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Posts Tagged ‘Nocturne photography

COOPER+SPOWART NOCTURNES: International Year of Light

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IYL - Logo

IYL – Logo

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2015 is the INTERNATIONAL YEAR OF LIGHT – Our Nocturne projects celebrate light and this year at the Muswellbrook Regional Arts Centre we are showing a major exhibition entitled NOCTURNE MUSWELLBROOK: Revisited.

 

 

Nocturne Muswellbrook: Reflections on Light

 

As the sun goes down and the last light fades–cars pass by with commuters heading home for respite at the end of a days work or others just embarking on a nights work. Trucks move through the town with little thought for the places they pass through. People meet and have a conversation…. The street lights come on one by one up the street. The illuminated advertising signage lights the buildings along with the internal lights of the building.

This transition from daylight to night is rhythmical–a diurnal phenomenon–but one that is also pervaded with the uncanny or un-homely sense of place. At nocturne and into the night everyday places change, becoming mysterious as the shadows replace familiar surrounds. A sense of melancholy also grows with the passing of the day–a lament born from the relentlessness of change.

Yet these ephemeral moments can also be seductive and evocative, experiencing the aesthetics of the nocturne can inspire new imaginings of everyday places. The colour and chiaroscuro compositions of light and shadow replace the tired and indifferent prose of daily life. A magical narrative evolves from the personal memories of a shared living history in these laneways, streets, buildings and spaces.

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A selection of Nocturne Muswellbrook: Revisited images

A selection of Nocturne Muswellbrook: Revisited images

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COOPER+SPOWART NOCTURNE PROJECTS

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Cooper+Spowart Nocturne shadow

For many years we have engaged in nocturne projects. These have included artists in residency programs in the regional galleries of Muswellbrook, Grafton, Bundaberg and Miles as well as self-funded projects across east coast Australia. The Artist in Residence (AIR) projects are associated with a Facebook page to connect the community with the photographs and evoke stories about the places photographed.

A sample of community Facebook responses can be seen here:

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Nocturne AIR Projects include workshops, mentoring in photography, image enhancement, social media as well as photobook and zine making. Future Nocturne Projects are in the planning stage and we seek expressions of interest from communities looking to participating in a Nocturne light project.

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Participating community members from the Nocturne Miles Project

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A link to a collective of NOCTURNE PROJECTS can be found: HERE

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THE BACK STORY: Nocturne Muswellbrook

 

 

The Nocturne Muswellbrook Facebook page was launched in June 2013

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From 23rd June we began a 2week Artist in Residence in Muswellbrook. Our studio was a vacant shop in the Campbell’s Corner building fronting onto the main street, Bridge Street

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Our gallery and workspace

We set up our digital studio workspace to:

  • Master the nocturne photographs for the Facebook page
  • Print out the mastered images for a small display in the shop
  • Greet anyone that wanted to come by and share their story about Muswellbrook
  • Prepare for the evening’s shooting around the town

 

Photographing a coal train from the Bell Street bridge

Photographing a coal train from the Bell Street bridge

Each night and day, once the images were uploaded onto the Nocturne Muswellbrook page we invited everyone to tell their stories about each place photographed. We were excited to engage with the community and a deeper knowledge and experience of Muswellbrook through this process.

 

An early FB Cover

An early FB Cover

 

Many people that visited the page were once residents of Muswellbrook but now live in other parts of Australia and some were international expats. The number of ‘Page LIKES’ grew quickly – today the number stands @ 620. There was a pride and a melancholy for this once rural town. Some stories were full of humour and the irony of the Aussie yarn. While others shared poignant moments of their lives from the memories evoked by the photographs.

 

Video projection on MRAC wall

Video projection on MRAC wall

We also created a Youtube video that was uploaded and premiered at our artists talk held in the Muswellbrook Regional Arts Centre on the July 5. In evening we projected our images as a visual performance on the outside of the Gallery for public viewing and to extend the experience of the nocturne project.

Even though our 2 weeks in residence had come to an end on July 6, we still continued to connect with the Facebook page: uploading images and connecting them with the community’s stories.

