The talk circa 2011 is that with the analogue-to-digital shift to the last decade, film has died and digital photography opens up new horizons. The symbolic events are the end of Kodachrome in 2010 and the blowing up of the Kodak film plants in both Rochester and Chalon-sur-Saône.
Whilst film aficionados lament a disappearing past, digital devotees are looking forward to endless expansion based on recycle, clip and cut, remix and upload.The argument is that it took the death of film to fully liberate the medium from the paradigms of painting.
This image was made with an old Leica film camera whilst I was staying in Tunbridge in the Tasmania Midlands in 2017.
I had just come back from spending several days photographing in Queenstown whilst Suzanne and her friend were walking in the Walls of Jerusalem National Park. We were staying at Tunbridge for a couple of days before we wen exploring the Tasman Peninsula.
Made whilst I was wandering around Hobart in 2012
This snap of a found still life was made along the coast between Petrel Cove and Kings Beach in Waitpinga whilst I was on an early morning poodlewalk:
I have been looking at an exhibition of the early 35mm work made by Joel Meyerowitz between 1963 and 1978. The exhibition is entitled "Joel Meyerowitz: Towards Colour 1962-1978", and it is at Beetles and Huxley, a photographic gallery in London. These Leica snapshots are from Meyerowitz's very early days shooting in black and white on the streets of New York to the year he published his first book, "Cape Light", the pictures of which were made with a large format camera.
Meyerowitz worked in advertising for four months of the year to support his family and devoted the rest of his time to photography. A number of the pictures in Mexico and Florida were made with a Guggenheim Scholarship to take pictures on the theme of 'leisure time'.
King William Street, Adelaide, South Australia.
This picture is from 2011. It was made for the Adelaide book project that I was starting to work on.
In the nineteenth century the colonial narrative represented Central Australia negatively--it was a dangerous and hostile environment. It was the Australian Outback, and this was represented as being without economic potential a dead heart, arid and waterless, as a space of the 'other',
In the late 20th Australia represents Central Australia is seen positively. It becomes the Red Centre, a major desert tourist destination in the Northern Territory. The Red Centre in the tourist marketing brochures is the welcoming heart, the place of cultural significance, the site of the 'real' Australia, a site of unchanging beauty.
The tourist conception of the Red Centre primarily refers to Uluru, Kata Tjuta, Simpsons Gap, Glen Helen Gorge, Kings Canyon etc and the promotional images are those of a decorative pictoralism. The Tanami desert, which lies beyond the region of Australian Tourism's Red Centre, remains a space of the 'other': an empty land without a trace of culture.
The pictures made with the film Leica are snapshots and, and as such, they belong to the tradition of the snapshot image culture. Traditionally, snapshot photography is one in which the images are almost always produced for and circulated within, the private realm, and its meaning and significance are imbedded in individual and rarely rational affective responses.
The snapshot tradition has been interpreted as a form of vernacular photography, and this culture is usually interpreted as pictures made by everyday folk about their everyday life; or more specifically, "the unself-conscious efforts of common people . . . to create satisfying patterns in the realities of everyday life.
This results in a gap between the unruly vernacular culture and the modernist, hermeticizing discourse of the art institution, with its emphasis on autonomy, authorship, uniqueness and universality.
This vernacular culture insists on lived experience, or a rhetoric of authenticity, works within specific social and cultural conventions, and emphasises personal narrative. For most of us, snapshots mean something because they preserve a memory, capture a moment, or depict a friend, family member or loved one. -These are the same themes that Kodak promoted for decades. From a personal point of view the significance of snapshot aesthetics often revolves around what we see and feel when viewing snapshots, rather than what they mean to art historians, curators, and collectors.
A picture of the past. A picture of life in a frontier mining world of Andamooka.
It's not much of a backyard or playground is it, at the foot of the opal mine tailings. My memory of Andamooka is that the dust from the mine tailings was everywhere, layered over everything. It was hot and the atmosphere was arid.
It's a remnant of the town's past --a different remnant to the raditional dugout style houses of old that was pictured in the previous post.
This picture of an opal miners hut at Andamooka in South Australia, which is from my film archives --- an example of ordinariness or a deadpan aesthetic that was made whilst travelling on the margins of modernity.
Like the previous images the picture was made with a Leica M4-P, with a 50mm f.2 Summicron lens and Kodak 400ASA film. As previously mentioned in an earlier post I discovered a roll of film I'd exposed whilst I was visiting Andamooka circa 2004-5. My film work at the time--35mm and medium format--- was usually developed and scanned by a pro-lab, but for some reason this roll hadn't been scanned. This was several years prior to buying my first digital camera. I had no knowledge of digital cameras.
From the film archives.
This is another image that I came across when I was going through my film archives. A public sculpture at Andamooka in South Australia. The picture was made with a Leica M4-P, a 50mm f.2 Summicron lens and Kodak 400ASA film:
As I mentioned in an earlier post I discovered a roll of film I'd exposed whilst I was visiting Andamooka circa 2004-5 My film work at the time--35mm and medium format--- was usually developed and scanned by a pro-lab, but for some reason this roll hadn't been scanned. This was several years prior to buying my first digital camera.