05 JUNE 2013
developments in photography
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6 Alice Blanch Box Brownie Panoramas
32 Robert Rutoed Right Time Right Place
56 Angela Bacon-Kidwell Traces of Existence
76 Greg Elms Preserved
92 Rod Waddington Disappearing Faces
116 Maleonn Studio Mobile
140 S. Gayle Stevens and Judy F. Sherrod Nocturnes
Bhutan Journey | Nick Hardcastle
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Welcome to the fifth issue of BETA – developments in photography. And let me start by thanking those of you who have responded via email, social media and in conversation, for you feedback – and without gilding the lily, may I say it has all been positive and complimentary, which pleases us all no end. To toss in a much hackneyed phrase, BETA - developments in photography has become a win/win project for all involved – from our esteemed and talented editor Heidi Romano, to all of us beavering away here in the BIFB office. From the thirty seven artists we have featured to date, bringing you expansive folios of some of the best photography going around, and to you the readership offering a range of names for you to flag in your filofax or handheld digital device, of some potential photographic stars in ascendency. This issue we bring you essays from seven artists, three homegrown and four international, from the USA and Austria, plus the wonderfully whimsical Chinese photographer Maleonn who you may have first caught as part of the BIFB’11 Core Program. Issue 05 covers aspects of image making staged, observed, alternate, lo-fi and documentary, brought together in another marvelous pot-pourri of visual communication.
Some aspects of photography cause my spirit to soar, but then again, increasingly there are aspects which cause me to scratch my head and wonder. I have just returned from a week in Sydney where I attended the launch of Head On – a fantastic feast of photography – but one that suffers from exactly the same obstacles to longevity common to all festivals of photography in Australia – a lack of both financial and manpower resources. In casual conversation with an international Festival Director, in town for Head On, came the puzzled question ‘How come there are two festivals of photography on in Sydney at the same time?’ Welcome to the ranks of the discombobulated! I’ll leave you to ponder on that one! In the meantime, kick back and enjoy as you flick through the pages of BETA – developments in photography 05.
Jeff Moorfoot Festival Director Ballarat International Foto Biennale
Box Brownie Panoramas www.aliceblanch.com
Box Brownie Panoramas is an on going body of work that began in 2010 when I was in my final year of Undergraduate study. A friend handed me a small, dark, box-like camera that I had never seen before and asked me if I knew how to use it; from that point on I was intrigued by the simplicity and compact functions of the brownie cameras. Now the brownie is my camera of choice and a major part of my art practice; I enjoy working and experimenting with the brownie cameras to find new and unique ways to capture photographs, which is how I came to shoot in this panoramic way.
Though this photographic work I attempt to capture the unique forms, textures and emotions that are found within the landscape; presenting an ambiguous landscapes that trigger distant memories and forgotten dreams. I am constantly inspired by the everchanging nature of the sky and the impact this has on the mood of the landscape below. This on going box brownie series is captured by utilizing the basic function of a 1930â&#x20AC;&#x2122;s brownie camera to create panoramic imagery through multiple, in-camera exposures. It is an original technique that offers an alternative approach to landscape imagery.
The resulting series of photographs present a unique and unconventional world where the linear stream of time is fractured and overlapped amongst exposures; where past present and memory merge as one. The images are all captured on photographic film and no digital manipulation or layering is done to create the panoramic format: it will surprise you to know what you see in front of you is what appears on the negative.
Alice Blanch is an emerging Australian photographer influenced by the ephemeral nature of the sky and its relationship to the landscape below. Alice works with photographic film, enjoying its magical and unpredictable characteristics and is passionate about using analogue processes and techniques in new and experimental ways. Alice graduated from her Bachelor of Fine Arts at the South Australian School of Art in 2010, receiving the top marks of her graduating photography class. In 2012 she relocated to Hobart for a year where she undertook her Honours in Fine Art at the Tasmanian School of Art.
She is now living back in Adelaide where she can be found working hard in her studio space at The Mill in the Adelaide CBD. Alice regularly exhibits in solo and group exhibitions around Australia; in 2011 received funding to travel to Pingyao, China to present and exhibit her work at one of the largest photography festivals in the world. This year her Box Brownie Panoramas series will be exhibited in solo exhibition in Perth (Perth Centre For Photography in April), Sydney (Gaffa Galleries in May), Melbourne (Edmund Pearce Gallery in June) and Queensland (Queensland Centre For Photography in September).
