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Father’s Day: A remembrance in an art project

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Father’s Day 2020 – Thinking of our Dads

 

In 2010 artist, and then gallerist, Julie Barratt put out a call for artworks that asked artists to respond about their Fathers and their passing.

The request from Julie Barratt is as follows:

This project was borne out of the recent sudden death of my father, a handkerchief, some emotive words written by a sibling on his death and the traumatic aftermath of a death processed according to particular societal and cultural mores. Interested artists and Individuals are invited to create an artwork on a handkerchief (any handkerchief not necessarily a man’s) based around death/grief/bereavement.

We reflected on our connection with our Fathers and created artworks using the cyanotype process.

 

Doug’s Hankie

The WHITE KNIGHT – for Merv by Doug Spowart

 

MERV: The White Knight

 My father was an electrician for around sixty years. He always wore King Gee white overalls—even when we went on holidays.

Ever ready to help someone in need he would dash off at a moment’s notice—even when the family organised an outing on the weekend we would always fit in another job along the way.

Over the years he helped many an electrically troubled soul so we, his family, dubbed him the nickname – “The white knight”.

 

 

Victoria’s Hankie

Dad’ll do it – for Reg by Victoria Cooper

 

Dad’ll do it

I remember that he always tied knots in his hankie to keep it in place on his head and to soak up the sweat when he was working on things around the home. He had lived in this home (in the photo) for most of his life except for the time he was in Papua New Guinea for WW2 and shorter periods of time in other places. Over the years he adapted and renovated this home to suit the changing needs of the family.

 

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Barratt Gallery Invite

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The exhibition was shown at Barratt Gallery at Alstonville and Napier Gallery Melbourne

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A post about the exhibition can be found HERE

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A Poem for Dad on Father’s Day – Victoria Cooper

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Reg Cooper’s WW2 PNG Butterfly collection*

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A Poem on Fathers Day – Victoria Cooper 2020

Remembering small shared moments of joy for the natural world.

Many of which no longer exist but for a museum of memories.

With gratitude to my father

 

 

 

Pneumas

 

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Flashes of colour

Flutter across the wall

The souls of the warriors

Fly over

The sublime terrain

While pinned

To a never ending present

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Years pass

This man

Tends a distant garden

Preparing a fertile space

In anticipation for the end of dormancy

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And so the decades

They fly

This man and a small child

Tend the garden

With humility in everyday work

Merging into a gentle rhythm

No expectations

Just joy in the flowers

That simply grow

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But the Butterflies

Remain

Souls Hovering

Over that memory

What do they know

About Time…..

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Eventually

The child alone

Tends the garden

Now a field

Rich with Dreams

Of Flowers

And Forests

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All this …

For The Butterflies

To breathe

 

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Vicky and her Dad Reg circa 1960s

 

 

*Pneuma (πνεῦμα) is an ancient Greek word for “breath“, and in a religious context for “spirit” or “soul“.[1]

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Reg’s Butterfly collection

 

Reg Cooper served in the Royal Australian Air Force in Papua New Guinea in World War II. During this time he made this work by collecting butterflies and placing them over a map of PNG and framing. It is entitled “Nadzab 1944” – where he was stationed.

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This Blogpost is copyright:  Text – Victoria Cooper ©2020, Nadzab 1944 © Reg Cooper, Portrait of Victoria & Reginald Cooper – Helen Cooper ©circa1960

Any RSS reposting from this Blog without permission represents a breach of Copyright.

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Written by Cooper+Spowart

September 6, 2020 at 10:15 am

ARTISTS SURVEY #23: Artists in Pandemic Isolation

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Artists Survey #23 Composite

 

ARTISTS HAVE ALWAYS ADAPTED TO AND EMBRACED CHANGE IN CHALLENGING TIMES OFTEN WORKING IN ISOLATION. Nearing the end of their artists in residence in Finland, Australian artist Julie Barratt and Argentinian photographer Solange Baques found themselves stranded on the other side of a pandemic stricken world. Concerned for their friend and colleague, Cooper and Spowart  connected with Barratt and proposed the concept of a collaborative Artists Survey book project to present the artists’ experiences during the COVID-19 enforced isolation.

