wotwedid

Victoria Cooper+Doug Spowart Blog

Archive for the ‘Speaking on Photography’ Category

2019 PHOTOBOOK ROAD TRIP BEGINS – HOBART

leave a comment »

The 2019 Photobook Road Trip

PHOTOBOOKS @ TOPSPACE STUDIO/GALLERY IN HOBART

.

Ilona Schneider and Doug Spowart

.

The 2019 Photobook Road Trip began last night at the TopSpace StudioGallery in Hobart. The Australia & New Zealand Photobook Awards (ANZPA) exhibition was installed by Victoria Cooper and Doug Spowart. Visitors to the Gallery were welcomed by the gallery Director Ilona Schneider.

.
.

Vicky setting up the dispaly

.
On show were the 12 Finalists and Award winners of the 2018 Australia and New Zealand Photobook Awards sponsored by MomentoPro Photobooks. The books were:

.

Winners 2018

Finalists 2018 from 117 entries:

SEE More about the ANZPA HERE
.
.
The event as attended by around 30 participants including representatives from the Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery, the Allport Library, members of the AIPP and representatives from the Hobart Camera Club.
.
.
To cover costs associated with the gallery hire a raffle was conducted with books by Cooper+Spowart and ANZPA catalogues and MomentoPro’s ‘Publish Your “Bloody” Photobook‘ booklets.
.

Looking at the Cooper+Spowart books

.
COOPER+SPOWART presented a small selection of the concertina photobooks including  YOU ARE HERE and QUESTIONING+KNOWING.
.
Around 6.00pm Doug made a presentation about the awards and the current state of the Antipodean photobook. A lengthy Q&A session followed and private conversations and continued book viewing took place well after the intended finish time.
.

Doug presenting his talk

.
.

THANK YOU!

Thanks to Ilona Schneider and the AIPP coordinator Matt Palmer for their assistance with the presentation and Momento Pro for making the books available.
.
CANBERRA is the next stop in the PHOTOBOOK ROAD TRIP on July 20 at PhotoAccess where the books will be displayed, Doug will present a talk about photobooks and Doug+Vicky will present a workshop on photobook forms and the photobook narrative.
.

D+V Coming to Canberra

.

.

#MomentoProBooks #ANZPhotobookAwards #PhotobookRoadTrip #Photobookjousting
.
.
.
.
.
.
.

ANTIPODEAN Photobooks acquired by Tate

with 2 comments

.

We are delighted that this collection is entering Tate’s library collection as a rich resource for our public and for academics of photobooks in these regional areas.

.Sarah Allen
Assistant Curator, International Art, Tate

.

.

Some ANZ Tate Photobooks

 

We’ve just completed a commissioned project where a collection of 52 Australian and New Zealand photobooks were acquired by the United Kingdom’s national collection in the Tate. Two years ago the project began as a result of our participation in the 2017 Vienna Photobook Festival and a connection with Martin Parr.

.

.

THE BACK STORY

In 2017 we presented a cyanotype/photobook workshop on the Greek Island of Skopelos. At the end to the workshop we coordinated a visit to our friends Lachlan Blair and Anna Pritz who live near Vienna in Austria. Just after we booked our flights Lachlan excitedly advised us that we would be in Vienna at the time of the Vienna Photobook Festival.

I contacted co-ordinator of the Festival Regina Anzenberger and offered to make a presentation about my research on Australian and New Zealand (ANZ) photobooks. After some conversations between Lachlan and Regina she enthusiastically accepted my lecture offer. Through some further negotiations with Regina and Libby Jeffery from MomentoPro we were able to present the ANZ Photobook of the Year finalists on a table at the Fair.

The 2017 Vienna Photobook Festival exhibition

The 2017 Vienna Photobook Festival exhibition

.

The Vienna Photobook Festival was an event of an unimaginable scale – 100+ tables of photobooks new and old, a photobook award, key identities of the photobook community and attendees from western European countries far and wide.

40-50 people including photobook aficionado Martin Parr and photo historian Hans-Michael Koetzle attended my lecture. There was quite a bit of interest about my topic and many of the lecture attendees came by the ANZ Photobook Awards table to view the books and talk more with us about our local photobooks.

.

 Martin Parr looking at ANZ photobooks at the 2017 Vienna Photobook Festival

Parr looking at ANZ photobooks at the FestivalPHOTO: Lachlan Blair

.

Further to an earlier private meeting in the Anzenberger Gallery and his attendance at my lecture, Parr caught up with us again for a chat on the afternoon of the first day of the Festival. He mentioned that soon there would be a public announcement about his donation of over 12,000 photobooks from his collection to Tate.

Parr felt that although his collection had pretty well covered the world the one area that was under represented was the ANZ region. He had many of the big Australian names but acknowledged that there were gaps. After hearing my lecture he felt that I would be well positioned to fill that gap. He said that he would be recommending me to his Tate contacts to assist with this issue. At first I was a little daunted, but he insisted that I would be the right person for the project. I accepted the role as it would not only be an honour to work with him on the project but also a great opportunity for the ANZ photobook community.

