Yarraville 2009-04-24

2009-04-24 15:05:01

In May 2009 I was wandering with my Nikon camera chasing that killer shot of some of my favourite subject matter. I have always been interested in pictures of infrastructure. Gaining access to these paces is very difficult so making pictures from outside and using the external elements as an aid to composition is all that one can do. I got extra lucky on this day, a Sunday. A worker wandered through my scene adding a scale element to the picture.
Looking at this picture so many years later I realise how much my technique has changed. Software has moved forward too. The commonly held wisdom in the 2000s was, underexpose. The idea being to not overexpose your highlights. Now with RAW file formats on almost every camera I use this is no longer the case. I now expose to the right, ie overexpose. This the captures as much data as I can in the low values. If the subject brightness range is too large care still needs to be taken. I have overexposed up 1 1/3 stops on overcast days, but usually on 1/3 of a stop on days with too much contrast.


TYAT 2009-05-22

2009-05-22 08:26:10

Ten years ago today I made this picture with my then state of the art Sony Ericsson C902 Phone camera. I am guessing the location based on my local knowledge of Sunshine. Which in itself has turned into my lifelong 'project' both digital and analogue.



Sunshine, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia 2009-05-19

This space has changed markedly in the last 10 years. A business case for the Tullamarine airport rail link is being developed. What this means is, this space and the now vacant land to the left out of shot is most likely going to be redeveloped in some way. Over the years I photographed here often. Now I have an archive of work that examines its changes in use and appearance. For example, it used to be way to access the station along that path bottom left of the frame. After the Regional Rail Construction and completion of the new train station, access was blocked to the station.



Moonee Ponds Creek 2019-05-01 11:50:23

It's hard to know when to bring big analogue cameras to these locations. The light this day was perfect; almost.




Edward Burtynsky and filmmakers Jennifer Baichwal and Nicholas de Pencier in The Anthropocene Project, an ambitious multimedia endeavor that includes a photo book, a documentary (it will debut at the Toronto Film Festival in September), and a series of virtual reality experiences.

More on wired.com


Garry Winogrand’s “Untitled (New York),” from 1952-58

I am looking forward to visiting New York City soon. I have compiled a list of cultural institution I want to visit and in this day and age of the internet I know exactly what galleries are showing what art and when. Two of those galleries are, Brooklyn Museum and Gagoisian . The Brooklyn Museum is showing Gary Winnogrand’s colour work. The Gagosian, Jeff Walls’s work. The Newyorker online magazine has an article that covers them both and compares them. It is now impossible for me to unthink what I have read about. But also I can go and visit with some prior knowledge. A double edged sword? Only time will tell?


Kodak & Kodachrome

Kodachrome is a legendary film amongst those who remember it.
Kodak has a blog/magazine that celebrates this marvellous film as a linchpin. Rabbit hole alert.
See you in a few days.



Outside Sunshine Art Spaces 2019-05-10 12:56:03

Pop Culture

I recently caught up with my brother. He is a writer and newspaper sub-editor. We were sharing a few beers and a yarn as you do, and the conversation got around to TISM. TISM, or This Is Serious Mum were a band who performed around Melbourne and Australia from about 1982 to 2011. Sadly I only ever got to see them once at the Corner Hotel in Richmond. They have an extensive footprint on youtube. As a consequence once home later that night I loaded up a bunch of videos on YouTube, and also grabbed the book they had published. I grabbed it as I dashed out the door to sit the gallery this afternoon again. Reading the introduction was a great laugh. Last night my brother and I wondered. Who is writing and playing such rebellious and irreverent music these days? Neither of us could answer. As an example of their ethos attitude and barbs here’s a song of theirs that resonates. It’s called  ‘The Back Upon Which Jezza Jumped”.  It’s more about the ‘Average Joe' than footy, which is why I like it.

