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Tag: images

House of film – The Black Rose

A personal note

This is not a review of Trent Parke’s magnificent and sombre work, but a gentle personal impression.

This last week found me once again in the beautiful halls of the Art Gallery of South Australia, seeing Trent Parke’s ‘The Black Rose’.

One series of images from the exhibition showed a defrosting snake next to a demolishing house – ‘The house of film’.

For me, the house of film was about decay and destruction. It was one of many series and images in the exhibition that flirted with the same theme.

I won’t say more than that. It’s early in the exhibition’s run and I wouldn’t want to spoil it for anyone else. I will say that if you go, take your time. And go more than once. There’s a lot to take in.

In the same week, I also went to hear Trent’s talk with exhibition curators Julie Robinson and Maria Zagala and guest speakers Alasdair Foster, freelance art writer and curator, and Bronwyn Rennex, Director of Stills Gallery.

The combination of this talk and Trent’s artwork is an incredibly generous gift.

In addition to the particular sombre beauty of the exhibition, it was heartening for me personally. I live, with a lovely man, in a house of film. The formats come in all manner of sizes, but mostly bear shades that fall between black and white. While I usually shoot 35mm, I’m just as happy with the digital format and am willing to try whatever works. To see and hear that an accomplished creative photographer like Trent is happy to mix media – 35mm, large format and digital – was wonderful. It provided a personal connection to an incredible artist.

It didn’t stop there.

Think of your favourite artist. Is it van Gogh? Van Dyck? Imagine visiting their hometown, seeing their work, understanding that you held the same sort of brush and . . . then there’s an image. An image of a place you’ve been. A place that perhaps you even tried to capture.

For me, that image was ‘Pirate Ship’ at St. Kilda.

I’ve stood there. Same stones. Same sky. But that guy stood there too. He came out of his house of film and captured my world. And then he turned it around and showed it to me.

A more vivid and unforgettable reaction to a piece of art I couldn’t imagine.

Art at its very, very best.

Trent Parke, once again, has found the extraordinary in the ordinary.

A note for educators: for those interested in seeing the exhibition with a study group or class I can heartily recommend Trent Parke, The Black Rose, Education Resource PDF, prepared by the Art Gallery of South Australia.

Creative photography in the vanishing north

The last few months have seen me spending more time writing for other people’s projects and not so much for the little Bibelots. As well, I’ve been getting ready for a group photographic exhibition as part of completing my creative photography studies at the Centre for Creative Photography.

Our exhibition launches Friday the 7th of March at the National Wine Centre. I hope you can come along.

What follows is my artist’s statement for that endeavour. Enjoy.

Artist’s Statement: The Vanishing North

landscape with telegraph poles and a creek“…all land, no matter what has happened to it, has over it a grace, an absolutely persistent beauty.” from the artist’s statement for ‘The New West’, by Robert Adams, 1974

The world is changing. It always has been, even when we were so young we thought it would stay the same forever. The landscape, unlike the continent beneath it, changes so rapidly and so thoroughly that if you don’t pay attention you won’t see it happen. These changes are at times beautiful, but more often they are ordinary and urbane, if not ugly. 
Too often, they are irreversible.

As houses fill in the horizon, what space is left for contemplation? And is what remains beautiful or is it scarred? Look to the landscape that I grew up with. The landscape of memory can sometimes purify how things really were. It wasn’t pristine, but it was productive. It wasn’t grandiose or heroic. It was a place that people worked and lived. It was as diverse as the stories of the people that lived there.

The memory of this place is still there, out North and North-West, but it’s vanishing. And to find it, the whole story of it, I had to go beyond my own backyard.

It was only a short journey, but it was a long way back in time.

Find out more

Morguefile – perhaps not quite what you think

This is the first brief article in the ‘pint-size’ post series, where I’ll be trying to keep it snappy.

Have you heard of the term ‘morgue file’ before?  If you have you’ve probably worked at a newspaper Cut to the chase:
an image resource, free for use in creative projects.
or in an archives department.  Or possibly even a morgue.  Don’t laugh. I’ve done that, so who is to say that you haven’t?

Originally, a morgue file meant a folder that held all the old notes, articles and other paraphernalia that criminal investigators and reporters kept.

In this case, however, I’m talking about all the source files of a creative project, digital or otherwise.  Let me introduce:

The morguefile contains photographs freely contributed by many artists to be used in creative projects …

What a wonderful notion – and resource.  And a quite different idea to the creative commons images available on Flickr.  Not heard of that?  Ah, well that’s one for the ideas box and a story for another day.  As is the reason I find so very, very useful.

The point is that if you are not wanting to maintain the original image, but radically – or slightly – alter it for your own design or educational needs, then this is the place for you.  On all of the images I’ve made use of so far, the license has been:

You are allowed to copy, distribute, transmit the work and to adapt the work. Attribution is not required. You are prohibited from using this work in a stand alone manner.

screenshot of the morgue file website

Morguefile: where photo reference lives, original by Alivmann

How can you not love that?  Not only are you encouraged to modify the image, but you are prohibited from using it stand alone.  Attribution is a nicety – and one I have done in this article, as I have only slightly modified the original.  When I’ve used an image and hugely distorted it from the original, I’ve left it unattributed. I’m sure the original author is grateful to me for that.

Go on.  What are you waiting for?  Open up the morgue file and get a little creative.

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