Vicky and I came back to Brisbane in July and both began sessional work with the Queensland College of Art. A couple of months later an email came through from a Tate representative inviting my involvement in the project. I then prepared a list of ANZ books that I thought would be suitable additions to the collection. I also reviewed Parr’s collection to ensure that I had not duplicated books on his list.

Initially I suggested that I would source the books from bookshops, collectors and the photographers and that I would receive a fee for the list development and the management of the process. I mentioned that some books were quite rare and that they would be sourced from my own library as I could replace them as they became available in the future. My Tate contact came back saying that rather than what I suggested they preferred to purchase the books from a single collection and asked, ‘were my books available?’ After some consideration I agreed to take books from my library.

.

Part of my ANZ photobook collection c2015

Part of my ANZ photobook collection c2015

.

THE PREMISE FOR THE COLLECTION

My curation premise for the 52 books was:

  • That these books should resonate with the Australia/New Zealand social, political, environmental and cultural space of post-Second World War to early 21st century.
  • Where possible, I have selected works that have been referenced or identified by curators and researchers for their prominence within the photographically illustrated and photobook publishing genres in ANZ.

 

In the storage shed opening boxes looking for books

In the storage shed opening boxes looking for books PHOTO: Victoria Cooper

.

At this time and still today, my photobook collection is boxed and in storage. So for over a year on my intermittent visits back to our storage sheds in Toowoomba we would seek out the missing books. As we began to assemble the proposed books I became concerned about particular issues that were arising. As my collection has been built up over 50 years some of the books were not necessarily the best condition – some exhibited signs of use including shelf-wear, bumped corners and occasionally missing covers.

I wanted to be able to offer Tate the best possible condition books. Additionally, I could not find some key books that I knew I had in my collection including Carol Jerrems’ book Story about Australian women. What followed was an 18-month process of curation and research to bring together the books.

I sought out and purchased better copies of the chosen books either by online booksellers or by visiting bookshops in Australia. I contacted some of the photographers that I knew to see if ‘as new’ condition copies of the books were available. If they were what would the cost be and if possible, would they consider a donation to extend the potential of the collection. The response was very supportive with many of the photographers prepared to provide pristine condition copies of their books free of charge.

.

Meeting with Martin Parr at the SLVPHOTO: Victoria Cooper

.

MEETING WITH MARTIN PARR

In January 2018 Martin Parr came to Melbourne to photograph the Australian Open tennis tournament. We flew down from Brisbane and arranged to meet him at the State Library of Victoria where we had about 30 of the proposed books assembled for him to review. As only a couple of books did not fit into his collection approach for the Tate I felt buoyed by the progress. Over the next 6 months I prepared a detailed bibliographic submission and significantly documented the books. We finally found the Jerrems book in a box marked ‘Photobook library extras’ in January this year.

.

Finding Carol …PHOTO: Victoria Cooper

 

.

Packing up the books PHOTO: Victoria Cooper

.

SHIPPING THE PACKAGE

The books were protectively packaged and we arranged their shipment and it took only a few days for the consignment to travel from Brisbane to the UK. After nearly 2 years in the making Tate received the books on April 12, 2019. Once catalogued they will form part of the Martin Parr Photobook Collection with the provenance being recorded that the books came from ‘The Doug Spowart and Victoria Cooper Photobook Research Library’. The books will be publicly accessible in London in Spring 2020.

Pack and Send - DHL Delivery Proof

Pack and Send – DHL Proof of delivery

.

ON REFLECTION

What is important to us is that books from our region are now placed within the context of the worldwide history and practice of the photobook in a significant institution. Although not a complete history of the Photobook in Australia and New Zealand it is an embryonic beginning for a broader recognition of the unique voices and stories from our part of the world and those that make them.

 

Doug Spowart + Victoria Cooper

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS
We are indebted to those who supported us during this process. In particular Sarah Allen (Tate) for her coordination of the project. Martin Parr for his interest and continued support in providing a place for Antipodean photobooks in his Tate collection. We also wish to thank Lachlan Blair and Anna Pritz for making the initial connection with Regina Anzenberger, Gael Newton for her support, Helen and Donald Cole for their advice and storage of the books and the coordination of the final shipment, Des Cowley at the State Library of Victoria for the preparation of books to show Martin, Pack and Send Milton (DHL) for their assistance and coordination of the shipment to the UK.

 

 

THE LIST OF PHOTOGRAPHERS

Where the photographer has more than one book in the collection the multiple is shown in (brackets).

It should be noted that a book is the culmination of a creative process that may include the contributions of writers, poets, designers, printers and binders. In this list only the photographers are listed.

