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Victoria Cooper+Doug Spowart Blog

A PHOTOBOOK FAIR: BIFB Photobook Weekend

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BIFB Book Fair Website image

BIFB Book Fair Website image


BIFB World Photobook Weekend – Photobook Fair

Sunday October 13, 10am – 5pm

Art Gallery Ballarat, 40 Lydiard Street North

 

The BIFB celebrated World Photobook Day with other photography enthusiasts awith their second Foto Book Fair.

Participants of the Fair included:

  • Australian and New Zealand Photo Book Awards
  • Ballarat International Foto Biennale bookshop
  • Bookhouse
  • Studio Yeah
  • Colin Abbott
  • Fems
  • Melbourne Photobook Collective
  • Particle Books
  • Photography Studies College
  • Sainsburys Books
  • State Library Victoria
  • The Fridge Door Project
  • Tess Maunder and Vault

 

 

Significant and rare books from the State Library of Victoria were presented including:

 

Des Cowley+Cartier-Bresson’s Book

Henri Cartier-Bresson Les Européens

Paris, Editions Verve, 1955

Henri Cartier-Bresson iconic photobook Les Européens comprises 114 photographs, taken between 1950 and 1955, documenting a vanishing way of life in post-war Europe. His lens captured the moods of Greece, Spain, Germany, England, Ireland, Italy, USSR, France. The book, which comprises some of Cartier-Bresson’s best known and finest images, features a striking colour lithographic design by Catalan artist Joan Miró.

 

Street Life in London

John Thomson, and Adolphe Smith Street life in London: with permanent photographic illustrations taken from life expressly for this publication

London, Sampson Low, Marston, Searle, & Rivington, 1877

First released in twelve monthly installments beginning in February 1877, Street Life in London is the among the first published collections of social documentary photographs. The book consists of thirty-six photographs by John Thomson, each accompanied by a brief essay by the writer and activist Adolphe Smith. Like the photographs, the essays are sharply drawn vignettes of “local characters” – cab drivers, flower sellers, sign painters, locksmiths, fishmongers, chimney sweeps, beggars, and street musicians – whose individual stories are meant to encapsulate the conditions of an entire class of worker or street dweller.

 

Charles Nettleton Melbourne illustrated by photographs

Melbourne, Charles Nettleton, 1868

A set of photographs of Melbourne by the commercial photographic studio of Nettleton and Arnest. The collection features significant Melbourne buildings and streets including Parliament House, the Treasury Buildings, St Patrick’s Cathedral, the Royal Exhibition Building and Melbourne University Colleges. Few people feature in the photographs, which are predominantly focused upon architecture. The collection is significant as it provides a visual record of Melbourne’s early development, and also reveals the work of an important local photography studio.

 

Duncan J Peirce Giant Trees of Victoria

J Duncan Peirce Giant Trees of Victoria

Melbourne, Victorian Department of Lands and Survey, c.1888

A volume containing a series of eight of J Duncan Peirce’s photolithographs of giant trees of Victoria, with descriptions of the species, height, girth and locality of the trees illustrated. All trees illustrated are Eucalyptus amygdalina regnans, commonly known as mountain ash. Enlargements of these photographs were displayed at the Melbourne Centennial Exhibition of 1888 and later at the Exposition Universelle in Paris in 1889.

 

Julia Margaret Cameron Alfred, Lord Tennyson and his friends: a series of 25 portraits and frontispiece/ in photogravure from the negatives of Julia Margaret Cameron and H.H.H. Cameron

London, T. Fisher Unwin, 1893

Published in 1893, the year after Alfred, Lord Tennyson’s death, this book features a selection of Julia Margaret Cameron’s iconic photographic portraits of the poet and his circle of friends. A friend and neighbour of Tennyson’s, Cameron took photographs of the poet several times across a decade.

 

Peter Lyssiotis What the Moon Lets Me See

Melbourne, Masterthief, 2017

Peter Lyssiotis’s deluxe large-scale publication What the Moon Lets Me See comprises an extended text by the artist, accompanied by numerous photographic images. The work sees a return by Lyssiotis to the dream-like coloured photomontages of earlier books such as The Harmed Circle (1992) and From the Secret Life of Statues (1994). The images represent a collaboration with Australian photographers Doug Spowart and Victoria Cooper, who adapted Peter’s photomontages using a pin hole camera.  The book was produced in an edition of 10 copies, printed by Memento Pro, in Sydney. Boldly typographic and beautifully designed, it can be considered a high-point amongst Peter Lyssiotis’s books.

 

Return to the BIFB Photobook Weekend Blog Homepage.

 

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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.

 

 

A RE-PHOTOGRAPHY PROJECT Revisited at TRAG

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Doug in the exhibition space PHOTO: Victoria Cooper

 

SAME SITES HINDSIGHT – Toowoomba Regional Art Gallery

 

For me rephotography is a way of re-viewing place and change through a comparative documentation using the perspectives of earlier photographers. I have always enjoyed the challenge to re-align the contemporary view with the past to see visual narratives of change either subtle or profound. At this time I discovered the work by Mark Klett and others published in their 1984 book Second View: The Rephotographic Survey Project. Their approach to the reimaging of the photographs of the American west by William Henry Jackson, Timothy O’Sullivan and others in the 1860s was methodical and scientific. Although I was informed by this seminal work as a record of social and historical change, in some of my work I also enjoyed questioning the notion of the original photographers as a kind of truth.

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In the mid 1980s I rephotographed tourist postcard scenes in outback Australia and reimaged tourist camera photos placing them in the context of a wider-angled view. These projects were presented at the Araluen Art Gallery in Alice Springs in 1986 in the exhibition Tourists Facts, Acts, Rituals & Relics.

Other projects emerged including a commission from Di Baker, Director of the Toowoomba Regional Art Gallery to locate the subject matter of artworks from the Toowoomba Gallery’s collection and to re-image the subject by photography.

The artworks that were my source reference covered a range of approaches to the artist’s vision imbued with the appearance of the painting techniques that they employed. Working with Victoria we travelled around the region to find the matching locations and met with some success finding the exact location. On occasion however we were only able to create a general locational view.

I chose a 4×5 large format camera and a black and white film made by Polaroid. Called Type 55 the film gave a black and white print and also a negative that, after in-field processing could be printed in a conventional enlarger.

The 1996 the exhibition NEW SIGHTS – SAME SITES was opened at the Toowoomba Regional Art Gallery and installation of the selected artworks were paired with our photographic interpretation of the same scene.

Now 23 years later the Gallery has re-presented the work for reconsideration by a new generation of art gallery visitors.

 

Don Featherstone (L) Golden Tree (Corner of Kitchener and Herries Streets)1959 watercolour Spowart+Cooper (R) Corner of Kitchener and Herries Streets 1996 silver gelatin fibre print

 

 

The Gallery wall sheet for the Same Sites Hindsights exhibition states:

In 1996 photographer Doug Spowart assisted by Victoria Cooper undertook a project called New sight-Same sites which re-imaged Downs landscapes and other regional sites depicted in selected works from the Toowoomba Regional Art Gallery Toowoomba City Collection.

The project compared and contrasted the direct recording of a site using photography with the painter’s vision of the same location. One of the biggest challenges for Spowart in making these images was to replicate the painters’ viewpoints and, in some instances, even finding the locations proved problematic.

From the time of the initial recording to now, almost 25 years later, these photographs indicate constants and change. Time is transformational. In 1996, the Gallery challenged the photographer to identify these locations and in 2019 we challenge the viewer to explore Toowoomba and surrounds in response to these works.

 

The exhibition is on show from 14 September to November 3, 2019.

 

A selection from the subjects presented in the exhibition

C. G. S. Hirst  The New Court House 1879 watercolour and ink on paper

Spowart+Cooper  The Old Court House 1996 silver gelatin fibre print

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Herb Carstens   Sunday Morning (Street scene Toowoomba) 1961 oil on comp board

Spowart+Cooper  Sunday morning 1996 silver gelatin fibre print

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Brian Williams Near Drayton 1960 oil on comp board

Spowart+Cooper  Near Drayton 1996 silver gelatin fibre print

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Ruby Spowart Clifford Gardens 1986 photograph Polaroid SX-70

Ruby Spowart Clifford Gardens 1986 photograph Polaroid SX-70

Spowart+Cooper  Clifford Gardens 1996 silver gelatin fibre print

 

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TRAG Display

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OTHER REPHOTOGRAPHY PROJECTS BY Doug Spowart & COOPER+SPOWART

 

 

LINK: SEEING DOUBLE Toowoomba Regional Art Gallery 2001

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HARVEY BENGE: An appreciation from a fellow traveller

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Harvey Benge’s portrait from his Blog header

 

VALE: HARVEY BENGE

With the recent passing of Harvey Benge many whose lives have been touched by the man have told stories of their connection with Harvey. In many ways my story is no different – Harvey gave so much to those he met. He enriched lives as well as nurtured and encouraged networks to form, information to be shared and contributed to the critique and philosophy of photobooks to a worldwide audience. In December 2017 his Blog recorded its 1,000,000th view…

Recently I have been thinking and reflecting about Harvey a great deal and how for a moment we shared a friendship through our interest for the photobook in it many forms. At this time I feel a need to share some my reflections of Harvey…

 

it’s not hard to find erudite statements from photobook commentators and critics from all over the world about Harvey and his work – But I wanted to find his manifesto for life, photography and books … and I found it in his description for the book The Traveller

The Traveller is a personal reflection of the world where strange connections occur. The photographs never offer answers, only questions to tempt the curious. This democratic view is an acerbic, wry response to the world in free-fall where nothing is certain. Yet I hope that readers can find humour, affection, and unexpected beauty.

 

Harvey Benge photobook: The Traveller PHOTOs: Courtesy MomentoPro

 

About 15 years ago I came across a book that seemed to be a compilation of photographs by the world’s doyens of photography – Adams, Araki, Baltz, Eggleston, Felman, Frank Friedlander et al. The book was entitled seductively A short history of photography and was authored by Harvey Benge and Gerry Badger. So I bought a copy. It wasn’t until after the package arrived and I turned the pages that I found that Benge in fact created all of images. Many purchasers of the book may have felt ripped off but I laughed and laughed. This book also resonated with personal projects of mine 10 to 15 years earlier where I too had created and presented work under pseudonyms to an unsuspecting audience.

 

A History of Photography book

Whilst the name Harvey Benge kept on cropping up in my academic research in photobooks I felt that his work did not fit with my project at that time. This changed when I attended one of the most significant forums at that time on the topic of the photobook at the Museum of Contemporary Art Sydney on Saturday, June 7 2014. Coordinated by Daniel Boetker-Smith from the Asia Pacific Photobook Archive, the event featured a Photobook Fair and a Forum at which key identities of the emerging photobook community were panelists. This included Professor Christopher Stewart (UTS), Dan Rule (Perimeter Books), Harvey Benge, Helen Frajman (M33), Benjamin Chadbond (Try Hard Magazine), Ying Ang and Daniel Boetker-Smith.

At the MCA Photobook Forum June 2014 PHOTO: Doug Spowart

The Forum discussion, responses and questions from the audience seemed to located in addressing the desires that attendees had in wanting to find their way in creating, marketing, selling books and being successful photobook makers.

I asked a couple of questions to broaden the discussion, which related to a key interest of mine that emerged as part of my PHD research. My questioning referred to the way that the freedoms that are well established in the artists’ book discipline in design, structure and narrative could inform future directions for the photobook. Harvey was the only one on the panel that understood the rationale of my question and at the end of the Forum we connected and spoke more about the ideas behind my question and he commented that he had appreciated my input. A few days later I sent some photos to him of the Forum including photos of him in action and he incorporated them in a piece he wrote about the Forum on his blog.

Channeling Harvey Benge photobook

In 2015 I was invited to make a presentation about photobooks at the Auckland Festival of Photography’s Talking Culture Symposium – Photobook Stories at the Auckland Art Gallery. I was looking forward to meeting up with Harvey but alas he was in Europe at the time attending the yearly string of photography events that happen between May-July. Even though I was unable to connect with him at that time, and inspired by his Short history of photography, I set about making a body of photographs that would emulate his style. These images were formed into a little book I called “Channeling Harvey Benge”. I had MomentoPro print out a copy and I sent it to him. When he returned Harvey enthusiastically got back to me saying “Thank you so much for … the wonderful Channelling Me! I’m flattered and honoured that you have made such a tribute… so thoughtful…”

A Preview copy of Channeling Harvey Benge can be downloaded here PREVIEW PROOF of Channelling Harvey Benge-book
(Note this is a printer-ready PDF and due to page setup for double-pages some images may not match across the gutter)

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On Reading Photobooks WPD Project

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Another remembrance of our connection was from an event I coordinated for World Photobook Day (WPD). The WPD has it origins with the date, October 14 1843, when Anna Atkins’ book Algae of the British Isles: Cyanotype impressions was catalogued by the British Library. The WPD was formed by a worldwide movement of Photobook Clubs to celebrate Anna Atkins and her book on this day. Since 2014, as part of my role as the coordinator of the Photobook Club Brisbane, I have created events to celebrate WPD. In 2015 my partner Victoria Cooper and I curated a project in which we asked significant contributors to the photobook discipline to nominate their favourite photobook, tell us why they like the book and to make a photo (a selfie) of them reading the book.

Harvey reading Collier Schorr’s Blumen – for the On Reading Photobooks WPD exhibition

A PDF of Harvey’s page and project information can be downloaded HERE: ON READING: Harvey Benge submission

 

Harvey enthusiastically responded to our request and was one of the first submissions. His favourite book, at the time was Collier Schorr’s Blumen. Other contributors to the project included Martin Parr, Larissa Leclair, Polixeni Papapetrou, Michael Coyne, Daniel Boetker-Smith, Stephen Dupont, Jack Picone et al. The exhibition was entitled “On Reading Photobooks” and was shown in Maud Gallery Brisbane, The Photography Room in Canberra, and a PDF catalogue was produced.

Harvey+Doug at Photobook New Zealand 2016

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Over the years we connected via email but I did finally meet up with Harvey at the first Photobook New Zealand conference in Wellington in March 2016. We shared some conversations and I gave him a copy of a little book that I’d made entitled “I’m about to read a photobook”. I attended the Photobook Fair, book displays and a lecture that included David Cook, Anita Totha, Bruce Connew and Harvey discussing “Getting your photobook into the world”.

 

Harvey and his list

Harvey was animated and delivered a salient talk outlining an 8 point plan assisted by a handwritten text on an envelope received from his friend and colleague Antoine D’Agata. He said:

1. 90% of life is showing up (Woody Allen)
2. Take the long view – 30 to 50 years
3. Make your work authentic
4. Don’t try and be famous
5. Don’t show dodgy work to everybody who has ever drawn breath
6. People work with people they like
7. Luck has a lot to do with it
8. Get naked, make porn

 

In 2017 I was preparing a lecture on the Antipodean Photobook that I had been invited to present at the Vienna Photobook Festival. To bring a range of voices into the lecture I approached Harvey and asked him about what photobook makers in Australia and New Zealand could do to get their photobooks onto the world stage. He responded quickly again and came back with 3 points:

  1. Take the long view, in my case I made my first book 24 years ago.
  2. Show up in the world, don’t just sit at home in Aust or NZ looking at the wall.
  3. Do it for yourself, that way there is a chance the work will be authentic.

 

Harvey Benge pages in the New Zealand Photobook Compendium

As part of the continual update of my ANZ Photobook Compendium for the second PBNZ I approached Harvey for some of the back story behind two book projects: 1. ‘The Auckland Project’ that he had coordinated with John Gossage and Alec Soth and, 2. his visiting photographer series that had included Roger Ballen. Interestingly at this time Harvey had just donated one of every book that he’d made to the Auckland Art Gallery. Harvey sent through what I’d requested and it was incorporated into the Compendium that was launched at PBNZ in the Te Papa Photobook Fair by Ann Shelton.

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Harvey Benge Auckland Art Gallery vitrine for Nothing Is As It Seems Photo: Supplied by Harvey

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During much of 2018 Victoria and I worked on a commission from the Tate on Martin Parr’s recommendation to curate a collection of Australian and New Zealand photobooks. In a conversation Harvey’s name came up and Parr said he had been collecting Harvey’s work over the years and had visited him in Auckland. Parr recounted mentioning to Harvey that he was interested in getting a copy of Gary Baigent’s 1967 classic Unseen city. To his surprise Harvey and he had walked down the street to a little book shop and picked one up for a modest fee.

 

Over recent times I had not seen much from Harvey only the occasional post on his Blog and I had heard something from New Zealand friends about him not being in good health. Then very early one morning about a month ago Harvey rang me and told me of his illness and its prognosis. We spoke about many things – about unfinished books, how he felt about the work that I’d been doing on the ANZ photobook and how much he appreciated what I was doing. He mentioned my little book ‘Channeling Harvey Benge’ and how chuffed he was that I’d made it and presented it to him. He asked me if I could let my network of friends know of his circumstances. There were difficult moments of unfinished work but there was joy in the recognition of the continuing legacy that his books, his love of books and the love he had for people who made them. During the conversation he became tired and emotional – he said “I must go my friend….”

Vicky and I sat dazed – it was 6.00am local time…

I think of the times that Harvey would sign-off an email with the message ‘would be good to catch up for a talk sometime and perhaps chat about a collaboration…’ And I would have loved walking down the street with him to that little book shop to pick up Unseen city.

Although I will now miss the opportunity for those and many other things with Harvey’s passing, I know that in my future, and perhaps also for many of Harvey’s friends, he will still be an important part of the community he loved and supported. I know I will continue ‘channelling the spirit’ of Harvey Benge.

 

Doug Spowart

Written on World Photobok Day 2019

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PHOTOBOOK WEEKEND @ Ballarat International Foto Biennalé

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BIFB Header

 

WORLD PHOTOBOOK WEEKEND

 

The Ballarat International Foto Biennale is proud to host the World Photobook Day during our festival. Join us from Saturday 12 October until Monday 14 October to celebrate this auspicious birthday!

Celebrate World Photobook Day with other photography enthusiasts. Participants will meet at Mitchell Harris Wines the World Photobook Weekend Hub to share their books before heading together to the talks and the Fotobook Fair.

 

SATURDAY 12 OCTOBER

VR Book Train

9.16am
Photobook Train 
from Southern Cross Station

Celebrate World Photobook Day by hopping on the train to meet other photography enthusiasts. Meet at Southern Cross Station to catch the train to Ballarat with your photobooks and discuss with others. (Passengers must have a valid myki. Regional fares are listed at ptv.vic.gov).

 

Doug Spowart + ANZ Photobooks

2pm
Talk by Doug Spowart

Many Tribes: The Australian And New Zealand Photobook

The photobook disrupted the 1990’s prediction that ‘the book is dead’ and grew into a worldwide phenomenon. Doug Spowart will address key aspects of the historical and contemporary makeup of the photobook in Australia & New Zealand where the various ‘tribes’ contribute to a vibrant and progressive discipline.

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

 

SUNDAY 13 OCTOBER

 

9.16am
Photobook Train 
from Southern Cross Station

Celebrate World Photobook Day by hopping on the train to meet other photography enthusiasts. Meet at Southern Cross Station to catch the train to Ballarat with your photobooks and discuss with others. (Passengers must have a valid myki. Regional fares are listed at ptv.vic.gov).

 

Book Fair participants

10am – 5pm
Photobook Fair

Art Gallery Ballarat, 40 Lydiard Street North

Celebrate World Photobook Day with other photography enthusiasts at our second Foto Book Fair – an all-day event at the Art Gallery of Ballarat. Participants:

  • Australian and New Zealand Photo Book Awards
  • Ballarat International Foto Biennale
  • Bookhouse
  • Studio Yeah
  • Colin Abbott
  • Fems
  • Melbourne Photobook Collective
  • Particle Books
  • Photography Studies College
  • Sainsburys
  • State Library Victoria
  • The Fridge Door Project; Vault.

 

Forum Panelists

11am

FORUM: Photobooks – Getting Published & Getting Collected 

with Patrick Pound, Sarah Walker, Heidi Romano and David Wadelton. Moderated by Doug Spowart

What sparks and drives the passion for the photo book? How do photographers get published? And how can photographers establish and grow meaningful collections? Join Doug Spowart and a diverse panel of photobook practitioners and publishers as they answer these and other associated questions through their personal observations, stories and predictions.

Join us as we blow out the candles for the official World Photobook Day celebrations.

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

 

MONDAY 14 OCTOBER

 

WPD Birthday Candles

11am – 1pm
Happy Birthday Party
!   Celebrating 176 years of photobooks

Join us as we blow out the candles for the official World Photobook Day celebrations.

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

 

ALL EVENTS ARE FREE: Please book at the BIFB website

CLICK THE PHOTO BELOW TO VISIT BIFB SITE

World Photobook Weekend

AUSTRALIAN CYANOTYPES on exhibition at home & in the USA

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INVITE: The Maud Street Photo Gallery Under the Southern Sun exhibition

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For over a year we have been coordinating with Gail Neumann the Facebook group THE CYANOTYPE IN AUSTRALIA. In June of this year we circulated through our networks an Invitation for Australian cyanotypers to submit work for a travelling exhibition to be shown in Brisbane, Australia and then Texas, USA to link with World Cyanotype Day celebrations on September 28, 2019. This work will be first shown at The Maud Street Photo Gallery, Brisbane in August and will then travel to the USA to be part of two international exhibitions, one at the A Smith Gallery, Texas in September, and then at PhotoNola, New Orleans in December.

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THE BRIEF FROM THE INTERNATIONAL WORLD CYANOTYPE EXHIBITION COORDINATORS:

The exhibition theme Land/Sea/Sky with the exhibition abstract being: Most ancient peoples had no word for the color blue. They could not explain the sky nor the ocean. Poetry and love letters suffered. Once “blue” entered the world the earth rattled and chimed, sending forth “turquoise” and “sapphire.” The Navajo and the Jewelers rejoiced. Poets wept. Picasso danced and Policemen beamed. Mary smiled.

It was hoped that everyone in the world making cyanotypes that could be connected with was invited to create the cyanotypes on white cloth, each 12×12 inches (30×30cm) and that they will be strung together, the flags symbolize the beautiful planet we all inhabit.

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Install day at the A Smith Gallery 24 September

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CYANOTYPERS FROM OVER AUSTRALIA RESPONDED TO THE CALL-OUT

Here are their images:

 

THE EXHIBITION AT THE MAUD STREET PHOTO GALLERY

The installation at The Maud Street Photo Gallery PHOTO: Gail Neumann

The installation at The Maud Street Photo Gallery PHOTOs: Gail Neumann

THE CATALOGUE

A catalogue about the Under the southern sun project featuring each submission, artist’s statements and exhibition documents has been collated, the cyanotypes copied and designed by Doug Spowart. The catalogue forward states:

The Cyanotype in Australia is a photographic medium that continues to be enthusiastically utilised by a growing group of creative practitioners ranging from analogue photographers to fine art printmakers.

While the process and the chemical formulas may be the same the resulting images vary depending on the subject chosen and the creative input of the cyanotypist. This is proven by this body of work and the plethora of potential outcomes presented. And sometimes, as with the vagaries of the process, many results may be a surprise to the author at the time the image is washed-out. Such is the nature and the promise of things hand-made.

We are excited to contribute this collection of cyanotype flags to the 2019 World Cyanotype Day Celebrations at the A Smith Gallery in Texas and PhotoNola in New Orleans in the U.S.A.

The catalogue

FREE TO DOWNLOAD HERE: AUSTRALIAN_WCD_CATALOGUE-Final

 

THE BEHIND THE SCENES

THE CYANOTYPE IN AUSTRALIA Team coordinated:

  • A gallery exhibition at The Maud Street Photo Gallery in early August that will include an opening event
  • The packaging and shipment of the ‘Flags’ to the USA by the due date
  • The creation and distribution of social media content promoting the Australian artworks and their makers
  • A PDF catalogue of all contributor’s works
  • And later the return of the works to their makers on conclusion of the project.

A fee of $40 was charged to all participants

This project, by The Cyanotype in Australia team, was curated by Gail Neumann, Victoria Cooper + Doug Spowart with assistance from David Symons.

 

 

The gallery installation team: Gail Neumann, Victoria Cooper, Irena Prikryl, David Symons and Doug Spowart

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On Judging a Regional Art Award

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The Somerset Bendigo Bank Art Award – July 26, 2019

 

I spent most of the day at Esk in south-east Queensland judging a regional art award organised by the Somerset Art Society. The Awards attracted a diverse collection of 337 artworks ranging from re-purposed kitchenalia made into sculptures to delicate fine ceramics, to tapestries, photographs and the traditional oil on canvas. Decisions about what was the ‘best’ art in 4 main categories and 4 other special awards were required to be made with my judging partner Dr Beata Batorowicz, artist and Associate Professor from the University of Southern Queensland. The curator of the event and the judging process was LeAnne Vincent.

 

Beata + Doug Photo: Victoria Cooper

 

Let the judging begin

As a judge I have an interest and expectation that I will receive a story from each artwork. The communiqué could be about the artist’s insight or comment about some idea or issue and it must resonate in some way to transform or challenge my understanding of the world. After a judge’s briefing by LeAnne we individually reviewed the works that had been hung on moveable wall panels and plinths within the expanses of the Somerset Civic Centre. Works from each of the 3 2D categories of (1) painting and works on paper, (2) fabrics and (3) photography were grouped for easy viewing and comparison on the panels. The 3D works were arranged in the central gallery and front gallery areas.

At the end of our first review Beata and I met and discussed the work generally and looked at works that had left a strong impressions with us. We walked around the gallery again this time in conversation gaining an understanding not only about the works but also each other’s point of view, opinions and our perceived strengths or weaknesses of certain works. The selection of Beata and myself as judges brought together an opportunity to utilise the overlap of our individual arts practice and our understanding of artmaking processes and storyteling through art.

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Judges among the display panels PHOTO: Victoria Cooper

 

The regional artist and their role in community beyond the Awards

Over an afternoon coffee with my partner Victoria Cooper I reflected upon the role of the artist in regional communities. As the viewer of many artworks today I had received and been touched by so many stories and communiqués. I thought about the important role of artists in recording and documenting their lived experience. And how in a changing world these artworks come to be a history of place, a touchstone for the issues, moods and interests of that time.

 

Somerset Regional Art Gallery – The Condensery

Somerset Regional Art Gallery – The Condensery

 

Art tourism in regional Australia

In the afternoon Vicky and I visited the Somerset Regional Art Gallery at The Condensery in the small town Toogoolawah just north of Esk. Formerly a condensed milk factory it has been repurposed into an art gallery with two exhibition spaces.

I thought about how art tourism is a burgeoning catch cry in regional Australia. Fine examples include Toowoomba’s First Coat Street Art initiative that brings visitors to that community and the Silo art project in Central/western Victoria that has created a boon to local businesses. Tourists now don’t drive through the town; they now stop and stay to take in those large-scale silo mural projects.

Perhaps with this growing interest in art tourism and the wealth of artwork abundantly visible in this exhibition it may be time to consider the The Condensery as a major regional gallery space with the funding for and arts manager/curator to oversee the display and management of the arts facility.

The various sponsors of the art awards including the major sponsor the Bendigo Bank clearly support the artists and their community. The Hon. Shayne Neumann federal member for Blair, and Somerset Mayor Graham Lehman speaking at the awards event both identified and praised the importance of the arts to the community. So perhaps now is the time for the next step.

 

Dr Doug Spowart

 

The formal group at the Awards presentation night…… PHOTO: Victoria Cooper

 

THE AWARDS

We selected the 3D category first and reviewed personal favourites and their stories – sometimes guided by the title. We were also interested in the techniques employed and the way the artwork operated within the 3D space. A small bronze work entitled Swim Squad by Mela Cooke was selected as the First Prize. The sculpture represents a stilled moment of two figures by a pool. Swimming togs and bathing caps in a greenish patina clad the two young female figures their legs dawn up encircled by arms and clasped by hand.

(Photographs from the SASI website courtesty of LeAnne Vincent)

 

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Next we approached the textiles and I was interested in Beata’s insights into the range of materials and techniques presented. Works I this category included traditional tapestry, contemporary image-making through materials collaged together with extensive over-sewing. The First Prize winner and the inaugural Hetty Van Boven Textile Award was Elisabeth Czaia with her work Afternoon Shadow. The work was the representation of a room interior with the perspective flattened to resemble a two-dimensional space. The colour scheme was a riot of colour predominantly green with accents of purple and tangerine.

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The Photography category consisted of a variety approaches to the discipline from traditional pictorialism to contemporary digital montage. Gerry O’Connor won the First Prize with a portrait entitled Warren Palmer Artist. The monochrome photograph was large in size and was frank in its direct and powerful presentation of the subject.

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Painting/Works on paper was won by a mult-coloured woodblock print by Owen Hutchison entitled The Long Flight…and some stars fell into the sea. This large print suggested a mythical allegory that spoke of flight and a night journey.

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Youth Award was won by a large drawing by Aneldi van Wyck. Entitled My identity that was a self-portrait. The drawing was skillfully and carried out honouring the media of its creation.

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Sharon McKenzie with Woven Destiny 3 won the special prize category of Susan Cory Contemporary Award. Originally submitted in the fabric section this work exhibited a very contemporary use of various materials over layered with hand sewing. There is a feeling of the work being just put down as threads dangle as if there is more work to be done.

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The award of The Best In Show was won by Margaret Underdown with her painting Home Paddock. Though a representational landscape in style this large work captured the emotive spirit of place. For both Beata and I have driven down from Toowoomba that morning where the ranges were enshrouded in mist and the early morning light diffused – that may have contributed to our consensus on that decision.

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One prize was awarded by votes cast by attendees to the exhibition. The People’s Choice was won by Kathy Ellem with her painting of a male horseman entitled Edges.

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President of SASI Betty Williams thanks curator LeAnne Vincent PHOTO: Victoria Cooper

 

THE FULL AWARDS LIST: 2019 Somerset Bendigo Bank Art Award Winners

 

$5000 Best of Show – Margaret Underdown, Home Paddock

$1000 Photography Prize – Gerry O’Connor, Warren Palmer Artist

Highly Commended PhotographyLinda McPhee The Second Best Café in Town and Wayne Gillis Satin Bower Bird Male

$1000 3D Prize – Mela Cooke, Swim Squad

Highly Commended 3DRussell Solomon, Have They Always Been Here and Carol Forster, Love Not War

$1000 Painting/Works on paper Prize – Owen Hutchison, The Long Flight…and some stars fell into the sea

$750 Painting/Works on paper Prize – Charmaine Davis, Mountain

Highly Commended Painting/Works on paper – Clay Dawson, Ships in the Night and Odessa Mahony de Vries Sea view

$1000 Hetty Van Boven Textile Award – Elisabeth Czaia, Afternoon Shadow

Highly Commended Textile Wendy Houston, Dear Stag and Jodie Wade, Grass Trees

$500 Susan Cory Contemporary Prize – Sharon McKenzie, Woven Destiny 3

$500 Youth Prize – Aneldi Van Wyk, My Identity

$500 Somerset Artist Prize – Marcel Desbiens, Transition

People’s Choice – Kathy Ellem, Edges

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Somerset Bendigo Bank Art Awards sign

Photographs of the artworks are from the SASI website courtesty of LeAnne Vincent

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