This small book compilation is published by the Centre for Regional Arts Practice is the result of the collaboration. It is a small gesture to bridge the vast physical and psychological distance that this pandemic has engendered.

Here is the story of Artists Survey #23: Artists in Pandemic Isolation project.

 

THE BACKSTORY TO THIS SPECIAL EDITION OF THE ARTISTS SURVEY

The Centre for Regional Arts Practice (acronym C.R.A.P.) was founded in 2007 during an artist in residence at Arthur Boyd’s Bundanon property near Nowra on the NSW south coast. As artists’ bookmakers, we saw the opportunity to produce a democratic multiple publication to present our perspective on regional artist experience and to develop C.R.A.P. manifestoes.

All of our C.R.A.P. Artists Survey books draw upon humour and irony of the prosaic routines and events encountered in life of a regional artist. These publications are usually produced in editions of 25 with 5 artist’s proofs. They are humble handmade books which are sold to collectors and institutions – most are given away to friends and peers.

Some early C.R.A.P. Artists Survey books

The C.R.A.P. and its Artists Surveys have become a vehicle for highlighting, critiquing and questioning many issues both local and global affecting regional artists. The 23 editions to date have included topics such as Swine Flu, The Global Financial Crisis and Global warming. On seven occasions collaborative Artists Survey books have been created with a regional artists.

In late March we witnessed Julie Barratt’s situation as a participation in an artist’s residency in regional Finland. At that time the viral pandemic was closing the world down and cutting off homeward travel with airlines grounded. Though Julie seemed unphased we thought our shared isolation experiences could be an important commentary on these times. So we suggested to Julie our idea of a C.R.A.P. Artists Survey book about Covid-19 isolation and she agreed enthusiastically. Within a a short time Julie’s compatriot in isolation – Argentinian photographer Solange joined the project.

Screen snaps of Facebook group meetings

We formed a Facebook group and held online meetings to talk over the concepts, we shared work, discussed design ideas and quickly our isolation had a creative purpose. We are excited to share our stories with you …

 

ABOUT THE ARTISTS SURVEY #23

The Artists Survey project culminated in a book of 6 elements:

  • An introduction booklet
  • 2 works from Solange Baques (1) An image from her ‘Through the window project, and (2) a small piece of Finnish soap enclosed in a stitched holder accompanied by messages about anti COVID-19 hand washing techniques.
  • An original Polaroid image made by Julie Barratt in a stitched folder made at the residency with red thread used by Julie in some of her performance work.
  • A collaborative concertina book by Victoria Cooper and Doug Spowart.
  • All the elements are enclosed in a special folder cover designed and handmade by Doug Spowart with the support of Victoria Cooper

 

Size of the book: 15 x 10.5 x 2cm
Media: Various art papers, inkjet on photo paper, a Polaroid photograph, a soap shard, a plastic enclosure, various threads and cords
Design and printing: Doug Spowart of cover, intro booklet and other elements
Fabrication: The artists
Edition: 40
Published by: The Centre for Regional Arts Practice
PRICE: $100 + $25 Delivery in Australia (p&p)
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COVER Open with INTRO Booklet

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A PDF COPY OF THE INTRO BOOKLET CAN BE DOWNLOADED HERE: ARTIST Survey 23 INTRO Book Aug 21

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The video link is:
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SOLANGE BAQUES: is an Argentinean photographer born in Buenos Aires city. In her work she explores identities through memories and family albums. Her images are intimate and subtle.

Solange Baques and her two works

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Solange arrived in Finland on March 2nd to participate in the program “Silence Awareness Existence” as an artist in residency with 13 fellow artists at the Arteles Creative Center, which is located in a rural area near Tampere. Her project was to include visiting Valmet Oy plant and doing some research on the pulp and paper industry but due to the lockdown, this was not possible.

Within a short time of the growing worldwide shutdown of entry to countries 10 of the 13 artists in residency left Finland to return to their home countries. However by March 16 three remained.

Through the Window images included in this collaborative artists’ book was born as a part of the self-isolation program at Arteles Creative Center.

Solange was not able to return home due to the Argentine borders being closed and the only planes allowed to bring back Argentineans being those of Aerolíneas Argentinas. Around the world there were more than 20,000 citizens trying to get home with only 400 people allowed to arrive every day. On May 9th she was finally able to leave Finland and made it back to Argentina on May 11 and out of quarantine to her family on May 25!

