Morgan Roberts speaks with Speaks with Sam Attwood and Chloe Brescia of Raquet Film in Newfarm about everything from A to Tri-X ...
Morgan Roberts speaks with Speaks with Sam Attwood and Chloe Brescia of Raquet Film in Newfarm about everything from A to Tri-X ...
Well, I finally shot my sixtieth roll of almost entirely Kodak TRI-X 400 black and white film since starting all this film nonsense at the start of 2017. What a ride. I just picked up some Kodak Portra 160 35mm to shoot with my M7. Me and colour film have never quite jived because of things like scanning logistics and my penchant for crisp colour digitals, but I'm determined to duke it out and win.
In other news, I enrolled in a two day NIDA acting course (a boot camp more like it). Life is weird at the moment and I need to run off the graded track for a bit. #yolo?
Racquet Film began as a comission-free agency to help photographers make more money without paying fees. We've since expanded rapidly, with the opening of our full service lab (C41, B&W, E6 in 135, 120 and 220 formats, all done in-house). The demand for a public darkroom has become apparent, and the building directly next door of Racquet Film's lab and gallery is currently on hold. Racquet Film are willing to match the amount donated to cover the $18,000 bill to rent the space, and are taking donations to build a pro-grade darkroom that the entire Brisbane community can use. We'd be so greatful for any donation, big or small, whether it be money or darkroom equipment. Having spent four months in the shop, we've witnessed first hand the growth of film in Brisbane, and we want to continue to nurture this advancement, and think the expansion of services for the Racquet community is an amazing way to do this.
100% of the funds will go toward darkroom equipment, associated bills and the other expenses it takes to make a professional darkroom worthy of public use. As previously mentioned, any donations would be greatly appreciated, and we are truly passionate about advancing film photography in Brisbane (the old school way).
Thanks in advance for your support, and feel free to contact us with any questions or suggestions.
We chat with local Photographer & Creative Jack Gibson about his love of photography and his thoughts on his practice.
How do you get the person, place or thing that is in front of the camera onto the film, chip or paper in just the way you want?
Patience, timing and sometimes luck. I definitely feel that observation is an acquired skill and the more you practice, the better you get at predicting an outcome. As well as this, it’s knowing the capabilities and limitations of the equipment that I’m working with. I know that I have specific lenses or cameras that are suited to specific conditions. I find it’s a matter of learning the gear and then using it appropriately. For example, my mirrorless camera doesn’t shoot at high ISO or my portrait lens isn’t coated for specific light conditions.
Which photographers influenced you, and how did they influence your thinking, photographing, and career path?
I’ve spent countless hours listening to podcasts and interviews with various photographers from different backgrounds. I generally find that each individual has useful advice, regardless of whether they may shoot a similar style or something completely different to yourself. While I’ve taken notes from a whole range of working photographers who’s names I probably couldn’t remember now if I tried, there are definitely a few that I particularly hold in high regard. One of the most influential experiences for me personally was listening to Dan Milnor speak at a creative conference about 5 or so years ago. He shared his experiences from the field and some of his philosophy towards photography. This was definitely a turning point for me and inspired me to pursue what was only the start of a hobby at that point. Arto Saari is another favourite. I’ve always enjoyed his perspective and use of environment in his photography. Terry O’Neill, Richard Avedon and Jonathan Mannion for their portraiture. Beyond that, Elliott Erwitt is probably my all time favourite photographer and my favourite person to listen to.
Exactly what it is you want to say with your photographs, and how do you get your photographs to do that?
At this point there isn’t anything overly dramatic that I am trying to say through my photography. Day-to-day I like to focus on some of the smaller details that most people might overlook in their busy lives. Beyond that, I just try to take photos that portray the subject in their best light. I find that most people tend to judge themselves quite harshly or might be quite self conscious having their photograph taken. If the subject approves or is happy with the photo then I feel like I have succeeded. To make somebody feel good about them self through photography, to me, is quite an achievement. Overall, I’m really just enjoying taking photographs and improving my eye. If it ever turns into something more, thats great, if not, at least I’m having fun.
What was your creative path? How did you get from being an aspiring photographer to actually doing within your day job?
