The new and the old. Looking forward and looking back. Struggling with the new and nostalgic about the old.
These are limbo moments during the living with Covid-19. There is a now a ring of steel around Melbourne. What initially appeared to be a temporary time of a suspension of everyday life is now becoming a new normal. With the virus calling the shots, anxiety rises as the veneer of control to contain the spread of Covid-19 vanishes, whilst fear emerges about the capacity to deal with the subsequent economic fallout. The scars, we realize are going to last a generation.
How do we live well with a pandemic, the massive global disruption and closed state borders? The structural inequalities mean that some people clearly won’t be able to live well during the forthcoming era of transformation. What happens then? Will there be a shift to sustainability?
The new is the newsletter, the online gallery, the first exhibition and the forthcoming corner store.This is how I have initially kept myself busy during the Covid-19 lockdown. The next exhibition is on walking/photography and it is a part of the 2020 SALA Festivalin South Australia. The third exhibition is entitled Abstraction: Different Interpretations. This new is my initial response to self-isolation, living with the pandemic, and adjusting to the new normal of increasing untraced community transmission of Covid-19. It probably only a matter of time before it enters South Australia, despite its closed borders.
The old is the studio. Returning to what was. Looking inwards to the archive. Is this the start of a process of reflection and self-awareness as part of the process of gaining a different perspective on everyday life when the ground under our feet is shifting?
The picture above of the Leucosperum pincushion flower from our garden at Victor Harbor is from the archives. It was made with a Rolleiflex 6006 with close up lenses in the studio space at our home in Encounter Bay. The downstairs space had good natural light. Unfortunately, that space is no longer available for studio photography, and the studio equipment has been moved into a storeroom off the garage.
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:
bottle + shells, Petrel Cove
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 have an exhibition of abstractions coming up at the Light Gallery during the 2015 SALA Festival in August. It is a modest solo exhibition that consists of both abstractions from nature and from various walls and containers. The work has been constructed from the archives, and it can be seen as part of the shift inn photography to abstraction as a response to the digital realm.
An example of the abstractions from nature:
trunk abstract #1
This picture was made with my old 8×10 Cambo monorail, and it is the trunk of a redgum that Suzanne’s mother bought back from Arkaroola as a seedling and planted in the reserve across from the studio. Then–the 1980s–the reserve was barren with just a bunch of pine trees. It was old farmland. The storm water from the large housing development up the side of the hill currently flows through the reserve, and it is now populated with large native trees and lots of birdlife. So we live near the sea surrounded by trees. Continue Reading…
I spent a couple of days in Wellington, New Zealand. I hadn’t been there since I worked in the CBD as an economist and lived in Hataitai on a ridge above the shoreline of Evans Bay in the early 1970s. I was expecting a lot of changes and I was prepared to be rather disorientated.
It was a quick photography trip built around renewing my NZ driving licence and I spent the two days that I had available walking around the CBD and the inner suburbs such as Thorndon; then seeing photography exhibitions and checking out the art hubs/centres when the wind turned into a gale and/or it started raining heavily.
Wellington is a very walkable city, it is easy to get around, and it offers good photographic opportunities due to the CBD being on a narrow coastal plain located between Wellington Harbor and the Wadestown hill face. Continue Reading…
I came across a fallen log whilst walking along the Heysen Trail near Jagger Rd in Victor Harbor yesterday. This is part of the Cape Jervis to Kuitpo Forest section of the trail, and it is a section that is located close to Encounter Studio.
I was looking for some subject matter to finish off some old film that had been sitting in the 6×7 and 6×9 film backs of my Linhof Technika 70. This is the digital scoping picture that I made in the late afternoon whilst on a poodle walk with Ari and Kayla.
Though I used to use this camera a lot, it has has been sitting in a wooden box in a cupboard unused for several years. I have been using the Rolleiflex 6×6 instead. These are much quicker and easier to use as the baby Linhof functions like a view camera. You line the image up through the ground glass, take off the viewing plate, put the roll film back on, expose the film, take the roll film back off, then put the viewing plate back on to line up the next image. It is a slow work process— very similar to large format photography.