Archive for the ‘PhD Study’ Category
I Have Witnessed A Strange River says Cooper invited us to engage with a journey through the depths of water. She guided us through an unfamiliar place inter-twined with our daily lives where we witnessed the relentless cycle of life and death. Deep below the water’s reflecting surface, she showed us that a place primordial and alien yet intrinsic to us all, exists.
A SEGMENT OF VICKY’S PRESENTATION IS VIEWABLE HERE as a video
BIO: Victoria Cooper is an artist with a PhD in Visual Arts researching the intersections of art and science. This interdisciplinary research is informed and inspired by her previous career in Human and Plant Pathology along with current interest in local and regional issues of land and water. During her 23-year arts career she has also worked across many forms of photographic technology–analogue to digital imaging; site specific documentation of performance; and artists’ books. In a collaborative practice with Dr Doug Spowart, she explores the post technological paradigm of photography as a cultural communication and a site-specific visual medium. This multi-methodological approach is applied in their current Place Project work in many regional communities. Cooper has exhibited in Australia and internationally and her work has been published in the Pinhole Resource Journal, the Le Stenope issue of French Photo Poche series and with Doug was included in the publication LOOK, Contemporary Australian Photography since 1980. Cooper’s artists’ books are held in national and private collections including the rare books and manuscript collections of the National Library of Australia and the State Library of Queensland.
This is a Story About Water Too* The quality and supply of water is one of most important issues of our time. Water quality scientist Carl Mitchell from the Condamine Alliance discussed the quality of water in our waterways and the health of our aquatic systems – vital indicators of how well we are doing as a society. The waterways in the Condamine catchment are a precious resource for the communities in the region. They provide many benefits to support the economy, society and environment of the region. Due to extensive development across a number of sectors, the quality of waters in most of the catchment areas is poor. Studies and models predict that without appropriate additional management responses the region will be unable to meet the social and economic needs of the community while maintaining the ecological integrity of the natural systems supporting these needs. Carl discussed the state of the waters and what actions are needed in the future.
BIO: Carl is a water quality scientist, aquatic ecologist and integrated water resource management specialist with a passion for the water and the waterways of the Condamine Catchment in the headwaters of the Murray Darling Basin. Carl strongly believes that the quality of water in our waterways and the health of our aquatic systems is an indicator of how well we are doing as a society. This drives him to strive for clean water for the Condamine and healthy aquatic ecosystems for the Murray Darling headwaters. Carl’s work in the Condamine has focussed on restoring the iconic Condamine river and Carl has lead the team that won 3 prestigious national awards for the Condamine in 2012-2013. Carl has a history in Natural Resource Management in Queensland having worked for Reef Catchments in Mackay for 11 years as Waterwatch coordinator, Healthy Waterways Coordinator and Water Manager. In the Water Manager role at Reef Catchments Carl spent 2 years coordinating the Paddock to Reef program across the 6 reef regional bodies, before moving to the Condamine in 2011. Carl has been an Australian Youth Ambassador for Development in the Philippines, implementing Waterwatch and Landcare programs.
Igneous: James Cunningham and Suzon Fuks
The Igneous team shared its explorations of water as a topic and metaphor. They explained how Waterwheel is an interactive, collaborative platform for sharing media and ideas, performance and presentation. Attendees witnessed how Waterwheel investigates and celebrates this constant yet volatile global resource, fundamental element, environmental issue, political dilemma, universal theme and symbol of life. We were encouraged to explore and discover, share and collaborate, contribute and participate in their project and local activities.
Igneous presented Waterwheel as well as the FLUIDATA project supported by Arts Queensland, and introduced the audience to FLUIDATA workshop that we offered there.
BIOS: Igneous received funding from Brisbane City Council and Arts Queensland towards the development of the platform and it’s incorporation in the Waterwheel Installation Performance and associated residency at the Judith Wright Centre of Performing Arts, Brisbane. Igneous is a partnership between Cunningham and Fuks who have both given lectures, workshops, master-classes and labs in Australia, USA, Europe, India and Indonesia, in tertiary institutions, cultural venues and community contexts.
James Cunningham is a performance, movement and video artist, and the co-Artistic Director, along with Suzon Fuks, of Igneous Inc., (www.igneous.org.au) a Brisbane-based multimedia and performance company established in 1997 that has presented solo and ensemble stage shows, performance-installations, video-dance works and networked/online performances in Australia, Europe (Belgium, France, Switzerland, Germany, Poland), UK, Canada and India.
