Tuesday, March 2, 2010

March Brings Memories of McCullin

At 75, Don McCullin forsakes war for change, rich and strange
Bob Davis, an Australian documentary photographer based in Hong Kong http://www.bobdavis-photographer.com/(Faces of Japan - Kodansha 1978) recently sent me this link to an intriguing BBC interview with Don McCullin http://new.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/entertainment/arts and culture/8561259.stm which suggested that the celebrated war photographer was now seeing the world very differently. In a recent exhibition held at Britain's Imperial War Museum to celebrate the veteran combat photojournalist's 75th birthday, McCullin revealed a more contemplative side to the dark vision that has brought us the horror, and savage poetry, of war for over four decades. (One should also not forget McCullin's 1969 picture of a starving Albino Biafran child was a source of inspiration for the French doctor who created Medecins Sans Frontieres) In this current display, and a forthcoming book "Southern Frontiers" McCullin's lens addresses architectural vestiges of the Roman Empire - not as clinically observed historical monuments - but places where one also senses a human presence, of either ruler or slave, within epic ruins. Remarkably, the first thought that came to mind looking at McCullin's latest pictures was their resemblance to vast theatrical or film sets. But these were, of course, locations where real historical dramas unfolded many centuries ago. Photographing across Lebanon, Syria and North Africa, McCullin predictably observes that these sites could not have been created without human suffering, "it took thousands of people who perished in quarries ..." says the photographer as he movingly acknowledges the blood and sweat that must have been shed creating these now faded echoes of the Roman Empire. This photographer also revealed a new awareness of light's poetic qualities in these intriguing, timeless landscapes."I had to make a marriage of the light," he says enigmatically at one point in the BBC interview.
(Southern Frontiers, A Journey Across the Roman Empire (2010, ISBN: 9780224087087) by Don McCullin was published on 4th March 2010 as a large format hardback by Jonathan Cape at £50. The text was provided by Barnaby Rogerson.)
Receiving Lessons From a Master
As a young Australian photographer working in London in 1970 I met Don McCullin only once, at the Hampstead gym where British champion Heavyweight boxer Henry Cooper was deep into his training to fight a young, athletic giant named Joe Bugner - in a bout that would be Cooper's last before retiring. Looking back, the stages of my career and McCullin's could not have been at more opposite points. My generation revered McCullin's apparent fearlessness in capturing poetic, moving images of conflict around the world. I was a novice photojournalist, newly arrived overland from Australia, struggling to get my first picture into print in Britain. Another Australian expatriate Norman Hall, then well established as the Picture Editor of the London Times (pictured, below L, in his office), had given me my first assignment -photographing Cooper. I arrived at the gym full of anticipation, hoping I might finally make a picture whose publication would mean, after having just completed an arduous journey overland to Britain from Burma (with Australian artist Kate Burness) I was at least working in London. (I would also be 12 British pounds richer!) In contrast McCullin, accompanied by a friend, seemed bored. In the brief conversation we had, he revealed he would much rather have been back in Vietnam covering the war but in the meantime the Sunday Times newspaper had commissioned him to photograph Cooper. The dour, veteran British boxer then stepped into the ring and began his grinding routine of shadow boxing before climbing back through the ropes to pound the heavy (punching) bag. McCullin (pictured above R) was neatly dressed in a dark suit with a handkerchief carefully placed in his top pocket, and carried a black Nikon F SLR around his neck with, presumably, a pocket full of film. (a second Nikon F materialised later) My memory records him as working quickly, concisely and very directly with the great boxer, only stopping occasionally to reach into a pocket for a different lens, or another roll of film. One moment McCullin was close to Cooper concentrating on a close-up and in the next instant had stepped back to make a more environmental observation. I soon realised I was witnessing a clinic on the agile visual grammar of photojournalism that McCullin (in picture at L in corner, camera raised) then employed. I stopped to watch for a while, then had to resume making my own pictures. When I did look around again, McCullin had gone. Cooper paused in his shadowboxing, leaned over the ropes and said, "my sparring partner had to leave. Fancy a round?" Though I was slightly fitter in my youth and had once received a few boxing lessons, I politely declined, having witnessed Cooper's brutal skills, and left.