Over the past 3 years she has been nominated for and awarded a number of art prizes and grants within Australia, most notably she was the recipient of the 2011 Fleurieu Youth Arts Prize and was one of only two South Australian artists to receive the 2013 Australia Council ArtStart grant.
pictures under discussion
image ÂŠ tony hewitt
Right Time Right Place www.rutoed.com
“ People are unhappy because they don’t know that they’re happy.“
Being at the right place at the right time is usually associated with happiness and success. But what happens when we are at the right place at the wrong time? Do we even know that this is the right place? And what if it turns out that it is the wrong place after all? But the right time! “Right Time Right Place” is a collection of photographs I made in the last five years on my travels through Europe. The images revolve around the question of whether it is possible for a person to be in the right place at the right time. Is the ideal state of space and time something we are awarded or is it a state we have long been living in without being aware of our good fortune? I hope I have not succeeded in answering this question. Nothing fails more pathetically than an artist’s attempt to explain the world and its relationships. Rather, my work leads to the conclusion that the world cannot be explained. Once an exhibition visitor in New York told me that, when viewing my photos, she felt that the protagonists seemed to be disobedient. I really liked that interpretation.
„What Robert Rutoed brings to the contemporary photographic dialogue is that intangible ability to see the world with a skewed lens - a lens that is compassionate and at the same time, unkind. It is a lens that is the stuff of operas and nightmares, comedies and slapstick. Robert finds that split second of humor or truth telling and that instant of social documentation or absurdity that makes us not only laugh at ourselves, but also laugh and feel embarrassed all at the same time. Or should I say, at The Right Time.“ (Aline Smithson, from the foreword to the book „Right Time Right Place“) “Right Time Right Place” was awarded the Special Prize of the Czech Center of Photography at the Photo Annual Awards. A photo from the series won the New York Photo Award 2012 in the category Fine Art.
Robert Rutoed, born in Vienna, lives in Austria. Photographer and filmmaker. Made numerous short feature films with screenings worldwide. Photographic work exhibited throughout Europe, the United States and Asia. Winner of the New York Photo Award 2012 in the category Fine Art. Books: Less Is More (2009), grayscales. early b&w photographs (2010), Right Time Right Place (2012), Milky Way (2013).
Traces of Existence www.angelabaconkidwell.com
The motive in this body of work is to mend the tension and tragedy created when conflicting emotions meet. Walking through the highs of my recent travel to China and the lows of significant personal loss, I have been searching for a visual level of communication that would unite traces of my existence. I have become increasingly fascinated by how tenacious life is and yet how in a moment survival ceases. The fragility of life is represented in this work by a personal language of symbols. I want all my images to have real meaning for me, even if it is not easily read by the viewer. By working more abstractly, the dissimilar images connect to one another in unexpected ways causing a thought or idea to evolve. The juxtaposition of death and despair, represented by skeletons, old age and holes connected to a joyous life filled with children, birds and Ferris Wheels examine the complicated and chaotic ways in which life contracts, expands, converges and divests in our personal journeys.
By stretching the image to near disintegration by burning, freezing and submersions I seek to release my emotions and give respect to a life that has been fully lived. The emotions I sought to bandage together resulted in a somber, but completely liberating experience. Process: Numerous layers of hand painted photographs, drawings and resin make up a single image. The final results are a complex layering process and not complete digital manipulations. The image is printed and re-photographed under various conditions in one final effort to heal the tender wounds that bind my own existence.
Angela Bacon-Kidwell is an award winning photographer and visual artist. Her work emerges from her journey of recovering a sense of self, strength and spirituality through an examination of her identities as daughter, granddaughter, wife, mother and artist. Her photographic work has received numerous awards and honors and has been exhibited and published both nationally and internationally. Recent awards and recognitionâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s include: Guest Lecture at The Annenberg Space for Photography 2012, Spotlight winner B & W Magazine 2012, Nominated for the Santa Fe Prize for Photography, Finalist for the John Clarence Laughlin Award, First place in the Palm Springs Photo Festival, and First Place in the Texas Photographic Society International Competition. She resides in Wichita Falls, Texas with her husband and young son. She is currently represented by Afterimage Gallery, Dallas, Texas, Wallspace Gallery, Santa Barbara, CA and Galerie BMG, Woodstock, NY
I grew up in a suburban hotel with a public bar festooned in taxidermy hunting trophies. I’d spend ages gazing at them and have remained enthralled by their life-like lifelessness ever since. For me taxidermy is akin to photography: it too presents a frozen moment as a copy of the real thing. On one level, the work explores our primal emotional response when in close proximity to animals and insects. But it also explores what truth means in photography – is a contrived scene or object still real? And doesn’t photography always render the real as contrived? I seek to highlight this conundrum with the further contrivance of taxidermy. Inspired by gothic and nocturnal precursors in art, and the history of zoology, the fauna are recontextualised into a menagerie of lost lives – some of them, presumably, the celebration of a now forgotten hunting spree. Each one echoes the story of their demise and surrender to human intervention, their poses animated by a taxidermist’s skills of presentation and reality reenactment.
To document the series, I have employed the idiosyncratic image making qualities of a film scanner re-purposed into a lens-less camera, its simplicity reminiscent of a camera obscura, albeit using 21st century technology. Set in an otherwise unlit studio, the resultant image reveals a constructed twilight that fuels a dark narrative. Focus of the subject is likewise abnormal, sharp only where features press against the glass platen screen, dissolving into darkness and blur as they recede, implying a sense of entrapment behind the image surface. Preserved raises allusions to the history of zoological inquiry and highlights the sense of loss intrinsic to mortality. Indeed, the works can be read as a series of ecological memento mori, and perhaps a glimpse of our future in an ever more environmentally challenged world. Curator Simon Gregg states the work “erects an invisible barrier between us and the animals; a physical barrier but in many ways and with more consequence to us, a psychological barrier.”
Greg Elms has a degree in photography from RMIT, and is a VCA Fine Art Post-Graduate. He has a 20 year history of exhibiting and his output has ranged from photograms, painted photographs, photo realist painting, and most recently, lens-less photography. Preserved was exhibited at Edmund Pearce Gallery, Melbourne in November 2012, his fourth solo exhibition. Six images from the Preserved series were also exhibited at Sale Regional Gallery as part of the Animal Kingdom exhibition in August 2012.
Disappearing Faces www.krop.com/waddington
I see my photos as a happy biproduct of having danced and sung with the Mursi, of having traded beads and bangles and given them gifts of razorblades for their hair designs. Of course there is the other side … of being careful with the warriors that are drunk and have the AK-47, and their fighting sticks, and I know that their head feathers represent human kills. Long may they be strong because they face forces from outside that will eventually prove too much. Hydro on the Omo, sugarcane and palm farms, new settlers guarded by garrisons of Ethiopian troops and snipers sent to kill tribal leaders. They want their land and it is valuable to Ethiopia and its rising economy. I tried to capture in their faces and eyes the individual strength that supports their tribal world. That look in their eyes that says so much about their pride, because being amongst them it is the most dominating condition. As for beauty, the lip plate of the Mursi and the body scarification is the height of public attractiveness. A bit like women everywhere else putting on lipstick before going out…it’s in the eye of the beholder. And…. A leaf for a lip bandaid, a wedge inserted and the stretching of the lip. And it’s for beauty. A cut, an infection and the scarification of the skin. And it’s for beauty. A face lift, botox and the stretching of the face. And it’s for beauty
Rod Waddington is a photographer, writer, sculptor, restaurant owner, farmer and fine furniture maker. His problem is that one life just isn’t enough! Include his love of Texas music and being part of the iconic rockabilly store, Route 66 and with wife, Chef and travel buddy, Jan they own Waddingtons at Kergunyah, a restaurant in the middle of a paddock on their 600 acre farm in the beautiful Kiewa Valley. His camera loves pointing at anything that catches his nomadic eye. From Nek Chand’s amazing sculpture world at Chandigarh in India to Edward James’ surrealistic fantasy, ‘Las Pozas’ hidden in the jungles at Xilitla in Mexico. Rod’s photo, ‘Staircase to Heaven’ taken at Las Pozas was selected for the book ‘Utopia’ (2012) published in Italy with text by the Italian poet Tiziana Cera Rosco . This year it will be a case of dodging US drones in Yemen, photographing the flora of Socotra Island, 15 days out camping with tribes from the Lower Omo, a wedding of friends in Tigray and a photo survey of the work of the Ethiopian Tigray Trust.
STUDIO MOBILE www.maleonn.com
For artists, the most important thing is to elaborate their point of view, and to preach. There is kind of artist called “Excretion Artist”, who feel better as long as their inspiration been completely released. Actually, I was of this style at the beginning, while with the passage of time I want to bring some positive things to the community, the country, or the age. It might be too conceited to do it. Nowadays, people are put in a fluster by a mass of negative things posted on tweets. What do we see in the tweets? No one cares an elder died in the roadside. The society was always preaching something in terror: that mutual distrust between people; mind your own business; the life is very real and very cruel. I can not imagine how disgusting the world would be, if everyone promoted such a view. As an artist, I have felt powerless that draw a sketch at home really can not change anything, whereas media practitioners can cause sense of crisis by wrote an article. I was a cynical man in cyberspace, always criticized in tweets. However, I realized later that all we ever do is animadvert, but we all failed to provide truly constructive comments for the society.