 

 

JULIE BARRATT: is an Australian visual artist and arts producer whose mixed media practice encompasses printmaking, photography, artist books, installation and performance.

Julie Barratt and her Polaroid print + folder

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Julie arrived at the Arteles Creative Center in the beginning of March for a 1-month residency. As the worldwide lockdowns were initiated she experienced difficulty in getting flights back to Australia and her residency became an extended period of creative production.

Having this extra period of time in rural Finland has kept Julie just about as far from the grips of Covid-19 as you can imagine. And being distant from family and friends having little access to the Internet or the outside world for that matter was quite surreal!

Although she arrived without a clear project in mind Julie’s work became a visual diary of this period of isolation rendered through the mediums of photography, stitching, mixed media and hand stamping. This work in this collaborative artists’ book made with unique state Polaroid photographs relates to her experience of spending the Covid-19 period of isolation far from home in rural Finland!

By the 4th May she was still there! Cancelled flights, border closures and local transport collapses meant that options for getting home are all but non-existent. Finally Julie was able to get a direct flight from Helsinki to Sydney on May 10. On her arrival in Sydney she was escorted by Federal Police and Army personnel to 2 weeks forced isolation in a Melbourne hotel. She arrived home in Rockhampton on May 24!

 

COOPER+SPOWART

Cooper+Spowart collaborative book

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VICTORIA COOPER:

Victoria’s early career in science and microbiology is influential in much of her arts practice. Engaged in experimental photographic processes from pinhole to digital photomontage, she creates visual narratives, in the physical form of the book, exploring the human-non-human relationships of Place.

I began with energy for our collaboration across the ISO CO-void… This seemed a good time to explore new work informed by my past experience with pathogenic microorganisms. But I was unsettled in this COVID space — challenged by the consequences of being in familiar places that now were significantly altered by unseen entities. Continuity of creative thought was becoming increasingly more difficult under the existential struggle as sharp highs and lows destabilized every aspect of daily life.

During this time I utilised the social space of Instagram to break away from the silence of isolation. I captured and collected moments as they presented themselves and then instantly shared their potential to evoke memories and dreams with others. Over the next few weeks, my Instagram archive of isolated and unconnected fragments grew into a poetic narrative.

In this collaborative book with Doug there is no intended theme, our Instagram images present the fractured moments of our shifting altered reality.

 

DOUG SPOWART: is an Australian visual artist with a multi-media practice.

About 5 years ago Victoria Cooper and I sold our home in Toowoomba and headed out onto the road in search of a new place to live, work opportunities and to connect with friends and our extensive professional networks.

In early March we were on the beach in northern NSW and were planning our next foray into the real estate scene in Victoria. We were just about to head south when we recognised that the expanding threat of Covid-19 was something that could not be taken lightly.

Considering our options we decided to head back to the familiar location of Toowoomba. Our doctor is there, we have family there and importantly we have storage sheds with our art, library and personal effects. We saw isolation as presenting an opportunity to review and downsize our stored possessions.

Within a week we were back in Toowoomba and had viewed possible rental units, made a selection and had paid the first rental instalment.

My contribution to this project is a collaborative concertina book made with Victoria which features photographs made our first isolation period – it is entitled Fractured moments and small glimpses.

 

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OTHER STORIES ABOUT C.R.A.P. ARTISTS SURVEYS can be found at the links below:

Artists Survey Flash Mob Grafton

https://wotwedid.com/2013/09/23/artists-book-flash-mob-create-collaborative-artists-survey-book/

 

Artists Survey #19

https://wotwedid.com/2018/08/09/a-book-a-collaboration-time-19-artist-survey-book/

 

 

 

WOTWEDID BLOG CELEBRATES 100,000 VIEWS

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100K Header

 

Our www.wotwedid.com blog reached the milestone of 1000,000 views last week. It has had 56,000 visitors who have had the opportunity to view 380 posts and read around 250K words and see the hundreds of photographs that we have made to compliment the stories.