RECEIVED MOMENTS opens at Fotofreo next weekend
A few days before my touring retrospective reaches Fotofreo http://www.fotofreo.com/ in Fremantle next weekend, ABC Online Arts journalist Jenny Blain has posted this generous, thoughtful appraisal of the show in her blog http://www.abc.net.au/arts/stories/s2845940.htm

Seminal "6 Photo
graphers" show reappears, after 55 years, at the Art Gallery of NSW
One of the most influential exhibitions of Australian photography has been revived, fifty five years after it was first shown at Sydney’s David Jones Art Gallery, in a new display at the AGNSW. www.artgallery.nsw.gov.au The six artists, Kerry Dundas, David Potts, Axel Poignant, Max Dupain, Hal Missingham and Gordon Andrews sought to express, as AGNSW Assistant Curator of Photography Elizabeth Maloney writes in her catalogue essay, “a desire for change and a new vitality ... (seeking) new directions for artistic expression ...” Mostly, but not exclusively documentary in flavour, the display also reveals David Potts’ surprising taste for abstract colour exploration (pictured R), made during his sojourn in 1950's London while working for LIFE, the OBSERVER and Picture POST. With work of great compositional strength by Kerry Dundas (pictured, above) as well as Axel Poignant’s unsentimental observations of indigenous tribal life (pictured L) this chapter of Australian photographic history should not go unread. Until March 7.

Jeff Carter's Last Silver Prints at Moss Green
How did I miss this? Just spoke to photographer Jeff Carter (pictured R, in 1999, at home on his Foxground Farm) www.jeffcarterphotos.com - a wonderfully insightful documentarian for over six decades of country life in Australia (as well as in its cities) and he reminded me that his final exhibition of traditionally made silver gelatin prints, the last he has personally printed in his darkroom (now closed) in rural Foxground, New South Wales, are on show at Moss Green http://www.mossgreen.com.au/gallery/current.asp in Melbourne. With just over a week to run, do not miss experiencing the unique spirit that inhabits Carter's photographs of Australia, far and wide. There is also a link on the Moss Green site (above) to an excellent report from the now sadly defunct Channel 9 Sunday programme (produced by Catherine Hunter and narrated by distinguished actor Max Cullen) that reveals more about this unique Australian artist. Until March 6

Y STACEY - 'Up the Cross'
In 1971 Ellis and Stacey collaborated on a book about arguably Australia’s most notorious suburb, Sydney’s King’s Cross. Sadly Ellis died in 2003 but his pictures have been well preserved in the Rennie Ellis Photographic Archive www.RennieEllis.com.au ably run by Manuela Furci and the photographer’s widow, Kerry Oldfield Ellis. Both Wesley Stacey and Rennie Ellis shared a free, engaging vision of life in the Cross and this display at the Museum of Sydney http://www.hht.net.au/museums/mos again demonstrates this organisation’s knowledgeable support and affection for social documentary photography. From February 20 to August 8

Tali Udovich, Director of Blender Gallery, www.blender.com.au continues her love affair with rock with a tribute to seminal band AC/DC, currently on their sell-out tour of Australia. Not only does Udovich's exhibition address their legendary culture of performance, but she also includes moments of bone-honest backstage counterpoint, such as this gentle observation (pictured) by Rennie Ellis showing a happy, clearly exhausted Bon Scott (with Angus Young) in an Atlanta, Georgia dressing room during their 1978 tour of the United States. Until March 2

Sam Haskins has left us. (1926-2009)
The influential photographer Sam Haskins (most famous for his book Cowboy Kate - pictured at R) died on November 25, 2009 at his home in Bowral, New South Wales. I belatedly received this sad news in an email from Simon Elliot of the National Gallery which also contained this text which the photographer's son Ludwig Haskins, had posted on his father's blog http://www.samhaskinsblog.com/?p=726
"Sam Haskins died last night. He was severely depressed after his stroke in New York in September and I suspect he suffered another smaller stroke after his return to Australia. In an act that was entirely out of character with his consistent celebration of living large, art and beauty, Sam took his own life.

