It has been a while since I posted anything on my blog as life has been pretty hectic lately. I’ve finally finished my degree and have been accepted into a Masters programme so next year it’s going to get a little ‘crazy’. In the last couple of months I’ve taken a couple of alternative photographic processes workshops at The Analogue Laboratory. Firstly, there was the Dry Plate workshop where we learned how to make our own emulsion on glass that once dry, can be placed into the camera. Initially we used a box brownie and then upgraded to a Speed Graphic using different sizes of glass. Not all the plates were successful…it is definately a trial and error process.
‘Waratah’ Bromochloride emulsion (ISO6) on dry glass plate
The above plate was one of the better outcomes from the workshop. Unfortunately, I don’t have a great scanner so the photo is not that clear but you get the idea. Making the emulsion is quite time consuming but if you make a large enough batch, you can coat quite a few plates (depending on the size) and store them until use.
The plate was then printed using the Albumen process. As many of you that dabble in alternative processes already know, albumen is the white part of an egg. Good quality printmaking paper is coated in the albumen solution and left to dry. The paper is then soaked in 70% denatured alcohol to harden the albumen to the paper. Once dry, it is coated in a 12-15% silver nitrate solution and again, left to dry. Then it’s just a matter of choosing your negative (glass plate, large format negative or digital negative) to use. The negative is placed on top of the paper, put into a contact frame and then placed into the sun for the exposure. Albumen printing is not a quick process as the albumen solution needs to made at least a week prior to use. Results vary depending on the type of negative used and the exposure time. That’s the fun with alternative processes…it may be time consuming but the results are worth it.
Last weekend I was fortunate to attend a cyanotype party with like-minded alternative photography enthusiasts. For a small payment, the paper and chemicals (and a wonderful lunch) were provided by local photographic artists James Tylor and Alice Blanch at their Adelaide residence. Although we had to chase the sun around for the afternoon, we all managed to produce a number of quality prints from both traditional negatives and found objects.
A wonderful reference for alternative photographic processes is the book by Christopher James ‘The Book of Alternative Photographic Processes’ which is available here. I’m also attending more workshops later this year at The Analogue Lab which has now relocated to The Mill in the heart of the city of Adelaide.
Last Sunday I was fortunate enough to attend a workshop on Pinhole Photography at The Analogue Laboratory. 6 fun-filled hours of wandering around with a pinhole camera and having a play in the darkroom….aahh bliss.
Alex Bishop-Thorpe and Aurelia Carbone are two very talented Adelaide artists who run this facility within the Fontanelle Gallery and Studio complex at Bowden, South Australia. It is an artist run space that specialises in traditional and experimental photographic techniques and they often run workshops. This recent workshop was the first that I had attended and I hope to attend others later in the year.
Here are some of the images that sprouted from this workshop. Not masterpieces by any means, but examples of photo image making using what you have at hand. Alex made us all a 4 x 5 pinhole camera to use on the day out of MDF and rubber bands. I also made a camera out of a paint tin. Through trial and error it is possible to produce decent images using a pinhole camera.
4 x 5 pinhole camera
pinhole panoramas using a paint tin as the camera
I’ve also just bought myself a panoramic pinhole lomo camera which I’m yet to use. Looking forward to getting out and seeing what I can come up with.
Details about The Analogue Laboratory can be found here
The next Worldwide Pinhole Photography Day is April 28 2013. Details available here
Again, I apologise for the lack of posts. I’ve been so busy with study and work that every spare moment has been taken up with other things beside blogging. So…I’ve finished the body of work that I recently exhibited for the Graduate Show. This work follows on from the those images (see previous post) that I was working on earlier in the year. The concept and imagery hasn’t changed so I decided to research photographic processes and presentation methods. How could I make these images more interesting? I managed to get stuck in a bit of a rut until I stumbled upon a box of expired photographic paper at the house during one of my visits. Considering I had plenty of digital images and that decisions needed to be made, I turned a selection of these images into digital negatives and printed them in the darkroom, onto the paper I had found. Limited to 10 x 8 inch in size, these images became artefacts…small captured memories of the home. I loved being back in the darkroom too. This experience has definitely persuaded me to return to film and alternative photographic processes. Now that the degree is completed, I’m going to take a study break and build up my portfolio (and bank balance) and apply for honours in 2014.
These are only 3 of the 6 images that I exhibited. The image itself was only printed at 5 x 4 inches with an exposed black border and floated inside a box frame without a matt. There was a lot of trial and error in getting the result I wanted with the nuances in the image focus due to the variations in contact between the negative and photographic paper.
Now that I have more time to contribute to my arts practice, I’ll post much more often about my own work as well as other artists that I find inspiring.
All images by Kylie Macey 2012
Sorry it’s been so long between posts. The final year of my degree has kept me very busy and I’ve had little time for blogging pursuits. I just wanted to let you know what I’ve been working on. I need to shoot a series of images for assessment and to exhibit by the end of October. I am currently documenting the life of a person close to me who has very little time left…I began this series by photographing his home and belongings as a way of documenting the person without photographing him personally. I see it as a documented biography shown through the comfort of home.