 

Our wotwedid Blog was started nine years ago as an opportunity to connect with our friends and creative communities via social media. The topic cloud for the wotwedid Blog includes ARTISTS’ BOOKS, PHOTBOOKS, CAMERA OBSCURA, EXHIBITIONS, MEETING PEOPLE, THE ART AND PRACTICE OF PHOTOGRAPHY, REGIONAL ARTS, CYANOTYPES, PLACE PROJECTS and POST-DOCTORAL RESEARCH.

 

Topic cloud wotwedid

 

Usually the content that we post is generated by us and includes the written commentaries, the photographs and illustrations – it can be quite a lengthy time consuming task to get a blog up.

While many posts relate to what we do, have done or will be doing, the Blog represents a chronology of activity in our art practice, our lives and issues that we are concerned about. Due to the contemporary space that the arts and artists occupy today much activity and many events go unnoticed and unrecorded. So a significant driver is to provide a space for commentary on what is happening outside of the popularist ‘art bubble’.

Early this year we were excited to learn that the State Library of Queensland had nominated wotwedid.com for inclusion in the Pandora Archive managed by the National Library of Australia, ‘to ensure the collection and long-term preservation of online publications relating to Australia and Australians. This objective contributes to the Library’s statutory function to comprehensively collect Australia’s documentary heritage.’

Over the years we have found that many views, screen dumps and downloads of resources we make available take place anonymously without comment or feedback. Then again, we understand that this is the same for most online resources. Despite this we find that as we travel and meet friends, fellow artists, academics and curators many say how much they appreciate and enjoy the content that we generate and post.

So, a BIG Thank You to all have visited … And we look forward to your return to help take www.wotwedid.com to the next milestone – 200,000K views.

 

D+V with masks

Vicky+Doug

PORTRAIT PHOTO: Susan Belperio

Here are some images of people met, events documented and our own art activities over recent years …

©2020 Doug Spowart+Victoria Cooper
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Creative Commons-by-nc-nd.eu
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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/..

 

 

 

FOUND: A camera obscura in a storage shed box

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An image is found in a packing box

An image is found in a packing box

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So today we were planning a day of shedding in our storage shed. We donned our dust masks and glasses, and cut through the five years of dust on many boxes and began to move our precious things into protective packing boxes.

Just as we were getting into the rhythm of this challenging chore we found something amazing in one of the empty boxes…

From that moment we stopped all work…

What follows is an impromptu document of performance we made in this remarkable image discovery. Found within an ordinary box ­– in a dusty storage shed – somewhere in the rows of storage sheds where we and others store our forgotten treasures…

 

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A video featuring the performance …

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Here are some images and a video on the refinement of the image by using other boxes and a pair of gloves to mask-out the light admitting aperture to around 3cm square.

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A video revealing the storage shed packing box set-up …

 

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OTHER COOPER+SPOWART CAMERA OBSCURA POSTS:

 

A collection of camera obscura works

https://wotwedid.com/2013/10/26/camera-obscura-2000-2020-in-hotels-and-other-places/

 

A porthole camera obscura on the Spirit of Tasmania

https://wotwedid.com/2019/01/11/2018-field-studies-camera-obscura-spirit-of-tasmania-porthole/

 

A gallery camera obscura

https://wotwedid.com/2016/11/14/maud-gallery-camera-obscura-for-one-day-only/

 

Our Tarago CarCamera Obscura

https://wotwedid.com/2016/05/13/ode-to-tarago-carcamera-obscura/

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Until the next obscura reveals itself …

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2020 WORLDWIDE PINHOLE DAY 26 April – Our images

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WPPD2020 – LOGO

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Around the [w]hole world on Sunday April 26, 2020 pinholers were out having fun – Making their images for the 2020 Worldwide Pinhole Photography Day.

This year we are hunkered down during the Pandemic in Toowoomba, Queensland Australia. Once again, far away from the darkroom, we’ve fitted a piece of aluminium with a light admitting pin-prick to the body cap of our Olympus Pen camera and braved the parkland at the end of our street. The next day we uploaded our images with a detailed caption to the WPPD website to add to the contributions from Australian pinholers and many more from around the world.

This is the 15th year we have supported the WPD project!

 

WHAT IS WORLDWIDE PINHOLE DAY ALL ABOUT?