Suzon Fuks is an intermedia artist, choreographer and director, exploring the integration and interaction of the body and moving image through performance, screen, installation and online work (http://suzonfuks.net). During an Australia Council for the Arts Fellowship (2009-12), she initiated and co-founded Waterwheel, following which she has been a Copeland Fellow and an Associate Researcher at the Five Colleges in Massachusetts, continuing to focus her research on water and gender issues, and networked performance, as well as coordinating activities on Waterwheel.
* The Secret Life of Water Book Title by Masaru Emoto
* This is a Story About Water Too. Poem Title by Jayne Fenton Keane
Texts sourced from Dogwood Crossing material. Photos: Doug Spowart ©2014
RUNSHEET & OVERVIEW:
Momento Pro/HEADON Event: The Future of Photo Book Publishing
6.00 pm Panellists arrive on stage
6.10 pm Doug Spowart: Welcome and good evening.
Photographers and those who make photobooks are storytellers – and – with this in mind – I would like to acknowledge and pay respect to the traditional owners and story-tellers of this land on which we meet; the Gadigal people of the Eora Nation.
This evening we will discuss the photobook and consider the opportunities for its future in Australia.
My name is Doug Spowart, I make artists books, photobooks and I have a research interest in photography and the form of the photobook.
This evening I’m joined by an eminent panel of book people with a wide range of knowledge and expertise on the topic.
The order of this evening will begin with an overview by me about the photobook. Then each of the panellists will discuss their involvement within the book and photobook world. Following that the panel will be presented with a range of questions – some sent in from attendees. Towards the end of the forum we have set aside time for your questions and comments to the panel. The forum will close and be followed by refreshments and networking opportunities …
At this juncture I would like to thank our Sponsor Momento Pro and the Organizers of the HeadOn Photo Festival, and the Museum of Sydney for this opportunity to engage in dialogue about this growing and evolving medium …
AN OVERVIEW OF THE PHOTOBOOK
Photobook luminary Martin Parr states:
… that photography and the book were just meant for each other; they always have been. It’s the perfect medium for photography: it’s printed, it’s reproducible and it travels well. (Parr in Lane 2006:15)
The photobook is indeed the ‘perfect medium’ for photography and its history, the history of photography are inextricably linked with that of publishing. In fact some of the earliest experiments in photography made by Hércules Florence (1804 -1879), Nicéphore Niépce (1765 -1833) and Henry Fox Talbot (1800 -1877) were to discover methods and processes that would enable the copying and printing of texts or designs by capturing and fixing camera obscura images.In March 21, 1839, Talbot, the inventor of the negative-positive photographic process wrote to fellow researcher Sir John Herschel, about the potential of his calotype research work. In this letter he predicted that photography would make ‘Every man his own printer and publisher’(Talbot 1839). Talbot within four years set up a printing works at Reading where he printed the images for The Pencil of Nature, his treatise on the photographic process. This was published as a serialised form of text with tipped-in calotype images.
Books illustrated by photographs as a genre of the publishing industry flourished. The photographic image could operate as a storyteller, a precise document of truth, a device to entertain and, at times, a carrier of propaganda. Early photography book works consisted of travel, geographical and military expeditions, trade catalogues, scientific and ethnographic documentation.
Although some photographers, like Talbot, may have established their own publishing ventures, usually the photographer was a supplier of images for a publication that was commissioned by someone else – a publisher, benefactor or government agency. The publishing of a book was, and still is, a task requiring the specialized skills, the entrepreneurship and financial acumen found in the worlds of publishing, marketing and bookselling. Books are created for a purchasing audience: it is a mercantile process where return on the investment in a publishing project is a necessary outcome.
What is it about photographers and their need for photobooks?
Martin Parr describes the influence that photobooks had on his own practice by stating that:
I’m a photographer and I need to inform myself about what’s going on in the world photographically. Books have taught me more about photography and photographers than anything else I can think of. (Parr in Badger 2003:54)
Parr is not alone. The publishing house Aperture – a well established international publisher of contemporary and historical photographic essays and monographs – acknowledges in their organization’s credo that:
Every photographer who is a master of his [sic] medium has evolved a philosophy from such experiences; and whether we agree or not, his thoughts act like a catalyst upon our own — he has contributed to dynamic ideas of our time. Only rarely do such concepts get written down clearly and in a form where photographers scattered all over the earth may see and look at the photographs that are the ultimate expression. (in Craven 2002:13)
So photographers seek inspiration for their work by building their own reference libraries: have you ever visited a photographer and not had discussions about books or been invited to see their library? It then makes sense that photographers will want a book of their own. Photobook publisher Dewi Lewis exclaims: ‘I have yet to meet a photographer who doesn’t want to see their work in book form.’ (Lewis and Ward 1992:7).