The photographer’s names are:

 

AUSTRALIA

 

Michael Amendolia

Douglass Baglin

David Beal

Jeff Carter

Beverley Clifford

Paul Cox

Michael Coyne (2)

Max Dupain (2)

Sandy Edwards

Rennie Ellis (2)

Joyce Evans

Juno Gemes

Robert B. Goodman

Marion Hardman

Alan Hirons

Douglas Holleley

Frank Hurley

Carol Jerrems

Georg Lindström

Peter Lyssiotis

Olive McInerney nee Olive Cotton

David Mist

David Moore

Charles P. Mountford

Robert Rosen

Wesley Stacey

Mark Strizic (2)

Richard Tipping

William Yang

PARR’s Australian book donation already included:

Bill Henson

J. Hurley

Frank Hurley

Max Pam

Trent Parke

 

NEW ZEALAND

Laurence Aberhart

Peter Black

Brian Brake

Jocelyn Carlin

Les Cleveland

Bruce Connew

David Cook

Marti Friedlander

Lloyd Godman

Glenn Jowitt

Mary Macpherson

Robin Morrison (2)

Anne Noble

Haruhiko Sameshima

Grant Sheehan

Ann Shelton

John B. Turner

Ans Westra

PARR’s New Zealand book donation already included:

Gary Baigent

Harvey Benge (a significant collection)

Ans Westra

 

FOR  MORE INFORMATION ABOUT THE BOOKS and other ANTIPODEAN PHOTOBOOK activities and events follow the BLOG HERE

The Antipodean Photobook BLOG

 

 

READ MORE ABOUT THE TATE DONATION

Tate Media post about Parr doantion

Tate Media post about Parr donation

A LINK TO THE Tate URL

A PDF download of the Tate post can be downloaded by ‘clicking’ this link Tate website post on Parr donation

 

.

READ MORE IN THE INSIDE IMAGING STORY

https://www.insideimaging.com.au/2019/tate-commission-for-photo-book-keeper/

Inside Imaging story

Inside Imaging story

A PDF download of the Inside Imaging post can be downloaded by ‘clicking’ this link. Inside Imaging story-R

.

.

.

.

.

 

PETER EASTWAY – The New [Photography] Tradition

with 2 comments

A box in the mail

.

A box came in the mail the other day and in the box was a book from the photographer Peter Eastway. I have known Peter for over 35 years and have followed his many and varied careers – as a photographer, editor and publisher, darkroom and digital Guru, AIPP advocate, photography commentator, judge, lecturer and mentor.

 

Our paths crossed many times as our interests, activities and creative pursuits were very similar. Over the years Peter published more than a few stories about my work as well as articles I wrote for his magazine Better Photography. Around 1990 Peter was invited to come on my Imagery Gallery Photo Tours to central Australia and Africa to enthuse and inspire the photographers on the tour.

When monochrome photography and the darkroom re-emerged in the 1980s as an exciting ‘new’ trend in the professional photography awards scene Peter became interested in my work. At the time my B&W photographs had on two occasions won the AIPP Australian Professional Photography Awards ‘Highest Scoring Print in Australia, one of them was a 10”x8” contact print. I had also won categories in the Australian Hasselblad Masters Awards.

Peter came to my darkroom in Toowoomba, witnessed my technique, and published a Better Photography story about my technique. One of the main aspects of my work at the time was my use of Leica 35mm cameras and a printmaking style that employed what I called ‘dramatic theatrical effect’ by utilising very heavy burning-in and local dodging.

From the ICONS series ….PHOTO: Doug Spowart

.

Within a short time I found my entries in the AIPP Awards coming up against Peter’s prints and some of his images were even made on photo tours that he had undertaken for Imagery. One year he won the AIPP Professional Photographer of the Year – I was the runner-up. Since then my partner Victoria Cooper has referred to Peter as #1 and me, #2!

AIPP Australian Professional Photography Awards with one of Peter’s Professional Photographer of the Year award winning photos of Africa on the cover

.

Eastway photographing on tour in Bhutan PHOTO: Roger Skinner

 

When you get to know Peter you quickly understand his capacity for grasping ideas and knowledge, assimilating into his process and then to make images that are uniquely his own.

 

 

 

Back to the book… I turned the opening pages and read Peter’s introduction for ‘generational change’ in photography. He challenges those who have fixed ideas about emulating the great past masters like Adams and Weston and how digital photography has transformed the photographic image and the possibilities available to enhance the way the subject is presented. What follows in the book are very detailed reviews of the ‘making’ of Peter’s images over the years including his transition from analogue to digital. This book is a handbook on Peter’s process and also a manifesto where he claims the establishment of a ‘new tradition’ in photography.

