Victoria Cooper+Doug Spowart Blog

Posts Tagged ‘Foto Frenzy Photographic Centre

CAMERA OBSCURA + Pinhole Event @ Foto Frenzy: A Report

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Unidentified Flying Hubcap - Barkly Tablelands

Since the year 2000 we have been making large-scale room camera obscuras. These have been made as part of visual research for our Place Projects. Usually we document the process and the images form a narrative for inclusion in photobooks and exhibitions. In 2009 we launched WINDOW/s, a limited edition photobook of 9 copies, along with an exhibition of the 9 camera obscura images @ the Queensland Centre for Photography.  

SEE the book as an Adobe Flash Pageflip HERE

In our Place Project work we have found that the camera obscura connects us directly with the place or site that we are working in. We have found that anyone witnessing the place-specific camera obscura responds enthusiastically this natural phenomenon. Time spent inside the camera obscura evokes a sharing of different perceptions: of the visual, of memory and of experiences in the lives of each visitor. So we decided that we should create a camera obscura as part of our Foto Frenzy artist in residence.

As a result of a conversation with a past QCA student of Doug’s from the 1980s, photographer John Pryke, through some great research on the internet, found that not far down the road was the site of an historical camera obscura on Whites Hill.


The Whites Hill Camera Obscura c1924 from the 'Lost Brisbane' Project site

The Whites Hill Camera Obscura c1924 from the ‘Lost Brisbane’ Project site


The view from the front entry of Foto Frenzy was selected as its outlook is of the defining feature of this place – the major intersection of Bennetts and Old Cleveland Roads Coorparoo. A plan was created, the room blacked out with thick black agricultural plastic, a light admitting hole of around 12 mm was made and fitted in the door of the building, and screens arranged inside onto which the image could be projected.

FF-Camera Obscura-Plan-new


Saturday the 20th of April was a bright sunny day with occasional clouds and the 40 or so visitors witnessed the wonders of this simple device. Many brought cameras with them to make images, some brought family members including children – all, as we hoped, were taken by the visual experience of being ‘IN’ a camera, one which did not even require a lens.

As artists in residence working with the  Foto Frenzy / Brisbane Camera Hire Team, we were around some amazing technology and people with special knowledge. Director Darren Jew produced his Canon EOS 1D and a high speed 12mm lens for the cover image of this post. If you’ve not been in a ‘lensless’ camera obscura you will not be aware of how dark the images is – usually it takes several minutes for your eyes to adjust to see what is going on, it is that dark. There are perhaps only a few movies of camera obscura images that have ever been made as it requires specialized cameras and equipment. Darren Jew offered to wind up the ISO of his latest camera and at 40,000 ISO we were able to create a movie of the impromptu performance of our antics outside the building as – ‘Vicky and Doug do a Selfie’.

SEE the movie here ….



What fascinated us was the excitement and enthusiasm for the project, much of which was posted on Facebook soon after the event. With the permission of the respondents we have posted some of their images and words in the screen grabs that follow …


Megan Rizzo and family visit and photograph the camera obscura

Megan Rizzo and family visit and photograph the camera obscura

Sara Pearcy comments on her experience with Nicholas in the camera obscura

Sara Pearcy comments on her experience with son Nicholas in the camera obscura

Steven Underhayes' terriffic camera obscura image

Steven Underhayes’ terrific camera obscura image

John Pryke does a 'Selfie' in the camera obscura

John Pryke does a ‘Selfie’ in the camera obscura

SEE more of John’s photographs on his blog: <http://johnprykephoto.blogspot.com.au/2013/04/camera-obscura.html>..

.Additionally the event included a presentation of some of our pinhole cameras, pinhole making techniques, and discussions about how to make pinhole images with SLR and DSLR cameras. Most importantly we encouraged participants to make and enter photos made on April 28 in the 2013 World Pinhole Photography Day event.


Thank you to the participants, the Foto Frenzy / Brisbane Camera Hire team, in particular Darren Jew and Jacob Schneider, for helping to make this a successful event


All  photographs and texts © of the authors 2013.

Creative Commons-by-nc-nd.eu

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


YOU ARE INVITED: Meet the Artists Talk @ Foto Frenzy

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Meet the artists, see their work, hear them talk about creativity, invention, tinkering with art, and how to pursue personal directions in art-making and life.

The artists will also launch their Foto Frenzy workshop series and Artist in Residence.

Foto Frenzy
Unit 3, 429 Old Cleveland Road
Brisbane, QLD 4151

Wednesday, 27 March 2013 from 6:00 PM to 8:00 PM (EST)


The event is FREE but seating is limited. Please book through Eventbrite

Click Here Eventbrite-logo


Victoria Cooper and Doug Spowart of Photographers of the Great Divide, are visual artists working in the fields of photoimaging, books as art, cultural research and education. They have collaborated on many art projects and exhibitions of book works that have featured their room and car camera obscuras.

As part of their PhD studies research and artworks produced were in the form of Photobooks and Artists Books. Both are Masters of Photography and Honorary Fellows of the Australian Institute of Professional Photography.

Spowart and Cooper have both lectured in Australia and New Zealand on the topic of the photobook and artists’ books and their book have been purchased for the rare book and manuscript collections in the State Libraries of Queensland and Victoria, and the National Library of Australia.


Visit <wotwedo.com> for the Cooper and Spowart Workshops.




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Dr Doug opens the FOTO FRENZY Photographic Centre in Brisbane

The much awaited reopening of the expanded FOTO FRENZY Photographic Centre in Coorparoo took place on Friday, January 18, 2013. Attended by a crowd of around 100 well-wishers the event heralded a new beginning for dilettantes of a wide range of photography interests including:

  • photography workshops
  • photographic gallery
  • fine art printing, mounting and framing
  • photographic darkroom hire
  • studio hire
  • one-on-one consultations
Mark photographs the Foto Frenzy Team  PHOTO: Victoria Cooper

Mark photographs the Foto Frenzy Team PHOTO: Victoria Cooper

The FOTO FRENZY space is shared with BRISBANE CAMERA HIRE, specialist in providing a range of photographic gear and unusual accessories.

The Foto Frenzy team includes Brisbane photo identities Ian Poole, Cam Attree, Tony Holden and Darren Jew. All four are photographers and have specialist areas of activity from photography as art, to location and underwater photography, nude and glamour photography and photography as personal expression. Darren Jew is well known in photo workshop circles for the ‘Faces and Places’ workshop that he established with Jim McKitrick in the late 1980s.

The Foto Frenzy Team l-r Darren Jew, Tony Holden, Cam Attreee, Ian Poole and Susan BCH  PHOTO: Victoria Cooper

The team l-r Darren Jew, Tony Holden, Cam Attreee, Ian Poole and Susan BCH PHOTO: Victoria Cooper

The Foto Frenzy team have been together for twelve months in a modest facility just a short distance away from the new home. Now with the larger facility and the linkup with Susan & Jacob and Brisbane Camera Hire new and amazing opportunities for the business and the clients that they service are available.

Doug Spowart opens Foto Frenzy  PHOTO: Victoria Cooper

Doug Spowart opens Foto Frenzy PHOTO: Victoria Cooper

As someone with a history in photography that connects with most of the Foto Frenzy team, as well as being a former Director of the photo gallery and workshopImagery Gallery, (that operated in Brisbane from 1980-1995), I was asked to open the new Foto Frenzy Photographic Centre. Some of my comments in the opening speech were…

 The other day I was made aware of a TIME magazine article in which the claim was made that 10% of all the photographs ever made in the over 170 year history of photography were made in 2012!! This statement is evidence that with digital photography, including the now ubiquitous mobile phone, means that anyone can take photographs—But does that mean that everyone IS a photographer? My opinion is no—Because there is something special in the blood of the photographer that enables them, or demands of them, that just seeing and snapping isn’t enough.

True photographers want to ‘craft’ and create images that are about significant visual communication. Sometimes powerful, sometimes sublime, sometimes nonsensical or humorous and sometimes, perhaps even bland and boring. We know of these kinds of photographs because they tell us about beauty in the world, of atrocity, of feast, famine and of love and the human condition. These images inspire us and drive us, perhaps even spur us on to be better photographers ourselves—and this is where we encounter the need for networking, training, nurturing support, guidance and technology support. This is where the Foto Frenzy suite of services will link with our lives.

I congratulate the Foto Frenzy team and Brisbane Camera Hire for their vision, entrepreneurship and financial commitment in establishing this photographic centre. And what I see are the great opportunities for those of us interested in being a part of what photography is, and where it is goingto have a place that will be a hub, or should I say, a frenzied hive of activity.

It is with great pleasure that I declare the Foto Frenzy centre open…. 

Ian Poole in his thank you advised the attendees that Cooper and Spowart were to be, in a couple of months, the Foto Frenzy’s first Artists in Residence.

SPECIAL NOTE: We will be conducting a range of workshops @ Foto Frenzy over the following months. The topics of our workshops and consultations will include aspects of our PhD research into photobooks, creative photography practice, narrative and story telling in the photo sequence and aspects of social media, in particular Linkedin, Blogs and YouTube. We will also be available for one-on-one project/concept development.

To let us know you would like to be advised of the workshops when they become available  

Contact us <Greatdivide@a1.com.au>

Foto Frenzy @ Corparoo, cnr Old Cleveland & Bennets Rds  PHOTO: Doug Spowart

Foto Frenzy @ Corparoo, cnr Old Cleveland & Bennets Rds PHOTO: Doug Spowart

The The Foto Frenzy Gallery PHOTO: Victoria Cooper

The Foto Frenzy Gallery PHOTO: Victoria Cooper

Doug Spowart and Victoria Cooper in the Foto Frenzy Photobooth

Doug Spowart and Victoria Cooper in the Foto Frenzy Photobooth

Foto Frenzy opening shadows  PHOTO: Doug Spowart

Foto Frenzy opening shadows PHOTO: Doug Spowart

Cheers Doug and Victoria

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