Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Major Study (continued)

So pushing ahead with major study, trying to get this thing shoot by the time school starts again in early October.  This week I shot my friend who I used to work with at Lentils, Maddy and I'm pretty happy with how it turned out.  Also playing around with photoshop and doing some rough edits before I do final hi-res scans.

I see this folio presented as a book, pairing still lifes/interiors/exteriors to give context to the portrait of the person living in the space that is going to be demolished.  I started mucking around in InDesign and Photoshop to see how it would look together and through in some dummy text as well.  Not sure if i'll have the story on the page or have an index at the back with the text there.  When I exhibit the series at the grad show I will have the strongest pair framed and mounted on the wall with the book open on a plinth in front for people to flick through.

So tomorrow I'm off to a protest against the building of the East-West Link to hopefully find some willing subjects who want to share their story.

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Major Study

So right now I'm in the final semester of my final year at RMIT.  After two years of study it is time to put together my "Major Study" the final folio that I take from my time at RMIT and show the world what is that I learned and where I want to go as a photographer.  It's no surprise that what I have chosen to do is a series that borders on documentary and fine art and I hope has a social conscience as well.

At this stage I am at, I guess, the midway point and it's been quite a frustrating process with stopping and starting, technical problems, feeling like I've hit massive walls and very nearly giving up at several points.

Initially I wanted to do a hard cover book of 40-60 images along the theme of gentrification in Melbourne's inner city.  I shot with this concept in mind for about 5 weeks.

I shot roll after roll of urban landscapes (above)

An artist who works out of The Brunswick Community Centre a studio in Brunswick that has recently drawn the attention of developers who want to turn it into industrial chic apartments.

Squatter living in "The Scout Hall" squat in Fairfield

and I experimented with portraiture (above)

After a while I came to the conclusion that I really don't have enough time to complete such an ambitious concept.  To do the idea of the slow and alienating process of gentrification justice I would probably have to spend years shooting, editing and refining.  When I decided that I kinda freaked out, I had no other concepts that I wanted to pursue, I wanted to drop out and start all over again next year.  This feeling hung in the air for about a week then I finally got up off my sorry ass and decided to narrow my idea down and really focus on a smaller part of that story.  

This is when I decided to focus in on people who are being pushed out by the process of gentrification, people who's homes or studios are being threatened to make way for new developments.

So far I have about 4 portraits that I'm pretty happy with, including the two above of Clare and Mikee.

I set my mind on this concept and went at it shooting as much as I could.  Then I experienced some major technical problems.  My Hasselblad all of the sudden was shooting everything way out of focus and my Mamiya was returning blank film.  I'm sure any film photographers out there can relate to feeling of despair that flushes over you when the medium that you love bites you in the ass like that.  And I freaked out again. 

Luckily a friend of mine from school had a spare Mamiya that he lent me and I immediately put a test roll through (below) to test the focus.  And they came out really damn well.

 fuck yeah, so sharp

So from there I went about reshooting some of the portraits that didn't turn out so well.

At this stage I plan on pairing two images together.  A portrait of the subject and a still life, enterior or exterior that gives context to their story. 

Peter (above) in his bedroom.  Peter lives in government housing in Fitzroy and has seen the area progressively thrive, become more wealthy. 

Holly (above) lived in house in Richmond that was ear-marked to be torn down and redeveloped into apartments.  Her's was the only house left in the area.

I'm still struggling with Mikee's (above) Portrait and image to alongside it because I've gone back and reshot his squat several time now, but that's not such a bad possition to be in really.

So that pretty much brings you up to speed with where I'm at now.  I have 8 weeks to shoot and print this folio so there pressure is on.  

Fingers crossed I get it done in time.

Thursday, June 21, 2012


I picked up a couple of rolls of film the other day to scan and found myself frustrated at the results.  I started to get really down on myself that I had wasted all this film and money to only come back with a handful of mediocre photos a moreover, photos that could have been good if I had put into practice what I knew needed to be done to get the results I wanted.

Rather than beat up on myself I decided to take my own advice and not be discouraged when you are disappointed in your own shots but rather have  a look and see and learn what you can do better next time.  And they are all simple things.

