-Jajes also comments on the differences that she felt existed between the artist and the photographer in conceptual aspects of making a photobook. She states that:

The authors of photo books followed photographic tradition, according to which the photograph as such was decisive, becoming the bearer of meaning… By contrast to the photo book, the artists’ book is not the bearer, but the medium of the artistic message. (Thurmann-Jajes 2002:20)

In highlighting the differences in the way the photograph is used and considered by these two groups, Thurman-Jajes has identified a division may have always existed between the photographer and the artist using photography. Yet making books with the photograph as a ‘bearer of meaning’ or ‘message’ should not belong to any particular practitioner. If the photograph is therefore a universal and an open medium for all book makers then any questioning on what is and what can be a photobook requires consideration that embraces this diversity.

To ensure that the photobook remains vibrant and relevant, a flexible space for discourse and critique needs to be created that is inclusive of the broad range of authors and book forms in this medium. In 1998 artists’ book librarian, collector and curator Clive Phillpot suggested a metaphor for the artists’ book discipline as being ‘white light’ and the individual colors that made up white light as being the ‘many categories of the spectrum’ representing the broad nature of the practice. In this essay Phillpot’s ‘white light’ metaphor is now applied to the range of published forms that employ or contain photographs beyond that of the artists’ book. (Phillpot 1998:38)

Through an extension of Phillpot’s prism, this essay will propose a grouping of the various forms of the book from photobook through zines to artists’ books and their salient characteristics using individual colors (wavelengths of light). As the visible light spectrum has a rainbow of seven visible colors this proposition has seven as well. Although two additional ‘colors’, familiar to photographers, that of infrared and ultra-violet, have been added to recognise specific aspects of photography publishing at the extreme ends of the range. Each color and book form has specific characteristics and identifiers associated with it – it is recognized that many books may challenge attempts to place them within just one color in this spectrum.

The transition from the infrared to ultra-violet intentionally locates those books conceived and produced by photographers at the warmer end of the spectrum. Book forms in the cooler end of the spectrum would be principally books made by artists using photography. Placement within this spectral framework may create some interesting challenges including the divisions of ‘artist’ and ‘photographer’, and how practitioners describe themselves and their creative products.

The 9 colors and their identifiers are:

Infrared – The Deluxe Photobook

  • A book of monumental proportions approaching what bibliographers and librarians call ‘double elephant’ (up to 78cm tall for Helmut Newton’s Sumo);
  • Usually consists of a monograph styled ‘best of’, or, of a tightly thematic subject matter by a particular photographer;
  • Are limited editions, expensive to buy and have limited markets that center on private collectors and institutions; and
  • Are usually commissioned by a small number of specialist art publishing houses as opulent objects of art, design and packaging.

An exemplar:

Genesis, Sebastião Salgado, Taschen

Genesis, Sebastião Salgado, Taschen

Genesis

Sebastião Salgado, Taschen, Hardcover, 2 vols, with bookstand, 18.4 x 27.6 in., 704 pages, £ 2,500. https://www.taschen.com/pages/en/catalogue/photography/all/02613/facts.sebastio_salgado_genesis.htm

Viewed: April 6, 2018

 

Red – The ‘Classic trade’ Photobook

A book form in the tradition of Walker Evans’ American Photographs (1938), William Eggleston Eggleston’s Guide (1976), Robert Frank’s The Americans (1959), and John Gossage’s The Pond (1985). Characteristics of these books may include;

  • A single photograph per opening, the facing page blank and may sometimes contain a title or caption;
  • Sometimes it is a book co-published with an exhibition of the same title;
  • Simulation of the gallery experience of viewing photographs and therefore is sometimes referred to as an ‘exhibition in a book’;
  • Images in these books are carefully and purposefully sequenced to carry the narrative intended by the author; and
  • An essay relating to the work by the photographer, curator or writer often accompanies this book form – occasionally the essay may be of an obtuse content.