I’ve always had an interest in visual art and following my graduation from high school, undertook a creative degree at QUT. I had the opportunity to take a photography subject which was an area that I had always been interested in but didn’t really know how to approach. Within a month or so I had bought my first SLR. From that point I pursued photography as a hobby. Accompanied with perusals of graphic design, I was offered a role as a product photographer. From there, everything snowballed. I decided I wanted to improve as a photographer and started shooting for social media and developing a portfolio. As my interest in photography peaked, I experimented with various digital cameras, as well as some 35mm and 120mm.
What technology/software/camera gear do you use to keep focused on what you do best, as you photograph?
I shoot across a few different cameras but overall, simplicity works best for me. Having experimented with a range of digital and film cameras, I think I’m at a stage now where I’m fairly happy and comfortable with my setup. One 35mm, one medium format, mirrorless for street and SLR for product, studio and any other pursuit that requires speed and accuracy. I generally process through Lightroom with minimal adjustments. I definitely feel that the closer I can get to the final product in camera, the better.
How do you get paid to do what you want to do with your photography?
Luck and hard work. I’ve been lucky enough to know people who have provided me with work through my education and supported my progression as a creative/photographer over the past few years. Of course, I’ve worked hard to produce the highest standard of work possible and continue to try and raise the bar. I spend a lot of my spare time trying to improve which I think is necessary as a creative. I definitely have a passion for the craft that motivates me to work hard and continually improve, both for myself and for my employers.
What motivates you to continue taking pictures economically, politically, intellectually or emotionally?
I have always been more of an observer than participator. The older I get the more I accept and embrace this fact and I think that is what motivates me to keep shooting. I’ve found a pastime that coincides with my personality and has held my interest for quite a few years now. My greatest motivation now is to improve. I’d like to keep photography in the forefront of both my work and personal life and I believe I have a long way to go before I can confidently say that I‘m a “professional”. Whether I am getting paid or not, I’d still be taking photos. I guess that indicates that there’s an emotional side to the motivation.
Where would you like to be in 5 years …..?
It’s hard to say where I’d like to be specifically in five years. I feel like I’m still very much in the early stages as a photographer. There’s still a lot I want to learn and styles that I’d like to try. Having said that, five years is a considerable amount of time that I would happy dedicate to progression. I’ve heard Jonathan Mannion say a number of times that one defining difference between an average photographer and a great photographer is the knowledge of craft. This is one thought that has always stayed with me and I’d hope that in five years, I could be at a stage with my photography that exemplifies a strong knowledge and commitment to the craft.
Cheers Jack thanks for your time.
Interview by Patricia Karallis
Sydney based The Heavy Collective started as an online platform showcasing interviews, features and more with photographers whose work display a breadth of subjective and conceptual ideas. Continuing their format from online to offline, they successfully crowdfunded their first print edition and are back with Heavy Vol. II.
Featuring artists Irina Rozovsky, Joanna Piotrowska, Daniel Shea, Mark Peckmezian, Aglaia Konrad, Curran Hatleberg, Deanna Templeton, Dana Lixenberg, Susan Lipper, Stephen Shames, Yoshinori Mizutani and Katrin Koenning, the latest edition is ‘a compendium of contemporary photography focusing on the conversation; Heavy Volume II is in an exploration of image and text on the printed page'(1).
We spoke to founder Jack Harries about his beginnings with photography, his publishing and editing processes and future plans for The Heavy Collective.
Could you tell us a bit about your background and where your interest in photography came from?
I grew up in a creative environment, my mother was a painter and a sculpture and often used a camera. I taught myself photography as a teenager, but didn’t take it seriously until I was in my mid 20’s. I wasn’t great in school as a teen and ended up having my time there cut short; as much as The Heavy Collective is a space to spotlight other photographers work, it’s also been a way of giving myself the education I might of missed, albeit a very focused one.
YASHICA, Japanese Camera Brand since 1949, with almost 70 years experience in camera and optics development. After being silent for more than 10 years, we wake up with the unexpected. We are so proud to introduce the Unprecedented YASHICA Y35 Camera with the new system – digiFilm.
Coupled with the masterpiece design of the first electronic controlled shutter camera in the world, the YASHICA Electro 35, featuring with the Unprecedented digiFilm system, YASHICA Y35 camera brings in an extraordinary photography experience.
