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MARCH 2016

19

developments in photography


BETA developments in photography ISSUE 19 editor: Jeff Moorfoot design: Penelope Anne contact: beta@ballaratfoto.org All content in this magazine is Š 2016 of the Ballarat International Foto Biennale and participating artists, and may not be reproduced without the express written permission of the BIFB. Inc save for fair dealing for the purposes of research, study, criticism, review, reporting news. All other rights are reserved.

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GARDEN STORIES, HIDDEN LABOURS Amanda Harman

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THE MORE THAT IS TAKEN AWAY Ben Altman

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TEXTILES

Christopher Payne

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SCRATCH

Craig Becker

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ROUGH & READY SIDESHOW Ransom & Mitchell


Beta Alumni AL RAWI Basil ASFAR Hoda AZHAR CHE’ AHMAD BACON KIDWELL Angela BARKER Mandy BIRD Leon BLACKWOOD Christa BLANCH Alice BODIN John BOGUE Terence Stewart BONANNO Simona BURNSTINE Susan CAGA Jan CARLILE Brad CARTIER F & D CASH Neil CATO John HE Chang CHASKIELBERG Alejandro COCKBURN GARY CONROY Juliette CRAVER Neil CRESPO Carlos CRISPIN Judith DATTO ARKO DAWSON Alec DE MAAR Marrigje DECYK Slavo DHERVILLERS Nicolas DIAZ Francisco DINIZ Jose

#4 #2 #18 #5 & #16 #13 #11 & #16 #10 #5 #10 #6 #7 #9 #15 #12 #10 #1 #6 #15 #16 #18 #10 #8 #11 #1 #18 #10 #6 #1 #16 #6 #4

DOBSON Susan DUNPHY Peter DUPONT Stephen DYACHYSHYN Yurko ELMS Greg FAHRENKEMPER Claudia FOURNET Annette GLATTAUER Silvi GOLDFINCH Karena GOLLINGS John GRIES Patrick GRIFFITH Tim HARDING PITTMAN Robert HARRIS Sam HARSENT Simon HAY John HEWITT Tony HOLLOWAY Craig HOPE Tim HORAN Keith JACKSON Tony JOREN Gerhard JOSLIN Russell KANASHKEVIC Mitchell KATSAROVA Boryana KEARNEY Tony KEEVER KIM KELLNER Thomas KIRKPATRICK Bear KOZHANOVA Mariya KRUGH Kent

#13 #4 #16 #4 & #16 #5 #6 #14 #17 #1 #1 #3 #1 #9 #16 #15 #12 #6 #7 #3 #9 #8 #1 #6 #16 #16 #2 #18 #16 #12 #11 #12


view back issues at issuu.com/ballarat_foto_biennale/ KURLAT Galina LECHNER Jurgen LIPSKY Clay LONG Jane MACAK Sonia MACRAE Sheena MALEONN MARCIN Ben MARSHALL Steve MASON Belinda MASTERS Michael McCAIG Amber MELDER Keith MILLER Nathan MILLOTT Richard MORAN Robert NORTON Michael O’SHEA Meredith PAGE Colin PAINE Jeff PERETTI Viviana RANKEN Jackie RASMANIS Kara ROGERS PRITZL Michelle ROPP William ROSS Doc ROTHE Frank RUOTED Robert SCHAFFER Rod SCHEURWATER Hester SCIBELLI Anthony

#4 #13 #3 #16 #6 #6 #1 & #5 #3 #8 #16 #8 #16 #17 #7 #16 #14 #1 #6 #1 #17 #2 #6 #1 & #6 #13 #14 #6 #9 #5 #2 #6 #9

