Although I have a rudimentary studio set up at Encounter Studio (with a 8×10 Sinar P, a table and window light) most of the still life images that I do of the subject matter around the coastal neighbourhood at Victor Harbor are in open air settings. The method of working is simple. The locations and subject matter are selected whilst I am on the morning or evening poodle walks, I take some scoping photos with the digital camera (an old Sony NEX-7) and, if they work, I come back and reshoot them with a film camera.
This kind of studio work is a break from my topographic approach to photography that I do for the Mallee Routes project. This is an early example, probably one of the first images made in an open air, coastal studio:
The bottle had been washed on Dep’s Beach, which is west of Petrel Cove, and I carried it back to Petrel Cove on the return leg of the poodlewalk. I set it up amongst some rocks, and made some digital pictures. I then hid the bottle amongst some rocks so that people wouldn’t find it and the high tide wouldn’t carry it back to sea.
I looked at the digital images on my computer screen, and returned the next morning with a medium format film camera (Rolleiflex SL66) for a photo session in the open air studio, I played around putting the bottle amongst various parts of the rocks at Petrel Cove and doing both colour and black and white versions. This is another black and white version.
I did try bringing bits and pieces that I found on the beach back to the studio to photograph, but I lacked the granite backdrop and settings. As it was not possible to bring the granite to the studio I started thinking in terms of a “pop-up” style open air studio.