These images are only a starting point for further exploration. I hope to further delve into his past and uncover what he believes have been the standout experiences of his long life. Although I have been currently shooting digitally, I hope to produce the final selection of images using monochrome film.
excerpt from artists statement:
Gaston Bachelard discusses the virtue of the shelter in his book ‘The Poetics of Space’ and it’s this philosophy that has been adapted for this series of images, based around the home of a dear family friend. Childhood memories of visiting this place as a child are vivid. It’s only returning as an adult that many of the objects that were naively dismissed in the past are revealed to have intimate stories behind them. A well-worn chair, a painting of a raging sea or a well trodden garden path come together to form a narrative of both the house and its occupant.
But what becomes of this place once the owner has left? If a person knows that they have little time left on this earth, what becomes of the objects left behind? What began as a series about childhood memory and space resulted in a documentary about home and the objects within. The images become a preservation of the now, the capture of the still-life behind a beating heart. Once this heart stops, only the images left behind will remind us of what there once was.
I was also lucky enough to have one of these images selected to exhibit in a group show during SALA (South Australian Living Artists) Festival during August. I hope to post more of my images as the series progresses.
All images by Kylie Macey.
Annie Hogan’s artwork explores the complex and evolving relationships, past and present, between people and the spaces we inhabit. Her work has evolved out of a persistent curiosity about interior spaces, how people inhabit them and their relationship to the body. Through saturated colour and skewed perspective she reveals arterial spaces of the in-between that momentarily enclose the body yet allows for departure through open portals of light.
I came across Annie’s work during my research for my own body of work. As I’m in my graduate year, I have to come up with a body of new work to exhibit by the end of the academic year. My lecturer mentioned Hogan after seeing some of my preliminary images from a month ago…nothing spectacular by any means but at least I’m heading in the right direction as the basis for Hogan’s work correlates similarly to the series of images I’m currently working on. We both focus on the domestic interior as a container of time, natural light and the absence of human presence. The following images were taken on the day my parents moved out of my childhood home. Completely empty of furniture, it evoked in me a sense of loss as it would be the last time I would set foot in this house.
I chose to photograph these rooms at the last-minute using the only camera I had with me…my camera phone. I hope to post more images as I go.
More of Annie’s work can be seen at her site here.
A couple of entries ago I posted about my first 5 favourite photographers of all time. Here is the next installment:
6. Olive Cotton
Olive Edith Cotton (1911-2003) is regarded as one of the pioneers of Australian modernist photography. However, her work is distinct from the boldness and dramatic compositions of other modernists, because it is characterised by a gentleness and tranquility. Her career spanned more than six decades, but was punctuated by a forty-year absence from the art scene. Despite this, she never stopped taking photos. I particular like the above image Papyrus taken in 1938 but she is probably most known for her image Tea Cup Ballet that she made in 1935. More information about Cotton and her work can be found here.
7. William Eggleston
William Eggleston (born July 27, 1939) is an American photographer. He is widely credited with securing recognition for colour photography as a legitimate artistic medium to display in art galleries. Eggleston has a unique ability to find beauty, and striking displays of colour, in ordinary scenes. A dog trotting toward the camera; a Moose lodge; a woman standing by a rural road; a row of country mailboxes; a convenience store; the lobby of a Krystal fast-food restaurant — all of these ordinary scenes take on new significance in the rich colors of Eggleston’s photographs. He has the ability to turn the banal into something extraordinary, his use of colour sublime. More information about his work can be found here.
8. Sally Mann
Sally Mann (born in Lexington, Virginia, 1951) is one of America’s most renowned photographers. In the past Mann has courted controversy with very moving and often candid photographs of her own children. I admire her work not only for its beauty but Mann works with collodion glass plates that she coats herself…an arduous process where she must work the plates while still damp using a large format bellows camera. She is one of just a few photographers that has mastered this age-old technique. The result is a crispness in her black and white images that can’t be achieved with regular film. More of her work can be found here.
9. Tokihiro Sato
Tokihiro Sato is a Japanese artist who long exposure photographs connote the passage of time, a performance and the artist’s own body in space. Sato keeps the shutter open for long periods of an hour or more and travels throughout the landscape in the field of view while marking his path with flashlights or mirrors causing the light effects that you see in his images. A relatively simple technique executed well. More information about Sato’s work can be found here.
10. Martin Parr
Martin Parr (born 1952) is a British documentary photographer and photojournalist. He is known for his photographic projects that take a critical look at aspects of modern life, in particular provincial and suburban life in England. Parr’s approach to documentary photography is intimate, anthropological and satirical. Using high-saturation colour film, and recently digital allow him to put his subjects “under the microscope” in their own environment, giving them space to expose their lives and values in ways that often involve inadvertent humour. Recently Parr was invited to Australia by FotoFreo Festival director Bob Hewitt to photograph 3 Western Australian port cities. The documentary video can be seen here. More information about Parr’s work can be seen here.