In the previous post I mentioned that after moving to Adelaide from Melbourne, I would frequently return to Melbourne in the early 1980’s to photograph. I used to catch the overnight Overland train, or hitch hike between Adelaide and Melbourne. I travelled lightly, with just a Leica M4 rangefinder and some 35mm black and white film.
These snapshots were mostly photos of various images in shop windows, which I was also doing in Adelaide’s Rundle Mall. Melbourne’s more interesting shop windows had graphic window designs expressing desire, fantasy and consumer dreaming.
The spectacular image culture is the very heart of consumer capitalismThe spectacular image culture is much more than something at which we passively gaze as it increasingly defines our perception of life itself, and the way we relate to others.
As noted in some of the earlier posts in this blog the third section of The Bowden Archives and Other Marginalia consists of the various road trips of different kinds that I made whilst I was living in Bowden, then Ovingham, and finally in the south-east corner of Adelaide.
This leaves the Bowden Archives and Other Marginalia project to be completed as a book. It will have 3 sections. The first one is on street photography in Melbourne (circa 1977-9) after I’d finishing studying at the Photography Studies College and snapshots in Adelaide. The middle section will consist of the Bowden photographs. The third section includes photographs made on various road trips around and outside of Adelaide.
The picture below would be part of the third section, if it makes the cut:
I have pulled the Bowden project from being published by Wakefield Press, who will now be publishing the Tasmanian Elegies project. The Bowden Archives and Other Marginalia book will be published by Moon Arrow Press in 2021.
Whilst I was taking some scoping snaps with my digital camera I remembered some of the photos that I’d made in the 1980s in this general location. The image below is one of the images that I remembered making using a Linhof Technika 70:
I recalled that in the 1980s I was visually attracted by the bareness of this landscape. It was a stripped, overgrazed landscape with just the odd tree hanging on. There was very little in the way of replanting or Landcare.
In a previous post on this archival blog I had mentioned my shift from street photography to topographics during the 1980s. This shift emerged whilst I was photographing around Osborne, Gillman and Outer Harbor along the Port River estuary on the Le Fevre Peninsula.
This is an example of my topographic approach to industrial type urbanscapes—a wasteland, if you like– that was made in the 1980s:
Another version of the topographical approach to this wasteland or ravaged landscape that was made in the same photo-session is here.
Whilst I was going through my archives looking for some better images to include in my portfolio for the Adelaide Photography 1970-2000 book— submissions have just been called— I came across a few images of River Red gums (Eucalyptus camaldulensis) along the River Murray in Victoria. I had more or less over forgotten about these mid-1980s images, as they were mixed up with some of the sand dune images of Adelaide’s coastal beaches in the archive.
The picture above was made on a late 1980s road trip in the VW Kombi along the southern coast of Australia then back along the River Murray. Other images from this road trip— e.g., the La Trobe Valley and the Riverland trunk images —can be found in this earlier post about the Adelaide Photography book. Continue reading →
This picture from the 1980s archives represents a change in the way that I had been photographing. It signifies a shift from the street photography and landscapes I had been doing previously to a more topographics style of photography:
It was a slow shift, as I was pretty much working blind. At this stage I was more or less trying to find suitable subject matter to photograph with the 5×7 Cambo view camera. I was slowly finding my feet photographing Adelaide as a place, and I didn’t really know what I was doing in terms of a topographic photography of altered landscapes in Adelaide. Continue reading →
I have been going through my 35mm archives looking through images from the 1980s to include in a possible artist book for the Mallee Routes project. This would be a book that is associated with the initial Mallee Routes exhibition at the Atkins Photo Lab in 2017.
At the exhibition I left a pile of small prints on a table for people to look at. It wasn’t a very successful mode of presentation. A book would be much better, if I have enough images.
I came across this image of an agricultural landscape in the eastern Mt Lofty Ranges amongst a number of other images of the Murray Mallee and the Riverland.
The next step for me is to follow Adam’s advice and do a dummy book using BookWright, Blurb’s free desktop software, in order to see what the draft with images and text looks like as a book— as opposed to an idea in my head, or Stuart’s step— rough prints on sheets of folded up paper to have an tactile object in my hand as opposed to images on a computer screen. Continue reading →
I had a rudimentary studio setup whilst I was living and photographing in Bowden in the 1980s. There was a a table, a dark cloth as a background, available window light, a 5×7 Cambo monorail, the odd prop, and a solid Linhof tripod.
However, I didn’t do much with the setup. I made a few portraits and some still lives, such as this one of a banksia, which I’d purchased at the Adelaide Central Market and then a lowed to dry:
The results were okay, and I realised that I could do the studio stuff, even though the studio situation wasn’t ideal. The available window light was minimal, the exposures for the 5×7 Cambo monorail where very long (several hours), and the house shook if a truck went past on Gibson Street. So I’d have to start the photo shoot again. It was all too difficult really. Continue reading →