Photobook commentators and publishers of the book Publish Your Photography Book, Darius Himes and Mary Virginia Swanson claim that this need is universal and emotive:
It almost goes without saying that every photographer wants a book of his or her work. It’s a major milestone, an indicator of success and recognition, and a chance to place a selection of one’s work in the hands of hundreds, if not thousands, of people. Plus it is just plain exciting to hold a book of your photographs! (Himes and Swanson 2011:26)
It seems that this ‘rite of passage’ is an important step of professional recognition as photographer, photobook maker and writer – Robert Adams – makes the following statement in his book Why people photograph:
I know of no first-rate photographer who has come of age in the past twenty-five years who has found the audience that he or she deserves without publishing such a book. (Adams 1994:44-5)
Does it then follow that every photographer of note or the creator of a significant body of work deserves a book?
It is not that easy. Amongst others the photobook publisher Dewi Lewis argues that the market for photobooks is limited – where he identifies that: ‘photographers themselves are the largest purchasers of photobooks’ (Lewis and Ward 1992).
Ultimately unsold books are remaindered – something even Magnum photographer Martin Parr experienced. His first book Bad Weather (1982) sold poorly and was remaindered at 40p. In an essay on photobook publishing Peter Metelerkamp reports that:
Parr himself bought in as many copies as he could at that price (very much below the cost of production) (Metelerkamp circa 2004:7).
But while remaindered books can be a great way to acquire a low priced library they represent a loss to the publisher, who may then be wary of undertaking future photobook ventures.
The photographers who are successfully trade-published are usually either well known and/or are those who produce work that is of interest to a broad audience. Most notably in Australia this has included celebrated photographers such as Harold Cazneaux (1878-1953), Frank Hurley (1885 -1962), Max Dupain (1911-1992), Jeff Carter (1928-2010), David Moore (1927-2003), Peter Dombrovskis (1945 -1996), Rennie Ellis (1940-2003).
In contemporary times other avenues of photobook publishing as a documentary/art project have emerged and include photobooks by Tracey Moffatt (1960- ), Max Pam (1949- ), Matthew Sleeth (1972- ), Stephen Dupont (1967- ), Trent Parke (1971- ) Michael Coyne (1945- ) and Wesley Stacey (1941- ) and many others. The field of contemporary pictorial photobook books could be represented by the likes of Ken Duncan (1954 – ), Peter Lik (1959 – ) and Steve Parish (1945 – ). Then there are so many more …
So what about the photographer doing it for themselves?
Historically, the self-publishing of photobooks was a huge investment of time and money – an individual photographer’s access to the required production and printing facilities was a major barrier. Also those who have financed their own publishing exploits generally lacked the distribution and marketing connections that were attached to the major publishing houses.
Access to printing facilities were overcome by the photographer having contacts in or working in the printing industry such as American photobook-maker Ed Ruscha did with books like Twenty-six Gasoline Stations (1963). In Australia Peter Lyssiotis was able to produce: Journey of a Wise Electron (1981) and other books by participating in a co-operative that accessed a commercial printing press during down time or on weekends. But these access points were not available for everyone who wanted to publish a book.
Nearly 35 years ago American photographer Bill Owens, publisher of Suburbia (1972) and other books made the following introductory statement to his info-guide – Publish Your Photo Book (1979) – a statement that may resonate with the experience of today’s photobook publishers:
Had my photographic books made lots of money I would not have written this book. I wouldn’t need to because I would be part of the establishment and enjoying its privileges. (Owens 1979:3)
It has been a long time coming, but 175 years later with digital technologies including DIY book design software, print-on-demand presses like HP Indigo, the self-published photobook is fulfilling Talbot’s prediction. It’s never been easier for anyone to make a photobooks.
The photobook discipline now has commentators and critics, there are awards, linkages with the artists book, supporting independent groups like Self Publish Be Happy, The Photo Book Club and the Indie Photo Book Library.
However just making a book, even your own, does not guarantee success – whatever that might be. But at this time, what are the barriers and opportunities that we in Australia need to consider and respond to as this boom in photobooks continues?
What ideas, social and political mechanisms and appropriate structures do we need to create to nurture and support this emerging publishing paradigm?
Let us now pose some questions to the panel …
INTRODUCTION OF THE PANELISTS
See invitation blog post for bios http://wp.me/p1tT11-MT
A SELECTION OF THE QUESTIONS POSED TO THE PANEL
- What is the recipe for the perfect commercially viable photo book?
- Are Awards/Fairs/Festivals/Exhibitions important to or essential for photo book sales and marketing?
