Archive for the ‘Meeting People’ Category
On Sunday 12 February the Melbourne Town Hall and was packed with sellers, lookers and buyers attending the Sticky Institute’s Festival of the Photocopier Zine Fair. At a guess, there could have been around 100 zine tables with a variety of zine-makers: both showing their own work, or representing other zinesters. For the visitor to the Fair there was an opportunity to see and handle almost any kind of communication that could put onto a sheet of paper, or into collated pages – folded, stapled, glued, stitched and sewn. Each ‘publication’ representing a personal approach to what the medium “zine” means to the author. And, as the ‘Zine’ is a slippery medium those within the discipline keep pushing the limits by integration of opportunistic technologies and ideas gleaned from contemporary media.
The content of the zines presented to us were from a broad church of visual and written media including: text as prose, poetry or as visual typographic forms, and calligraphy. There was a rich diversity of illustration from photo-realism to comic flat field work, photographs and even, in one sighted example – the ancient art of marbling. The narrative forms in these publications ranged from concrete poetry, prose, comic stories and disjointed stream of consciousness curated visuals.
In keeping with the tradition some zine makers aired their political opinions while others shared a fascination of contemporary everyday life. There were groups that concentrated on gender issues, music and issues of the street, while others presented dreamy naive and whimsical scenarios, adventures in suburbia, the road and outer space, nonsensical ghoulish and vampire episodes.
Our specific interest were zines based on or utilising photos sometimes referred to as photozines, as well as others that use photomontage in their narrative or conceptual work. Examples seen dealt with topics like the destruction of traditional family homes in the Chinese city of Guangzhou, skateboard stories, and a faux streetscape made up of photos of distressed buildings.
The Fair was a place to network. Greetings were made with like-minded people across the display tables and discussions took place about zines, life and art. We caught up with a few people we knew – David Dellafiora, Gracia and Louise and Glen Smith – Queensland’s zine hero Jeremy Staples was in the building somewhere but we didn’t get to meet. Zine-makers, or sellers, were keen to engage with us to tell the story of the work and where it fits with their practice and their life.
But did anyone sell anything? Many visitors were seen toting quite a few brown envelopes and calico bags filled with new additions to their personal collections. Perhaps a personal experience might shed some light on how success for such an event could be measured. It was right at the end of our shop, we had spent our budget and were talking to two young zinesters who were actually making their little photo zines on demand at their table. Their selling price was $3 and we wanted one of each but could only scrape together $5 in coin. One of the zinesters said ‘that’s fine, I’ll take the $2’, and stated that, ‘it’s important to have my zine out there…’
Being out there with your work. That is what zines are all about … your message in print as a democratic multiple … telling your story, was always what zines were about. That tradition it seems, continues…
February 13, 2017
SOME ZINES ADDED TO OUR COLLECTION
Trudi Treble – Instagram: trud.i
Glen Smith: https://nofrillsart.net/
Gracia and Louise: www.gracialouise.com
Field Study – https://daviddellafiora.blogspot.com.au/
Alice Fennessy Instagram: @alicefennessy
Claire Wakeford: www.clairewakeford.com
Ning Xue: http://www.xuening.me/me.html
UNTIL NEXT YEAR …
Copyright in the zines is retained by the authors. All photographs + text + video ©2017 Doug Spowart
In March 2013 I was contacted by David Tickell who wanted to meet with me to talk about a proposition he had in mind. I had known David for many years – he had been a writer and critic for the local press and had written the text for a book by my photographer friend John Elliott. In the early 2000s David had enrolled in photography studies at the college I taught at in Toowoomba. He was always an enthusiastic contributor to the classroom as he sought to learn and master digital photography. It became evident to me at the time that David had a considerable interest and capability in photography from his past career activities.
When David came by to visit he brought an aluminium case covered with the patina of travel and use. Inside the case were the things that David had wanted to talk with me about. We sat in our carport rainforest and talked about what we’ve both been up to and changes in our lives. David spoke about downsizing his life’s goods and chattels and introduced the aluminium case’s treasures to me… a Rollei twin lens reflex with a range of filters and accessories, an Exakta 35mm SLR – all neatly packed with manuals and other ephemera. It was all in immaculate condition. He told me that he had purchased it in the Middle East at a time in his journalism career that needed quality photographs.
His dilemma now was that with digital photography he had no need for the equipment and he wanted to pass it on to someone who would appreciate it and perhaps even use it – he proposed that I was that person. I appreciated his gesture and felt honoured by his offer. I mentioned that Vicky and I had a Rollei in our possession and that we would look after the gear and pass it on to an individual, perhaps a student, who we considered would value this equipment and use it to extend their analogue photography work. We made photographs of our meeting with the cameras and David left feeling excited that his gift was well received and would be looked after.
For some time I’ve been looking out for a suitable person to receive David’s gear. Quite a few years ago I’d come across a Brisbane band webpage called ‘Something from the scene’, and a little while later I had a student who was interested in contemporary band photography who had found the same site as an inspiration. In June 2015 we met Thomas Oliver at the Siganto Artists Book Forum in Brisbane. He was the guy from ‘Something from the scene’. We both connected with Thomas who we found out was a Queensland College of Art Bachelor of Photography student. Our paths have crossed many times since including his involvement in exhibitions and projects I’ve curated include a Skype artist’s talk that he participated in at Maud Gallery in March for the In situ documentary show.
Recently Thomas has completed his Bachelor of Photography and was the winner of the John Mckay Award for the student going into honours, and a Saint Margaret School’s internship award. He is continuing his studies with an Honours year at QCA. I was particularly interested in Thomas’ engagement with analogue photography. Extensive project work while on study tour to Europe, the UK and Canada was shown at Maud in the ‘In situ’ show and his graduating BP work featured an involvement in the variants and deviations possible from the printing of the singular black and white film negative.
For his enthusiasm for photography and his dedication to analogue photography I chose to pass on David’s gear to Thomas. We met at Maud Gallery at the end of November and the exchange made. He was excited to be the recipient of David’s equipment legacy and excitedly talked about how the gear could be used in his future photographic research work.
David’s equipment has found a new life with Thomas and as long as he has a need and a interest it will reside with him – until he wishes to pass it on to a new custodian…
Words about David Tickell from John Elliot’s photographic documentary book The Last Show published in 1986. The book was about the last Toowoomba Agricultural Show held on the inner-city site bordering Bridge, Campbell and Lindsay Streets. Elliott’s photographs were complimented by a text telling the story of the show written by David.
Adele Outteridge and Wim de Vos are like ‘family’ for many artists and creatives in Queensland, and I’m sure around Australia and beyond. Their Studio West End has provided a space for artists to access printing technologies, be supported by mentoring and teaching provided by Adele and Wim, and also connect through the social meeting place that the studio was.
Over the years both Vicky and I have connected with them in many different ways; as co-teachers in an art college, as collaborators on art projects, attending events that each other had organised, learning and sharing skills and, at times, just sitting around – as other do – talking about art and artists…
Adele and Wim have for many years operated their business Studio West End in the suburb of West End in Brisbane in an old soft drink and later and ice-cream factory. They made these places little palaces of art, inspiration and creativity. The workshop was often converted into an exhibition space and example of which would be the project launch of EX LIBRIS: WHO OWNS THIS BOOK
Vicky and I attended the last day party on the 23rd of April and I made some photographs of the state of the studio and its conversion into neat stacks of crates on pallets. What follows is a small selection of the ABSOE Studio West End wake…
On October 30 Adele and Wim re-opened STUDIO WEST END at a new location –
241F Station Rd, Yeerongpilly 4105. Come to Gate 4, YCP (Yeerongpilly Corporate Park)
A large opening party was held on Friday evening with the new consecration of the new studio being performed by artist and raconteur Janet de Boer OAM. Acquaintances and friends were invited to visit the studio over the weekend and we went along for lunch the next day. We wish them all the best for the Studio’s continued operation.
What follows is a documentation of the new space and its migration into a new space for art making, teaching and mentoring artists…
ALL photographs and text ©2016 Doug Spowart
Brisbane is not a place not known for its photobook makers… there’s not much happening. Occasionally a gem from Dane Beesley, a few college student publications made for assessment and, every now and again, artists’ books/photobooks from yours truly and Victoria Cooper. So it is an exciting time when a new book is made as a total production from concept to printing and binding in Brisbane. That book is by photographer and photobook self-publisher Ana Paula Estrada and is entitled Memorandum. The book was completed as a project associated with Estrada’s Siganto Foundation Creative Fellowship in the Australian Library of Art at the State Library of Queensland.
Memorandum is a conceptual bookwork and is concerned with concepts of aging and memory, remembrance and the recounting of stories. In this book Estrada presents evocative associations where the photograph infers a memory or moment re-called.
At a first glance Memorandum could seem to be just a book of straight portraits featuring old people. The are multiple images on successive pages occasionally interspersed with a range of other photos and ephemera. Each of the people pictured in this book have been interviewed by Estrada and shared with her stories of their lives. Fragments of their memories, exhumed from the depths of memory, or in some cases, from lost recesses of the mind caused by age-related memory impairment or varied stages of Alzheimer’s disease. Estrada’s portrait sequences present the subjects with subtle expression changes. Turning the pages of the book are like a conversation with the person – animated and suggesting a dialogue is taking place.
Facing pages are sometimes blank to create a punctuation or pause in the conversation. Sometimes images and other ephemera are on the verso pages. These act as windows to the conversation – they need no caption, they are physical evidence of existence, substantiating the memory. They act as memory maps placed before the reader as additional information. Many of these images have been sourced from the person in conversation. Other photographs have been sourced by Estrada from the archives of the State Library of Queensland to illustrate the memory relayed to her in conversation with the subject.
Memorandum has achieved the notice of the world-wide photobook community:
Harvey Benge comments on the book https://harveybenge.blogspot.com.au/2016/08/ana-paula-estrada-memorandum-new.html
The Royal Photographic Society’s curated photobook exhibition https://issuu.com/bjsdesign/docs/photobook_exhibition_2016_catalogue
Shortlisting for the Artspace Mackay Libris Artists’ Book Awards 2016-librisawards_illustratedlistofworks
Shortlisting for the Encontros da Imagem Festival (Braga, Portugal)
A review by Gabriela Cendoyo (in Spanish) can be seen HERE
The State Library of Queensland BLOG about the development of the book can be read HERE
The Australian Library of Art at the State Library of Queensland and the National Library of Australia have both bought copies.
I was honored to have Ana Paula approach me to write an essay to accompany the book. My text is printed as a broadsheet page folded and inserted into a pocket in the book’s cover. My essay is as follows….
Sitting here, I’m trying to recall the earliest memories of my life as a child. In this process of reflection I attempt to delve back into my memory searching for images, thoughts, experiences and feelings. What I find are personal, unique and fragmented memories that seem to have the appearance of photographs.
As I remember more of my childhood, I wonder if there is another way of visualising memories? But what emerges again in my mind are stilled photographic moments in particular, one of a family group. These photo memories have no colours, just black and white and slightly sepia. Wide white borders surround each memory and the corners are slightly bumped showing the patina of being handled. It even seems plausible to me I could even turn the memory over, and there would be a caption there in someone’s handwriting.
How could I, at 3 years of age, have known the significance and the outcome of my father’s posed group – my brother, mother and me? Other aspects of the photograph, like how youthful my mother appears, or how my father was not yet bald, give me something to base what I think should be my memories of that time. Could it be that I remember the photograph and have forgotten the moment of its making?
Writer and critic John Berger claims that, ‘All photographs are there to remind us of what we forget.’[i] Does this mean that because we have photographs, we allow ourselves to forget? What I do know is when we want to remember – we look at photographs. And when it comes to remembering there are social rituals that help us do this. Every family, for example, at some time or another, gathers together and the musty pages of photo albums are turned, old yellowed Kodak print packets thumbed through and the slides are held up to the light with everyone squinting to see some glimmer of recognition in the tiny frame. We have seen the archived baby photos, the wedding couple, holidays and kids playing at the beach, the new house and the other treasures that vernacular photography presents as a personal record. Through this ritual we encounter the rich archive of our family and ancestor’s lives. These now become ‘conditioned memories’, whether real or fiction. When we next see these photos we will think we remember the moment of their making and not necessarily our moment of first encountering them.
This conceptual bookwork by Ana Paula Estrada is concerned with the human condition of memory. Perhaps more specifically this work deals with concepts of ageing and memory, remembrance and the recounting of stories. The work also comments on the interpretation of stories and the retelling of what could be referred to as meta-stories in the form of a book.
