Bibelots

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Tag: photography

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.

Cracked wide open

greenhouses in a row, black and white photoIn the next couple of weeks we’ll be having an opening night and I’ll be giving an artist’s talk for a group photographic exhibition. As well, I’ll be doing my first live reading of an unpublished short story.

Somehow these creative pursuits have all snuck up on me. Or sneakily come out into the open. It doesn’t seem that long ago that most of this was hidden comfortably inside.

I don’t know when it started, although with words it grew from my love of reading. Photography is from watching and appreciating too. From there the story gets more complicated. When did it all turn outward?

I don’t think I want to overanalyse it, but I do want to take a moment to appreciate it.

Some years ago I was told to take a personality test. Oh, yes. You know the sort of thing I mean. I can hear you groaning.

It tagged me as ‘not the creative type’. Whatever that means. When people wield clipboards at you like this it’s best to laugh and back slowly away.

Next time someone tells you that you’re something you are not, do one of two things. Do you not like what you hear? Make sure you take it as personal insult and allow it to drive you to make it totally untrue. If you like it, roll with it and make it your own.

We all have our natural inclinations, but it doesn’t have to be the whole of us. Dig deep, encourage that sense of wonder and see what happens.

You might be surprised by what you unearth.

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

www.hatpeople.com.au/exhibitions/

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