From the Worldwide Pinhole Photography Day website introduction

All the photographs in this extraordinary collection share two common characteristics: (1) they are lensless photographs (2) they were all made on April 26, 2020.

They also share an additional and less formal characteristic: the sincere enthusiasm of their creators who, by participating in this collective event, shared individual visions and techniques. Hence the amazing diversity of subjects, cameras, techniques and photographic materials combined in this exhibit!

 

Australian WWPD submission @ May3

 

VICTORIA’s PINHOLE IMAGE

Out walking the dog during COVID Isolation PHOTO: Victoria Cooper

ABOUT VICKY’S PINHOLE IMAGE:

Walking in the park as it turns to Autumn … Many people are exercising: walking, running, cycling during our period of isolation for COVID-19. I am grateful that during this terrible time, we are able to slow down and reconnect with what is important in our lives.”

 

 

DOUG’s PINHOLE IMAGE

Doug Spowart’s Stay Home-WPPD-2020

ABOUT DOUG’S PINHOLE IMAGE:

With the world-wide pandemic Covid-19 changing everything signs appear everywhere to remind us to stay vigilant in our resolve to limit community infection. Our local real estate agent has replaced photos of houses for sale with the letters S-T-A-Y H-O-M-E / S-T-A-Y W-E-L-L. Stay healthy everyone…”

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OUR Digi-PINHOLE CAMERA

The Cooper+Spowart digi OLYMPUS PEN with pinhole ...

The Cooper+Spowart digi OLYMPUS PEN with pinhole …

This is a converted digital Olympus Pen, shared with my partner Doug Spowart. The pinhole is a pin pierced hole in aluminium which is inserted into a hole drilled into a body cap. It is a hand held exposure of 1/20th second at ISO 800.”

Our digi-pinhole camera is an OLYMPUS Pen digital. The body cover has been drilled-out and a aluminium foil sheet with pin prick acts as the light emitting ‘hole’. Hand-held exposure 1/20th of a second ISO 800″

 

 

The 2020 WPPD GALLERY DEDICATION:

to Eric Renner who passed away in the USA last month

Self Portrait: Sweatshirt pinhole camera, Arles, 1996, pinhole photograph

Self Portrait: Sweatshirt pinhole camera, Arles, 1996, pinhole photograph, 14″x11″   SOURCE: https://ericrennerphoto.com

 

WPPD 2020 Eric Renner Dedication

WPPD 2020 Eric Renner Dedication

 

VALE ERIC RENNER: Our connection with Eric and partner Nancy Spencer

Eric’s Pinhole Photography book

From early in 1990 Vicky had connected with Eric Renner, partner Nancy Spencer and their Pinhole Resource. We exchanged communications and images showing the work that we were doing in Australia. Eric and Nancy, through their inclusive and generous efforts created a world-wide movement in pinhole photography that continues to grow.

Eric published a body a colour pinhole and zoneplate images from the exhibition Natural Encounter by Vicky in the pinhole journal. Later a collection of Doug’s 4×5 Zoneplate images were also published in the journal.

Over the years we continued to connect and share ideas and some of our work was included in the Focal Press book Pinhole Photography rediscovering a historic technique.  Our work was also included in the Pinhole Resource collection, Poetics of Light exhibition and the accompanying Poetics of Light book at the New Mexico Museum of History.

Pinhole photography is a vibrant and exciting world-wide pinhole community and we are grateful for this legacy that Eric, with Nancy nurtured.

 

There’s a Blog post about the Poetics of Light book and our work in it HERE

 

 

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Other images we made on the day…

 

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

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Our Past WWPD images:

2019 Doug+Vicky https://wotwedid.com/2019/04/29/2019-worldwide-pinhole-day-28-april-our-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

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 ©2020 Doug Spowart+Victoria Cooper
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Creative Commons-by-nc-nd.eu.
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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/..

The photobook event that THE VIRUS TOOK AWAY

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Some Antipodean Photobooks from the Tate project PHOTOCOLLAGE: Doug Spowart

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On the weekend of May 2-3 2020 there was a weekend of major photobook activities planned for the PHOTO 2020 International Photo Festival in Melbourne.

