C Roads & Other Adventures?

Borung, Victoria, Australia. 2019-10-18 17:00:01
I spent some time on the road exploring the edges of the Mallee recently. I am working on an idea that is a kind of 20th century flanuer, in a car.

The parameters are simple. I drive for an hour or so on any of the  main highways west or north. Then once I leave the freeway or highway attempt to follow only C roads.  Usually I have to cross The Great Dividing Range to really see some changes in environment and culture. This trip the second for the year was no exception. I choose my route by considering the light and the amount of time I may need to get home.

This trip found me in a place called Borung. A small hamlet/village about 30 mins north east of  Wedderburn. The hamlet consisted of a few houses, and a disused wheat silo. Many of the houses were run down, the primary school closed.

I made this image at Borung, but worry is it a trope?

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David Campany Quote

I recently gained access to RMIT’s library, as an alumni. This has many advantages for me. I suspect I will spend a few hours in the space over the upcoming summer holidays. I can also preview books that I am considering buying. One such book is an exhibition catalogue that MOMA published recently to accompany a retrospective of Stephen Shore’s work. It contains several essays by numerous authors. David Campany is one. Mr. Campany writes a short piece about individual images in this book. I found this quote this morning and see it as quit pertinent.
“There is always a tension between the photograph as artwork and document; between choice and automatism; between intention and chance; between system and intuition; between individual image and its place in a body of work; and between what can be known consciously and what can only be felt unconsciously.”
Pg 126 Stephen Shore, MOMA
ISBN 978-1-63345-048-6

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Flickr, Explore and Stats?

My current top 3 most viewed images, above the older 3.
One of SmugMug's promises was to improve the Explore algorithm. Up until this year 3 images had held the top spot fairly solidly. This seems to have changed this year. My current top three most viewed images have all entered that spot in the last few months. So it seems the new owners have made good on the promise. Still a closer examination of the stats show the vast majority of the views coming from Android devices. I wish flickr would allow a more granular approach to these numbers.
Jimbo Boy  at #4 and East Bentleigh  at #6 were for many years my most viewed images. But with North Melbourne hitting top spot briefly in 2018, then the latest three moving the rest down it seems changes are indeed afoot.

For many years this picture was my most viewed; albeit probably for the wrong reasons. It has fallen way down the the list to number 23.
soggy biscuit

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Vale Harvey Benge [27 July 1944 – 7 October 2019]

Mr. Benge's blog screen grabbed on 14th of October 2019
Although I only knew of Mr Benge via the internet, his presence was warm acknowledged by all who spoke of him. I have added his blog to my links in the sidebar. He was a prolific photobook maker one of which I had the good fortune to purchase over the weekend. I have begun searching his other books too. Lensculture.com has an extensive listing of his projects.
A selection of Harvey Benge's books
as listed by lens culture.

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Scanned 5x4 film & upcoming exhibition

Along Arumpo Road Circa 1996
Dunes outside Beechworth circa 1996
Looking towards Broken Hill circa 1996 
Seventh Street, Mildura circa 1996
I had these images scanned by Image Science in North Melbourne recently. They have done an excellent job. I could never had imagined these scanned so well. In addition I am now able to exhibit them.

Until scanning them I was reluctant to make prints especially on large and expensive appear as these images often have defects undetectable on a contact print. Once enlarged of course the defects too are enlarged. Removal of these kinds of defects was never something I learned at college.

Scanning the negs and retouching them using digital tools like photoshop bring these pictures back to life. Given the cheap price of the scans, I may now use this workflow to make large prints of my older 5x4 negatives, for future exhibitions.

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Recent finds

Southbank, Melbourne, Vcitoria, Ausralia. 2019-09-30 12:54:51
Revisiting the location in and around Southbank yesterday delivered some interesting results. I also photographed the torn poster on film using my Hasselbald.

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Infrastructure in Melbourne

Footscray, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia. 2019-09-30 15:54:53
There are 2 major infrastructure projects going on in the west right now. The Westgate tunnel and the Metro rail loop. This is a construction site where the Westgate tunnel will impact on the local environment. I happened past on a other errand today and decided to stop and hunt out any worthwhile pictures. Of course the sites are all shrouded in chain mesh fences. This is where small camera lenses come in handy. They can be poked though the fence for a better composition. More as I revisit this and other sites in my favourite time of the year. The light really starts to develop some character now especially in the evenings.

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Flickr posting increase

Tsimshatsui East, Kowloon City, Hong Kong, 2014-07-06 08:16:45
Tsimshatsui East, Kowloon City, Hong Kong, 2014-07-06 08:16:45

As I am on term break at the moment I have decided to ramp up my posting to flickr, so far there has been three postings in the past week, up from my usual one.

This image is from my archive from a Hong Kong Holiday in 2014. A time where I was able to flaneur around the city, thanks to the loan of a Android device with local internet connectivity as my guide.

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External reviews of BIFB

Kantor Portrait Prize. Image courtesy of Imaging Insider
Inside imaging a photography trade website has a review of this years Biennial, which had a much different flavour to the preceding years review

There is also an intersting poll on their mainpage, scroll down and see what readers think about the question. "Is it right that BIFB founder, Jeff Moorfoot, is not mentioned on the BIFB website or program?"

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Return Visits...

Southbank, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia. 2019-09-26 12:20:32

I returned briefly on Friday the 27th to the site I drove by on Sunday 22nd and discovered much more than I had hoped

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Drive-by Southbank, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia.

Southbank, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia. 2019-09-22 16:24:32

This area is changing rapidly in ways I've not noticed before.
we were driving home after lunch at the famous Rockpool Bar & Grill. To celebrate my wife's birthday. It is always a great experience.
We are leaving the casino complex's car park and heading down Kingsway.

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iOS 13

Screengrab, iphone XS, iOS 13
I upgraded to iOS 13 this morning. Lots of cool new features. The photos app has had a major overhaul. For the average user these can be useful. I personally don't use them much. I use professional desktop tools to manage my photographs. Unless the function is a 'snap' such as our new kittens or some other personal memory related event. Think weddings, birthdays and parties. Some features such as liking/hearting/favouriting adding to albums and sharing has moved and wasn't immediately intuitive. Once I found it it made perfect sense. People who don't like these kinds of change will of course complain. Here's the list of all the changes from the Apple site.

All-new Photos tab
The all-new Photos tab lets you browse your photo library with different levels of curation, so it’s easy to find, relive and share your photos and videos. You can view everything in All Photos, focus on your unique photos in Days, relive your significant moments in Months or rediscover your highlights in Years.

Auto-playing Live Photos and videos
Throughout the Photos tab, muted Live Photos and videos begin playing as you scroll, bringing your photo library to life.

Smart photo previews
In Days, Months and Years, photo previews are larger to help you distinguish between shots. Photos uses intelligence to find the best part of your photo in photo previews, which means you get to see the uncropped version of your photo when you tap to view it.

Contextual transitions
Animations and transitions keep your place in the Photos tab, so you can switch between views — like Days and All Photos — without losing your place.
Removes similar shots and clutter
Duplicate photos, screenshots, whiteboard photos, documents and receipts are identified and hidden, so you see only your best shots.

Significant events
Months presents your photos by events, so you can rediscover the moments that matter most.
Event titles
The Photos tab displays the name of the location, holiday or concert performer to provide helpful context for your significant events.
On this Day
Years is contextual, so it shows you photos taken on or around today’s date in past years.
Birthday mode
If you have birthdays assigned to people in your People album, the Photos tab will highlight your photos of them on their birthday.

Zoom in and zoom out
View your library in All Photos however you’d like. Zoom in for a closer look, or zoom out to quickly scan through your library and see all your shots at once.
Screen recordings smart album
All your new screen recordings are now in one place.

Search enhancements
You can combine multiple search terms — like “beach” and “selfies” — without tapping each word in Search.

Music for Memories
Soundtracks for Memory movies are selected based on what you listen to in the Apple Music app.
Extended Live Photos playback
When you press and hold to play a Live Photo, Photos will automatically extend the video when you have Live Photos taken within 1.5 seconds of each other.

Preview intensity
As you apply an edit, each adjustment displays its intensity, so you can see at a glance which effects have been increased or decreased.

Individually review each effect
Tap each effect icon to see what your photo looked like before and after the effect was applied.

Filter control
Control the intensity of any filter, like Vivid or Noir, to fine-tune your look.

Enhance control
Enhance now lets you control the intensity of your automatic adjustments. As you increase or decrease Enhance, you’ll see other adjustments — including Exposure, Brilliance, Highlights, Shadows, Contrast, Brightness, Black Point, Saturation and Vibrance — intelligently change with it.