In both appearance and sensation, YASHICA Y35 recaptures the joy and meaning of analogue-photography but eliminating the time and expense required for film development.
Taste as analogue camera, need to load a “digiFilm” to create your album. A brief pause is required to wind on the film before shooting. At this millisecond of pulse, it grants us time to inspire and think, the exact moment the shutter snaps.
The innovative digiFilm system was created by YASHICA. It features a glass lens for super sharp photos, an advanced automatic mode that makes sure every shot is perfectly exposed with an aperture of 2.8 as well as lot of creative digiFilm.
We develop different “digiFilm” with its unique style and distinct effect. Designed for high quality images of different style such as ISO 1600 High Speed, ISO 400 Black & White, 120 format of 6x6 images and ISO 200 Ultra Fine. What’s more…? Lot of different digiFilms are coming to give photographers more opportunities to experiment and create beautiful images in different styles.
YASHICA digiFilm Camera is a mean of capturing moments at your will. Randomness in a photo is never reckless, minimalist is never simple and leaving blank is never empty. Even the smallest scenery can have the biggest impact. What pours life into the images is the Y35, digiFilm Camera, and the eyes behind the viewfinder.
With Member Nick Bedford
In a recent video, I was asked how I shot and merged my panoramic landscape photographs. In this video, I explain how to set up your tripod for the most accurate series of frames in a series that can then be brought into Adobe Lightroom and stitched using the Merge to Panorama feature.
Cameras: Nikon D810 & Leica M Typ 240 Lenses: Sigma ART 50mm F1.4 & Leica 35mm Summarit f/2.5 Filters: 82mm Kenko Circular Polariser Tripod: Manfrotto Befree with Novoflex Panning Base Shot on Panasonic LUMIX LX10 with RODE SmartLav+ lapel mic. Edited in Final Cut Pro X.
Source (Nick Bedford Youtube)
It's shown me in recent weeks and months that I'll never achieve these things I desire without room to fail, room to learn in the deep end and room to accept the rough weather, literally and figuratively.
YouTube and Instagram can be a dangerous time sink. Dangerous to your sense of contentment with a so-called "normal life" — aka going to work during the week, going on a bit of a morning hike on the weekends, grabbing coffee with friends, seeing a band and so on. Dangerous because those two particular platforms have become a massive inspiration to people, photographers or not.
Millions can all experience fear of missing out in unison, and that can't be a good thing. Watching other people do what you're not can be a source of anxiety amongst people, and I'm no stranger to its effects, but knowing that this is a thing, can I justify my own insatiable need for wanderlust?
Who are you?
I’m a civil engineer working for a large government department delivering large infrastructure projects. Which, although it requires a certain kind of creativity, is a fair way away from a hotbed of the visual arts.
What’s your photographic history?
In another universe, my Dad would perhaps have been an inventor or mad-scientist. He was (and is) a person who is deeply into his hobbies and someone who has modified, customized or somehow ‘improved’ everything that he has ever owned. I grew up in a house where that mysterious thing under the dust-cover on top of Mum and Dad’s wardrobe eventually turned out to be an enlarger and the unusual goings-on in the laundry revealed themselves as developing and printing. I don’t think I was ever allowed to use Dad’s cameras but I do have great memories of taking Mum’s Olympus EES-2 half-frame camera to a school camp in Grade 6 – I still have that camera and it’s still working too.
Through my adult life I’ve always taken photos, but around five or six years ago I made a conscious decision to spend some more time stretching my creative side through photography – I’m still not sure exactly what that means but I am continuing to explore it.
Why do you shoot?
I once had a friend describe a collection of my photos as my “work” and I laughed. Photography, for me, is the opposite of work – it’s something I do for my own enjoyment and my brain is in a very different space to where it is in my day job. I’m very much process rather than product focussed – while I certainly care about what I’m trying to produce, my enjoyment comes from the process and the memories the final product captures rather than just the photographic artifact itself.
What do you shoot?
My photographic life is quite dichotomous.
On one hand, I really enjoy being by myself and being outdoors.