As the pages of Memorandum are turned – people will be met. There will be conversations through the sharing of photographs, documents and news-clippings of these people’s lives. Through the process of making this book, memories have been revisited, refreshed and retold anew. These stories are offered for reader’s contemplation, perhaps even for future remembering. Memoranda, such as these, may be about other people’s stories – but in many ways they may stir our memories and become part of our stories as well.
[i] Berger, John. Keeping a Rendezvous [in English]. Granta in association with Penguin, 1992.
- Black soft cover, Section Sewn (Exposed Spine), 21 cm x 15 cm Stock: Ecostar Uncoated It contains a small 8pp booklet, fold out pages and a tipped in 112gsm translucent page
- 170 pages and 86 photographs
- Selling price $80
Other details about the book:
Photographs & Text:
Ⓒ2016 Ana Paula Estrada
Subject´s personal photographs.
John Oxley Collection, State Library of Queensland.
Design & concept: Ana Paula Estrada
Essay: Dr. Doug Spowart
Artwork: Linda Carling
Colour management: Martin Barry
Printing: Allclear in Brisbane, Australia
Typefaces: Chronicle Display and Aparajita
Paper stock: 120gsm &140gsm Ecostar
First edition, 2016
Print run: 200
More information about the book and how to purchase a copy can be found on Ana Paula’s website.
Ana Paula Estrada’s Memorandum makes a significant contribution to the contemporary photobook genre in her ability to resolve the conceptualisation, capture – in photographs and recorded interview, the design and coordination of a complex concept into the simple form of of a book. And in doing so give us an opportunity to consider contemporary issues of our time through the photobook.
October 31, 2016
PHOTOS OF THE BOOK LAUNCH
AVID READER IN WEST END BRISBANE
We came to Orpheus to share our knowledge, skills and experience of photography and the book. We were ready to assist and encourage – motivate and create with the participants… We had plotted and planned for months – but nothing could have prepared us for the Orpheus experience we were to have!
We were amazed with the boundless energy and enthusiasm for all things photography. In particular:
• Everyone’s participation in the lecture presentations
• The amazing camera obscura that John de Rooy & Spyder Displays had made
• The fun everyone had with pinhole imaging, lumen printing and other ‘photo play’ projects
• The playful and the deeply considered work made by everyone
• The individual creative development towards making books
• The joy that everyone expressed from making and crafting fine images and books
We appreciated the special access to the incredible equipment from Kayell, Hasselblad, Nikon, Epson and ProPhoto.
The support workers and organisers were photo experts, construction workers and logistical whizzes while always with a smile and good humour. So much happens behind the scenes of the great Orpheus Drama. But there was another endless creative space – the kitchen. And it was those that worked from dawn to well after we all had dined that we owe our sustained creative energy, fed our bodies and delighted our taste buds.
All this made the working environment possible as we, with the amazing Les Walkling, worked together to share our knowledge, passion and inspiration for photography. It was inspiring for us working with Les – his dedication to sharing his great knowledge and experience. He is truly unique in Australian photography. Thank you also for your words about our contribution to the Orpheus Photo Workshop …
… I loved every minute of the ‘Doug & Vicky Roadshow’, and I even ‘re-named’ the main lecture theatre the ‘Doug and Vicky Studio’. What memorable times were had in and around that space. Every aspect of Doug and Vicky’s presentations were informative and entertaining, and I don’t think I have ever loved photo books so much, nor ‘played’ so joyfully with my photography. What a difference it makes working with skilled presenters who are at the top of their field and not afraid to share their love and devotion to what we all adore; our photography. I can’t thank them enough for their contribution to Orpheus 2016, their generosity and tireless expansiveness, and the difference they have made to our photographic lives.
WHAT FOLLOWS IS AN ALBUM OF PHOTOS FROM THE WORKSHOP
The ‘staff’ take a break in a pinhole time-lapse movie made by Ross Eason…
Special thank you to:
John and Pam de Rooy our hosts and organisers – the rocks that underpin Orpheus
Tutors Murray, Ross and Rod for their ever-present support
Brenda, Dave and Nikolaj – an amazing Chef team
Marta and Jimmy from the JCU Research Facility – where would we be without their support?
Libby and Geoff from MomentoPro for their enthusiasm and collaboration in the book projects
Epson, Kayell and Canson for the fabulous papers and printers
William from Hasselblad and John from Kayell for the exceptional access to the gear
Nikon and the wonderful range of quality professional camera equipment.