Alida is being cared for by friends and Oren and I are flying to Australia as soon as possible.

I genuinely thought he would pull out of his post stroke depression, I had always watched him overcome challenges with a combination of intelligence, know how, buckets of creative talent and extraordinary discipline. Unfortunately the stroke on September 19th, the day his show opened at Milk Gallery, damaged the right side of his brain and he never recovered his emotional stability.

It is always a wrenching loss to see great minds and great artists departing but Sam had a recent blessing, his last rock star moment, in New York, with the huge success of his Fashion Etcetera book launch and exhibition. That recent high note was made especially poignant by the photographers, both from New York and those who came to Manhattan from all over the world, to tell Sam that they had embarked on their careers because of his books. We lost count of the number of times that was said.

Sam's fellow professionals and fans showed him enormous warmth, love and respect in New York - those memories are very fresh in my mind - and I want to thank the people concerned.

I will post an obituary later. Ludwig Haskins (Sam's son)"

British Mountaineer/Photographer Alfred Gregory dies in Melbourne at 96

Julie Millowick has informed me the photographer who documented the British 1953 Everest expedition with Hillary and Tenzing has just died. Millowick met the photographer, who lived in Melbourne until his death, at an exhibition of his Everest pictures. "Greg, as he preferred to be known, gave a talk which I attended. I then saw a huge exhibition of his Blackpool work - classic B&W reportage (made) in the 60's. Henri Cartier-Bresson was so impressed he sought Greg out and dropped in one afternoon completely unannounced." To discover more of Alfred Gregory's remarkable life and pictures visit http://www.guardian.co.uk/artanddesign/2010/feb/10/alfred-gregory-obituary

STOP PRESS: Poignant echoes from the second crash of Polaroid
I noted the New York Times of February 11 reported that Polaroid Corporation's truly amazing photography collection - featuring works by Ansel Adams, Harry Callahan (pictured) Lucas Samaras, Andy Warhol, Chuck Close (pictured R), Robert Frank, Dorothea Lange and many others - will be auctioned by Sotheby's New York on June 21-22 to repay creditors injured in that inventive company's sad demise. Polaroid Corporation, founded by a true native genius of American science and business, Dr. Edwin Land, collapsed not once, but twice, finally becoming entangled in a Ponzi scheme in its last years. The Polaroid Collection contains works made using conventional photography as well as Polaroid imaging, making this an event of international significance. According to Anne Wall of Sotheby's Australia www.sothebys.com the collection is expected to fetch up to US$11 Million.

"Received Moments" Completes First Leg Of Eight City Tour
My retrospective “Received Moments” has completed its Sydney season at the Manly Art Gallery & Museum. Thoughtfully curated by Sarah Johnson (pictured at R with Director Therese Kenyon at L) this display of more than 100 photographs attracted over 10,000 visitors during its run from early December to the end of January this year. As author of the photographs I was especially pleased with the number of my fellow photographers, both young and older, who made the trek (or relaxing ferry ride) to Manly’s spacious, inclusive environment. It has proved a rewarding, often surprising experience to open my photographic archive to another person’s examination.
Tracing the arc of a life
Sarah Johnson discovered pictures I had not thought of for years - or perhaps dismissed - and also found unlikely connections between images when she chose to create ‘narratives’ of multiple photographs within one picture frame. I also enjoyed being able to print the exhibition myself, mostly in B&W, using Canon’s Pixma Pro 9500 and Canon Semi-Gloss papers. While a small number of prints on display were vintage silver gelatin prints, the remaining digitally printed images were photographic prints in every sense I care about. These prints were uniformly neutral in B&W tonality - appropriate for what I intended each picture to say. One photographer who visited the show (who several years ago had printed many silver gelatin prints for me) announced that he liked the prints generally but he could tell which ones he had done. He then selected, incorrectly, my print of Sir Edward ‘Weary’ Dunlop. The only expectation I have for any print’s quality is that it be appropriate for the picture’s content. That the digital print quality for this exhibition did not draw attention to itself suggested this way of printing has come of age, especially for me. That the archival permanence of Canon's Lucia pigment inks rivals and sometimes exceeds the life of silver gelatin prints is a bonus. The result was an exhibition I enjoyed visiting many times. I am grateful to Director Therese Kenyon, Curator Sarah Johnson, Gael Newton for her catalogue essay and opening speech. Manly's friendly, professional staff - Innocenza, Katherine, Catherine and Tanya Graf - were also a delight, as was the work of their fine, patient picture framers.
This exhibition was dedicated to my mother Poppy McFarlane (25.5.1916 - 2.11.2009.)