1. Take a tripod with me when I shoot
2. Shoot with a smaller aperture to get everything in focus
3. Start using higher ISO film
4. Take more time to get it right

Saturday, June 9, 2012

One Down/Three to Go

So I've finished the first semester of Photoimaging at RMIT and I'm starting to enjoy it more and more.  I'm learning that you can and really should manipulate briefs and assignments given to you by teachers into what you want to do with photography.  My teachers and lecturers seem to all really get where I'm coming from and enjoy my work, so that's nice.

This is what I've been up to.

These two images (above) were made for the Process for Output class which basically taught us how to edit images for print properly.

The brief for this assignment was to make one high key and one low key images with two words acting as linking themes.  After much umming and arring I decided one the words Obscured and Identity as my words.

For my Lighting Technique class we had a few major assignments.  The first two I've mentioned in previous post and we had to use large format Cambo Cameras.  The film used in these camera is 4 inches wide and 5 inches long so the amount of detail it gain gather is incredible.

I was kind of disappointed with this shot (above) because it came out almost painterly, which isn't exactly a bad quality in a photo but it just wasn't what I was going for or had in mind.  Saying that though it was probably the most fun I had with really comercial based briefs we had to fill this semester.  I found myself really getting into trawling home ware shops and op shops searching for the perfect plates, cups, bottle and table cloth. Plus the teacher dug it so that was nice.

I took this image (above) of my good mate and fellow RMIT bro Terry for the Rembrandt Lighting assignment.  Part of the brief was that we had to use the shitty old lights with no ability to change the intensity of the light, besides moving it backwards and forwards.  The fact that the Cambo cameras show you an upside down and back to front image made this a super challenging assignment.  It really made all the students, especially the ones who have never worked with film before, realise how much used to go into creating a single photo and I hope we all take that care for detail into out future assignments.

Finally we have the last assignment for the Lighting Technique class.  The brief was relatively open with only a few limitations put on what we could and couldn't do like they had to be making eye contact with the camera, there had to be some kind of not plain background and they had to be holding a prop.  Originally my idea was supposed to be a send up of the old Noble Savage portraits that various European painters and photographers made of the natives living in their new colonies and I guess it changed a little along the way.

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Suburban Melbourne

Part of what I am interested in photography is the idea of the Australian identity.  A large part of that identity lies in the suburbs, as such, I am drawn to documenting that side of our identity.

I have been focussing on the suburbs that I spend most of my time in.  The middle class suburb of Box Hill (below) in Eastern Melbourne is where I currently live and photograph when ever possible.

I also work in the inner suburb of Abbotsford (below) where I have been trying to document the differences of between inner city life and life further out in the suburbs.

I don't hate or look down on the suburbs, I know it's where I was born and raised and perhaps where I will end up when I settle down.  However, with these photos though I am trying document all aspects of suburban life in particular the parts we rather not think about or look at.

In my photos it's clear to see an American influence, an idea of what a photo should look like that is informed by American photographers like Stephen Shore and William Eggleston and other New Topographic photographers.  Part of this stems from being from the suburbs, which are essentially and American idea.

Friday, March 23, 2012


So I just finished my 7th week (I think) of my course at RMIT.  I guess I am enjoying it, I'm learning a lot of important stuff about photoshop, colour management, printing and that kind of techniqual stuff but I haven't really had a chance to get my hands on a camera and actually take some photos.  Next week I am doing a food shoot and I get to use a large format 4x5 Cambo camera so I am pretty stoked about that.  I've never used large format before.
If anything I suppose it has cemented the idea in my head that I want to study fine art photography and pursue that.

Anyway.  Here are some photos of a truck stop I made while traveling with my family between Melbourne and Wadonga.  Really haven't done that much but getting back into the swing of studying has got my creative juices going and inspired me to do some photography just for myself and not for school.

Friday, February 10, 2012

First Week

I started at RMIT on Monday and just completed my first week.  Pretty stoked about it because I didn't really think that it was the course for me but now that I have seen and heard what they are on about it's starting to become more appealing.
Saying this though I am going to have to buy a shit ton of equipment and fast and I have no idea how I am going to afford it short of selling my body on the streets.