Wednesday, 22 August 2012 Flamenco and move...

G'day Possums,

Dates for the exhibition have been finalised and the title, too.
"Invitation to the Dance".
We are exhibiting at "The Bean Barn", 217 Sturt St Ballarat

from September 19th till October 28th
(dates which were picked in December last year) to co-incide with the Royal South St. ballet and calethenics competitions presenting at Her Majesties Theatre during those times.
There will also be the "Take a Bow"  performance photo comp running around this time
at which ( I'll also be entering the comp ) I'll be doing demonstrations of performance photography on the two weekends: 2 sessions each on Saturday and Sunday.

Below is some recent dance stuff ... the Flamenco shoot is potentially for some advertising for a performance in November / December and the ballet as part of the exhibition at Bean Barn.
Many Thanks to Ally (ballet) and Mariah (Flamenco) for their efforts and time, it was much appreciated.....for the the technically minded; ballet stuff was shot on a 5D Mk2 with either a Canon 50mm prime or a Canon 85mm prime  at 160 ISO. Four mono-blocks were used and exposure on the "sharp" stuff was 1/125 @ f16 and the blurred stuff 1/2 sec @f16 with power turned down by 2/3..... ambient light was good so the blur is real, NOT photoshop!  Shanes new portrait was from a 350D w/ a 28-75 Tamron in available light

Mariah, Flamenco.

Mariah, Flamenco

Ally, Ballet
Ally, Ballet
If any reader happens to be in Ballarat for either "Invitation to the Dance", South Street or the "Take a Bow" shows leave a note or say hello after the demo.


"Big Red" Gillard has re-vamped the oppositions' policy on offshore processing of asylum seekers and making it more draconian ... but at least she hasn't yet deported or locked up Australian citizens as did the Liarbrils' last Immigration Minister, Amanda Vanstone.

Egalitarian Australia?  Now there's a nice myth.

"The Australian" newspaper is running a new campaign against Gillard ... and it  reminds me of the sustained attacks on Whitlam and his ministers back in '74-'75.
I was living as an Art student in a share house in '76  and on the anniversary of "The Dismissal" one of the household brought out his folio collection of "The Australian's" daily front pages that dated from 74 - 75. It was extraordinary. It was like reading a piece of music; the rise and fall of invective, innuendo and half truths, the selective reporting, the adding of another "scoop" each week and watching it all reach a crescendo by the Saturday edition. By the time Whitlam's mob were devastated in the election it was positively orgasmic in its vileness.
It was shameful stuff and it still is. "Mr Rabbit" and his rabble are still using the same tactics.
They have few policy's, just tactics.
"Mr Rabbit" thinks private schools are hard done by and that public education should be payed less to balance it all out. Some private schools actually make a profit and overall cater to only 35% of school population.

Egalitarian Australia? 

Funniest moment: The Coot with queer ideas from the IPA was utterly silenced t'other day on radio by a comedic football commentator!
Football commentator did what a decent journo should have done long ago and called Coot's bluff by asking why he was always trying to mislead the public and literally telling him he talked "merde"!
The unusually long silence emmanating from the Coot with queer ideas made for surreal radio. Lovely stuff.
Cheers Echidna's,

Friday, 10 August 2012

...on elitism

Vale Robert Hughes.

Shane and Robert Hughes

Hughes was an Australian Art Critic and Historian of superb clarity and breadth of knowledge

Unlike commentators today who seem to think criticism is either a post-modern art form or impolite or both, Hughes wasn’t impressed by bullshit. He said of a wealthy collectors taste and in front of Damien Hirst’s Sculpture “The Virgin Mother”, “Isn’t it a miracle what so much money and so little ability can produce?”
I always enjoyed his writing as it seemed that every sentence contained a concept and sub-text that led you to further understanding the art being discussed. It wasn’t the turgid, self referential gobbledygook that the arts drown in today.
Take this passage from his wonderful book of Australia’s history “The Fatal Shore”…

 Or this from “The Shock of the New”….

 Some say he was cruel, I think he was just bluntly honest and saw art as being too worthwhile, too important, a human activity to bother mincing his words on what he saw as inferior art, “…. otherwise you turn out to be a sort of Pollyanna who wanders the world thinking every sprig of clover is a rose”.
Asked once about being a critic he said, “I’m just the piano player in the whorehouse of art”. And about his so-called elitism, “…I just have a preference for well made things to badly made things and articulate speech to mumbling”.

Giselle Wilis Lawrence Winder

 Which brings me to a television program that’s been running here for a few weeks on ABC called “Photo Finish”.
Each week a presenter, a photographer (professional and with a different skill set each week) and a gallery curator select three amateur “togs”, give them some gear (some very good gear, advertising for Canon) and let them loose on a specific topic with the goal of producing one uncropped (with minimal photoshop) print at the end of a set time limit, one of which is judged by the panel to be the winner.

Ballet Lawrence Winder

Apart from one wag saying it was “Masterchef with a UV filter” and a photographer whose work I admire very much, Judith Crispin ( ) commenting to me on FB “…it’s amateurism at its worst”, there has or seems to have been no comment/criticism about this program.
Well, last night the topic for the shows contestants was performance photography and by the time the program had limped to its end, I angrily looked at a newspaper that had three well written obituaries on Robert Hughes and thought, “Why have photographers not commented? Surely, they can’t be all that impressed?” I thought, “Hughes would be excoriating about this show.” 

Ballet Lawrence Winder

So here goes.
The idea of three amateurs going off to shoot within a time constraint and a specific brief, as a pro does, is a good one often showing how difficult it can be to “bring home the bacon”. Apart from the high–end Canon gear mentioned, there have been plastic cameras, phone cameras and medium format. What seems to be missing is a level of instruction (as many contestants say, “I’ve never used gear like this before”) that allows them a degree of confidence that they are getting their shots without worrying about the camera’s functions. In one episode they were set to do portraits with studio light: perhaps the camera’s were pre-set and light readings had been taken earlier but as presented, it must have been gut churning to cope with a medium format and studio lights whilst having half an hour to grab a portrait of a well known celebrity. I’d be packin’-me-daks!

Ballet Lawrence Winder

 The contestants are literally confronted with the judges who almost scream the instructions and the woman curator hardly smiles but frowns her advice whilst seemingly knowing that these people can’t ever produce art that she would like.
The noise levels in this opening sequence are like being in an Australian restaurant, so excitedly high, that you can’t hear someone talk only a metre away.
One contestant was sent to a ballet dress rehearsal and said as her jaw dropped, “There’s so much going on, where do I focus”? But she got into it and enjoyed the challenge but later saying “I think I’ve got the money-shot” was probably not the most appropriate phrase for ballet.

Another, at a dance / acting performance spent more time looking in the back of his camera and moving around so much it was like he was attacking the subject, trying to dominate it rather than letting it evolve and unfold toward him.
The comment “The actors really performed well for me” has that terrifying contemporary ring of  “Mia Primo” of being more important than the thing you’re recording or the people performing.

Ballet Lawrence Winder

A constant in performance photography is: 1/ The lighting is set for you: 2/ The costumes are provided too: 3/ The movements are directed or choreographed.
In other words, you don’t get to alter that; you just get to select appropriately.
Some of the judges comments then, were flabbergastingly silly: “You’ve played with the shadows really well” “The lighting, you’ve done so well”(see No.1) or “Pity you didn’t move his hand” (see No.3) or “That detail in the costume helps”(see No.2) and “You’ve captured the cleverness of the performers”, shows either a level of disrespect toward performers or a complete lack of appreciation or misunderstanding of what performers do…. another Mia Primo moment.

This series could have been really good but to me it seems cobbled together: somehow it’s too smart by half.

Cheers petals

Sunday, 5 August 2012 the Dance ...again

G'day Petals,

I'm in that awful space of selecting works for a show in mid September at The Bean Barn.

It will co-incide with the Royal South Street ballet competitions and overlap with  a performance photography comp  "Take a Bow", being run in October by the Ballarat International Foto Biennale.
Selecting the images is one thing; presenting them appropriately is another.
I would like to extend the "performance " value of the works by making the images more "sculptural": an idea that worked well with some of my French images in the 2011 Foto Biennale.

Giselle movement

Kylie "Flow"

I've still to shoot some new stuff that has this concept specifically in mind and yet to make marquettes to see how the process will develop and how the materials used can be presented and what scale is suited to each work.

Ballet, Swing



I was trying to avoid this topic as the Australian press "wolf-pack" was suitably engaged elsewhere beating up on our Olympic teams' lack of Glitter in London; and with Mr Rabbit seemingly non-existent and almost mercifully silent for once.......
Alas .... there was Q and A on ABC TV... Craig Emmerson (Labor, singer also trade minister), Bob Katter, (Idiosyncratic Rural Conservative, Queensland) George Brandis (Liabril, plagiarist, Queensland), Katie Noonan (Lovely Songstress) and Debbie Kilroy (Activist for the Marginalised, Queensland)...   what came from that event was the distressing lack of Liarbril manners I have talked about in previous posts.

First question from the audience was about The Far Norths', Campbell, "Il Duce" Newman turning his back on performers at a public function within a metre or two from them  to "send them a message" and then his acceptance of a wealthy graziers' comments about Prime Minister, Julia Gillard being "....a useless cow..." or some other hubristic outburst.
Here, Brandis jumped in;  it seems he hates Paul Keating for his parliamentary invective; and thinks  criticism of the Liarbrils' publicly slagging-off at Gillard in this area is unwarranted.
What Brandis obviously misunderstands is wit! And taste!

Next question was, if the said, "Il Duce" Newman's slashing of  funding was a model to be similarly expected from a "Rabbit" regime?  (Didn't I say that recently?)
Now, as a supporter of "foot-in-mouth" Kennett (ex failed CEO of Victoria) who seems to be the advisor to Newman, Brandis understandsthe simplicity of tearing down but not that it takes an intelligent creativity to build things.
Here Katter did what he does best... local, impassioned, parochial but engaging in national issues in a fashion that other "pollies" could well be advised to accept before parroting their media advisors' spin.

Later, I saw "Mr Rabbit" performing for the other-worlders of "The Institute of Public Affairs" (perhaps they could get advice from Scientologists?)  where he was promulgating free-speech by limiting sanctions against press owners who allow and exploit the use of unethical behaviour.
Go figure?
A congruent "take" on this  was Liarbril  pollie potentially headed for Canberra, Malcolm Brough who was castigating Labor for "unleashing it's dirt unit" or some-such, in indicating that he  Brough, was the recipient of allegedly unlawfully obtained documentation in the "Slippery Pete" case: information he allegedly, had asked for!

Pot calling Kettle, "Back-Bum"?
You Bet!
A standard of poor argument with events being twisted to a reality which doesn't exist.

.............cheers Possums,