 

Ephraums’ book cover

I turn a few more pages to the first photograph he discusses and dissects. To my surprise Peter acknowledges Eddie Ephraums‘ and my technique as having a significant influence on his B&W work. As I have already said Peter’s way is to grasp, master and go far beyond the initial inspiration. In this way he has come to lead a whole new representation of the lens-seen reality and created for the viewer images of the mystical and sublime. Whether it’s a landscape photograph, an ancient architectural form or a portrait Peter makes images that are seductive to behold, ponder and visually explore.

There is no doubt that he now inspires new a generation of photographers and created disciples and followers for whom this tome will be a ‘book of revelations’, a Bible for those whose wish to understand the eye, the process and the aesthetic of the photographer.

If there is a new tradition and Peter’s work will no doubt continue to influence photographers but his never-ending exploration of the visual world and how the idea of the human seen reality can be transformed through capture and rapture in processing will continue to advance the art of photography.

What interests me is that when I look back at the photographs I was making in the 1980s and 90s I didn’t think at the time about being a follower of a particular ‘tradition’. I just did, as I still do now, what seemed appropriate at the time. Perhaps Peter’s motivation is the same and the only ‘tradition’ that we follow is the constant renewal of the discipline by progressive practitioners…

Thank you Peter for a copy of your book … and for the opportunity to appreciate and consider your work.

 

Doug Spowart

May 20, 2019

.

To read more and order Peter’s New Traditions Book –
CLICK THE LINK: Better Photography Online Shop New Traditions Book

.

HERE’s SELECTION OF MY MONOCHROME WORK FROM THE LATE 1980s and EARLY 1990s …

.

 

 

 

Images and text © Doug Spowart

..

.

Creative Commons-by-nc-nd.eu

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

.

 

 

2019 WORLDWIDE PINHOLE DAY 28 April – Our images

leave a comment »

WPD-logo

.

Round the [w]hole world on Sunday the 28th of April 2019 pinholers were out having fun – Making their images for the 2019 WPD. Far away from the darkroom (again) we’ve once again fitted a pin-prick in a piece of aluminium fitted to a body cap of our Olympus Pen camera and we went on a road trip in Tasmania from the D’Entrecasteaux Channel to the mountains and back again.

This is the 14th year we have supported the WPD project!

 

.

ABOUT VICKY’S PINHOLE IMAGE:

.

Capturing time and light in the mountains of Tasmania..

The photo was taken by digital capture with hand-made hole on an Olympus Pen using manual setting.

.

My friends take a photo with their iPhones

.

ABOUT DOUG’S PINHOLE IMAGE:

.

Late this afternoon we went walking in the Autumn light down past the bare trunks and branches of deciduous trees – my friends stopped to photograph with their iPhones… Callie walked on…

 

Both pinhole photographs were taken on an Olympus Pen camera

Olympus Pen with hand pierced aluminum foil hole, Aperture exposure mode, ISO 1600.

Camera with pricked pinhole in alfoil, Aperture exposure mode, ISO 800.

.

Other images we made on the day…

 

Visit the WPD Site for details of other submissions:  http://pinholeday.org/

.

Our Past WPD images:

2018 Doug+Vicky https://wotwedid.com/2018/04/29/2018-worldwide-pinhole-day-29-april-our-images/

2016 Doug: http://www.pinholeday.org/index.php?id=1235

2016 Vicky: http://www.pinholeday.org/index.php?id=1540

2015  https://wotwedid.com/2015/05/04/april-26-worldwide-pinhole-day-our-contributions-for-2015/

2014  Vicky’s http://pinholeday.org/gallery/2014/index.php?id=1810&City=Toowoomba

2014  Doug’s http://pinholeday.org/gallery/2014/index.php?id=1811&City=Toowoomba

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

2012   http://www.pinholeday.org/gallery/2012/index.php?id=1937&searchStr=spowart

2011    http://www.pinholeday.org/gallery/2011/index.php?id=924

HERE IS THE LINK to the 2011 pinhole video   http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Yk4vnbzTqOU

2010   http://www.pinholeday.org/gallery/2010/index.php?id=2464&Country=Australia&searchStr=spowart

2006  http://www.pinholeday.org/gallery/2006/index.php?id=1636&Country=Australia&searchStr=cooper

2004 Vicky  http://www.pinholeday.org/gallery/2004/index.php?id=1553&Country=Australia&searchStr=cooper

2004 Doug  http://www.pinholeday.org/gallery/2004/index.php?id=1552&Country=Australia&searchStr=spowart

2003  http://www.pinholeday.org/gallery/2003/index.php?id=615&Country=Australia&searchStr=spowart

2002  http://www.pinholeday.org/gallery/2002/index.php?id=826&Country=Australia&searchStr=spowart

.

.

.
 ©2019 Doug Spowart+Victoria Cooper
.
Creative Commons-by-nc-nd.eu.
.
Our photographs and words are licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/2.5/au/..