 

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Exhibition invite

 

Vicky arranging the hang copy

Vicky arranging the hang

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The MRAC exhibition space

 

In 2015 we came back to show an exhibition of the work on the walls of the Gallery. The Sunday after the opening we presented a workshop for participants wanted to upskill or engage with how we captured and mastered these nocturnal images.

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Workshop at the MRAC

 

Now the works are on the wall for all to come and see… and we are inviting anyone who visits to write down their story and place on the wall next to the image. The gallery is now a physical “Facebook page”. We look forward to seeing your written stories on the walls of the gallery.

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2013: with Silvana & Roger-MRAC AIR Coordinator ….. 2015 with Elissa, Jade and MRAC Director Brad…………………..

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Printing with ILFORD Galerie GOLD SILK papers

Printing with ILFORD Galerie GOLD SILK papers

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We want to express our thanks to the MRAC Team, Roger Skinner, ILFORD papers and Maud Gallery.

 

 

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Regional Selfies: Communities and Self-Documentation

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Through documentary photography and social media Victoria Cooper and Doug Spowart have explored connections with Place in urban and regional communities in Queensland, New South Wales and Victoria. The purpose of these Nocturne Projects is to capture everyday scenes of each community in nocturnal light, dusk and dawn. These images are then posted on a Nocturne project Facebook page to evoke stories, memories and shared experiences from the community.

In each project Spowart and Cooper found different ways to include community participation. In 2014, they were invited to work in Miles, a major town of the Western Downs Region of Queensland. The Nocturne Miles Community Documentary project sought to engage with the broader public to undertake self-documentation projects and skill development in nocturne photography. Both local and temporary residents who enjoy taking photos, as well as those more skilled in photography were all invited to participate. After an initial workshop, Spowart and Cooper mentored the 18 participants to create images for the project including self-portraits and daily assignments and produce Facebook reports and a zine.

 

Vicky and Ashleigh Campbell in a pre-event planning meeting

Vicky and Ashleigh Campbell in a pre-event planning meeting

To begin the project consultations were undertaken with staff from the Western Downs Regional Council’s Cultural Development team Ashleigh Campbell and Anne Keam at Dogwood Crossing to refine the project to match the needs of their community. Then centre staff sought out members of the community who could be interested in the project. Possible candidates then completed an Expressions of Interest form to provide some information on their experience and the photography tools they had access to e.g. DSLR camera, point and shoot camera, mobile phone or tablet cameras. Another important consideration was that the applicants were going to be in the region during the project to participate in briefings, workshops and shootouts as well as the final day’s zine making activity.

 

Project Flyer – Nocturne Miles

Project Flyer – Nocturne Miles

 

While numbers were limited there was a desire by the artists and Dogwood Crossing that the project accessible to as many participants and be as inclusive as possible. The one proviso was that project participants needed to live and/or work in or near Miles including the smaller surrounding towns or on properties/work camps in the Miles district.

The participants engaged with the project in a variety of different ways including:

  • An initial introduction to the project and skill development workshop;
  • Guided evening photography shoot-outs in the main Street of Miles as well as at the Miles Historic Village;
  • Daily photo tasks over the week of the project assigned through a project Facebook group;
  • Optional mentoring sessions, where required, to enable images to be prepared and uploaded for the project;
  • Display of participants photos to a digital screen at Dogwood Crossing; and
  • A practical ‘zine’ making workshop.

 

Doug doing a briefing

Doug doing a briefing

The project began on Sunday November 30 with an introductory workshop, briefing and a shootout. Progressively images were collated and uploaded to the Nocturne Miles Community Facebook page. Each day a new topic was presented a challenge and their interpretation formed into a photocollage. Communication with the participants was made through a private Facebook group page that enabled hear 24hour contact with participants and Cooper+Spowart. Some participants came into Dogwood Crossing with their photos or with requests for support in making and/or optimising better photographs. On Wednesday evening special access was provided to the Miles Historical Village for group to experiment with ‘painting with light’ and ‘projection’ techniques.

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The Nocturne Miles participants at Miles Historical Village

 

Facebook page

Facebook page

 

Cooper and Spowart added their images to the Facebook page as well and some visitors to the page posted stories about the places pictured. By the project’s end the page had 241 Page Likes, 60 Posts and the Total Reach was 17,771. Both the group page and the community page are still active.

Vicky and Doug in the Dogwood Crossing foyer

Vicky and Doug in the Dogwood Crossing foyer

 

Some of the photocollages that formed the 8 page Zines that were made using the Dogwood Crossing’s A3 colour photocopier. These were cut and folded into zines that were inserted into a red and yellow special edition of the Centre for Regional Arts Practice’s Artists Survey Books.

 

Nocturne Miles Zine making workshop

Nocturne Miles Zine making workshop

 

Some of the Photocollages

Breakfast – Nocturne Miles

Breakfast – Nocturne Miles

Water – Nocturne Miles

Water – Nocturne Miles

Miles Historical VilliageSelfies – Nocturne Miles

Miles Historical Villiage – Nocturne Miles

 

The photocollages presented here are examples of the image sets created by the participants. It is interesting to note that the original images may have emanated from all camera formats fro iPhone, simple digital point-n-shoot to sophisticated DSLRs.

We hear a lot about documentary photographers and student photographers travelling out into the country to create documents of life outside of the metropolis. Once on the ground these photographers seek out subjects to pursue and photograph. In this way significant documents are created of these outlying communities. However, the subject of the of the photographer’s gaze, and what is photographed, is based on the view of ‘outsiders’. The photographs they make may match preconceived ideas, and mythologised opinions, that they bring with them rather than how the people who inhabit these places feel about how and where they live.

What the Nocturne Miles project shows is perhaps that in an age where everyone can be a photographer what is important is the photograph itself. What then stands out the most is the link between the photograph and it’s authenticity. With this in mind these photographs are actual fragments of the lives of local people, whether they are from the farm, or people engaged in extractive industries, or those who work in administration roles or students at school, their voice in this conversation adds another view we can have of our regional communities.

 

The project was undertaken between November 21 and December 7 2014 and was overseen by Western Downs Regional Council’s Cultural Development Coordinator Ashleigh Campbell and Cultural Development Officer Anne Keam. The success of the project was also made possible by the enthusiastic support of the WDRC team at Dogwood Crossing.

 

What follows are more photocollages and individual images from the project

More images are on the Surat Basin.com.au website HERE

Murlilla Street  – Nocturne Miles

Murlilla Street – Nocturne Miles

The front gate – Nocturne Miles

The front gate – Nocturne Miles

Selfies – Nocturne Miles

Selfies – Nocturne Miles

Footwear – Nocturne Miles

Footwear – Nocturne Miles

 

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Text and photos unless otherwise accredited are Copyright ©2014 Victoria Cooper+Doug Spowart

 

 

 

NOCTURNE BUNDABERG: A new community Facebook project

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THE BUNDABERG COMMUNITY NOCTURNE

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Nocturne Bundaberg Facebook Page

Nocturne Bundaberg Facebook Page

LINK TO FACEBOOK ‘Bundaberg Nocturne’

 

Cooper+Spowart in Bundaberg

Cooper+Spowart in Bundaberg

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In our past Nocturne Artist in Residency projects in Grafton and Muswellbrook we were the photographers selecting and documenting place in the nocturnal light and then uploading the images of Facebook for community to see and comment. As part of the Queensland Festival of Photography 5 we were approached to undertake an Artist in Residency in the central Queensland’s Wide-Bay Burnett region. Centred on Bundaberg, Childers and local coastal towns, the project included an exhibition of our Nocturne works and a Facebook documentary project. On this occasion we decided to connect with local photographers to collaborate with us in the documentary project.

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With Tudie Leigo BRAG Exhibitions Officer

With Tudie Leigo BRAG Exhibitions Officer

With Creative Region's  Shelley Pisani

Talking about the project with Creative Region’s Shelley Pisani

With Ray Peek

With Ray Peek

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As a preliminary to the project we visited Bundaberg in early January and began initial documentary work. In the 1980s Doug had a significant connection with amateur photographers from the camera club movement in Bundaberg. For some time he had contact with the region’s photo guru Ray Peek so a visit to the hero of the Bundaberg’s photography scene was a necessity. So too was a connection with Shelley Pisani from Creative Regions and key people from the Bundaberg Regional Galleries including exhibitions Officer Trudie Leigo. The Facebook site was established, initial images were uploaded and ‘Page Likes’ attracted.

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On our return in April we met with the group of Bundy photographers that applied to work with us through a formal Expressions of Interest process. A special Nocturne photography introductory workshop was conducted at which techniques and workflows were discussed and demonstrated. Of particular concern were issues to do with personal safety and security. Then the photographers were set loose to shoot subjects of personal interest, optimise them and upload to the Nocturne Bundaberg Region Facebook page. Within a few days the Facebook page had 180 ‘Likes’, numerous comments, shares and 3,500 views. Via an online group photographer participants were provided with support, feedback and mentoring to enhance their photoimaging skills. Although many are accomplished photographers, we were happy to work with those that required assistance or to review work when requested.

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A briefing with the local photographers

A briefing with the local photographers

The local photographers

The local photographers

Some of the local photographers on a shoot out

Some of the local photographers on a shoot out

Project photographers working with us at Childers

Project photographers working with us at Childers

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On Saturday the 12th of April our exhibition ‘Speaking About Place’ was opened at CHARTS gallery in Childers and the Bundaberg Regional community was fully engaged in the project. Over the next few weeks the addition of new photographs will continue and the community will be invited to begin a new dialogue about the region. They will, through the Nocturne Bundaberg Region project, be ‘Speaking About Place’.

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"Speaking About Place' invitation

“Speaking About Place’ invitation

CHARTS Gallery installation

CHARTS Gallery installation

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The project will continue as a Facebook page and from this community resource may emerge exhibitions, books and other online opportunities. It is envisaged that many of the local photographers will make available images to the ‘Picture Bundaberg’ Archive, which is administered by the Bundaberg Regional Libraries.

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Talking about or project on air with Billy Healy at radio 4BU

Talking about or project on air with Billy Healy at radio 4BU

The Nocturne Bundaberg Region Media Release follows:

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Speaking About Place: The Nocturne Project

Speaking About Place – an exhibition of collected images from The Nocturne Projects from Muswellbrook to Grafton as well as images from the Bundaberg region. Nocturne Projects showcase a variety of photographs highlighting the beauty of the early evening and its nocturnal light. Speaking About Place will be on show at the Childers Art Space (CHARTS) on Saturday 12 April in conjunction with the Queensland Festival of Photography 5.

Toowoomba-based photographers Doug Spowart and Victoria Cooper work in the early evening’s nocturnal light, a time of day where the afterglow of sunset and the glow of streetlights transform the everyday experience of place into something magical. Photographs created at this time require long camera exposures and therefore produce images that can capture blurred movement of people and vehicles.

“An important aspect of the Nocturne aesthetic is the affect of colour in different light conditions: ambient daylight, artificial lighting, car head and tail light trails. These images create a sense of drama, something that you’d generally see in a setting for a movie scene. It’s a place where stories could be told or evoked” Mr Spowart explained.

Spowart and Cooper initially visited Bundaberg early January to commence stage one of their Artist in Residence at the Bundaberg Regional Gallery. As part of the Speaking About Place exhibition, Nocturne Project: Bundaberg Region has selected 21 photographers from across the region to work alongside Spowart and Cooper through April. Photographers will have the opportunity to gain invaluable nocturnal photography skills from two leading artists. After the initial capture the artists select and optimize images that are then posted on social media sites like Facebook. Selected images will also be digitally displayed during the Speaking About Place exhibition.

