Empty Spaces

2019-10-29 13:38:06
Northland Shopping Centre. The rear delivery area looking dishevelled and empty. Possibly a rare moment of stillness?

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Documentary or Art?

I was fortunate to be recently given an inspection copy of a new publication that explores the idea of documentary photography in the 21st century. Published by  BLOOMSBURY VISUAL ARTS, called DOCUMENTARY PHOTOGRAPHY RECONSIDERED, by MICHELLE BOGRE
It has a collection of essays, profiles and exercises designed for the inexperienced to the professional who uses a camera to create documents. I will find it useful in my teaching moving forward for sure. This paragraph from chapter two, Memory is dynamic, resonates:-
"With our modern understanding of the vicissitudes of photography, how do we reconcile our knowledge of the malleability of the photograph with our cultural reliance on the image as evidence to form our collective memories? Even though critics and scholars debate whether photographs are “true,” generally the viewing public still intuitively or rationally believes that what appears in the photograph existed in front of the camera. Even when almost all digital images are retouched post-production, the public still believes in photographic truth. Viewers might distrust “the media,” but they still believe the photograph. The general audience doesn’t really care about the philosophical nuances of photographic truth. Viewers generally believe that even if photographs are manipulated, the changes are modest, and irrelevant to the truth of the event. In fact, most post-production only alters the original; it doesn’t reconstruct it. Post-production usually doesn’t so completely erase the original image as to negate its indexicality. Viewers also are not engaged in the debate about the profound philosophical difference between analog and digital photography. To them, an image is an image is an image."

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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 quite 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. [edit 2019-11-11] MomentoPro also have an obituary for Harvey. Doug Spowart also has an obituary on Harvey.
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
Perry's Sandhills, Wentworth circa 1996
Near Broken Hill circa 1996 
Seventh Street, Mildura circa 1996
I had these 5x4 inch Tmax 400 film 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 paper 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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