Video editing support
Adjustments, filters and crop support video editing, so you can rotate, increase exposure or even apply filters to your videos. Video editing supports all video formats captured on iPhone, including 4K video at 60 fps and 1080p slow-motion video at 240 fps.1
Nondestructive video edits
Video edits are now nondestructive, so you can remove an effect like a filter or undo a trim to return to your original video.
Boost muted colours to make your photo richer without affecting skin tones and saturated colours.
White Balance
Balance the warmth of an image by adjusting temperature (blue to yellow) and tint (green to magenta).
Change photos by making edges crisper and better defined.
Increase image clarity by adjusting the definition slider.
Noise reduction
Reduce or eliminate noise such as graininess or speckles in photos.
Add shading to the edges of your photo to highlight a powerful moment using Strength, Radius and Falloff.

Updates to auto adjustments
Straighten, crop and adjust the perspective of your photos automatically.

Pinch-to-zoom support
You can pinch to zoom while editing to review your changes on a specific area of your photo.

Image Capture API
The Image Capture API lets you import photos directly into an app when a camera is connected to your iOS device.*

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Martin Parr on selfies!

I welcome all these trends. I love things that are ephemeral, things that are changing. As a documentary photographer my job is to understand the way the world is changing and to document that. So how could you not include this in such work? It’s such an integral part of who we are now. And it’s all new! Ten years ago this didn’t exist, and I can’t see their demise.

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Today in my inbox I received this email, for a service I showed interest in in 2014! I know have a page at this uri, https://tilde.club/~s2art/ . I still need to work out how to use it?

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iPhone 11 etc...

Shot on my iPhone XS using CameraPro in RAW, processed in Lightroom.
Unless you have been living under a rock this last week you would know that Apple, at its annual event announced some new iPhones. They are iPhone 11, iPhone 11 Pro and iPhone 11 Pro Max. The two higher end models 11 Pro and 11 Pro Max boast new chips that Wired claims will make significant differences to pro level photography. The changes in software and hardware make sense. However the software changes for me make little sense. All I need in a smartphone camera is the ability to capture in raw, and to make some exposure adjustments as needed in-situ. A live histogram helps too. Apple’s new phones make multiple exposures and use software and neural networks to composite a single image from up to 9 pictures. Here’s Wired description of the computer hardware changes.
Under its glass and metal exterior, each iPhone has a new A13 Bionic processor, which should offer a decent speed upgrade. Apple claimed that the new chip has the fastest-ever CPU and GPU in a smartphone, and wowed the crowd at Tuesday's event with a show of big numbers to back up the claim. Per Apple, the new chip is capable of 1 trillion operations per second, and holds 8.5 billion transistors.
What this means for photographers is the ability to use more computational photography. Useful in a tight situation, say a war zone or wedding where experimenting with 3rd party apps features or exposure settings, like the ProCamera  and Halide are not feasible. Still for me I make most of my digital images by exposing to the right and correcting in post. So this superpower of computational photography is a bonus but not a feature that my images would live or die by.
Still computational photography has been a thing for some time now. It’s not going away any time soon so it will be interesting to see where it goes from here.
The above raw file in Lightroom, left before right after processing
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Hong Kong?

I have visited Hong Kong on and off since about 2005. It is my most visited international city. I like it because of its proximity to Australia,  and the feel of the streets being somewhat foreign, yet it is or rather was until recently a safe city. A city where wandering the streets in Kowloon or one of the territories would not alarm anyone. Nobody would bother you except of course for the "copy watch" "copy suit" spruikers. Here then are a handful of pictures I made on a 2009 visit.
The view from the hotel window, reminded me of a scene from Bladerunner

Sitting insde a cafe near the hotel, probably using their wifi

I walked around a lot on this trip.

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National Library of Australia

NLA site screengrab 2019-09-01
I have over 900 images in the National Library of Australia's database. Another reason to like, enjoy and use flickr. Adding my picture to the group called Trove allows this. All images included in this group are also made searchable in Trove, a service hosted by the National Library of Australia but built on the collections of thousands of organisations and individuals!

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BIFB 2019 impressions

Interior National Centre for Photography
2019-08-25 15:05:00

I had my first visit to this years Ballarat International Foto Biennale. It was a Sunday. It was a typical cold winters day in Ballarat. Which is often colder than Melbourne being at a higher altitude. I was surprised by the lack of crowds, given it was the second day of the festival. I focused on the core program.

I was also very interested to see the new National Centre for Photography as well. The exhibition there titled Capital was engaging thought provoking and several works stunning visually. Sadly one projection/movie wasn’t running,  but overall the work was professional and worth exploring. The rest of the work on show at the new National Centre for Photography required a return visit two days later. The second visit revealed work that was eclectic and engaging even if some of the subject matter was difficult to encapsulate in one exhibition. The building so far is well fitted out and the exhibition spaces a mixture of sizes and scales making them a great venue for small photographic exhibitions. One exhibition I visited 2 days later had large scale prints.

As I do every Biennale, I photographed the wall in Police Lane, I have an ongoing album on flickr as well. [The image below will be uploaded when the time is right.]
 Police Lane, Ballarat  2019-08-27 13:51:51
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New Project

Anannadale Road Tullamarine 2019-08-24 16:23:33

I have begun a new film project based around the edges of Melbourne International Airport. Locally known as Tullamarine or just Tulla. I will be exploring the intersection between agriculture, urban landscape and international jet travel with its related infrastructure.

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This morning on flickr...

Sunshine Train Station, Sunshine, Melbourne, Vcitoria, Australia. 2017-05-14 13.01.33
Sunshine Station,Sunshine, Melbourne, Victoria,Australia 2014-05-14 13.01.33
Part of a larger project over on tumblr as well.

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Wandering with a purpose...

2019-08-16 16:44:36

I spent a pleasant afternoon on a tour of Flinders Street station recently, with friends visiting Melbourne. I learned many new things about its design and construction along with some other information about the City and its design as well.

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New Project on Tumblr

2019-07-13 17:17

2019-08-10 17:17

I am about 12 months into this project. I never anticipated the changes that are now going on.

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Everything in photography is a tradeoff

Testing Grounds an experimental ARI near the NGV City Road Southbank
2019-08-01 11:01:56
When I teach students photography I try to stress that there is no perfect fit technically, especially when dealing with natural light and analogue materials. Studio lighting can be “perfect”, but I personally prefer natural light. Of course ideas and concepts go though all kinds shifts and changes as they evolve.

This saying gets trotted out at least weekly. The students enjoy it and by the end of the school year it has been known to illicit groans from them as well.

I originally got the saying from one of my teachers way back at University. In those days making analogue pictures was the only way to get your ideas into a concrete form. Which were usually them exhibited. Although if you were a commercial photographer they could end up as advertisements or billboards or any other form of visual communication.

Analogue photography has many compromises attached to it. Film choice, film format choice, speed and ease of use of cameras based on anticipated outcome, and on and on.

Digital has broadened the horizon somewhat, as you now can for example just ramp up your ISO on your digital camera to achieve a successful result in low light situations. Then use contemporary software to reduce the noise in the file. Still digital sensors are no match for the human eye or brain so some compromise will always occur when making pictures when using a conventional camera and especially when using a smart phone camera.

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The power of images?

Looking South along City Road Southbank from the NGV. 2017-08-01 13:18:11
An op-ed piece in todays Age, by Waleed Aly argues we are being desensitised by imagery, generally. In his argument he specifically mentions climate change.

As an artist this is one of my own biggest concerns. Yes images can move us from stasis to action. Pictures however are not always designed for this. Robert Adams talks about hope and how art can provide this in many of his essays. It is a driving factor in my own work and one that is difficult to articulate both in words and pictures.

Instagram gets a mention in his article. Another discusses its impact on young tweens and teens. Sadly the link is broken but he rightly claims I think that the sheer volume of images we are exposed to on a daily basis makes these kind of responses difficult. This could also be an argument for a bigger return to film. As these images are time consuming to make and difficult to propagate as analogue objects.

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Winners of the 2019 iPhone Photography Awards Announced

NEW YORK – July 25, 2019 – The iPhone Photography Awards (IPPAWARDS) is proud to announce the winners of the 12th Annual Awards. This year’s winners were selected from thousands of entries submitted by iPhone photographers from over 140 countries around the world.

The Grand Prize Winner and Photographer of the Year Award goes to Gabriella Cigliano of Italy for her entry Big Sister.  First, Second and Third Place Photographers of the Year Awards go to Diogo Lage of Portugal for his image Sea Stripes,  Yuliya Ibraeva of Russia for her entry of Sorry, no movie today and Pend Hao of China for his image Come Across.

The 1st, 2nd and 3rd place winners in 18 categories were awarded to photographers who represented many countries around the world including Australia, Bahrain, Belarus, Brazil, Canada, China, France, Germany, India, Italy, Japan, Peru, Portugal, Russia, South Africa, Taiwan, the United Kingdom and the United States.

Cary Hazelgrove, one of this year’s jury members, says, “The 2019 entries were off the charts great. Astounding work that pulls the planet together through photographs.”


Why I photograph the urban landscape?

Winter light prompted me to get my 5x4 inch monorail camera out.
The subject a pile of rocks in my backyard
I take and make photographs for a variety of reasons, some pleasurable, some emotional, and some intellectual. I also am the kind of person who enjoys working on tactile objects and the way using my hands can be closely aligned with using my mind.
I have been interested in making pictures in the Urban Landscape since 1988. I began my photography studies in 1987. After 2 years I realised I was mostly interested in photographing the landscape and in the context of art. I spent the next 3 years undertaking a fine art degree. This allowed me to think about the what the why and how of art making and could I try and make art this way?

In the beginning my career I was influenced by Ansel Adams, and the idea of a sublime landscape. Images made in his style of similar subject matter were the kind I initially sought to make. As an urban dweller most of my life trips to the ‘wild’ were infrequent and determined by my free time or the weather. But mainly time.
What this meant was it was difficult to really capture imagery that was truly ’sublime'. Free time to travel was also a hindrance to making the kinds of pictures I aspired to. This was is in part due to light. Light in Australia is at its best in the shoulder periods leading up to autumn and spring. Winter light when it shines is also wonderful. Of course light is often best in the magic hour an time of the year. Magic hour in the suburbs is easy to chase, in the outback, not so easily. Most ‘wild or sublime’ locations in Melbourne are at a minimum one hours drive away. So getting to this kind of location is time consuming and can be difficult, even with a car. The urban landscape is all around me. I can catch public transport there if I need and even on occasion walk.
While at University I was introduced to Joe Deal’s work. In particular the San Andreas Fault series [see image from sofomoma.org below]. The idea that images of a constructed or altered landscape could be valuable and interesting helped me look in other directions and think about my own story. Other Photographers and Artists I was introduced to in this period included, Robert Adams, Frank Gohkle, Hille and Bernd Becher, Lewis Baltz, Henry Wessel Jr., No urban landscape photographer worth their salt can neglect to mention the pivotal 1976 exhibition at George Eastman House, “New Topographics, pictures of a man altered landscape” either.

Joe Deal, Brea, California, from the portfolio The Fault Zone, 1979, printed 1981
Joe Deal, Brea, California,
from the portfolio The Fault Zone, 1979, printed 1981

I go to a place internally in my mind. A place that is hard to describe but very beneficial. It engages my brain in a way where I focus on the moment like no other activity I engage in. Time disappears. Time becomes just a series of small decisions. Left? Right? Up? Down? More exposure less exposure, wait; lots of waiting. Looking without thinking and at the same time only looking and thinking?

Projects? Everyone has a project. Pictures however are only ever pictures. We attach meaning and substance to them as a consequence. one day early in July the light was magnificent, as it often is in Melbourne mid winter. I went outside and made some pictures with both colour and black and white film, in 120mm and large format. Because the light struck me as well as the mood , and because it felt right. Is this a project? Does it not being a project make it invalid work? How do I take years worth of these images and make then into a valid narrative?
People are talking about surveillance capitalism a lot these days. The places I like to go are often bereft of security cameras, but can also be bristling with them. I’ve been asked rightfully and wrongfully to leave several areas in and around Melbourne over the years. If there are no cameras around I am truly alone in a large city. Something that means more to me s I get older.
Making pictures using  camera, especially a film camera gives a level of purpose that very little else in life gives me. The entire process is somewhat meditative. From exposure in camera to final prints.

In the end I make images of the urban for several  reasons. 
For the geography.
As Autobiography.
As Metaphor

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Visibility on flickr?

My flickr stats for the 21st July 2019!
Last week saw another new record for my views on flickr, with my most viewed picture being one that I had uploaded only a day or two  previously. As of today, the image is the most viewed in my entire stream sitting at a figure north of 70,000 views!

Sadly there is no real info on the traffic and where it comes from or why. All I can say is, the majority of the views came from mobile devices and were split evenly between Android and iOS.

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Swanston Street

SLV, Swanston Street, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia. 2019-07-26 11:52:04
The sculpture outside the SLV.

State Library Victoria is the central library of the state of Victoria, Australia, located in Melbourne. It was established in 1854 as the Melbourne Public Library, making it Australia's oldest public library and one of the first free libraries in the world. The Library's vast collection includes over two million books and 350,000 photographs, manuscripts, maps and newspapers, with a special focus on material from Victoria, including the diaries of the city's founders, John Batman and John Pascoe Fawkner, and the folios of Captain James Cook. It also houses some of the original armour of Ned Kelly. The Library is located in the northern centre of the central business district, on the block bounded by Swanston, La Trobe, Russell, and Little Lonsdale streets.

I photograph here on and off and find winter is the best time for this particular picture. The sun is usually lower in the sky, the trees have no foliage and signs of rain help too. The concrete blocks in the middle ground right are a new addition to the scene since there has been one instance of a car being used as a weapon on the streets of the CBD recently.

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