 

An exemplar:

 

A Road Through Shore Pine, Photographs by Robert Adams

A Road Through Shore Pine

Photographs by Robert Adams. Fraenkel Gallery, 2014. 42 pp., illustrated throughout, 9¾x11¾”. http://www.photoeye.com/bookstore/citation.cfm?Catalog=DS364

 

Orange – Design Photobook (collaboration)

The authors of this form consider that photobooks are an experience that can be enhanced by the influence of creative graphic design that may include:

  • Usually is a collaboration between the photographer and a designer so as to transform the photographs into a strident work of visual communication;
  • The presentation of photographs over double pages, or being montaged, or printed full-bleed as well as being scaled variably;
  • Inventive typography and layout design enhancements;
  • High quality book production, printing, finishing and packaging; and
  • A differentiation from other photobooks by the inventiveness of the design features and the surprise that is encountered by the reader in engaging with the physicality of the book and how it operates as a communicative device.

 

Exemplars:

Gold Coast, photography by Ying Ang, co-designed with Teun Van Der Heijden

Gold Coast, photography by Ying Ang, co-designed with Teun Van Der Heijden
Self-Published, 2014. 132 pp., 72 color illustrations, 9½x11¼”.

http://yingangphoto.com/page.cfm?id=34&subid=121

 

 

Iris Garden, photography by William Gedney and designed by Hans Seeger

 

Iris Garden, photography by William Gedney and designed by Hans Seeger

63 pages plus insert, 6.75 x 9.5 in. Heavy softcover with wraps & slipcase,

Little Brown Mushroom, 2013, in an edition of 1,000.

http://www.littlebrownmushroom.com/products/iris-garden/

 

 

Yellow – POD Photobook

  • These books are usually self-published;
  • They may emulate bookstore trade books from simple booklets to grand coffee table tomes;
  • They can be produced by anyone with minimal photography and computer skills and just require access to online photobook-service providers;
  • Single book or multiple copies can be made;
  • Affordable pricing considering the sophistication of the product;
  • POD services generally utilize templates for ease of use by clients of limited skill;
  • POD books may have designer input, but due to the limited range of options for special finishing or designed-in features; and
  • Many POD book users create book ‘dummies’ that may lead to a more trade-based publication at a later stage.

 

For exemplars see works offered in the photography category of http://www.Blurb.com.

 

On Approach by Daniel Milnor, BLURB Book

 

On Approach by Daniel Milnor, BLURB Book, 13x20cm, 26 pgs

http://www.photoeye.com/bookstore/citation.cfm?Catalog=ze462

http://www.smogranch.com/2012/09/26/cleveland-musuem-of-art-diy-photobooks/

 

 

Promised land by M Bruce Hall

 

Promised land by M Bruce Hall, Blue Sky Books/MagCloud. Standard 8.25″ x 10.75″. 56 pages, perfect-bound.

http://www.magcloud.com/browse/issue/815317

 

Green – Emergent – PhotoStream* [of Consciousness], Photozine*or Insta-photobook*, Imagistbooks*

This aspect of photobook publishing is occupied by a large number of DIY practitioners accessing a range of print technologies from desktop inkjet and laser printers to affordable digital press printing and binding technologies. Content of these books could be considered a visual form of imagist or concrete poetry – they exhibit and subject and assembly sensibility that could match ‘stream of consciousness’ approaches to art. Other aspects include:

  • Usually self-authored or collaborative publications;
  • Are made in limited numbers/editions, often hand sewn or stapled;
  • The books are sold through specialist popular culture bookshops or online;
  • Often these books may be the result of crowd sourced funding and may be derived from online image storage or social media platforms like Instagram; and
  • Their locale of popularity and distribution may be regional.

 

*Names considered to best describe these emergent forms

 

Exemplar:

Conflict Resolution by Louis Porter

Conflict Resolution by Louis Porter, published by Twenty Shelves (Melbourne/Australia), 164 Pages full color, Design by Pierre Hourquet, Section sewn paperback with de-bossed cover, 20 x 27 cm, Edition of 1000.

http://louisporter.com/twenty-shelves/

 

 

Blue – Photopapers* Photomag* (broadsheet / newspaper / magazine)

These emergent photobooks take their physical form and production values from conventional print media. Other aspects include:

  • Availability through POD service providers;
  • Print runs may be small and limited or quite extensive of 1,000 copies or more;
  • These works may parody existing newspaper or magazine titles as a form of activism or commentary on print media and society; and
  • They may provide a photographer with a larger-scale publication format at a low production cost.