AND… A very special thank you to all the photographers, now new friends, with whom we shared the experience of Orpheus 2016 …
We are now getting ready for our next island workshop: on the Greek island of SKOPELOS
May 2017 for 2 weeks of art photography about ‘place’ making cyanotypes and photobooks + Greek culture, wine and food. SEE HERE FOR MORE INFO
“Come with us to the Great Barrier Reef’s Orpheus Island
2-8 October 2016 for a workshop with Les Walkling …”
Orpheus Island Photography Workshop is a full seven day all-inclusive unique experience designed for professional photographers and enthusiast/non-professional photographers. The James Cook University Orpheus Island Research Station is a world class research and teaching facility, and the tropical islands provide for amazing photographic opportunities. Featured this year will be Victoria Cooper and Doug Spowart. This is the twelfth year Les has presented this workshop and he rates it as his best.
The workshop comprises lectures, demonstrations and presentations each morning, backed up with hands-on work after lunch and into the evening utilizing state-of-the-art printing facilities and a fully colour managed professional workflow.
Escape the winter blues for a week on a tropical island and be inspired by an amazing photography experience with Les, Victoria and Doug.
- Gain creative insights and how to put the “Wow” factor into your images;
- Explore bookmaking and fine art photography with Doug and Vicki;
- Learn self development and marketing ideas for you and your business;
- Polish your digital capture and advanced processing techniques;
- Print perfect colour or black & white images every time, whether through your own printer or at your pro lab;
- Work with our sponsors and try out their latest equipment, all types of printing media, and win lots of prizes;
- Polish your workflow for maximum efficiency while achieving brilliant colour and the highest impact in images for your clients, your gallery, or for award competitions;
- Experience superb underwater photography locations for snorkeling and beachcombing;
Check out the videos from past workshops:
Book now to reserve your space at Orpheus Island.
Experience the best “live in” workshop for photographers in Australia.
To survive and work as an artist is a big enough challenge in this day and age–but for some that’s not enough. A few have dreams for fantastic extravaganzas and then commit themselves to the necessary problem solving and planning to bring these wild ideas into fruition. One such inspired individual is Robyn Foster who curated an international exhibition of artists books that was first shown at the Redland Museum, then Redlands Art Gallery. The show, Personal Histories was then traveled as a self funded initiative for the third exhibition at the University of NSW Library at ADFA in Canberra.
Ms Selena Griffith, Senior Lecturer in Design, UNSW Art & Design, officially launched the exhibition on the 1st October in Canberra and was attended by members of the local artists book community. We also attended the Canberra opening, viewed the exhibition and met some of the artists.
The exhibition is a curatorial masterpiece, the like of which is usually only undertaken by an institutional team! The works shown represent a wide gamut of practice from books that look and operate like books, to books as sculptural object. The books presented were made by every conceivable process and materials. Represented in the exhibition was every form of container for stories from codices, to concertinas and prosaic ‘ready-mades’. There is no resolution to the question ‘what is an artists book?’ as it continues to be challenged by the diversity and inventiveness of the works in this exhibition.
The stories in Personal Histories came from each artist’s life and experiences expressed through their creative art process. Through the intimacy of the book and the visual and haptic experience of reading, these personal narratives have the potential to be shared with those encountering these books in the future.
Congratulations Robyn Foster for curating and presenting this wonderful opportunity for us to experience the diversity of books by artists and the opportunity for these books to be seen.
A video of the exhibition showing a ‘fly through’ of some of the works as well as the opening address from Ms Selena Griffith and Robyn Foster’s response is available HERE:
FROM THE PERSONAL HISTORIES WEBSITE:
Bringing together artists from around the globe to share their own stories in artist book form.
Sharing similarities, diversities and individual perspectives.
Highlighting the dynamic world of artist books.
The Personal Histories International Artist Book Exhibition highlights the dynamic world of contemporary artists’ book practice, with contributing artists from over 16 countries who attempt to reconfigure and reignite our relationship with the book.
This exhibition intimately catalogues a perspective of individual life experience exploring various structures and content, with curator Robyn Foster inviting us to contemplate our evanescent relationship with books at a seminal point in history where technology has overtaken books as society’s primary information source.
A detailed website discussing the project, the exhibitions and the works can be found HERE
Some images from the event: