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Posts Tagged ‘Ann Vardanega

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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LANDSCAPE PHOTOGRAPHS ARE HISTORY: A book forward

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The book 'Around the world in 14 days'

The book Around the world in 14 days

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Recently I was asked to write an introduction for a limited edition book to compliment an exhibition of landscape photography entitled, Around the World in 14 Days: how the landscape unites us. The project featured seven contemporary Australian and international photographers, and was coordinated by Dawne Fahey of the FIER Institute with Sandy Edwards contributing to the image selection. The assembled body of work presented insights into how photographers ‘read the landscape, both visually and psychologically through their images.’

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The photographs, created in Australia, Asia, New Zealand, USA and Colombia are intended to inspire viewers to consider how ‘elements effecting the landscape unite us, regardless of our differences or the distances that occur between us.’ Through the photographs there is also an intention that the ‘poetic fragments presented by the work will connect with the viewer’s own memories, experience, or sense of place.’

The exhibiting photographers are: Ann Vardanega (Australia), April Ward (Australia), Beatriz Vargas (Colombia), Gavin Brown (Australia), Michael Knapstein (USA), Robyn Hills (Australia) and Pauline Neilson (New Zealand) and the exhibition and book are on show at Pine Street Gallery, 64 Pine Street, Chippendale, Sydney until May 31, 2014.

See more at: http://www.pinestreet.com.au and http://fier.photium.com/around-the-world-in-14 – sthash.QPto0nz4.dpuf

The exhibition and book launch took place on May 20, 2014 at the gallery.

My essay discusses issues that relate to the premise of the exhibition as well as some personal observations of the idea of the photographer in the landscape. The essay is presented here and at the end of the post I have included a selection of images and installation photographs of the exhibition.

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All landscape photographs are history

 

It is vain to dream of a wildness

distant from ourselves. There is none such.

In the bog of our brains and bowels, the

primitive vigor of Nature is in us, that inspires

that dream.

 

Henry David Thoreau, journal, August 30, 1856 [i]

 

Around sunset, Northern Territory time, a gathering of photographers will assemble in the central Australian desert and witness the now iconic sunset at Uluru. What they encounter will be a lived experience and there can be no doubt that cameras, both with and without telephony capability, will record the moment. Their images will bear metadata of the shutter speed, aperture, camera brand and model, the time, date and perhaps even its geolocation. These images will be cast into the Internet as evidence for friends and family to see – a private experience shared and made transferrable by technology.

What then of the subject of their gaze and activity – the landscape? For this rock in the desert, the next day will be a repeat of this photo ritual, and each day after, it will be repeated again and again. Does Uluru wait for its activation at each sunset and each shutter’s click? This landscape has experienced a few hundred million years of sunsets and its current fame as a photo celebrity, is a mere blip in its history. Every day will be different and thousands of days, well, not much change. However, today’s photograph, even a split second after its capture, is history.

For a number of years I have cultured the belief which was informed by a statement attributed to photographer Minor White: ‘No matter how slow the film, Spirit always stands still long enough for the photographer it has chosen.’[ii] My variation is that that landscape reveals itself to the photographer of its choosing. Writer and critic John Berger adds to this discussion by proposing that there is a ‘modern illusion concerning painting … is that the artist is a creator. Rather he is a receiver. What seems like creation is the act of giving form to what he has received.’[iii] Could it be then that the landscape is the director and commissioner of the image that the painter or the photographer makes, and that the photographer – the right photographer – is merely the vehicle for the landscape’s transformation of itself into an image?

Like portraits that have been made since the beginning of photography, and the documents of human endeavour, commerce, existence and experience – time, or rather the passage of time, has granted then their relegation to past. Each photograph in this book is then a history image. The moment and space depicted wrenched from the continuum of time by whatever forces brought together the photographer and the landscape. A landscape image at that moment of capture is at once the subject photographed and also a time machine. Viewed on its own by its maker the photograph can be a comfortable aide memoir, and operate just as a photo of a loved one or a family wedding would do in its frame on the mantelpiece – the photo exists, and so too the remembrance of subject it represents.

But photographs are more than things; they are experiences. Photographer Ansel Adams attributed special values and meaning to his landscape photographs and sought to represent the landscape as being more than what it was physically. Simon Schama in his book Landscape and Memory cites Adams as commenting that: ‘Half Dome [in Yosemite National Park] is just a piece of rock … There is some deep personal distillation of spirit and concept which moulds these earthy facts into some transcendental emotional and spiritual experience.’[iv] Adams inspired the American nation and created a tradition of environmentalism and black and white photography that continues today.

For Australian wilderness photographers Adams’ ‘emotion and spiritual’ connection with the landscape is salient. In the book Photography in Australia Helen Ennis discusses how photographers of this genre engage with their landscape subjects. She quotes Tasmanian photographer Peter Dombrovskis entering a ‘state of grace’ on bushwalks when, ‘days away from “civilization”, he felt what he described as, “a sense of spiritual connection with all around – from widest landscape to the smallest detail”’.[v] Ennis also comments that wilderness photographers use a range of techniques to ‘lift the experiences of viewing the photographs into a realm that goes beyond the human exigencies of normal daily life.’[vi]

In a book such as this, as we turn the pages, what is presented to us is the photographer’s concept or story encoded in visual form. As with Berger this may constitute the next generation of ‘giving and receiving’. They may have made the photograph/s with a specific objective in mind – a narrative angle, the idea of showing something that stirred them that they wanted to share – or – from the earlier discussion, what the subject wanted revealed. But in the space between the giver (the photographer and this book), and the receiver (you, the viewer), another hybrid narrative emerges. The photograph acts as a stimulus on the viewer and an idiosyncratic response is generated. Roland Barthes uses the term ‘detonate’ to describe being in front of a photograph. In Camera Lucida he comments that: ‘The photograph itself is no way animated, … but it animates me: this is what creates every adventure.’[vii]

In photographs we are not so much connected or united with the landscape, but rather the experience of the landscape and the trees, rivers, blades of grass and rocks that are represented in images. In effect we are united by the landscape of photography and the gift that we can share through it. We can then, through photographs enter into a Barthesian adventure. Perhaps these landscape photographs are more than history – they are: an experience shared, an unexpected encounter, an adventure. In your turning the pages – then pausing to view each group of images, to contemplate and consider the communiqué stimulated by them, these photographs become part of your history, your experience, and your adventure as well …

 

Dr Doug Spowart   April 17, 2014

[i] Schama, S. (1995). Landscape and Memory. London, HarperCollins, epigraph, n.p.
[ii] http://www.johnpaulcaponigro.com/blog/12041/22-quotes-by-photographer-minor-white/
[iii] Berger, J. (2002). The Shape of a Pocket. London, Bloomsbury Publishing Plc, p.18.
[iv] Schama, S. (1995). Landscape and Memory. London, HarperCollins, p.9.
[v] Ennis, H. (2007). Exposures: Photography and Australia. London UK, Reaktion Books Ltd, p.68.
[vi] ibid.
[vii] Barthes, R. (1984). Camera Lucida. London, UK, Fontana Paperbacks, p.20.

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The exhibition 'Around the world in 14 days' invitation

The exhibition invitation

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The exhibition 'Around the world in 14 days' in the Pine Street Gallery

The exhibition in the Pine Street Gallery

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A photograph by Pauline Neilsen from the exhibition 'Around the world in 14 days'

A photograph by Pauline Neilsen

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Four photographs by Michael Knapstein from the exhibition 'Around the world in 14 days'

Four photographs by Michael Knapstein

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Two photographs by Gavin Brown from the exhibition 'Around the world in 14 days'

Two photographs by Gavin Brown

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Two photographs by Robyn Hills from the exhibition 'Around the world in 14 days'

Four photographs by Robyn Hills

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A photograph by Ann Vardanega from the exhibition 'Around the world in 14 days'

A photograph by Ann Vardanega

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Two photographs by April Ward from the exhibition 'Around the world in 14 days'

Two photographs by April Ward

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A photograph by Beatriz Vargas from the exhibition 'Around the world in 14 days'

A photograph by Beatriz Vargas

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Doug Spowart with Ann Vardanegra, Dawne Fahey and Pauline Neilsen

Doug Spowart with Ann Vardanega, Dawne Fahey and Pauline Neilsen

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Screen Shot 2014-05-27 at 1.34.23 PM

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The photographers retain all copyright in their photographs. Some texts are derived from exhibition documents. Text and installation photographs © 2014 Doug Spowart and Victoria Cooper

 

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