Fremantle’s Fotofreo in March is Next
“Received Moments” will travel next to the FOTOFREO festival www.fotofreo.com in Fremantle in March - though in slightly different form. A third of the exhibition will appear as framed pictures - printed as usual with Canon’s ten colour Pixma Pigment printer - with the entire exhibition (as seen in Manly) also screened in high definition in a separate display, with my commentary added for context. After Fremantle, the exhibition tours to six more Australian city regional galleries (in the same form as at the Manly Art Gallery & Museum) starting with Broken Hill in June 2010 and finishing at Cowra in June 2011. I am particularly pleased that “Received Moments” will be viewed so extensively throughout regional Australia.

Stephen Dupont Tries Something New
While in Sydney I also visited an unusual exhibition (pictured) with Stephen Dupont http://www.contactpressimages.com/photographers/dupont/dupont_bio.html held in the spacious Point Piper residence of Judy and Andrew Bell. The world-ranging photojournalist was experimenting with the idea of showing his powerful black and white photographs from New Guinea and Afghanistan (made from B&W Polaroid film) within a private home - thereby offering the visitor the ‘feel’ of how these pictures would appear in a less formal environment. The effect was intriguing and vindicated Dupont’s move away from the formal surrounds of an art gallery. Art is, after all, something we live with long after its purchase from within a gallery setting. For Dupont it represented a change in how photography should be seen. “I was looking for an alternate environment in which to build a body of work - to try and curate (a show) and see how it would look in someone’s house. It was certainly an interesting concept When you walk into a gallery ... it’s not easy to imagine how a piece of art will look in your home ... I had seen similar things in New York that were taking it to another level. I had the opportunity through the support of Andy and Judy (Bell) and I made sales which I may or may not have done (otherwise)”. Dupont added that his experiment’s success lay more in the feedback he received from people who visited the show - such as Judy Annear (from the Art Gallery of NSW) and Gael Newton (from the National Gallery in Canberra) “It’s not easy to sell anything these days. But (my show) was similar to what artists did in the 1930's - people like Man Ray had these gatherings in their homes and they would show their art. This is just another way of having it seen.”

NEWS: Stephen Dupont to join Jack Picone for Angkor Photo Workshops
Jack Picone Photography Workshops are located in the heart of Asia in Siem Reap, Cambodia’s fastest growing town and the jumping off point for the spectacular temple ruins of Angkor Wat. If a budding photojournalist wishes to acquire the skills necessary to document 'the still point of the turning world' as poet T.S. Eliot once wrote, they could do well to consider experienced international photojournalist Picone's workshops, based close to Angkor, that remarkable echo from an ancient civilization (pictured-above) and nearby to floating villages with traditional stilted houses. "Participants," states Picone, "will interact closely with world-renowned photojournalists with long experience in the region ... (and) take on assignments ... advancing their photographic skills and vision." The intensive dawn-to-dusk courses will, adds Picone, "involve challenging fieldwork, formal and informal critiques, editing sessions, evening projections and open discussion." The bonus is that award-winning photojournalist and filmmaker Stephen Dupont http://www.contactpressimages.com/photographers/dupont/dupont_bio.html will join with special guest tutors and Picone http://www.jackpicone.com to help "participants fully engage with the local culture and environment and learn ... to create photographic reportage to the highest standard." For full information regarding costs and availability of these unique workshops, to be held June 25-30, 2010 (strictly limited to sixteen participants) please email: jack@jackpicone.com