 

A significant component of the event: A seminal selection of 52 Australian and New Zealand Photobooks* from the State Library of Victoria’s collection was to be made available for public viewing.

On Sunday May 3 international photobook guru Martin Parr was to team up with local photobook aficionado Doug Spowart in a public Q&A session. Of particular interest were their methodologies and considerations for reviewing photobooks. Among other questions it was proposed that they respond to the contentious issues of ‘What validates a book for it to be considered eligible to be included in a canon of photobooks?’ and ‘How such curated selections can energise the recognition for photobooks?’

It was planned that the panel interviewers and contributors to the discussion would be renown writer and Photojournalism Now publisher Alison Stieven-Taylor and would also include the celebrated New Zealand photobook maker and Massey University lecturer David Cook.

An additional event to add to the PHOTO 2020 Photobook Weekend was a major Photobook Fair that would include major publishers, significant photobook makers, a showing of the ANZ Photobook Awards, photobook manufacturers and POD suppliers, workshops and info sessions.

 

However the COVID-19 pandemic was to change all that …

 

 

March 15, 2020 post on the PHOTO 2020 Facebook page

March 15, 2020 post on the PHOTO 2020 Facebook page

 

The PHOTO2020 event, retitled as PHOTO2021 is being rescheduled with the new dates of 18 February – 7 March 2021.

Thank you to founder and Artistic Director Elias Redstone and Producer Rachel Ciesla from the PHOTO 2020 team and Des Cowley from the State Library of Victoria for their efforts to bring this project into fruition. And we look forward to being part of the programme on the rescheduled dates…

 

Keep up to date with PHOTO 2021

FACEBOOK: https://www.facebook.com/photofestivalau/

WEBSITE: https://photo.org.au/

 The PHOTO 2021 team have been posting video interviews with a diverse group of international photographers and artists – Check them out…

 

FACEBOOK: Photo 2021-Photo Live

 

 

 

*52 Antipodean Photobooks: A beginning for a canon of the ANZ photobook

In 2019 the Tate Library received a selection of 52 photographically illustrated books from the Australian and New Zealand region. The books were curated by Australian photobook aficionado Dr Doug Spowart and were specially chosen to extend the Antipodean photobook presence within Martin Parr’s 12.5K photobook donation to the Tate in 2017.

Doug Spowart’s Tate commission came as a result of his meeting with Martin Parr at the 2017 Vienna Photobook Festival. Parr attended Spowart’s lecture on the Antipodean photobook at the Festival and saw examples of the 2016 ANZ Photobook of the Year Awards.

Martin Parr and Doug Spowart reviewing ANZ photobooks at the SLV for consideration to be included in the Tate submission. January 2018. ….. PHOTO: Victoria Cooper

 

In early 2018 Spowart met with Parr at the State Library of Victoria and shared with him a selection of the photobooks that had been curated for proposed Tate purchase.

While interest in the photobook has resulted in publications and scholarship from every major country in the world the same has not been the case for the Antipodean photobooks. Spowart sees the PHOTO 2020/2021 event as being an opportunity to celebrate ANZ photobooks and bring recognition to the local contemporary and historical publications. To this end Doug Spowart has published a blog entitled The Antipodean Photobook and a FACEBOOK page The Photobook in Australia and New Zealand (under construction @ May 2020).

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Looking forward to PHOTO2021: 18 February – 7 March 2021

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BRITISH LIBRARY Acquires our cyanotype artists’ book

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We are excited to announce that the British Library has recently acquired our artwork Australian Banquet, January 25/ 26, 1788.

In 2010 we wanted to make a work to comment and reflect on Australia Day and some of our feelings about the origins of the date – the implications of that event and the repercussions that we live with and navigate today. Through a scorchingly hot day in Toowoomba we worked with cyanotype solutions and selected objects – some from our home and others sourced from the food scraps from a local seafood smorgasbord restaurant on the day.

The work that we did that day emerged as the collaborative artists’ book, a broadsheet we titled, Australian Banquet, January 25/ 26, 1788.

We acknowledge the support in the negotiations with the British Library by our agent Helen Cole.

 

A statement about the artwork

Across Australia over the January 26th long weekend, people prepare, cook and consume food to mark this day in history.