Everyone criticises like what the public intellectuals have been doing. I was born in 1970s; those who are three to five older or younger than me are major group of the so-called “public knowledge”. They do not know anything but only animadversion and tit to tat with hatred; they are a generation of violence. When we were young we were educated to doubt everything; and then money is everything as grown up. Our economic system has been developing well, but nobody wants to build a spiritual system that we are now is a powerful country, but the spiritual world is in chaos. These can be seen from tweets. It is really sad that the result under the representation is people are indifference to each other. Although the society may seem cold, one thing that I experienced on the subway inspired me with hope. One day I saw a gentleman sitting in a wheelchair ten meters away from me，in order to prevent the wheelchair not slipping away every time braking of the subway, he tried hard to grasp handrail. He had repeated the action twice, looked very poor. While there are a lot of people next around him, no one cares about this. I just had two more stops to get off, I walked to the door, grasped his wheelchair so he could be relaxed.
Then suddenly, about five groups of people gathered around. Some people asked: “Which station you will get off in? We can help you.” some others began to study the wheelchair if it had brakes; “We will get off in Century Park as well,” said some young people, “Don’t worry. We help you to get off the subway.” … Actually they are all good person. But why no one try to do anything first? If their behaviour because of that I made a start? Then I thought, in fact, most of people might be too shy to help others. Perhaps as long as there is a person to do the right thing first, the others all know what is right. I don’t mean that the Mobile Photo Studio is the right thing; I just think it could be a wellintentioned effort. It will not bring huge promotion to my career. But this doesn’t matter, for, as I have often been touched by pure thing in the life, it is never too late to preach lovely, romantic and good things of the world.
Maleonn (aka Ma Liang) spent from February to November 2012 travelling around 25 Chinese provinces, photographing some of the 200,000 people in a mobile photo studio and posting the images on his Weibo account (the Chinese version of Twitter). He put out the idea on his Weibo account, and was overwhelmed by the response. Over ten months, in a battered truck and a minivan, he then visited 35 cities around China, taking 1,600 portraits of people in contemporary Chinese society dressed up in various kinds of fantasy dress. Maleonn launched the project after losing his studio in Shanghaiâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Weihai Road 696 arts community, following another government eviction of artists, and also after getting divorced.
s. Gayle Stevens and Judy F. Sherrod
Our Nocturnes series began as an experiment, an adventure, a collaboration. A pinhole cameramaker and a wet-plate collodion artist collaborated to produce mammoth plate tintypes, echoing the work and process of the early survey photographers. Carleton Watkins, William Henry Jackson, and Timothy Oâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;Sullivan, surveying the expansive landscape of the western US, found themselves at the mercy of nature. James McNeill Whistler, inspired by the visual melody he found in dark skies and seas, titled many of his paintings nocturnes. In turn, these paintings provided inspiration for the orchestral nocturnes written by Debussy, musical impressions, which ebb and flow. Inspired by these artists and the waters of the gulf in Pass Christian Mississippi we too found ourselves at the mercy of the tides, our images determined by the capriciousness of the water before us.
Because of its infinite depth of field, the pinhole camera conveys the vast expanse of the sea while the collodion-silver emulsion flows across the plate like the waves across the sand. The plates delivered an unexpected serendipity â&#x20AC;&#x201C;a daytime nighttime, a sunny moonscape. There is ebb and flow between night and day, dark and light, as silent sentinels watch waves writing verse in the sand. This push and pull of tides, this melody of the waves, this lyric creates a visual dialogue that is the inspiration for Nocturnes, a little night music.
One year ago, Judy Sherrod and S. Gayle Stevens embarked on a new adventure, a collaboration entitled Nocturnes, born of the gulf in Pass Christian Mississippi. Stevens a wet plate collodion artist and Sherrod a pinhole camera maker joined together to create something not done before mammoth plate pinhole wet plate tintypes. They have been very successful at it. Their collaboration has yielded publication in South by Southeast magazine, Lenscratch, and will be included in the next edition of Christopher James, The Book of Alternative Photographic Processes. Exhibitions include: Alternative Processes at the Center for Fine Art Photography in Ft Collins where they were awarded Both Directorâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s and Jurorâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Honorable Mention, Finalist in Critical Mass, Beheld at Homespace Gallery, Call and Response at New Orleans Photo Alliance Gallery, Center Forward, V at Homespace, Currents 2012 at the Ogden Museum of Southern Art, After-Light, and Unbound 2 among others. Over the course of a year the duet shot 49, twenty by twenty inch pinhole tintypes of the gulf.