The Only Way To Fly - if you're Richard Green

I also met with landscape photographer Richard Green www.richardgreen.net.au at the Manly Gallery opening who reminded me cheerfully that I had yet to accept his offer of a flight in his twin turbine EADS Eurocopter. Green (pictured below, with his wife Carolyn and Graham Howe) enjoys the ultimate luxury as a landscape photographer - he can fly to any area in Australia that interests him, land, and photograph his personal discoveries. I had favourably reviewed Richard’s exhibition at the Byron McMahon Gallery (sadly now closed) for the Sydney Morning Herald and was captivated by the primal landscapes he seamlessly transformed into computer-stitched panoramas. (Green told me casually his Apple Mac Pro computers needed 18 Gb of RAM to do the stitching!) By all means, I replied and we arranged to have lunch at his Terrey Hills home and then go flying.

Living Like The Jetsons
Cartoons such as the Jetsons once promised us a futuristic world in which flying cars were the normal means of transport. Sadly, as we approach the second decade of the 21st Century such transcendent transport seems further away than ever. Except for Richard Green. Turning off Mona Vale road with a friend, Graham Howe (CEO of Curatorial Assistance www.curatorial.org a California corporation that mounts and tours exhibitions) we drove down a bush track that roared with a chorus of cicadas. Richard and Carolyn Green met us at the entrance to their large, modernist house that conveniently nestled again the hangar containing his sleek metallic bronze Eurocopter EC135. Now we were getting closer to the reality of the Jetsons. (And apart from John Travolta, who else lives with an aircraft hangar next to their home?) After a satisfying lunch (I kept thinking ‘perhaps we should eat later’) Richard and Carolyn, who can also fly a helicopter, led us down into the spotless hangar where the large, streamlined craft awaited. Green picked up the controls of an electric heli-lifter and, with one hand, eased the 2.2 tonne aircraft out onto a concrete pad that faced the vastness of Garigal National Park bushland. Prizing me into the back seat next to his wife (the Eurocopter seats seven but Green had it reconfigured for five seats) we set off, slowly taking off backwards. After gaining height, Green expertly banked the helicopter and we sped off east (the Eurocopter can cruise at well over 140 knots) climbing quickly away from bushland that now resembled a carpet of broccoli.
Brian Brake’s Flying Tripod
I thought abruptly of a departed friend, the late Brian Brake of MAGNUM Photos, who once told me he regarded a helicopter as his flying tripod. During his life Brake enobled the art of aerial photography in his now legendary photo-essay MONSOON http://nga.gov.au/Exhibitions/monsoon/index.htm. Also, I remembered Brake once photographing (for the TIME LIFE book on Sydney) Bondi Beach crowded with bathers, making their parallel bodies seem like chromosome pairs lining the Pacific shore. Suddenly, through the window of our speeding helicopter (none of my previous flights in such aircraft had approached the speed of the twin turbine-powered Eurocopter) I found myself thinking of Brake and agreeing with him - in a helicopter anything seemed possible. Our destination was a region of the Blue Mountains (pictured - below, L) where, in January 1995, my ex-wife, the artist Kate Burness (with Bob Anderson) and I scattered the ashes of our son Morgan, who had died in an accident in Colombo, Sri Lanka on New Year’s eve, 1994. Following ancient, eroded ridges in the Blue Mountains, I glimpsed a distant gorge - perhaps (pictured - R) close to the place where we had consigned the ashes of our son. “Would you like to land?” came Green’s voice through the headphones, “I can see a flat rock down there.”
Entering the Australian Landscape
We rapidly descended, settling, rather than landing, onto a large flat rock where Green soon shut the engines down. “Shouldn’t we leave them running?” I thought cautiously to myself. This, of course, was Richard Green’s vivid demonstration of his helicopter’s peerless versatility. Against a faint smell of kerosene and the much stronger perfume of eucalyptus I found myself abruptly in the stillness of the Australian bush, feeling as isolated as an astronaut. A short distance from the helicopter I could just discern the outline of two anatomically correct Aboriginal carvings of kangaroos. Later, I thought about our sudden, penetrating descent into the bush. For me this was not necessarily a better way to reach, and photograph, a timeless landscape. Though thrilling, it seemed too sudden for me, not really allowing me the time to discover the vistas I was trying to render, and I made images of little value.
“Remote and Wild” a book of Richard Green’s landscape photography, will be published nationally in March, 2010.