“If a picture is worth a thousand words, how do you gather the thousand words from a community by showing them pictures of where they live? We aim to extend the experience and ultimately perception of place in the Bundaberg region. These are just some of the questions we’ll be exploring with the local photographers” Ms Cooper said.

Speaking About Place will be officially opened by the artists Doug Spowart and Victoria Cooper on Saturday 12 April at 2:00pm at Childers Art Space (CHARTS).

The exhibition will be on show from 1 April to 25 May and more information can be found via www.brag-brc.org.au, www.nocturnelink.com, and the Nocturne: Bundaberg Region project page on Facebook: www.facebook.com/NocturneBundabergRegion

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A Queensland Festival of Photography 5 exhibition and project
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QFP logo

BUNDABERG: A New Nocturne Community Project

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NOCTURNE BUNDABERG: Stage One of a new community project concept

Vicky and Doug go tropical (shirts anyway) in Bundaberg

Vicky and Doug go tropical (shirts anyway) in Bundaberg

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We’ve been in Bundaberg this week (January 5-12)doing preliminary work on a new concept in our nocturne work. Here is the overview of the project:

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In April 2014 Bundaberg Regional Galleries will be hosting an artist in residency program with artists Victoria Cooper and Doug Spowart. An exhibition of their Nocturne work including new images from this region will be on show at CHARTS Gallery at Childers during April in conjunction with the Queensland Festival of Photography 5. The artists will be also working on their next Nocturne photodocumentary project, entitled Nocturne Bundaberg Region. As with the previous Nocturne Muswellborook and Nocturne Grafton projects the photographs they make will be posted on the Nocturne Bundaberg Region Facebook page so that communities can connect with the project, and importantly, share their stories about each place.

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Talking with Trudie Leigo - Exhibitions Officer @ Bundaberg Regional

Talking with Trudie Leigo – Exhibitions Officer @ Bundaberg Regional

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To extend the community’s connection with the project, Victoria and Doug will be working with a small group of photographers from across the Bundaberg Regional Council area to be contributors to the image-making part of the project. The participants will be selected using an EOI process that will be launched on the project’s Facebook page by the end of the month. Successful applicants will be advised in mid-March and they’ll attend a workshop in specialist aspects of nocturnal photography, image enhancement and the safety considerations for this work. After attending the workshop the local photographers will have an opportunity to add their images to the project’s Facebook page. Preferably, applicants should be 18 or over. Other community members may be invited to post images as well.

Any community member or person who has stories inspired by the photographs can post comments to the Facebook page..

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The Nocturne Bundaberg Region’s Facebook page images, as well as the community conversation derived from the project, may be incorporated in other outcomes including exhibitions or publications associated with the project. A selection of images may go into the Picture Bundaberg Archive.

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Nocturne Bundaberg Logo

Nocturne Bundaberg Logo

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All photographs © 2014 Cooper+Spowart  for the Nocturne Bundaberg community documentation project

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

http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/2.5/au/

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COOPER+SPOWART to talk @ Cobb+Co Museum Dec 13

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The Roundabout Clocktower from Weiley's Hotel balcony

The Roundabout Clocktower from Weiley’s Hotel balcony

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CLICK HERE TO BOOK ON THE COBB+CO WEBSITE

CLICK HERE TO BOOK ON THE COBB+CO WEBSITE

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In the Dark Room with… Cooper+Spowart

In this talk we will discuss a number of topics and including:

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Attendees may wish to conclude their night activities @ Cobb+Co with a visit to the nearby Christmas Wonderland Spectacular in Queens Park

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St James' Catholic Church

St James’ Catholic Church

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Outside the Grafton Hotel

The Subway – The Nocturne Muswellbrook Project

The Subway – The Nocturne Muswellbrook Project

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VIEW A VIDEO OF THE ICONS SHOW FEATURING THE PHOTOGRAPHERS

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TO BOOK THE EVENT

http://www.shop.qm.qld.gov.au/cobbandco/in-the-dark-room-with-doug-and-victoria.html

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Cobb+Co Museum - Icons on Icons

Cobb+Co Museum – Icons on Icons

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