Moving forward by looking backward?

Recently I wrote about the year ahead and the exhibitions that I had either confirmed or was planning on confirming. As of this week the last of these exhibitions were locked in.

HB D25 6′ 30″ 24ºC 2018-01-20 #0033

I’m having an exhibition with Gary Sauer-Thompson at Atkins Photo lab as part of the SALA festival this year. Gary and I often collaborate while he visits Melbourne, and he has been writing about the work involved into the lead up to the SALA exhibition on his blog. Reading his blog entries on his last visit to Melbourne and looking at how successful his pictures were from the trip, I decided to revisit my already filed away proofs.  I was glad I did. While I didn’t rush off to make any small proof prints from that day, I noted there may be more possibilities on the contact sheets than I originally imagined.

HB D25 6′ 30″ 24ºC 2018-01-20 #0034

When I make pictures with a roll film camera like my Hasselblad 500cm, ideas often get mixed in with other projects, like the idea of topographic photography. So these contact sheets show me exploring an area I know well and have been visiting on and off for more than 20 years, plus newer ideas I’m experimenting with and older ideas like the new topographic movement. In this case it’s an idea about trees, tress as a metaphor, trees as a symbol and perhaps even a self-portrait. To track these ideas I usually make notes or lists of images and file these away for easy access in the future.

HB D25 6′ 30″ 24ºC 2018-01-20 #0035

I’m interested in surfaces as well and how they can be a replacement for maps. So with 3 roll film projects on the go those contact sheets from Gary’s last visit may turn out to be more fruitful than I imagined when I first hung them to dry in January.

HB D25 6′ 30″ 24ºC 2018-01-20 #0036

Unfortunately on this excursion in January I did not have any sheet film so I only used my roll film camera, as well as my iPhone.

As Gary notes in his blog, this area is now under rapid redevelopment as part of the metro tunnel infrastructure project, so there has become a sense of urgency around me making pictures in this area.

HB D25 6′ 30″ 24ºC 2018-01-20 #0037

When these pictures will see the light of day again is an unknown at this point. Of course underpinning all this work are the ideas expressed so eloquently by Robert Adams and others about our relationship to our environment and the redeeming qualities of art for everyone.

All the contact sheets above are labelled as they are in my broader system of analogue work, with camera acronym, HB = Hasselblad, Developer =  D25 [home-made] the time and temperature of development and date processed, along with a box, sequence number.

So a list of potential prints would like something like this:-

  • HB D25 6′ 30″ 24ºC 2018-01-20 #0033 FR 1, 4, & 6
  • HB D25 6′ 30″ 24ºC 2018-01-20 #0034 FR 2, 3, & 7

A couple of the images made with my iPhone appear below. This camera and the work I make from it is more problematic for me, as the books I’ve made from these images don’t seem to garner much attention in places like the Melbourne Art Book Fair.

IMG_7300 - Version 2
North Melbourne, 2018-01-20 10:36:30

These two pictures then just help my reader get a sense of where I am working in relation to the city that is called Melbourne.

IMG_7304 - Version 2
North Melbourne 2018-01-20 10:50:20

The lighting conditions on the day were challenging at best, appalling at worst, and something a small sensor device like an iPhone would normally struggle with. Thankfully I’m able to make raw files with this device and process them to the best of my ability with the software I currently use.


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