Ricoh have, predictably, updated their fine compact CX2, creating an even better camera - the CX3 (RRP $499). By increasing the sensor to 10 Megapixels and adding 720p HD video capability, a good camera now becomes great for fine image making, anytime, anywhere - whether stills (the 10.7X zoom lens performed very well) or in increasingly popular HD video. The CX3 also retains Ricoh's innovative D-R dynamic range feature.

Things to come & some that are already here ...
My next blog will examine that expanding category of amazing, capable cameras changing personal and professional photography - as well as the family album - compact ultrazooms, and a new generation of digital SLR's shooting HD video. I will also be looking at panoramic photography in cameras such as Sony's compact new HX1 - and others (Fujifilm cameras have long had the capacity to shoot triptyches - three consecutive images digitally stitched in camera). From preliminary results (pictured - L) Sony's well-featured, handsome HX1 (10 megapixel CMOS Exmor sensor, SteadyShot image stabilisation, Sweep Panorama, 20X Sony zoom G lens, 1080 HD RRP $899 - pictured - R) creates panoramic photographs, in camera, that can be both epic and personal. This intriguing new feature should prove very popular. Postscript: it was initially a little strange to use a Sony digital camera that didn't have a Carl Zeiss lens. However the Sony G lens performed beautifully. I was, nevertheless, curious to find out what role the marvellous Zeiss lenses will play in future Sony digital cameras.

Closer to Home with JULIE MILLOWICK
Returning to South Australia I was pleased to open an Adelaide exhibition on February 19 (part of the Adelaide Festival Fringe ) at the conservation organisation ARTLAB www.artlabaustralia.com.au by Victorian photographer Julie Millowick (pictured L inspecting her exhibition) Like Richard Green, Millowick www.juliemillowick.com explores, perhaps in a more freehand, collagist way, computer-stitched panoramic landscapes in colour. She also showed a series of six haunting B&W self portraits with her son Christian (pictured R) These pictures were both engaged and engaging microdramas, with no scent of the overwhelming ambition to take ‘a great picture’. Millowick (pictured L at ARTLAB) seemed more concerned with the relationship explored with her subject. I sympathize with photographers searching for the great picture but speaking personally, this seems like putting the cart before the horse. Pictures which endure for me are only visible symptoms of how deeply photographers become involved with their subjects - no matter how briefly this may take place. W. Eugene Smith also once told me, in 1973, a photograph was only 'paper-thin evidence of a fragment of the truth.’
Until March 14

MERV BISHOP and NEIL DUNCAN - Two Veterans in Different Places, Spaces
Once back from Sydney, I began to receive an avalanche of information about forthcoming exhibitions. Indigenous photographer Merv Bishop was showing his portraits of indigenous elders from Liverpool (pictured) in the vast, refurbished post-industrial cavern of the Casula Powerhouse Arts Centre www.casulapowerhouse.com at 1 Casula Rd, Casula. These touching, affectionate portraits of Aboriginal men and women will remain on exhibition until April 11
Fellow veteran newspaper photographer Neil Duncan www.neilduncan.com.au was presenting “The Works” Forty Years of Photography and Still Counting” at the Watch House Gallery, 179 Darling Street Balmain, opening on February 26. Duncan, who previously showed at Tali Udovich’s Blender Gallery www.blender.com.au in Paddington, defies easy definition as a photographer. Obviously an accomplished newspaper photojournalist, Duncan is also one of the few photographers capable of making photographs (pictured) that seamlessly evoke music. Using long exposures to observe moving highlights and reflections in water these poetic images instantly suggest music, especially the free forms of jazz. Duncan is also showing his documentation of workers from the once active Colgate Palmolive factory, several nudes and four decades of newspaper photojournalism. Nothing succeeds like excess! Until March 7.