- It’s often stated that the basic market for the photo book is photographers themselves – how can this market be expanded so that the photo book can become more popular for a broader audience?
- Is the Australian photo book consumer more interested in Euro/USA content than homegrown books?
- Is there a market for Australian photo books overseas? Are there mechanisms in pace to support photo books as export? Are our photo books internationally competitive?
- If, as a publisher, you were approached by a photographer with a photo book idea – What would you expect them to bring to your meeting with them.
- What kinds of books/themes or content would an independent or niche publisher take on that a mainstream publisher wouldn’t?
- In the photo book genre, as with other special interest low volume publication sales, will print on demand publishing become a viable option – thereby doing away with the practice of remaindering?
- How can we nurture, inspire and develop the Australian photo book market?
A SYNOPSIS OF THE DISCUSSION WILL BE POSTED SEPARATELY:
In conclusion … I’d like to see, and I guess you would as well, that the photobook break from the publishing paradigm that Bill Owens spoke of before.
Let’s hope that as a result of, or perhaps more modestly, that this forum will contribute to a future where photographers and their photobooks will be recognized, revered and financially rewarded for their contribution to telling their stories, our stories and the stories of humanity and of life on this planet and beyond.
Once again thank you to our panelists …
Our sponsor – Momento Pro
The HeadOn Photo Festival
And to you all —–
You are now most welcome to join us for some refreshments and networking
8.15 pm Close…..
Bibliography for Doug’s Overview
Adams, R. (1994). Why People Photograph. New York, USA, Aperture Foundation.
Badger, G. (2003). Collecting Photography. London, Mitchell Beazley Ltd.
Craven, R. H. (2002). Photography past forward: Aperture at 50. New York, Aperture Foundation Inc.
Himes, D. D. and M. V. Swanson (2011). Publish Your Photography Book. New York, Princetown Architectural Press.
Lane, G. (2006). “Interview: Photography from the Photographer’s Viewpoint. Guy Lane interviews Martin Parr.” The Art Book 13(4): 15-16.
Lewis, D. and A. Ward (1992). Publishing Photography. Manchester, Conerhouse Publishing.
Metelerkamp, P. (2004). “The Photographer, the Publisher, and the Photographer’s Book.” Retrieved 12 March 2009, from http://www.petermet.com/writing/photobook.html.
Owens, B. (1979). Publish your Photo Book (A Guide to Self-Publishing). Livermore, California, USA, Bill Owens.
Talbot, W. H. F. (1839). Letter to Sir John Herschel, HS/17/289. The Royal Society. S. J. Herschel. London, UK, The Royal Society: HS/17/289.
All photographs © 2013 Victoria Cooper & Doug Spowart
Texts an Overview (except references as cited) © 2013 Doug Spowart
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.
The thesis (exegesis) was submitted in late November. I was thinking that the examiners would probably have gone on Christmas break before the taking the time to review the thesis so I wasn’t expecting anything in January. By Early February I began to occasionally check my university email for any news … With the iPhone I could even do that at the beach.
Monday 11, 2013: The email and report arrived – One examiner gave the thesis the ‘all clear’. The other examiner required review of some aspects of the thesis. So, the final hurdle is some corrections and then some more university bureaucratic documentation and I’m done!!! Dr Stephen Naylor my supervisor is excited as well…
Are you undertaking a PhD? Does the stress of it all affect your health and well being?
Here are 5 Antidotes in the form of food snacks that may help.
ANTIDOTE #1: A LUNCH of ANTIPASTO DOWN THE BEACH
Two slices of prosciutto, mixed unsalted nuts, a slug each of double brie and blue cheese, black olives, pickled onion, seeded biscuits and packham pear. We drove there so Bundaberg Ginger Beer was the accompanying beverage.
SEE OUR ‘ALONG THE TRACK BLOG’ POST on the location Diggers Beach near Grafton
ANTIDOTE #2: An AFTERNOON TEA of home-made LEMON CAKES and EXPRESSO COFFEE
ANTIDOTE #3: A LUNCH of OYSTERS – Kilpatrick, with capers and mayo and au naturel with sourdough bread and fried prosciutto accompanied by a small glass of Verdelho white wine.
ANTIDOTE #4: A SEAGULL’S BREAKFAST the coastal version of the ‘Dingoes Breakfast’ – A poop and a look around…
ANTIDOTE #5: DINNER – FISH ‘n’ CHIPS out of the paper with lemon slices, mayo, flaked salt from the Murray River and a New Zealand Chardonay from Marlborough Sound.
NOTE: Don’t forget to have a great view to look out over when dining…
We trust these antidotes may work for you … They did for us
Cheers Dr Victoria and Dr Doug