For us, this work is our response to, and in recognition of, the ‘turning of the page’ in Australian history that this date represents. One day, January 25th 1788, Aboriginal people feasted on a diverse banquet of bush tucker as they had for thousands of years. The next day, the country was transformed by a new paradigm represented in this work by the table setting of the First Fleet.

Australia Day, for us, is an important time to acknowledge the First Peoples’ perspective and their knowing of land, culture and history and how it should be recognised as underpinning the diversity and identity of contemporary Australia. We, as descendants of European people, are seeking to understand and know more about our place within the longer history of this land.

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View 1: Australian Banquet, January 25/ 26, 1788

The 25th of January side of the broadsheet is viewed and contemplated.

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View 2: Australian Banquet, January 25/ 26, 1788

The broadsheet is then turned over to view the 26th of January side.

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View 3: Australian Banquet, January 25/ 26, 1788

Finally the broadsheet is held up to the light – the complex interrelationship between the two visual references to be seen and considered.

 

BOOK DESCRIPTION: A unique state artists’ book broadsheet

TITLE: Australian Banquet January 25/26, 1788

MEDIA: Double-sided cyanotype image in rice paper

DIMENSIONS: 37.6 x 77cm

PLACE & DATE MADE: Toowoomba, Queensland, Australia, 2010

EDITION: 7 unique state variants

 

SOME REFLECTIONS ON THE BOOK’S HISTORY

 

 

COLLECTIONS, EXHIBITIONS & AWARDS:

2020 COLLECTION: British Library

2015 EXHIBITED: Books by Artists – The Webb Gallery as part of the Artists Book Brisbane Event, Conference at the Queensland College of Art, Brisbane

2014 EXHIBITED: Artist’s Books (reprised) [artists’ books 1978-2014] – George Paton Gallery, University of Melbourne

2014 EXHIBITED: Alternative Imaging  – Curated by Dawne Fahey at Two Doors Gallery, The Rocks, Sydney

2011: COLLECTION: Australian Library of Art, State Library of Queensland

2011 SHORTLISTED: Southern Cross University Artists’ Book Award, Lismore. Judge: Ross Woodrow

2011 EXHIBITED: BLUE – Arts Council Toowoomba members exhibition, Toowoomba Regional Art Gallery

2010 AWARD WINNER: Martin Hanson Awards, Gladstone Regional Art Gallery – Works on Paper

2010 EXHIBITED: Art BoundRed Gallery, Glebe, Sydney

2010 FINALIST: Josephine Ulrick & Win Schubert Photography Award – Gold Coast City Gallery. Judge: Judy Annear

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Text and © Doug Spowart+Victoria Cooper

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LOOKING AT PHOTOs IN THE GALLERY: a talk by Doug Spowart

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Doug Spowart in The Museum Project exhibition at Lismore Regional Gallery .…..PHOTO: Victoria Cooper

 

I’ve a lifetime of connection with art galleries from exhibitor to director and curator to reviewer. I’ve often pondered on how the gallery space connects with those who visit it and what insights they may take-away from that interaction.

Viewing an exhibition can be a very superficial activity or it can be one that can create the opportunity for a meaningful and personal experience.

I have often been interested in observing people in the gallery space and wondered whether they were: (1) an interested and attentive participant, (2) using the space for social interaction – with friends/partners/children, (3) there as a flâneur to be seen in the gallery or possibly (4) a person accompanying 1, 2 or 3.

Floor talks are a necessary part of the educative process carried out in an art gallery. It can transform the way art is introduced to a new audience and enlighten those wanting to know more.

 

At the end of last year I was invited to present a floor talk about an exhibition of photography at the Lismore Regional Gallery in northern NSW. The talk was to coincide with the gallery’s showing of The Museum Project a collection of American photography work from the 1970-2010. The project represents a selection of works from 7 photographers that cover a diverse range of approaches to photography. The photographers, and genre of their works are:

 

The Museum Project at the Lismore Regional Gallery

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I considered the invitation and proposed that the talk would be based upon the idea of ‘Looking at photos in the gallery’. Rather than a direct translation of curator’s didactics I decided that I would use my gallery and photography experiences to suggest a number of steps and questions for the visitor in their engagement in the gallery space so they may derive more from the experience. I also acknowledged that attendees would be interested in a commentary about interesting aspects of the works including the conceptual and technical approaches taken by the photographers. The works presented an excellent opportunity to also talk about different approaches to photography as a visual art form.