 

*Names considered to best describe these emergent forms

 

Exemplars: Photopaper

 

LBM Dispatch #7: Georgia photography by Alec Soth and Brad Zellar, designed by Meredith Oberg

LBM Dispatch #7: Georgia photography by Alec Soth and Brad Zellar, designed by Meredith Oberg
Little Brown Mushroom, Publication Date, November, 2014
48 pages 11.25 inches x 15 inches, 50 lb newsprint paper, Edition of 2000
http://www.littlebrownmushroom.com/products/lbm-dispatch-7-georgia/

 

 

Exemplar: Photomag

 

PIGS Photography by Carlos Spottorno, designed by Carlos Spottorno and Jaime Narváez

 

PIGS

Photography by Carlos Spottorno, designed by Carlos Spottorno and Jaime Narváez based on a replica of The Economist magazine.

Published by: RM Verlag and Phree, Madrid, 2013

112 pages 27 x 19 cm
http://spottorno.com/web/pigs

 

 

Indigo – Innovative Artists’ Book

This genre of the book is based around the idea of the artist as author, publisher and maker, and forms of the book that represent innovation, creativity and exploration of the book form. Historically this book form has been the domain of the artist and the way photography finds its way into the book can be more about the photo as a record, a fact or a trace representing the world and society that created it. Rather than something representing the passion that photographers have for the photograph as the product of their special visual perception of the world. Characteristics of these books include;

  • Forms integral to the narrative expression and the artist will break rules and conventions to achieve their expectations for the book;
  • Books engineered in ways that demand interaction, both through the visual senses but also through the haptics of handling and reading – the turning of pages;
  • Books that may mix photographs and text or text over photographs, or text as photographs and photographs as text;
  • Multi-media productions where the photograph becomes a part of a larger interplay of media; and
  • Bespoke unique state or a work that is published as a limited edition.

 

It should be noted that the artists’ book discipline might encompass an equally diverse range of book forms

 

Artists’ Book exemplar:

 

Eleven, Marshall Weber et al.

Eleven, Marshall Weber 1960- ; Christopher Wilde; Sara Parkel; Alison E Williams; Isabelle Weber; Booklyn Artists Alliance. New York : Booklyn :c2002

http://www.booklyn.org/artists/Marshall%20Weber.php

 

 

 

Violet – ‘Artists’ Book’ Codex

Related to books that utilize the conventional codex form and may explore the narrative form, conceptual art ideas as well as artmaking techniques. These books may exhibit the following characteristics:

  • Codex book form;
  • A range of production values including artisan printers and binders;
  • Contain texts as well as graphic elements and photographs; and
  • Printing techniques such as silkscreen, photoetching and gravure, inkjet, digital press and alternative imaging techniques like cyanotype.

 

An exemplar:

Google vanitas : autobiography # 7 concept and design by Scott McCarney

Google vanitas : autobiography # 7 concept and design by Scott McCarney.

16, [2] p. : col. ill. ; 22 x 20 cm.

http://scottmccarneyvisualbooks.com/Pages/google%20vanitas.html

 

 

Ultra-Violet – ‘Book Arts’, Livre d’Artiste Book

Consistent with the production and aesthetic values of the ‘fine press’ with the following characteristics:

  • Texts are usually handset letterpress, photographs made by traditional photo etching or gravure techniques and binding and presentation in cloth and leather often with ‘book arts’ embellishments;
  • The books are limited editions and utilize artisan practitioners and specialists in the production of the work;
  • Often the book may be commissioned by an entrepreneurial publisher following the French tradition of the latter 19th century; and
  • These works are expensive to buy and have limited markets that center on private collectors and institutions.

 

An exemplar:

Extinguishing of stars Carolyn Fraser and Holly Morrison

Extinguishing of stars Carolyn Fraser and Holly Morrison

Idlewild Press, Cleveland, Ohio :2003. 61 p. : ill. ; 24 cm., in case 26 x 20 x 4 cm. Edition of fifty.

https://thedesignfiles.net/2011/03/interview-and-studio-visit-carolyn-fraser-of-idlewind-press/

http://www.carolynfraser.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/11/Issue4_Uppercase_Fraser.pdf

 

 

In any attempt to define creative book publishing caution needs to be exercised. The artists’ book discipline has for years been dogged by attempts to define ‘what is, and what isn’t an artists’ book’. In 2005 Johanna Drucker put forward a proposal for classification of artists’ books. Even though she predicted that her proposition would ‘… cause strife, competition, [and] set up a hierarchy, make people feel they are either included or excluded’, (Drucker 2005:3) it inspired worldwide debate and furore from artists and librarians and became known as ‘Druckergate’. Ultimately the angst cooled and the artists’ book field continued with qualified debate, in both academic literature and everyday conversation, thus creating a basis for ongoing questioning and commentary on the discipline.