2018 FIELD STUDIES: CAMERA OBSCURA FERRY PORTHOLE – Bass Straight waves over the Spirit of Tasmania

with 4 comments

Our 2018 Field Studies submission of 100 artworks

 

As an important end of year ritual, we have once again prepared our submission to the ‘FIELD STUDIES INTERNATIONAL’ collaborative mail art project organised by David Dellafiora. Artists from around the world contribute to this project by mailing to David 100 artworks of any process and printed media made to A5 size. He then works with a team to collate all the submissions and assemble 100 copies of the collaborative book. After each participant receives one of these books, a number are then sold to private and institutional collectors to fund the project. We have contributed to the Field Studies for the last 10 years. Some links to the previous submissions are provided at the end of this post.

 

Here’s the story of our 2018 Field Studies report…

 

In 2000, we began a series of site-specific camera obscura projects that is a continuing body of work… This year we made two attempts to construct a cabin camera obscura. The second attempt proved more successful and so in this blog we present this recent work – Through a porthole in 3-5metre seas on the The Spirit of Tasmania.

 

The Spirit of Tasmania

 

On the morning of the 3rd of November we boarded the Spirit of Tasmania and checked in to our cabin for the nine-hour day crossing. We had booked months earlier and had requested a porthole cabin with the idea of making a camera obscura.

Earlier in 2018 we had tried unsuccessfully to make camera obscura images on an overnight crossing figuring that by the time we boarded the ship we would have a brief period of sunlight – alas, that would not be the case it was dark by the time we had boarded and checked into our cabin. This second time we worked it differently with a day crossing and a porthole cabin… we then prepared for a full day of camera obscura work.

You can imagine our excitement to find that our cabin was in the middle at the front of the boat with a view over the flagpole on the prow of the ferry to the sea beyond. So we set to work with a mini camera obscura tool kit had been prepared for the preparation of the darkroom:

  • A quantity of heavy-duty black garbage bags
  • Gaffa tape
  • Scissors

 

A camera obscura tool kit

 

Vicky documented Doug as he negotiated the space beyond the bunks to tape the black bags over the window. Progressively the room got darker and glimpses of the features outside our little cabin imaged themselves on the walls of the cabin. One problem was the darkening down of the central image area caused by depth of the room and a mirror on the reverse of the door. We decided that to create an observable image we needed re-purposed two white doona covers as a screen by taping them to the ceiling and walls with the gaffa tape. To recreate the theatrical space of the cabin camera obscura, we combined a series of images of the cabin walls and the screen at different stages of the journey. We also found our humble Olympus Pen camera set at ISO25,000 the best option as it fitted the small space and enabled hand-held exposures.

 

 

The Spirit of Tasmania left Devonport port and headed out into Bass Straight. For us this was a challenging crossing as there were strong westerly winds and huge 3-5 metre waves for most of the day. It wasn’t long before we began to experience the ‘bang’ and ‘splash’ of waves over our porthole… we were on one of the upper decks – deck 8!!! Kwells (anti-seasickness pills) were taken and to take our minds off the thump and roll we got active documenting the CO crossing.

Two composite images were constructed from our work that day that we entitled Through a porthole in 3-5 metre seas on the The Spirit of Tasmania. The first is a panorama that shows Vicky on her bunk looking at the projected camera obscura image. On the right-hand side the shadow of the camera held aloft is imaged. The final panorama is made of 4 images.

 

Vicky observing the panorama camera obscura image

 

The second image is a triptych of the projected image on the screen showing a series of three photographs made by Vicky as the boat rocked with the centre image documenting a whiteout as a wave crashes on the window.

 

Camera obscura: a 3-5 metre wave crashes against our porthole (inverted)

Camera obscura: a 3-5 metre wave crashes against our porthole

 

We left the camera obscura setup until we docked. Midway across Bass Straight the images described above we assembled and optimised as the ‘bang’ and ‘whoosh’ of the waves on the boat continued incessantly. At one stage we ventured out to see how those brave souls in the public areas of the ferry were managing… they all looked pretty green–some not well at all, and many finding any horizontal space they could to find some comfort.

When the Spirit docked we dismantled the CO and disembarked, glad to be on terra firma again.

.

.

.

To see a post about the FIELD STUDIES INTERNATIONAL and other of our Field Studies submissions

About David Dellafiora and  Field Studies International

https://wotwedid.com/2013/01/05/field-study-international-our-contribution/

 

Our 2016 Field Studies International submission

https://wotwedid.com/2017/01/17/field-studies-international-2016-our-contribution/

.

.

.

.

.

Slowing time in the temple, the darkroom and in the gallery

with 2 comments

KEIKO GOTO’s Zen in 35mm

Tacit Art Galleries 7 November – 2 December, 2018

 

In the contemporary society all aspects of life are on hyper speed, every human endeavour is intensified and condensed into sound bites, vision-bites, 3D, in-the-moment, hyper-experiential consumeristic bliss. In this space the photographs by Keiko Goto are a complete anathema. Goto’s photographs don’t shout at the viewer, they don’t profess to demand a political viewpoint and they don’t leave us with demands for us to feel concerned or ambivalent for the subjects in the pictures.