The 1970 Grand Final. One the greatest marks ever in the
History of VFL football is taken by Mr. Alex Jesaulenko.
And this is a song about the man he took it over,
Mr. Graeme 'Jerker' Jenkins."

The back upon which Jezza jumped and rode into the ground,
The humiliated vertebrae that mighty mark crushed down,
The pathetic platform from which Jezza leapt into the sky,
That ladder to immortality is finally laid to down to die.
Is Jerker... is Jerker, Jerker dead?
Is Jerker... is Jerker, Jerker dead?
Yes, Graham "Jerker" Jenkins, the man that stood his ground,
That took the pain that gave others fame is six foot underground.
Giant jolly Jerker Jenkins, Jesaulenko's dupe.
All he got out of that magic mark was a tendency to stoop.
Did he hear the thundering footsteps on that fateful day,
As he looked up at that Sherrin, did he know he'd have no say,
As Jezza jumped to fame and glory with one almighty leap
And he was left to be forgotten in a crumpled heap.
Is Jerker... is Jerker, Jerker dead?
Is Jerker... is Jerker, Jerker dead?
And so all you men with small ability and mediocre skill,
All those of you who in the race of life are left standing still,
All those who must always know others who are unquestionably better,
The second class, the also-ran, the unsucessful go-getter
The minor-leaguers, the average markers, the consistent second-raters,
The stay-at-homers, the timid loners, the habitual masturbators,
The ugly girls, the amputees, the screaming mongoloids,
Is Jerker... is Jerker, Jerker dead?
The senile old, the deformed young, the bladders that unwillingly void, the cancer ridden,
Is Jerker... is Jerker, Jerker dead?
The Aids victim, the plastic surgery disaster, the fake bowel,
Is Jerker... is Jerker, Jerker dead?
The anguished howl as the psychopath shafts ya, the violated, the child rapist,
Is Jerker... is Jerker, Jerker dead?
The jerkoff artists, The intensely hated, the disaster fated, the involuntary farters.
Is Jerker... is Jerker, Jerker dead?
All of you huge race of men, with mind or body dismembered,
Is Jerker... is Jerker, Jerker dead?
Never forget the name of the man who will never be remembered
Is Jerker... is Jerker, Jerker dead?
And beware all of you with hopes of happiness you pathetically nurture,
Is Jerker... is Jerker, Jerker dead?
Lest you forget the back upon which Jezza jumped
Is Jerker... is Jerker, Jerker dead?
The giant Graeme 'Jerker'.
Is Jerker... is Jerker, Jerker dead?
Is Jerker... is Jerker, Jerker dead?
Is Jerker... is Jerker, Jerker dead?
Is Jerker...



ON1 Software screen grab, 2019-05-08

I download a demo version of this software as I'm always looking for alternatives to Photoshop/Lightroom. Initially the interface looked promising but then the program just hung there. I eventually force quit it.
I circumvented the network using my own device and now it works. I will watch some tutorials now and see if I can get my head around it.


Ten Years Ago Today

This image from ten years ago was made with my then state of the art C902 Sony Ericsson phone camera. The image would most likely have sat dormant in my archives if not for this current series of TYAT [ten years ago today] images I am now posting.
The idea itself is made possible by software, Lightroom, and also has its roots in Wordless Wednesday. This is an idea I learned about while interacting with another WordPress blogger.
The picture made on my way from work to the nearest train station, Auburn, intrigues me with the arrangement of the shapes and lines and how I organised them in the 'viewfinder'. It has had minimal post production applied to it. This time however the lighting was suitable enough  to allow this scene to be easily captured and presented here.
2009-05-07 16:33:40


Stephen Shore on Instagram!

This article was shared with me by my friend Robert.
I like this quote particularly...
I see some photographers, students of mine or other photographers, who shoot in a very intentional and thoughtful way with film, but when they pick up a digital camera, they lose all their intentionality. There is nothing about the camera that forces that, and you can use a digital camera with as much concentration, awareness, and intentionality as a film camera. Nonetheless, I see there is this downside where some people use it with less mental focus. So you have the positive aspect of less inhibition and the negative aspect of less intentionality.



I have been an instagram user since about 2011. It launched in 2010. It was one of many services on offer at the time. I cannot remember any of the other services that competed with Instagram.
Instagram was a crazy place, in the beginning. A place where good and interesting photography was being posted. For me this was reason enough to use it. Then Facebook bought it. Over time the marketers and influencers took over and finally advertising formed part of its death knell. The final nail in the coffin? Algorithms.
In the early days I would post often. Charged by the idea that somehow using only my phone camera I was attempting to make ‘good pictures’. I realise that this is a nebulous and slippery idea. It was a level flying field and everybody was working with the same tool. Somebody worked out how to fool the instagram web site to think you were using a phone or tablet to upload with. Thereby removing the remaining friction in using the service. These days I rarely upload more than once a week. And now it’s as much about my work exterior to the service. Another marketing tool. This is a pity it was fun and interesting in its early days. Now I rarely find any new or interesting work. And somehow have managed to avoid influencers all together.
With all this in mind there seems to be some push back on the web against Instagram. Andy Adams’ Facebook group FlakPhoto is a good place to gauge the current state of the medium from a serious photographers perspective. While I see that instagram is useful, everybody seems to use it, I don’t feel compelled to use it. Josh Rose in his article on Medium recounts a recent interaction. He worked with a creative agency. Nobody there asked him about his instagram account. And several people looked at his website. I agree a serious working commercial photographer needs to maintain a presence there. But using numbers such as ‘followers' and 'likes' is precarious to the point of damaging. I suspect savvy enough creatives will understand this and will have adapted long ago. I gave up the numbers game a while back. Then accidentally deleted my main account. Which in itself was refreshing.
I joined instagram for the challenge of making “good” images using the simplest of tools. And in the beginning that was enough. Many skilled photographers were doing interesting with the service. All that has gone out the window. I feel like blogging and websites may have gone full circle and be on the up again for photographers.


Photographic Storytelling: A Poverty of Theory

I read this article over on Medium, Photographic Storytelling: A Poverty of Theory by Lewis Bush.
"...why there is such a poverty of theory about storytelling in photography compared to other fields, and why there is so little precision about the terms and techniques we use. Why, for example, are so few photographers able to differentiate between such fundamentally different things as story and narrative." 
Definitely food for thought.


Are Digital Cameras Computers?

I agree with Mike Johnston, from the Online Photographer. I only considered teaching students to use the auto focus settings on digital cameras once 1.8 lenses became cheap enough and I understood the implications of how shallow DOF is on digital cameras.

Winter is coming!

Melbourne's CBD from the Dynon road bridge looking south east. The light got really harsh not long after.
2019-05-01 12:00:27


Ten Years Ago Today? [TBT]

2009-05-02 15:06:42

Ten years ago today, I mdae this picture. At the time I was using a Sony Ericsson C902 phone camera. I had a 5 megapixel sensor and full internet connectivity. These were the reasons I bought it, even though my telco had offered me an iPhone 3 at the time.
In those early days I was fond of pushing the limits of a digital photograph being made using the humblest of devices with minimal control. I feel I had some interesting outcomes.
Now ten years later I have a much more sophisticated device. One that is capable of capturing in several file formats and allowing some exposure and focus controls. In some ways I miss that early experimental aesthetic. It feels like it's harder to achieve when I can shoot in RAW, and the process the file in Lightroom. I use a third party app for this on my iPhone XS. It is called ProCamera, I wrote a couple of articles about it back on my Wordpress blog.
Having the ability to make a "serious" picture that may end up on a gallery wall on in a book is too tempting to not make sure at least some of the pictures that I see, I can best reproduce using any device at hand. The opposite idea really applied in this early days. How far could I subvert the image using this simple tool? Yet hold onto that vestige of indexicallity that so many critics claim is Photography's Achilles heel?


Exposure Triangle?

I am currently the teaching Certificate IV Students how to use their digital cameras more effectively. One task revolves around using a simple calculator to work out a series different exposures. All ‘correct’ but some giving different outcomes based on shutter or aperture choice. I don’t allow the students to change ISO in this task. This idea is often referred to as the exposure triangle. In the days of teaching film the ISO was always locked in a single place. Students then only needed to understand the relationship between image brightness and aperture and shutter.
I was unhappy with the way the students responded to this task.
In an effort  to find another way of explaining or teaching it I opened three books. Those books were:- 'Reframing Photography Theory and Practice’, 'Photography 4.0 A teaching guide for the 21st Century' and 'Digital Photo Assignments, Projects for all levels of Photography Classes'. None of these excellent books draws a string around the 3 principles involved in image brightness and exposure? Is this a deliberate choice? Do the editors and writers of these books not consider the relationship meaningful enough for a section or a paragraph?
A quick google returns an enormous amount of information. It seems I will have my work cut out for me formulating a new way to teach this idea.

[edit 2019-04-03] I found two more books in my library that could offer some interpretation or explanation. These are, Langford's Basic Photography and Horenstien's Black and White Photography, a  Basic Manual. Both are pre-digital books and as a consequence approach the idea from a film angle. That is; that it, exposure is fixed at the ISO level. In good news. I took my students out to practice. The idea may be sinking in now. we shall see?


Ten Years Ago Today

2009-04-28 12:16:28

Ten Years Ago today, I was in a place called Waurn Ponds about 2 hours west of Melbourne. On my way to a school camp. It seems like the best I made on the day?
This picture was made with a Sony Ericsson C902. A 5 megapixel camera with full internet functionality. I had chosen this over the iPhone 3 for this reason alone. My current phone shoots raw so colour and exposure in this situation would have been easily corrected. Sadly even with 2019 tools like Lightroom I doubt I'm going to get much more from this image.


Solo Show Talk

I would like to begin by acknowledging the traditional custodians of this land. And pay my respect to its elders past and present.

Thank you everyone for coming today. I would like to thank Brimbank council and their arts staff Lisa & Micheal. All their excellent support and help throughout the entire process makes these things a breeze. I would also like to thank all the Students who keep me fresh and on my toes and as always my accomplice in crime my wife.

Putting together this show I discovered a strange fact. This is the first solo exhibition I have had of silver gelatine prints since 1996. Even I balked at that date! I began exhibiting over 30 years ago and still feel as nervous speaking about my work even after all this time.

I would like, if I may then, begin then by quoting one of main inspirations; Robert Adams.
“Nothing diminishes the affirmation of the sun.”

Most of my work attempts to have this philosophy underpinning it. I am a fortunate as a creative to have never had a client so all my work is driven by my own impulses and desires. This has afforded me the privilege of making pictures of what I please when I please. We never operate in a vacuum however. My sources inspirations and motivations are as wide as they are deep. Ezra Pounds’ classic poem Wastelands often runs though my mind when researching locations. How fortuitous that this show opens at the end of April, the cruellest month according to Pound in his poem. In my early days my subject matter was also inspired by the Beats. Their celebration of modern cities and street life. Ideas of the dark alleys and neglected corners of all cities and suburbs that we may avoid. Passing them engrossed in our own thoughts. Unable or unwilling to pay attention to our surroundings. Other inspirations are Robert Adams’ photographs as well his prose. Richard Misrach's politicised Desert Cantos series, is beautiful and yet heart breaking.

One of the aims of my work is to invite the viewer to see beyond the ugliness in the subject matter as presented. I use subtle compositions and careful printing of the images to address this. I love a long tonal scale and complex compositions. These weave together with line and form. Leading the viewer to attempt to look beyond subject matter of the prints themselves.

All the prints are made using hardware and software that accentuates tonal scale. I spend an inordinate amount of time in camera to making the pictures.  Depending on lighting and weather conditions minutes of hours. A print itself can take between a day and a month to resolve. The work is then pinned up in my studio darkroom as I build upon it. I take my time rearranging the work and even add subtract or reprint as I see fit. For this exhibition this process began in October last year. The final edit began in March. The prints spread out in my studio as I contemplated their final sequence.

I make my own film and paper developers and use these tools to make the best possible print I can. Currently I make far more negatives than I have time to print. This has resulted in an archive. When I first started making photographic art I never intended to create such a thing. This archive now underpins and on occasion drives forward a part of what I do. The western and northern suburbs are changing dramatically.  The act of capturing this has attained a sense of urgency now.

As I was schooled in the modernist idea of the fine print. I decided on a film and film developer combination many years ago.  And have continued to use this combination to this day. I chose the two for fine grain and long tonal scales. Occasionally, I draw on other paper developers. These  can be an intuitive or technical choice.  I generally use a technique called split filter printing. This technique uses two variable contrast filters to determine exposures. This technique allows for very subtle manipulation of the prints. And I hope beg the viewer to look a little harder and longer at the image in front of them. 

Living here since 2000 has made my image making process more time efficient. My archive continues to grow as a consequence. Having only to often throw a camera or two in my car then drive off for 15 minutes or so an begin making pictures. I feel like I have truly found my place.

Currently this body of work is an open ended project. It began by me walking in places, for their strangeness. Not to mention uniqueness, and  incongruity. 

Let me finish by quoting another idea. From, William Carlos Williams.
“It is difficult to get the news from poems
yet men die miserably every day
for lack of what is found there,”

I hope you find some poetry or some news in my work; or whatever it is you’re looking for.

Silver in Sunshine 2019 Solo Exhibtion

For the first time since 1996, I am having a solo exhibition of my silver gelatin prints. Here are some views of the space before the opening.


Early memories of the internet?

Embassy of the internet survey

The embassy of the Internet put out a survey recently, here are my responses.
  • Username/Name:  s2art
  • Age: 50+
  • Gender: M
  • Location: Antipodes
  • Job Role/Description: Educator; since 1993
What do you first remember most fondly about using the internet?
My first exposure was really to the WWW. I was doing my teacher training. One subject got us looking at technology in the classroom. I sat at a computer and “surfed” not really knowing what to look for or find. I guess due to bandwidth concerns my University blocked ALL images. So I was completely underwhelmed by that experience. I was an Art/Photography major at that school. Within 12 months however I was working in  a photography department of a school whose HOD saw that this was important and connected the department to the internet with a dedicated line. I also acquired a desktop computer and had my own connection to the WWW. At the time had a friend who was a  from Rochester in the USA. He put me onto listservs and mail groups. My early days of internet communications came from these groups and I spent many an hour dutifully downloading my mail each working. Reading it offline. Then reconnecting the next morning and sending my replies. Over the years I found many tools for online communication. My favourite has always been email however. Not long after came learning html and blogging, then flickr.com, and instagram. What I really loved about my early years of the WWW was to ‘surf’. Drifting from homepage to homepage. Discovering some real gems.

What do you think has changed the most since your early years on the web?
The demise of homepages and to a certain extent blogging. The WWW is really now an ‘app’ and few people experience it outside of their phones and tablets. When it so much more than that.

How do you use the internet and what do you mostly use it for?
Research, entertainment, shopping, as well as my own publishing to flickr and blogging.

What is your biggest concern about the internet and/or the future of the web?
The balkanisation of the web by a few services, apple, facebook, google, instagram etc.

What would you change about the way we use the internet or how it is controlled now?
It’s difficult to know how to reclaim those early days. Maybe it isn’t even a wise premise to expect?