In my preparation for the talk I visited the gallery and made notes on the works as well as carried out online research about the photographer’s backgrounds, manifestos and techniques.

I thought further about the proposition of looking at photographs in the gallery and prepared a script for the talk. To make the talk more interactive and personal, I decided to hand make a little booklet for each attendee to refer to during the talk and as take-home information source. In the 2015 Artists’ Book Brisbane Event, I did a similar process where I made a booklet of my talk for each of the 60 attendees of the conference and rather than an electronic presentation, I performed the book …

The gallery staff member assisting me for the day, Claudie Frock, had printed up 25 A3 sheets of my 8-page fold booklet the evening before so that Joanna Kambourian, Vicky and I could make up the books.

 

The Looking at Photos in the Gallery booklet

The Looking at Photos in the Gallery booklet

 

Overnight before the talk Lismore, and South-East Queensland and North-East New South Wales were drenched with flash-flooding rains so I was pleasantly surprised in the morning when 25 people came along to the talk. There was also a small group of deaf people attending the talk and I was supported in my presentation by AUSLAN interpreter Bronwyn. After the acknowledgement of country and an introduction by Claudie we began the talk.

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Participant involvement is a necessary part of my presentation style and the question/answer format gave ample opportunities for attendees to interact in the talk. One of the gallery’s curators that attended, Fiona, added special insights about gallery installation, copyright and image conservation. The booklet process worked well and we managed to cover a diverse range of topics within the 1-hour time allotted.

 

You can download a PDF of the little A5 booklet LRG-Booklet

 

Vicky and I stayed on after the talk to connect with attendees who wanted to chat further and also to re-connect with two local photographers Jacklyn Wagner and Peter Derrett OAM who were associated with workshops that we had presented in Lismore at the Gasworks Art Centre and the Southern Cross University in the early 1990s. They presented us with a copy of the catalogue for a documentary project called Heart & Soul that featured people from around the region.

On leaving the gallery the rain had cleared to a sunny day…

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Vicky + Doug with the catalogue for the Heart&Soul exhibition by Jacklyn and Peter PHOTO: Peter Derret

Vicky + Doug with the catalogue for the Heart&Soul exhibition by Jacklyn and Peter PHOTO: Peter Derrett OAM

 

Doug with Jacklyn Wagner + Peter Derrett PHOTO: Dr Ros Derrett OAM

 

 

 

Please note the Booklet and the lecture are a work in progress to be added to in future versions – and it’s ©2020 Doug Spowart.

 

 

A PHOTOBOOK BIRTHDAY PARTY – BIFB Photobook Weekend

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WPD Birthday Candles

 

A Birthday PartyCelebrating 176 years of photobooks..!  

On World Photobook Day – Monday October 14, 2019

World Photobook Weekend Hub, Mitchell Harris Wines, 38 Doveton Street North

 

Each year World Photobook Day is celebrated by members of the international network of Photobook Clubs around the world. Since it’s inception 7 years ago it has been organized by The Photobook Club Madrid and Matt Johnston. October 14th has been selected as it was on this date in 1843 that Anna Atkins’ Photographs of British Algae: Cyanotype Impressions was accepted into and catalogued by the British Library.

This year a small group celebrated the 176th birthday at the Ballarat International Foto Biennalé…

 

The BIFB World Photobook Day Birthday Cake

 

.The cake was cut…

Doug cuts the World Photobook Day cake

Doug cuts the World Photobook Day Birthday cake

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.And then we all sang HAPPY BIRTHDAY…

 

As the Australian and New Zealand Photobook Award travelling exhibition concluded over the weekend we were able to announce the winner of the PEOPLE’S CHOICE AWARD

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Congratulations Tammy Law for your book Permission to belong

Tammy Law and her book AANZPA People's Choice award winning book Permission to Belong

Tammy Law and her book ANZPA People’s Choice award winning book Permission to Belong

 

Videos and photographs by Victoria Cooper.

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Return to the BIFB Photobook Weekend Blog Homepage.

 

 

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