FROM BEYOND THE GRAVE - Larry Burrows Speaks
Bob Davis, a fine Australian documentary photographer (Faces of Japan - Kodansha International 1978) based in Hong Kong and a friend of the Burrows family, directed me to this YouTube footage of the late, and great Vietnam war photographer Larry Burrows discussing why he pursued the dangerous profession that would ultimately claim his life in Laos in 1971. Chastening. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Vc2U7nPwwCo

POINT LIGHT - where traditional photography continues to shine
Enrico Scotece finds and reveals, like the novelist Nabokov, the ‘divinity within the detail’ concentrating on the form and texture of elements found within nature. Knowing Point Light’s affection for the fine traditional silver print (and other arcane media) these images will live considerably on their delicious technical virtues. To quote Point Light’s introduction, “He (Scotece) continues the tradition of classical photography begun in the 1830s and given new life in the twenty first century by those who appreciate its subtle alchemy.” Until March 7. www.pointlight.com.au

ART and LIGHT - Mary
Meyer Gallery
Mary Meyer's Gallery www.meyergallery.com.au offers a stylish haven in Sydney’s Darlinghurst for collectors wishing to purchase photographic art, especially well-priced fine art prints - ranging from Australian Large Format Masters (Bruce Crowther, Bob Kersey, Stephen Tester Oberon Shadows-pictured & Richard White) with their poetic observations of the landscape - to Peter Solness’s remarkable illuminated colour night landscapes (which I have described in detail in previous blogs) Solness www.solness.com.au continues to widen his palette, finding even deeper insights (pictured) into the Australian nocturnal landscape. Until February 28
Solness is going back to his Secret Garden
Solness's nocturnal landscapes will also be seen in a new display "The Secret Garden" at the Hazlehurst Regional Gallery, 782 Kingsway, Gymea, near where the photographer grew up. "This (new) exhibition is a celebration of the stunning ... primal beauty of the Royal National Park ... where I spent a lot of time over the years as both surfer, photographer and bushwalker. It was also a great place to escape during my school days too." Solness is hoping some of his old school friends from Blakehurst High School will come to the opening to 'catch up'.
From March 6 to March 16

MAGNUM Photos - For Sale
I recently noted a New York Times report that Magnum Photos http://blog.magnumphotos.com/ had successfully placed their impressive archive up for sale and, while member photographers retain image rights, it marks a profound shift in the continuing, troubled role of photojournalism in the internet age. Clearly this pioneering photographers' cooperative now enters a climate of re-invention, coupled with academic study (it will be housed within the University of Texas) For the full New York Times article go to: http://www.nytimes.com/2010/02/02/arts/design/02magnum.html?th&emc=th

JON LEWIS - Putting a Face to Climate Change
Documentary photographer Jon Lewis www.jonnylewis.org has been documenting changing lives in Kiribati, one region of Oceania that will be among the first affected by global climate change. Lewis appears indelibly linked to the ocean and its communities, having documented the peoples of Bougainville, East Timor not to mention indigenous Australia and Lewis's pictures of early Greenpeace whaling protests. This Australian photographer’s ongoing act of witness to the islander world can seen at the Monash Gallery of Art www.mga.org.au 860 Ferntree Gully Road, Wheeler's Hill, Victoria Until April 11

SHANE HULBERT - The Beauty Found Within Post-Industrial LandscapesShane Hulbert from RMIT University, has a solo exhibition 'Expedition' at the Centre for Contemporary Photography www.ccp.org.au in Melbourne in which he eloquently conveys a desiccated world devoid of people - perhaps as society may appear with the passing of civilization. More work can also be seen on his website at www.shanehulbert.com
Until March 14.