More recently, in 2010, Sarah Bodman and Tom Sowden from the Centre for Fine Print Research at the University of the West of England sought to define the canon for the artists’ book in the 21st century. They did this by creating a survey of world practitioners of bookmaking by artists in every conceivable outcome, including the emergent eBook. They found that the hierarchical form of a tree diagram was ‘too rigid and too concerned with process’ (Bodman and Sowdon 2010:5). They discovered that their respondents wanted to alter the diagram to satisfy the, ‘cross-pollination that is often required by artists’ and added in, ‘connectors across, up and down to bring seemingly disparate disciplines together.’

Just as Bodman and Sowdon found from their research, this visual spectrum structure is open to challenge where practioners and commentators are encouraged to mix and augment new color palettes for the presence of the photograph within the book. So what is proposed is not a rigid structure, deeply rooted and immovable as in the tree trunk, branch and leaf, but rather one where books of similar characteristics can be grouped, blended and mixed.

The intention for this nomenclature is to bring visibility to the diversity of creative publishing forms using the photograph. It is offered as a potential tool that recognises this evolving and extended medium to: curators, judges, cataloguers preparing ‘the best books of the year’ lists and books for sale or auction, and commentators engaging in critical debate. Additionally the links with artists’ books and zines can also be acknowledged thus extending and enriching the discipline of the photobook.

In the debate surrounding the evolving photobook this photo-specific spectrum analysis is offered, as a non-hierarchical, flexible and creative nomenclature. The spectrum should be able to move with change and developments within the photo in the book and the ideas and the motivations behind those who create these communicative devices and their commentators and readers. Each constituent of the spectrum, although emanating its own ‘wavelength’ or ‘color’, forms a part of the “white light” that is the continuum of the photograph and its place in the book.

 

 

Dr Doug Spowart[1]

January 2015

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Bodman, S. and T. Sowdon (2010). A Manifesto for the Book: What will be the canon for the artist’s book in the 21st Century? T. S. Sarah Bodman. Bristol, England, Impact Press, The Centre for Fine Print Research, University of the West of England, Bristol.

Campany, D. (2014). “The ‘Photobook’: What’s in a name?” Aperture: The Photobook Review(#007).

Drucker, J. (2005). “Critical Issues / Exemplary Works.” The Bonefolder: An e-journal for the bookbinder and book artist 1(2): 3-15.

McLaughlin, T. (2013). “Classic – The Photobook: A History Vol 1.”   Retrieved 17 June 2014, 2014, from http://imageonpaper.com/2013/05/17/131/.

Phillpot, C. (1998). Books by artists and books as art. Artist/Author: Contemporary Artists’ Books. C. Lauf and C. Phillpot. New York, D.A.P./Distributed Art Publications Inc.

Thurmann-Jajes, A. (2002). ars photographica: Fotografie und Künstlerbücher. Weserburg, Bremen, Neues Museum

 

[1] This essay is informed by an ongoing and long term personal interest which involved a practice of making, observing and considering the position of photographs published in the creative book realm along with recent research into the intersection of photobooks, zines and artists’ books.

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TEXT © Doug Spowart 2018
Most of the images in this post are from the promotional websites for the books and some are by the author – copyright resides with the authors and the images here are used for the purpose of review and commentary. Source links are provided for the reader’s connection with the publication under discussion.

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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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OFFICIAL LAUNCH OF A PHOTOBOOK COMPENDIUM FOR AUSTRALIA & NEW ZEALAND

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Cover: A Compendium of Australian & New Zealand Photobooks vPBNZ

Cover: A Compendium of Australian & New Zealand Photobooks v.PBNZ

To celebrate PHOTOBOOK NEW ZEALAND in Wellington over March 9-11 2018, I have published an updated version of my Photobook Compendium that was first issued in October 2017 at the VOLUME ART BOOK FAIR in Sydney.

 

Associate Professor Ann Shelton launches the Compendium @ Te Papa PHOTO: Libby Jeffery

Ann Shelton launches the Photobook Compendium PHOTO: Libby Jeffery

 

The Compendium is a soft cover 40 page A5 booklet that lists key contributors, both contemporary and historical, to the Australian and New Zealand photobook discipline. Apart from photographer’s names and many portraits I’ve included publishers, designers and book shops.