 

Tacit Gallery installation: Zen in 35mm

 

Keiko Goto’s photographs are viewed in the context of a white walled gallery on entering the room they appear as small darkly toned windows. When approaching the photographs, perhaps with knowledge of the accompanying artist’s statement and the eloquent catalogue essay by Kerrilee Ninnis, an enveloping quietness descends, and a story is revealed in a sequence of low key black and white photographs.

 

 

Embraced by Soft Spring Light

 

The exhibition is entitled Zen in 35mm and presents a series of vignettes, each a moment in the life of a Japanese monk in the Kichijyoji temple in Tokyo. The view that each photograph shows is from a distanced viewpoint – she is a trusted observer in his space. Her photographs are nearly all quite dark with a spotlight delineating, by chiaroscuro the shape of the monk’s form, a head or a profile, from the dark ground. Other images are of the temple place and the monk’s sparse accoutrements.

Silent Chanting

 

Goto is in tune with with the ways of Zen through her Japanese cultural background and the experience that comes from her attendance at the temple over many years to learn and practice calligraphy.

All photographs are made on film and carefully printed by the author in gelatine silver fibre paper. Some images have been printed using enlarged negatives on platinum-palladium hand-coated paper with Goto’s distinctive calligraphic styled brush strokes. Adding perhaps to the following of traditions in photography is the fact that she uses a Leica IIIb camera from the 1930s.

 

Ouryouki

 

The monk concentrates on his devotion and to the rituals of his observance of Buddhism. Goto observes the scene silently waiting to receive the distilled moment. Later in the darkroom the film is process in strict accordance with a codified ritual. Quiet meditations continue in the stillness of the safelight-illuminated darkroom. The simple rhythm of the rocking tray and the beauty is revealed as the image develops in the tray. In many ways the use of analogue capture and printmaking could have some sympatico – a mutual commonality with the performance and commitment of Zen philosophy.

 

Back in the gallery the presentation reflects Goto’s experience. It is as if the gestural movement of the brush on paper has been transformed into these walls – each image a monochrome fragment becomes a calligraphy pictogram. Time is slowed in viewing these images and in this reflective quietness the photographs reveal the monk’s story through Keiko Goto’s own meditative work – like visualised haiku poems…

 

In the darkness – light

A head bowed, a murmur inside

Photographer’s eye

 

Doug Spowart

December 27, 2018

 

Perfect Garden

Meditation 4

Meditation 3

Meditation 1

Lustrous Robe

 

 

.

.

.

.

.

 

Written by Cooper+Spowart

December 28, 2018 at 4:31 pm

The man who photographed every house in Australia

with 2 comments

BACK STORY on the FRANK & EUNICE CORLEY HOUSE PHOTOGRAPH COLLECTION

in the State Library of Queensland and the exhibition HOME: a suburban obsession

 

Imagery Gallery – with my mother and business partner Ruby Spowart

.

From 1980 to 1995 I was co-director, with my mother Ruby, of Imagery (photography) Gallery (1). The gallery operated in 3 locations in South Brisbane two of them being on the corner of Grey and Melbourne Streets. Although our main business activity was a photographic gallery and workshop we were also suppliers for specialised equipment for photographers – one of them was the famous Leica 35mm camera. As a Leica user myself since the early 1970s my special knowledge of this equipment was not so much from the point of view of a salesperson but rather as a user of the full range of Leica cameras, projectors, enlargers, binoculars and accessories in my documentary and art photography practice.

.

In the late 1980s or early 1990s an elderly man visited the gallery and exhibited an interest in Leicas. He mentioned that has had been a professional photographer and that he used the older screw mount Leica gear. Initially I saw him as a potential purchaser, though in time and after many visits I realised that this was not to be the case. His name was Frank Corley and I found him to be a storyteller. With each visit came my understanding that he enjoyed the opportunity to talk with someone interested in his life.

Frank lived in Annerley and dined every evening at Sizzlers – he called it “Zizzlers”. He was a dapper man with a hat and very well dressed. His visits to the gallery were easily accomplished by train as the gallery was situated just over the road from the South Brisbane Railway Station.

.

Frank’s camera

At one stage in 1994 Frank indicated that he had some Leica equipment he wanted to sell and invited me to his home. I went with my partner Victoria Cooper to his Annerley home. On entering the house one came in contact with the enormity of Frank and his wife’s life as in every room there was ‘stuff’. His partner in his business his wife Eunice had passed away by this time. Everything had a story – a watercolour painting of Central Australia by Ewald Namatjira (if I remember correctly), Frank recounted was purchased by him when he was photographing homes in Alice Springs. He bought the painting from the artist who presented work for sale at the front gate of the caravan park from which Frank was operating his business. We went from room to room looking for the items he wanted to sell which finally amounted to some very out-dated photographic paper, an enlarging easel and an old Leica Focomat enlarger.

We did a tour of the back yard in which were parked several vehicles. One was the now famous Cadillac (though not pink in colour as often described), another was a little like a Bedford delivery van. We went inside and in the back of the vehicle was a compact darkroom, enlargers, trays, and rolls of processed film in special cardboard gridded boxes. It was cramped but functional – later I was to discover that Eunice was the darkroom operator. I had a lot of respect for that lady and her workspace.

In a lean-to shed at the back of the property Frank reached into a large cardboard box and pulled out a handful of black and white prints of houses. He had already told me of his Pan American Home Photographic Company business of photographing houses from the Cadillac (and other vehicles) as he drove down the street steering the car with his knees taking photos. These photographs were subsequently processed and printed and salesmen, sometime Frank himself, would then call back at the houses and sell prints that could be mounted on cards or calendars. The company brand phrase was From Our Home to Your Home.

I looked around and saw maybe 8-10 boxes the size of which would have been 80cmx60cmx60cm and each box was crammed full of prints. I asked how did he end up with so many photographs? His answer was that at the time the sales tax on photographic materials was 27.5% and as he did not have a sales tax exemption number for his business he paid tax when he bought film and photo paper. At the end of each financial year the value of the tax on the unsold photographs could be claimed as a sales tax credit. The volume of work he was doing that was unsold amounted to a reasonable credit but the prints needed to be retained along with other taxation documents for many years. These photographs came from a time 20-25 years earlier and had not been disposed.

 

Some Corley house photographs    Source: State Library of Queensland

I reached into one of the boxes and pulled out a bundle of photos. What I saw were very ‘straight’ photos of houses all with very similar framing, usually recorded almost as plan elevations. The houses look dated to perhaps 20-30 earlier and I sensed that I was holding in my hands a documentary photography history record. I asked Frank what would happen to these photographs when he moved on… his answer was that they’d probably be sent to a silver recovery plant or dumped. Ohhh! I thought. Before leaving Frank that day he posed for a couple of portrait photos with his trusty Leica IIIg.

Frank Corley circa 1994

At this time in my photodocumentary practice I had undertaken re-photography projects where early photographer’s pictures were relocated and re-imaged as a way of showing the passing of time. My own history making photographs and also from building my own collection of photographs from the beginnings of the invention of photography 150 years earlier meant that to me these images were special and needed preserving. I couldn’t let them be lost, not only because they represented Frank’s life work, but also for their historical value.

On leaving Frank’s home I worked through some ideas with Vicky as to what could happen with Frank’s photographs. At the time I was a valuer for the Australian Government’s Taxation Incentives for the Arts a program where the value of donations to cultural institutions could be used as a tax credit for the donor. I had been involved in valuations for the State Library of Queensland so I made contact with some of the people I knew there. I must have sounded convincing, as there was interest in the work from SLQ Field Officer Niles Elvery. I contacted Frank who said that he would be happy to donate the photographs to the Library and in due course I travelled in a Library station wagon driven by Niles back to Frank’s place.

I’m not sure how we fitted the boxes into the station wagon but I remember it being a tight fit. Frank signed a document that Niles had brought with him and we travelled back to the Library. We reckoned that there were around 12,000 photographs.

A few months later I heard via Frank’s solicitor that he had died and that any items that Imagery Gallery was holding of his pending sale needed to be returned. I was somewhat taken by Frank’s passing and as he seemed to be without friends or family around I thought it appropriate that I write an obituary which I published in a journal I edited called PHOTO.Graphy, ISSN 1038-4332 – The Christmas edition, v. 6, 1995. It reads:

FRANK CORLEY: Obituary

Unknown to most of us Frank Corley, a travelling photographer passed away on October 19, 1995. I suppose we all die eventually and our life’s work, the photographs we make are left to the destinies of those who possess them. In a life full of entrepreneurial activities Frank owned and managed a transport business, caravan parks and a lolly shop. A fascination for photography led to the formation of Pan American Studios. Street photography and in particular photographing houses was his big passion.

I call him the man who photographed every house in Australia because if you ever spoke with him about it he made you believe that he did. Frank Corley won’t be missed by many but his legacy ~ his photographs, will live on in private family archives but most significantly through the donation of around 12,000 prints of Queensland homes presented to the John Oxley Library, Brisbane in June this year. This fragment of Frank’s work would have been lost except for a fluke of meeting with me and his generosity.

I just wish there could have been more time to record the experiences that he so happily shared with me.

Doug Spowart   6/11/95

 

The years went by and memory of Frank and his donation were for me a faded memory. In 2015 I was granted a Siganto Foundation Artists’ Book Research Fellowship at the SLQ. One day I met a volunteer called John Wilson at the library and I found out that he had been working for years in trying to unlock the Corley code for the photographs, what town – what street? We spoke about his method of working which was hindered by limited information available in the bundles of prints and scant markings on the prints. John had street directories from Queensland towns which he had identified street names and had himself been out on the road looking to confirm hunches.

Soon after this meeting I met Denis Peel and became aware of the work that the Annerley-Stephens History Group had done in identifying many of Corley’s home photographs from the Fairfield, Annerley, Yeronga, Yeerongpilly, Tennyson and Moorooka areas. As a volunteer group they held meetings, provided teams and individuals with Corley photos who then went out looking to identify houses. A significant Phase One report was generated by the group in 2015. Additional research was subsequently prepared. By June 2016 they reported that they had located over 3000 matching houses. I visited one of their meetings and was impressed by the energy of the volunteers. In 2017 The Annerley-Stephens History Group were awarded the John Oxley Library Community History Award for their continued and highly successful community project. The activities of the group were supported by the State Library through access to the photographs and later aided by the digitisation of the collection that has only recently been completed.

.

SLQ Home Website Banner

With the growing interest in the Corley Collection and the recognition of its value as an extensive and unique record of Queensland houses and suburbs the SLQ scheduled the planning and preparation of the exhibition which they have entitled – Home: a suburban obsession. As the facilitator of the donation and my knowledge of Frank and his work I have assisted Chenoa Pettrup and Adam Jefford from the Asia Pacific Design Library wherever possible in the preparations for this show. As an artist/photographer and researcher I appreciate the efforts by the exhibition coordinators to involve appropriately talented and skilled personnel to give this event the opportunity to capture community interest. Special commissions for inclusion in the show include Ian Strange‘s large-scale charcoal rendition of a Queensland home, an  installation by Queensland artist/designer Jennifer Marchant and an immersive Brisbane virtual reality streetscape by [f]FLAT. Assembled in the exhibition space were artists’ books, books, catalogues and photographs from the SLQ collections that highlighted the idea of ‘home’ and included Ed Ruscha, Bernd and Hilla Becher and Australian photographer John Gollings and his Gold Coast works. Alan Scurr, a Leica camera collector collector from Toowoomba loaned camera items for a display of the camera equipment that Frank used.

 

Entry to the exhibition Home: a suburban obsession

Entry to the exhibition Home: a suburban obsession

 

The Home: a suburban obsession offers many significant opportunities:

(1) It reveals how suburban architecture looked 40 or so years ago,

(2) It provides an opportunity for contemporary Queenslanders to connect with their homes of the era,

(3) The historical nature of the photographs will be a provocative agent for nostalgia and, for some solastaligia,

(4) It enables us to appreciate unusual photographic business activities and the partnership that exists in many small photographic enterprises, and

(5) It celebrates the value of the physical photograph as a time capsule.

 

The Internet may have given us the modern invention the Google Street View but in a way the Corleys were doing it 40 years ago – the evidence is in the nearly 62,000 photographs in the collection. Though it is interesting to consider how the digital age and the Corley Explorer Webpage will provide the key to unlocking the code to enable every one of the Corley’s houses to be located and revisited anew.  The process has started and according to SLQ sources the Corley Explorer in the first few weeks has enabled a further 14% of the collection to be identified. SEE the Stories webpage HERE.

Back in Frank Corley’s shed nearly 25 years ago I could never had imagined how those boxes of house photos could provide the amazing opportunities that we are just now encountering with this exhibition and other uses yet to be discovered. But I did know one thing and that is I could not allow them to be lost. I’m sure that Frank would feel quite chuffed that his unsuccessful unsold photographs have finally found success and have made the journey from his home to a their rightful home in the history of Queensland.

 

Dr Doug Spowart

(1) LINK TO: The Imagery Gallery Archive is held in the State Library of Queensland

In the exhibition – I muse that this man was Frank looking at the interest his work has now received…

 

Various links and associated reports and reviews of the Corley Collection follow:

 

The SLQ website for the exhibition:   http://home.slq.qld.gov.au/

SLQ Home Website Banner

..

.
Photographs of the exhibition’s opening event on December 6, 2018

.

My video of the exhibition opening


.

 

2 Special commission video projects produced, directed and edited by Shih-Yin Judy Yeh. These videos present the story of Frank and Eunice Corley and the SLQ work with the Corley Collection.

 

SLQ The Corley story Video

 

 

A video describing the SLQ’s  story about the Corley collection, includes information about the donation, conservation and investigation

 

 

A link to the Annerley-Stephens History Group’s Corley project HERE

 

An SLQ event with Denis Peel and Kate Dyson talking about the Annerley-Stephens History Group project HERE

.

Frank Corley Wikipedia HERE

 

ArchitectureAu article HERE

.

Brisbane News / Sydney Morning Herald Article HERE

 

 

.

.

.

All photographs © Doug Spowart unless othervise credited. The copyrights in other material and website resides with their relevant copyright owners.

 

%d bloggers like this: