Tunbridge, Tasmania

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. 

Tullah, Tasmania

The picture below   is an  archival image from the time when I'd just  picked up  film photography again after a 20 year break.  The image was made whilst Suzanne and I were travelling in Tasmania on a holiday  with our standards poodles (Agtet and Ari) in the 1st decade of the 21st century---it was  in late 2006 judging from these  posts on my old Junk for Code blog. 

This was our first trip to Tasmania,  and we were travelling down on the west coast of Tasmania at the time.  There'd been a fire in the hills in the hills around  Tullah,  Lake Rosebery and the MacIntosh Dam.  So I took some photos.  I was rusty judging from the fact that most of the  black and white negatives  from this trip were badly underexposed. 

The camera I was using then was  my old  Leica M4 with an old  Summicron 50mm lens and Tri-X film. The picture  was made  before I'd shifted to using colour film and  Mac computers.  The film was developed  and scanned by a pro lab and it was scanned as a jpeg--a low res scan.   

I didn't know what a  low res scan meant then. I knew nothing about the shift to digital that had been taking place in photography since the 1990s.  I 'd just picked up from where I'd left  photography  20 years earlier- I  was more or less naively starting over again  but without a wet darkroom.  

hanging in

Digital technology offered a number  of advantages.  It equalled the image quality of 35m film,   it was far more convenient re work flow,  and  it was  far more  cost  effective to use  to making photos on a daily basis. The downside of digital technology is the limited lifespan or built in obsolescence of  the camera body.   These are akin to computers--you can get 3-5 years wear and tear and that is it.  Unlike  the  bodies  of film cameras the bodies of digital cameras are not built to last.   I continued  to use the  Leica M4-P. 

However, since digital  technology  allowed me  to take lots of snapshot photos regularly,  using  a  Sony NEX-7 mirrorless camera  that I could use with my Leica lenses allowed me to use my  snapshot photography to experiment,   play around and  to scope for the large format film photography.   

a state of flux

Launceston is one of my favourite towns in Tasmania. We were staying with family at Evandale  for a couple of days and so it was easy to pop into Launceston for the day. There were pieces  of street art in the more industrial area that caught my eye.  

 I was still trying to find my feet as a photographer. I had no projects to work on. I was still taking snapshot photos as I moved through the world.  This style of snapshot often is predictable, conservative and repetitive. The  sense of banality and cliches of visual culture was reinforced by the  feeling  that I was in an in-between place. It was a state of flux between paid work and being a photographer.  An independent photographer. 

travelling around

Suzanne's mother's family  came from Tasmania and her sister and husband had  purchased  a property in Tunbridge, in the Midlands. So we decided to have a week's  holiday in Tasmania. I'd never bee, even though the tourist pictures that I'd seen reminded me of the South Island of New Zealand. Tasmania,  like the South Island, was an iconic wilderness destination in the global tourism market. 

This abstract  of the wall of a shed was made at Fingal on the Esk Highway   whilst we were on our way back to Launceston from St Helens. It's a cliche  of minimalism that avoids the art photography  tendency to use the "snapshot aesthetic" with a ironic wit  at loose in the phenomenal world to achieve the accidental effects of the unthinking snapped camera image (eg., the headless grandma, off lighting, poor focus, blurred images, awkward poses, harsh shadow etc ) made with a point and shoot camera. 

In contrast, Adelaide  in the era of the global market,  was becoming a city of empty shops, throw away food, angry posters and homeless people sleeping out in the parklands rather than a tourist Mecca.