SCRIBA J SHAYEN Vikk SHEPPARD Gary SHERROD Judy F SHIM Jai Yon SIMONUTTI Lauren SMALLMAN John STERNBACH JONI STEVENS S Gayle STONEMAN Emma SUNDET Dida TACON Dave TADROS Ingetje THOMSON Matt VANNIER Michéle VANWALLEGHEM Frederick VERSTEEG Greer VINCIGUERRA Guy VLASENKO Vsevolod VUKOBRATOVIC Rina WADDINGTON Rod WERTHEIM Andres WILLIAMS David A WILLIAMS Michelle WITMAN Deanna WRIGLEY Ben PANG Xiang Liang ZAMMIT LUPI Darrin ZEILON Elisabeth

#16 #2 & #6 #7 #5 #2 #1 #17 #18 #5 #7 #17 #16 #14 #17 #16 #3 #11 #6 #15 #4 #5 #13 #16 #17 #3 #16 #16 #16 #6


This edition of BETA developments in photography is running a bit behind schedule due to a variety of circumstances, one of which was a soccer injury to our designer Penny who managed to break a bone in her hand. She doesn’t say if she was penalised for handball! But now we are back on track and proud to present this issue for your viewing enjoyment. One of the joys of having the status of a seasoned curator, reviewer and judge of photography, is that I get to see such a broad spectrum of the photographic idiom – Images emerging from the first tentative steps of the beginner, through the work of highly accomplished amateurs to the ranks of the seasoned photographic masters at the very peak of their craft. Admittedly some of it doesn’t inspire, and a lot of work suffers from not venturing far from the well-worn path. But every now and then you come across an image, or a series of images that blows your socks off.

Just a week ago I had the pleasure of judging and panel chairing at the Victorian Professional Photographer of the Year Awards, presented by the Australian Institute of Professional Photography as a warm-up event for the National Awards which will take place in Melbourne later in the year. Being a professional association, much of the work doesn’t stretch conceptually, but there is some mightily fine work that deserves applause for its technical skill. But this is not where the content in this issue of BETA hearkens from. This issue’s participants come courtesy of the portfolio review process called ‘Critical Mass’, run by the Photolucida organisation in Portland Oregon. Ten image, online folios, by 200 shortlisted photographers from around the world are reviewed by more than 200 reviewers, also representing an international geographical spread, consisting gallerists, picture editors, curators, publishers, festival directors, consultants and art buyers. It’s a


rather gruelling process, viewing first the thumbnail images, then reading the artist statement, then viewing full screen individual images, and finally scoring the folio and making comments where appropriate. And of course trying all the time to remain objective and fair to the artists by only reviewing folios at separate sessions with a consistent state of mind. Out of this process, scores from the 200+ judges are tallied, and the fifty highest scoring folios are declared the Critical Mass top 50. There is no individual winner, instead the work of 50 photographers is promoted via an exhibition and publication. Of my highest scoring folios, only seven were included in the Critical mass top 50, which gives an indication of the diversity of the preferences of the large reviewing panel. The beauty of the process is that I have seen the works of 200 photographers [a few whose work I had previously reviewed elsewhere, and four of whom have already appeared in previous

BETA’s] and irrespective if they made the top 50, which also included former BIFB luminaries, Louviere + Vanessa, and Daniel Coburn, the following have caught my eye and their critical mass folios appear here. Three of the photographers we present for your viewing pleasure in 19 come from the USA, while Amanda Harman hails from the UK. Two of my selections made it into the top 50 – Ben Altman and Christopher Payne. To find out more about the Critical Mass Portfolio Review process check out their website at www. photolucida.org/critical-mass/ I hope you enjoy my choices!

Jeff Moorfoot BETA editor


Garden Stories, Hidden Labours AMANDA HARMAN


Garden Stories, Hidden Labours. This series of unintended or ‘accidental’ still lives, made around the gardens and outbuildings of an English country house, seeks to make visible the unseen and often unsung work of the gardeners. My first encounter with these gardens was as a volunteer, working in the cut flower garden for a year, alongside the other gardeners. Later, I was drawn back to the gardens to make pictures of my experiences there. With its particular sense of place, the historic buildings still in daily use and the connections to the past histories of the garden, there were many hidden stories to bring to light. By uncovering the small signs of the day to day - the

tending of plants, their protection from insects, disease and weather; the nurturing of seedlings and tender plants in the glasshouses, the harvesting, drying and storing of crops, and the gathering of flowers to be arranged and placed in the house - these observations seek to embody the gardener’s labours and to reveal the unseen stories of the gardens, and those who tend them. “These images speak softly of those who have gone before, lonely people, busy people, lovers, workers, poets, people who care.” Tim Andrews 2015

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PREVIOUS Agarve in the glasshouse, Tyntesfield Banana palms in the glasshouse, Tyntesfield


Nectarine blossom in the glasshouse

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Flowers arranged in the Hall, Tyntesfield


Flowers arranged in the Hall, Tyntesfield

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PREVIOUS Crops drying, glasshouse, Tyntesfield Nectarine in the glasshouse, Tyntesfield


Wasp trap in the glasshouse, Tyntesfield

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Aeonium in the glasshouse, Tyntesfield


Grapevine in the glasshouse, Tyntedfield

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PREVIOUS Cut flowers in the scullery, Tyntesfield Old boiler house, Tyntesfield


Lily of the Valley in the potting shed, Tyntesfield

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PREVIOUS Fig trees in the peach case, Tyntesfield Poinsettiea in the glasshouse, Tyntesfield


Pelargonium in the glasshouse, Tyntesfield

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Salvia pratens in the glasshouse, Tyntesfield


Grapevines in the glasshouse, Tyntesfield NEXT Arbutilon in the Glasshouse, Tyntesfield

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Amanda Harman trained in photography at West Surrey College of Art and Design and London College of Communication and has worked on a range of commissions, residencies and projects for galleries, museums, charities and commercial clients since 1985. Her photography is about revealing the hidden or unexpected stories of the people and places she encounters, the most successful of these projects is where there is a personal connection with the place or the people or both. Amanda’s work has been exhibited widely in the UK and in Europe, and is held in a number of collections, including the Victoria and Albert Museum, London and the National Media Museum, Bradford . Selected for Portrait Salon 13, winner of the Professional Still Life Category of 2014 Sony World Photography Awards and included in Critical Mass Top50 2015, she lives and works in Bristol, UK and is currently an Associate Lecturer in Photography at the University of the West of England. website: amandaharman.co.uk

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The More That Is Taken Away BEN ALTMAN


The photographs show excavations in a single 60’ by 10’ (18 x 3 meters) area, in a disused field behind my home in upstate New York. They present the development of the earthwork in sequence. The More That Is Taken Away is a multi-year meditation on genocide, in three Acts. In this and other work I question the present by responding to our intractable past. The project aims for a more open engagement than the immobilized gesture and assumed moral certitude typical of more formal monuments. For Act I, I cleared the area, then cut and formed trenches, ramps, and steps within the 60’ x 10’ rectangle. I worked unaided with hand tools in all kinds of weather. The shapes evolved by subtraction as I worked. I then removed the internal forms, leaving a massgrave-like pit almost 5’ deep,

visible on Google Earth. I built a watchtower from salvaged lumber and also lost weight. Finally I shaped the mound of excavated earth. For the second Act (not shown here) I shaved off my long hair then photographed myself repeatedly in the pit. The third Act, now in progress, will consist of burying prints of the self-portraits and landscaping of the site. I photograph the stages, changes, and decay of the site with an 8x10 camera and video my all actions. The photographs stand by themselves or can be shown with limited video. Fuller expression of the project would be an installation that includes the entire video record in long loops on maybe 30 displays, with the soundtracks weaving an aural texture. Interactive elements may be added.


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PREVIOUS Act 1, Year Two, September Act 1, Year One, November


Act 1, Year Two, June #2

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Act 1, Year One, December #2


Act 1, Year 4, April

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PREVIOUS Act 1, Year 4, December #2 Act 1 Year 4, October


Act1, Year 4, November #1

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Act 1, Year Two, December #1


Act 1, Year Two, February

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PREVIOUS Act 1, Year One, October Act 1, Year Two, October


Act 1, Year Two, November

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Act 1, Year Four, March


Act 1, Year 4, November #2

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PREVIOUS Act 1, Year 4, November #3 Act 1, Year Two, September #2A


Act 1, Year 4, December #1

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Act 1, Year Four, March


Act 1, Year 5, February #1

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Act 1, Year Two, June


Act 1, Year Three, November

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Ben Altman’s work was selected for the Houston Center for Photography’s 2015 Fellowship, the 2015 Critical Mass Top 50 and a number of other recent awards. He has shown work at galleries and museums in New York, Los Angeles, Philadelphia, Chicago, San Francisco, North Carolina, Indiana, Rhode Island, Texas, and numerous locations in New York state. He is represented by Kopeikin Gallery, Los Angeles, CA. Altman trained as an artist by studying Physics, towing icebergs, racing sailboats, and working in commercial photography. A British-born naturalized US citizen, his mother was Anglican and his father Jewish. His work explores intersections of history, politics, home, and the contemporary world. He uses lens-based media – mainly photography but also video, installation, assemblage, and participation. After twentyfive years in Chicago he now lives in rural upstate New York, USA. website: benaltman.net

Act 1, Year Four, September

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Textiles

CHRISTOPHER PAYNE


In this era of service jobs and office work, most of us have never been inside a factory. Several decades of overseas competition, unequal trade policies, and a flood of cheap imports have decimated American factories. Since 1990, job losses in apparel and textiles have been greater than those in any other type of manufacturing, and today we have little idea where, or how, the shirt on our back is made. In 2010, I discovered an old yarn mill in Maine that reminded me of the state hospital workshops I had photographed for my book, Asylum. While those places had long been abandoned, this mill was fully operational, a scene from the past miraculously coexisting with the present. I returned to the mill several times, and from conversations with employees, learned of other textile factories, many still functioning as they had for decades, using vintage equipment now prized for producing the “genuine article�. Over the past five years, I have gained access to an industry that continues to thrive, albeit on a much smaller scale, and for the most part, out of public view. With my photographs I aim to show how this iconic symbol of American manufacturing has changed and what its future may hold. I also wish to pay tribute to the undervalued segment of Americans who work in this sector. They are a cross section of young and old, skilled and unskilled, recent immigrants, and veteran employees, some of whom have spent their entire lives in a single factory. Together, they share a quiet pride and dignity, and are proof that manual labor and craftsmanship still have value in today’s economy. 61


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THIS PAGE & PREVIOUS Bartlettyarns, Harmony, Maine


Bloomsburg Carpet, Bloomsburg, Pennsylvania

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Darn Tough Socks, Northfield, Vermont


Circular Knitting Machines, FR Knitting Mill Fall River Knitting Mills, Fall River, Massachusetts

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Conrad-Jarvis, Pawtucket, Rhode Island


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Langhorne Carpet, Penndel, Pennsylvania


Leavers Lace, West Greenwich, Rhode Island

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Martin Greenfield Clothiers, Brooklyn, New York


Langhorne Carpet, Penndel, Pennsylvania

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S&D Spinning Mill, Millbury, Massachusetts

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Langhorne Carpet, Penndel, Pennsylvania


S&D Spinning Mill, Millbury, Massachusetts

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Woolrich Woolen Mills, Woolrich, Pennsylvania


Wearbest Sil-Tex, Garfield, New Jersey

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Polartec, Lawrence, Massachusetts


S&D Spinning Mill, Millbury, Massachusetts

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Leavers Lace, West Greenwich, Rhode Island


Sterlingwear, East Boston, Massachusetts NEXT S&D Spinning Mill, Millbury, Massachusetts