Landscape photography is a great fit for me. I really do like leaving home at ridiculous hours and running up mountains in the dark to try and beat the sunrise. This year I even had the opportunity to jump off some waterfalls, swim through rock pools and generally re-visit my teenage self to discover some amazing light in the bottom of Rocky Creek Canyon in the Blue Mountains. Occasionally I take some great images but, mostly my enjoyment comes from the planning, the physical effort required and the anticipation that maybe, this time, the light will do its thing for me. My landscape process is now mostly done digitally, not because it can’t be done on film but more because I lack the patience and skill to get consistent results.
On the other hand, I also enjoy just wandering around and shooting film.
I think my enjoyment of film has to do with physically creating a tangible artifact that reflects a moment in time. At all points of the process you can touch, see or smell a physical thing and I’m endlessly amazed by the chemical technology that goes into realizing an image. I develop my own black and white and occasionally color in the laundry – sometimes there are total darkroom disasters but mostly I get pretty good results.
We return you to our normal scheduling now. Apologies for the tall verticals. I've been shooting a lot more of them since I began printing my work. Printing has given me a much greater appreciation for the notion of creating art in photography, to the point where I'm composing differently and "for the print".
I've finally developed all of my latest rolls of film from before and during my Japan trip. Here's everything worth sharing. I did shoot a decent amount of colour, but it's off for developing so I think I'll just use that in my essay in the near future.
I haven't touched my digital cameras in a while. TRI-X is bizarre and great and full of sand-like grain and I love it. My binder of negatives is growing, but I'm finding that some genres of photography I practice are better suited to high resolution colour raw files, so I've decided to pick up my Leica M again and use that for colour work where appropriate.
As for Japan, I think I've settled on a good gear compromise that is also very lean. I'll be taking my Leica M Typ 240 and M7 bodies and swap over the 35mm lens when I want to shoot TRI-X sometimes.
Enjoy some pictures though. It's a pretty wild variation in this blog.
Congratulations to the winners of the 2016 MC Photo Comp! We hope you enjoy the bragging rights and the big fat novelty cheques worth $5K. There was some ridiculous talent for us to fight about in the judging process this year, so a huge thank you to everyone who entered. Until next year amigos.
Source image Fallen Broken Street Girls Winner – Narika Mckenzie)
Just a taste of the awesomeness which is VICE Photo ISSUE 2016. Get it while you can, (unless you live in Brisbane where there is NO distribution at all, go figure) until then feast your eyes on a few stills by Magdalena Switek, just one of the many story's which appear in The 2016 Photo Issue of VICE magazine.
Though Polish photographer Magdalena Switek only began shooting in 2009, she has already become known for her distinctive style, a brooding, dreamlike mixture of street and documentary photography, all black-and-white. She often intermingles among these photos images of her daughter, showing her as she grows up, as Switek describes it, "her body balancing on the borderline between innocence and guilt, between unawareness and awareness."
Street photographs from Brisbane, Australia throughout 2015 and 2016. All shot on Leica M Typ 240, Summarit 35mm f/2.5 and processed with VSCO Film 01's Ilford HP5+ and Kodak TRI-X presets.
The Zeiss Icon, although discontinued, can still be found floating around the traps from time to time. Alex Bowler is one such lucky fellow who puts it through its paces often. He has paired it up with the always spectacular Zeiss 35mm f/2 Biogon lens. I always was so impressed with Cosina's (maker of Zeiss icon & Voigtlander) viewfinder. So much more brighter than my Leica M6.
Alex today (yesterday) posted the short video 'above' to his Instagram account. I asked if I could do a quick post and he said yep. So here we are, the actual final image is below along with some others using the same camera set up. Check out his work on his Instagram & Tumblr accounts. There are a few more examples like the video above among his feed.
This post will be small (like the exhibition it covers) but hopefully it brings some colour to your day.
Right, so - Eggleston. We know him as the father of colour photography. Before Eggleston, colour was reserved for cheap drug-store developments and high class advertising for the American cigarette and makeup companies of the 1960s. But that was about to change.
After shooting on black and white for many years prior to 1965, Eggleston was introduced to colour transparencies by fellow artist William Christenberry. However, the leap from average transparencies to the images we know today came after Eggleston was studying a Chicago photo lab's price list and stumbled upon dye-transfer printing. The saturation and quality of the colours were astounding and applying this method to his images, Eggleston led the way with a new use of colour.