I last reviewed Laurence Aberhart’s immaculate observations of Maori Northland churches for the Sydney Morning Herald two years ago. This time the distinguished NZ photographer offers an equally evocative exhibition at the Darren Knight Gallery www.darrenknightgallery.com depicting seemingly ordinary vistas encountered within suburban New Zealand and, in one remarkable portrait, (pictured, L) the phenomenal that can sometimes reside within the human face. Until February 27.

A JAPANESE VISION OF PHOTOGRAPHY - Gazing at the Contemporary World: Japanese Photography from the 1970s to the Present. The Spirit of 'Notan' Lives On.
Curated by Rei Masuda, Chief Curator of the National Museum of Modern Art, Tokyo, this exhibition features photographs by 23 internationally renowned Japanese photographers (including Nobuyoshi Araki, Shomei Tomatsu and Daido Moriyama) and aims to reveal “a panoramic view of Japan’s changing landscape since the 1970s.” Japanese photography has a unique vision and any opportunity to see works by the astonishingly prolific Nobuyoshi Araki (and many others) should not be missed. At the Japan Foundation, Level 1, Chifley Plaza, 2 Chifley Square, Sydney. From February 22 to March 4

KIDSXPRESS - Life Through A Lens
MP Linda Burney, NSW Community Services Minister, knows something about photography, having once heard her deliver an eloquent 2004 eulogy for indigenous arts photographer Michael Riley. Ms Burney was guest speaker for Kidsxpress at the Art Gallery of NSW on February 17. Kidsxpress www.kidsxpress.org.au are searching for a suitable venue for an exhibition of photographs by children, who received disposable cameras when they underwent that organisation's expressive therapy program (interfacing music, art and drama therapies).

PAUL FERMAN - speed and stillness
In presenting two separate themes in his show at King Street Gallery www.kingstreetgallery.com .au on William, Ferman www.paulferman.com first offers fractured perceptions he experienced on a European TGV train travelling past bridges at 350km per hour (pictured-R) juxtaposed with his manipulated images of late Renaissance sculpture morphing into industrial detritus (pictured- L) Hardly lyrical subjects at first glance but typical of Ferman’s passionate dedication to walk a personal, if sometimes unfashionable artistic path. Was it Henri Cartier-Bresson who, when asked what his photographs meant, exclaimed, “But of course, they represent a line between the external world - and my inner life!” Ferman’s photographs are worthy of such scrutiny. Until March 6

Head On approaches!

That time of year is nearing when Australian photographers should examine their consciences and choose their best portraits for the now well established Head On portrait competition. Here is the review I wrote of last year's display - featuring Gary Heery's www.garyheery.com Critic's Choice winning portrait of Cate Blanchett. Head On will also evolve into a fully fledged photo festival, opening at the end of April. Full details of Head On's newest incarnation and entry forms can be found at www.headon.com.au

NOMINATIONS announced for World Press Masterclass in Europe
The four photographers chosen to be nominated from Australia and New Zealand have been announced by the committee for selection, chaired by noted Australian photographer Philip Quirk: They are Marisol Da Silva, Mitchell Kanashkevich http://www.mitchellkphotos.com, Sean Davey www.pidgin.com.au from Australia and Tim Veling www.timjveling.com from New Zealand. As Adam Ferguson www.adamfergusonphoto.com from Australia was a runner up last year, he automatically also receives a nomination this year. Judging from other photographers who have participated in this event, it can be a career, if not life-changing experience. We wish them well.

Text Copyright Robert McFarlane 2010 www.robertmcfarlanephotos.com Please note the following contact details on my website have been changed. My email address is now archive@robertmcfarlanephotos.com and my mobile phone number is now 0422 841 466.


  1. Hehe....Don Mccullin is my grandfather. :)

  2. Wow! The Entire collection is attractive and excellent. I like the way you expressed this blog.

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