To extend the coverage of key aspects of the genre I have included visual coverage of significant photobook events and activities as well as portraits of many practitioners. Most of the photographs come from personal documents made in Australia, New Zealand and Vienna of these events.

The book is designed with two covers so both countries have prominence. The Compendium is printed by MomentPro and is a Numbered LIMITED EDITION of 40.

The book was launched at The Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa in Wellington by artist and photobook maker Associate Professor Ann Shelton on Saturday 10 at 2.00pm. At the event books will be available through Remote Photobooks.

WHAT’s IN THE COMPENDIUM…?

  • Over 400 listings relating to the photobook
  • 26 portraits of photobook people
  • 50 photobook covers – exemplars of the discipline
  • 60 photographs of events
  • Australian and New Zealand Photobook of the Year winners list

 

The book is now SOLD OUT!  Although REMOTE PHOTOBOOKS may still have some copies

Some of the pages

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The Compendium preface by Doug Spowart

The Compendium preface

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FOREWORD TO THE BOOK

 

This Compendium does not attempt a definition of the ‘photobook’ – therefore to reflect the breadth and depth of this evolving medium I have considered a range of photo-based products that may include photographically illustrated books, albums, catalogues, photobooks, zines, artists books, text-only references to photography and photo ephemera.

 

This data and images has been compiled over many years as a result of my interest in the photobook from the historical viewpoint as well as its contemporary phenomenon. I am particularly interested in books where the photograph acts as the principal narrative agent. Additionally I am also drawn to the haptic experience and design of the book and how it operates as a vehicle for presenting ideas and telling stories.

Listed here are names of people and organisations who have contributed (both historically and recently), to the development of photobook discipline. Although most of the listings are from New Zealand or Australian residents and establishments there are some inclusions relating to itinerant or short-lived connections with this region. Some publishing houses listed may be based offshore and have a presence in this region.

I wish to acknowledge the energy and support for Antipodean photobooks provided by Libby Jeffery and the MomentoPro company. Through their patronage and sponsorship they have played a pivotal role in the building of a strong and active photobook community.

This current Compendium is published in a limited edition of 40 on the occasion of the 2nd Photo Book New Zealand Festival in March 2018. Subsequent revised versions will contain new information arising from my ongoing research.

As much of this knowledge lies hidden in personal archives and libraries, I am most interested to receive information about New Zealand and Australian photobooks and the discipline’s community of practice.

Doug Spowart

Email: Greatdivide@a1.com.au
Mail: PO Box 3063, South Brisbane, Queensland 4101, AUSTRALIA

 

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TAKING AuNZ PHOTOBOOKS TO THE WORLD – The Vienna Photo Book Festival

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The MomentoPro AuNZ Photobooks of the Year @ VPBF

 

In the Antipodes we think we are far away from the centre of activities in so many areas of human endeavour that we just get on with it – doing it our own way. The field of photobooks is one such area.

Recently I had an opportunity to take photobooks from our part of the world to Europe and present a ‘show ‘n’ tell’ at the Vienna Photo Book Festival in Austria. Before the event I was wondering how our books would be received – would they match the Euro photobook for production values, innovation and story-telling capability? I would soon have my answer…

I presented a lecture on Australian and New Zealand photobooks and spent two days with Victoria Cooper and Lachlan Blair on our book presentation table featuring the finalists and winners of the 2016 MomentoPro Australian and New Zealand Photobooks of the Year Awards (ANZPOTY).

The answer to the question I posed earlier would soon be answered.

In a series of 3 blog posts I will tell the story of three aspects of the Vienna Photo Book Festival (1) the lectures, book and print sales, (2) my lecture and (3) the Vienna Photo Book Reviews.

 

Read on: THERE ARE 3 BLOG POSTS WITH THE DETAILS … links below…

 

The LECTURE

https://wotwedid.com/2017/06/18/the-antipodean-photobook-a-lecture-at-the-vienna-photo-book-festival/

 

The EVENT

https://wotwedid.com/2017/06/18/aunz-photobooks-the-vienna-photo-book-festival/

 

The REVIEW SESSIONS 

https://wotwedid.com/2017/06/18/review-panels-at-the-vienna-photo-book-festival/

 

 

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THE ANTIPODEAN PHOTOBOOK – a lecture at the Vienna Photo Book Festival

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Doug Spowart presenting The Antipodean Photobook at Vienna Photo Book Festival

 

THE LECTURE: THE ANTIPODEAN PHOTOBOOK

My lecture brief was to make an hour-long presentation about the Australian and New Zealand photobook scene. After some thought I organised my lecture content around 4 distinct areas.