Here in the culturally bustling city of Brisbane, we are fortunate enough to play host to three of these works. In the beautiful GoMA building (no sarcasm this time), on the second level, round the bend and to the left there are three - and only three - of Eggleston's images hanging proudly in the gallery space. I liked how humbly the images reside, drawing in views with the casual contemplation of the subjects and the artists obvious sensitivity to the ordinary and mundane for which he is known. There are plenty of articles on how the use of snap-shot style images and the concept of a 'democratic camera' are incorporated to capture Eggleston's subjects in such an emotive way, but for me, standing in a Brisbane's GoMA, these images made me curious. Not about the photographic technique but of the subject's stories; characters left in the 70s, captured in such a candid, perfectly displaced moment. And it's this element that firmly makes these portraits worth seeing.
Hardback book of portraits available here
HOT RINSE is a visual diary of culture, tones, and showering techniques that I will never forget. The zine was created from a five day family road trip around Israel with a quick journey into Jordan.
Limited edition of 15 copies
Paperback & perfect bound
A5 landscape & 100 pgs
300gsm recycled cover stock
115gsm recycled body stock
Digital four colour print
98 colour + bw photographs
Last week, Hannah from the club headed to Brisbane's GoMA to have a look at some of Cindy's Sherman's work currently exhibiting in the Fairfax Gallery. Here's what she had to say...
For the formal grumblings and summary of exhibition scroll to the bottom. For candid opinion, keep reading.
From the perspective of an art student the exhibition was great, Sherman translates her intended message really well to the viewer and does an ace job of manufacturing characters and communicating their stories, not unlike a painter might. GoMA's curating team also deserves a round of applause for their selection of an exhibition that's both starkly relevant 'right now' yet can be understood and enjoyed by Brisbane's (let's face it slightly culturally-naive) general public.
However, for those of you who are used to viewing more traditional forms of portraiture or social doc, Sherman's series may fall short. For me, good photography is the capturing of a real moment, expression or emotion and the photographer's skill is in not only their technical ability with their camera but more-so their ability to frame the moment to give the viewer all the necessary information in a single frame. So although photography is Sherman's main medium, for me this exhibition was definitely a visual art piece. So if you love Sherman then by all means you will love this exhibition, it definitely includes some of her best work. However, for those not familiar- this is not a photography exhibition, it's an instillation of an artist who uses photography to communicate a prefabricated idea.
Now for those grumblings...
GoMA's exhibition of Cindy Sherman focuses on Sherman's work from 2000 onward where she returns as the subject of her photographs. Throughout you observe Sherman's transition from film to digital image and the use of software to add, subtract and manipulate the image to achieve a desired narration, reflecting the artist's perspective on the synthetic nature of our image-driven society and false concept of identity. Stepping into the gallery space you enter a room filled with the portraits of women. As your eyes scan the frames you make vague deductions about the lives of the subjects- American, vain, Christian. It's not unlike social media really- How we do love to judge or more to the point- how we fear our own judgement. 'Head shots' opens the exhibition, the faces of aspiring actresses and models gleaming and glaring at the viewer from all walls, appealing to every stereotype of a middle-aged, middle-class woman.
'Society Portraits 2008' have a slightly different story to tell, whilst the representation of more mature women in our extreme youth-driven culture can become a controversial topic, this series shows the characters of older women, matrons and trophy-wives standing adorned in pearls and lush fabrics in the settings of their mansions; possessions supporting their place in higher society. Yet the hollowness of the characters is profound. The 'Society Portraits' were captured prior to 2008's Global Financial Crisis, however in light of this event the images take on different tone, accentuating the excess of such a lifestyle. Excess is a theme that continues into Sherman's new works of 2016, where early Hollywood acts as muse. The sequinned and feathered subject's full lives are evident in their clothing whilst the hard times that follows from 1920's depression resonated through background and the figure's expressions.
Finally the over-shadowing murals of the exhibition centers the space and creates a link or bulb from which each room pivots off. The larger than life figures gaze at you from their pedestals as you attempt to interpret their dress and mood. They were the last thing I viewed before making my way to the exit and their placement really grounds the exhibition, aligning Sherman's works so that on exiting the gallery you feel satisfied with it's intent.