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Christopher Payne is a New York City based photographer specializing in the documentation of America’s vanishing architecture and industrial landscape. Trained as an architect, he is the author of several books: New York’s Forgotten Substations: The Power Behind the Subway, Asylum: Inside the Closed World of State Mental Hospitals, and North Brother Island: The Last Unknown Place in New York City. Payne’s current work has veered away from the documentation of the obsolete towards a celebration of craftsmanship and manufacturing

in the United States. In progress is a series about the American textile industry, and just completed is Making Steinway, a tour through the famous Steinway piano factory in Queens. Payne has been awarded grants from the Graham Foundation, the New York State Council on the Arts, and the New York Foundation for the Arts. His work has been featured in publications around the world and several times in the New York Times Magazine. website: chrispaynephoto.com


Scratch CRAIG BECKER Stories form the foundation of our human experience. I create incomplete stories where the elements of the image touch but their relationship is ambiguous. This encourages the viewer to connect the dots and create their own narrative. The framework is visually and emotionally complex, inviting exploration into the beauty within the shadows.


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Craig Becker is a photo-based artist whose varied creative experiences professional photographer, digital fine art printer and collagist - are each marked by the exploration for the visually evocative. In his current work, he combines all of these experiences to create richly layered images exploring our past, present and future. From his lakeside studio in rural Maine, he combines his work with archival photographs. The image is constantly transformed during an intuitive and spontaneous process. While the process is intricately complex and technical, the source of inspiration is universal themes. The work comes together around notions of the unknown, filters, perceptions, loss and transformation. But with all of the leaps he asks of them, the extent to which the narrative is stitched together ultimately lies with the viewer, His work has been published in national magazines, numerous books and exhibited nationally and internationally website: craigmbecker.com


Rough & Ready Sideshow RANSOM & MITCHELL Creative duo of digital artists Ransom & Mitchell, known for creative trickery and arcane illusions, have painstakingly crafted their Rough & Ready Sideshow in remembrance of the once common traveling carnivale. It is a menagerie of timeless tales and rare specimens lovingly recreated and saved from the obscurity of antiquity. Ransom & Mitchell sought to honor the many familiar characters by painstakingly recreating their personas using unique costuming, exquisite make-up and hair design, and sourced vintage props. Each scene has a custom painted canvas backdrop to further the narrative and in some cases the artists created additional sets and props using their own unique blend of photo-realist digital painting and 3D CG to produce items that could not possibly

exist. Additionally, each image has a custom created faux paper mat, resplendent with filigree and aging to replicate the style of old cabinet cards from days gone by. For display, the pieces are custom printed by the artists on metallic paper to further the feeling of old glowy, tintypes from yesteryear. Much like the essence of the sideshow, Ransom & Mitchell have blurred the lines between what is real and what is conjecture. They continue to develop their unique style of combing live models, elaborate costumes, custom props and hand-made sets with digital painting and CG to further the illusion of photographs that seem more like paintings. By celebrating the curious and peculiar with modern and traditional techniques Ransom & Mitchell hope to further the notion that seeing is believing. 103


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Ransom & Mitchell is the the creative team of director - photographer Jason Mitchell and digital artist - set and prop designer Stacey Ransom. Together they create highly-detailed and visuallylush photographic portraits and scenarios. By seamlessly weaving their photography, digital artistry, CG, and motion skills, their unique style blurs the lines of photography and illustration.

Their fine art work draws upon the darker undercurrent that exists within all aspects of society. Described as pop-baroque, their art has exhibited worldwide at art fairs (Scope NY, Art Miami, LA Art Show) and galleries in cities including New York, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Miami, Seattle, Berlin, Tokyo, and Melbourne. website: ransommitchell.com

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Profile for BETA developments in photography

Beta issue 19  

BETA 19 presents portfolios by Amanda Harman, Ben Altman, Christopher Payne, Craig Becker and Ransom + Mitchell

Beta issue 19  

BETA 19 presents portfolios by Amanda Harman, Ben Altman, Christopher Payne, Craig Becker and Ransom + Mitchell