 

1. The supporting structures

The contemporary scene was to be included covering both practitioners and the major events in AuNZ that have shaped and contributed to the development of strong network and community of practice. The key events, movers and shakers such as:

  • Photobook Melbourne
  • Photobook New Zealand
  • Unless you will 2017 event and book reviews
  • Melbourne Artbook Fair
  • Sydney’s Volume Another Artbook Fair
  • Zinefairs
  • The Photobook of the Year Awards
  • Bookshops
  • Perimeter Editions
  • m.33
  • T&G
  • Rim Books
  • Remote Photobooks
  • Perimeter
  • Photobook Clubs
  • Asia Pacific Photobook Archive
  • Photobook collections

I commented also on the sources of critical discourse on photobooks in AuNZ.

The role of Libby Jeffery and Geoff Hunt of MomentoPro as patrons and supporters of all things photobook in Australia and New Zealand was acknowledged.

2. Photobook histories of Australia and New Zealand from first examples to 2000

Here are a few slides from the presentation…

 

I was able also to present a discussion on the challenge of commercial book production as against personal work using Wes Stacey as an exemplar.

I also spoke about the informal links that exist between the photobook and artists’ book disciplines.

3. The contemporary scene and a selection of interesting books and makers

Here are a few slides from the presentation…

 

4. Voices from the Antipodean scene

It was important for me that contributors to the photobook discipline in Australia and New Zealand be given an opportunity to provide their personal insights to my presentation.

I sought comments from a range of key contributors and received responses from Libby Jeffery, Daniel Boetker-Smith, Helen Frajman, Harvey Benge, Bruce Connew, Garry Trinh, Sam Harris, Ying Ang, Anith Totha, The 2018 Photo Book Wellington Committee.

Here are a few slides from the presentation…

 

My concluding comment was that AuNZ and the Asia-Pacific regions offer new and refreshing ideas of what a photobook could be and the stories of peoples outside of the usual Euro/Americano scene.

I invited all attendees to visit our table and view the Photobook of the Year finalists and winners and offered, as an additional incentive a copy of the Awards booklet.

My lecture was well attended by festival participants from different parts of Europe including Martin Parr, Photo historian Hans-Michael Koetzle and collectors with an interest in the AuNZ books.

After the lecture Martin Parr and I discussed AuNZ photobooks that he was aware of and commented that in my lecture he had seen many new books. Our conversation continued later that day and he, Gerry Badger, and probably most of those who attended the lecture came to our table to look at the books.

 

Martin Parr at the AuNZ photobook table PHOTO: Lachlan Blair

 

 

SEE ALSO

The EVENT

https://wotwedid.com/2017/06/18/aunz-photobooks-the-vienna-photo-book-festival/

 

The REVIEW SESSIONS 

https://wotwedid.com/2017/06/18/review-panels-at-the-vienna-photo-book-festival/

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AuNZ PHOTOBOOKS @ The Vienna Photo Book Festival

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The exhibition at Brotfabrik Wien

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THE FESTIVAL: LECTURES, ACTIVITIES, OLD+NEW BOOKS & PRINT SALES

(from the ViennaPhotoBookFestival website)

The Artistic Directors, Regina Maria Anzenberger of Anzenberger Gallery and Michael Kollmann of OstLicht Gallery state that:

The ViennaPhotoBookFestival is celebrating its 5th anniversary on the 10th and 11th of June 2017 and to celebrate the medium of the photobook accordingly we have set up an exciting program. In addition to prominent guests like the Magnum legend Bruce Davidson and the creator of The Photobook: A History and Magnum photographer Martin Parr, we are expecting the photo critics Gerry Badger and Hans-Michael Koetzle, the Russian photographer Nikolay Bakharev, archipelago founder Magali Avezou, the chief curator of the Italian center for photography Camera Francesco Zanot, the Danish photographer Krass Clement and the Swiss photographer Rene Groebli, who is celebrating his 90th birthday this year.

Also in 2017 we are following the vision of a modern platform that helps to create networks between publishers, rare photobook dealers, independent publishers, artists and students. In addition, the festival’s international lectures will attract photobook aficionados from all over the world making Vienna a photobook metropolis once again.

 

The AuNZ Photobook of the Year set of books

Early Saturday morning along with 100 other table holders we unpacked and set-up our display. Around us other table holders offered everything from prints to booksellers of new and antiquarian books, student groups and educational institutions from all over Europe. There were special activities including a 10×8 Polaroid portrait and wet plate photography studios.

Our ANZ PBOTY display was positioned next to our Austrian/expat Australian friend Lachlan Blair’s table. Although he had paid for his table to show his beautiful photogram works and prints, Lachlan also shared the table minding duties with us. With his support we all were able to attend lecture events and also checkout other VPBF tables.

The exhibition space with the AuNZ table in the foreground

Lachlan Blair’s photogram print display

The history of the photobook was represented by significant collections and booksellers – I held a copy of Roy DeCarava’s Sweet flypaper of life… Lazlo Moholy-Nagy’s essay in Telehor from 1936 – books by Blossfeldt, Brandt, Van Elsen, Klaus Clement. I held back – a limited budget, though my new friend from Russia Natalia had an amazing handmade book by Julia Borissova that I had to buy, other books were bought and some were swapped – one of these was Surveillance by Valentyn Odnoviun which featured the circular observation peep-holes from Gestapo, STASI and KGB prisons – a most chilling yet remarkable book, this work was inspired by his father’s incarceration for 3 years on false charges.

Classic photobooks

Valentyn Odnoviun with his book ‘Surveillance’

Martin Parr was interviewed by Verena Kaspar-Eisert at the opening event – the room was full. Parr was the complete mischievous interviewee as Verena teased out some interesting facts and comments from this ‘Photobook Rock Star’.

Martin Parr being interviewed by Verena Kaspar-Eisert

Sunday continued the frantic pace – lectures, including one by Bruce Davidson, another by Nikolay Bakharev and Klaus Clement interviewed by Gerry Badger.

Krass Clement being interviewed by Gerry Badger

As the hours wore down there was a frantic activity to see other tables and catch up with as much as one could handle. MomentoPro had also sent along with the books around 30 of the little catalogues and these became gifts to selected viewers of our books… these included collectors, teachers serious photobook makers and others from the photo press and of course Anzenberger, Badger and Parr.

We received many statements from viewers complimenting the quality of our books some even saying that the work was better than the general European scene. In response to people wanting to buy ANZ books we suggested direct connection with the photographers websites, bookshops and online stores in ANZ. One collector came to us on Sunday and excitedly exclaimed that he had been in contact with a NZ photographer and had bought the book…! Katrin Koenning+ Sarker Protick’s Astres Noirs APOTY winner could have been sold many time over as it’s 1st edition is ‘sold out’ and is now a rarity – luckily the Anzenberger Bookshop had copies of the 2nd edition.

Gerry Badger with Sonia Lenzi at the AuNZ table

Martin Parr at the AuNZ table

In the final minutes of the 2016 VPBF all table holders packed up their displays of books and prints leaving behind a vacant space that had once held so many books, their stories and those who make or care for them. We left the building, said our goodbyes, repacked suitcases with new books and a couple of hours later Lachlan took us to Vienna airport to catch our flight home.

Regina Maria Anzenberger and Doug Spowart

It’s now the middle of the plane flight somewhere over the Black Sea – about 1.35am. I’m still pumped and excited to have been able to have made this foray into the European photobook scene. I also want to acknowledge the support of Regina Marie Anzenberger and Michael Kollmann from Vienna Photobook Festival, Libby Jeffery and Rony Wilson of MomentoPro, Lachlan Blair and my partner Victoria Cooper,

For many people in the northern hemisphere Australia and New Zealand will be known not just as an interesting travel destination but rather a place where a dynamic photobook network of practitioners exists making great books….

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What follows is a selection of images from the event…

 

SEE ALSO:

 

The LECTURE

https://wotwedid.com/2017/06/18/the-antipodean-photobook-a-lecture-at-the-vienna-photo-book-festival/

 

The REVIEW SESSIONS 

https://wotwedid.com/2017/06/18/review-panels-at-the-vienna-photo-book-festival/

 

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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