Monday, 29 October 2012

and...Takes a Bow.

G’day Possums, 
 Lawrence Winder we are at “Take a Bow” an interim exhibition of the Ballarat International Foto Biennale and a competition themed about performance photography.
It was held in the “Minerva Hall” a refurbished Victorian space in the Mechanics Institute in Sturt St, Ballarat.
Apart from the thirty finalists there were works by Ponch Hawkes, Ben Searcy and Jeff Busby.
These were interesting in their diversity of approach. Searcy's Rock and Roll images showed an intensity of a shared experience, whilst Busby's images from the MTC had a cool, almost disinterested observational distance to them. Ponch Hawkes' Circus Oz performers, on the other hand, as with Searcy, showed "the shared experience" not as an observer but "as one" with the performers. Particularly moving were the dense images of cuts, abrasions and rope burn marks on the performers' limbs. It was the humble "seeing", which gave these a gravitas, I felt, that in the hands of many photographers, would have only yelled, ".... look at what I've seen... look at my photographs of pain"!
I liked these pictures' sensibilite'. 

 Lawrence Winder
Eric making the place presentable.
Aldona cleaning and hanging works

Jeff with "Courier" 'tog.... (winning work on far right.)
 Lawrence Winder
Opening night
Opening night was a successful event and being a photographic one, a "Bus-men's Picnic"

 Lawrence Winder
some of the 'togs at the opening.....and the opening..

There were good performances from an actor, a dancer and a singer which gave the photography on the walls a deal more relevance because, I think, you tended to view the performances in a more visually aware mannner which then flowed through to responses about the exhibited images.
I found the finalists stuff a mixed bunch as it ranged from some very imaginative and skillful advertising type work right through to some pretty plain, and well, ordinary work.
Which in its own way is all to the good, as it did make you think about the subject, performance... and what it is. And how and why you photograph it.

I understand that some-one was interested in buying one of my images.... must chase that up, at least, to thank them for their interest......

 Lawrence Winder
Performers and comp winner Patrick Boland with judge Jeff Busby
 Lawrence Winder
Laura and Mariah sashaying around the Minerva
And on the weekends, yours truly, presented demos of performance photography to interested audience members with assistance from Aldona, Kristen David and Eric;
and hard work from Laura, Mariah, Jana and Rachel.
We couldn't link our camera to the "big screen", so when there were some interesting questions we would perambulate around the exhibits to clarify a point apropos the demo or a technical question; which was a good way to de-construct some of the finalists works and re-inforce the the point of the exhibition.

 Lawrence Winder
L and M
L and M
 The stage area of the Minerva is still being renovated but it had a really nice ambience in its old peeling painted brickwork.
 Lighting was from three 500W tungsten work lamps ( one rear OP, two DS,P) which gave pretty adequate light, albiet with a lot of blur in the images and due to the high ISO's used (3200 - 4000), plenty of noise.

 Lawrence Winder

 Lawrence Winder

 Apparently Samuel Clemens (Mark Twain), performed on this stage as part of his world speaking tour in the C19th..... which might be a fun thing to replicate if there is a record of his raconteuring and with a costume dinner ( from a C19th menu ) all candelabra lit with tables of white Damask... Ballarat Society as a performance piece... a'la Crewdson
That would all have to be recorded on Full Plate in a hand tinted image.....
.....Oops, off on a tangent.
 Lawrence Winder
David shooting with his 17mm shift. Multiple images to be stitched later.

Nice young couple soon to be returning to her home country, America to be wed...Good Luck.
 ...and yours truly working with L and M.
 Lawrence Winder
Shot by Kristen Diemer

seems that "Big Bird" Baillieu (genus: Silvertail Incompetens) and his Liarbrils are "on-the-nose" in the Tardis State (Where All Goes Backwards) and are running 10% behind Labor... one can only speculate as to how much further down they will be after the fraudulent Geoff Shaws' obscene outburst and gesture in Parliament t'other day and Baillieu's pathetic " was inconclusive....." response.

Unplanning Minister, Matthew (What's a Green Wedge?) Guy has announced the resurrection of a Brumby Labor plan for the development to the City Square linking to Jolimont. Baillieu (ex architect) was scathing in his criticism of Brumby's plan and stopped it after $1,000,000 had been spent on feasibility, design etc....this sort of partisan-political waste is why pollies are so distrusted.

Under-age Indigenous offender ends up spending quite some time in solitary in a adult prison.... three Baillieu ministers invited to front and report to media, hide!
Another reason trust in our systems is eroded.
Postscript: There are at least three others in similar circumstances... ruling party is "mum" on it all.... 

Mary (Ya-wanna-have-a-go?) Wooldridge can only offer a imperious Canute like, "...we will not tolerate.....etc" as Tardis State Health Dept residential services continue to implode from lack of funding.

Peter (I-Know-Nuffin) Ryan, Police Minister still maintains he knows nuffin about what goes on in his office.... and with the Justice System in this State a shambles why should he?

Federal Labor's coolest head and "best-in-show" parliamentary performer, Penny Wong has been dropped to No2 on the Senate ticket in a backroom deal to promote a right-winger who would probably be rejected by the Liarbrils as being too extreme.... Labor's death-wish knows no end!
Postscript: No 1 has decided he's really a No2 and "for-the-good-of-the-party"  Wong is back-on-top ...though damage has still been done!

Tony (the Rabbit) Abbott is in a dark place ...unable to suffer more excoriating criticism of his stupid sexist asides, comments and rants, has nothing to say...he has no policies, so...nothing to say!
You get the feeling that now when the Liarbrils try to mount an attack " ...oooh look, three months in and there are no taxes from the miners.......failure, failure, failure..doom, doom, doom....", people are giggling and looking away in embarrassment at the lack of substance in their performance and demeanour.
It's almost as if a veil has been lifted and the public's awareness that governing must have substance and that honesty is again belatedly coming to the fore as a prime political quality.

Which leaves Craig T in a un-enviable place.

Which also begs the question .... who organised the Victorian Police to liaiase with their NSW rozzer colleagues and at the same time, "tip-off" the media to document the raid on Craigs place?
All when fraudster, Geoff Shaw is being shielded by Baillieu.
What's Shaw "got" on "Big Bird" apart from a one seat majority?
Hmmmmmm, sniff the Smell of the Tardis State!

...and I've just come away from the most appalling piece of propaganda on ABC 7:30 report. Chris Uhlmann and Leigh Sales delivered a researched set-piece, 15 minute "free-Kick" to the Liarbril Party via Clive (the biggest miner) Palmer. It was the most obvious unpaid propaganda that our "8 cents-a-day" has paid for since the IPA decided that climate change was a myth and that tobacco is good for you.... with standards like that, Sales and Uhlmann would be better suited to work with Alan Jones.

Cheers Petals,

Monday, 22 October 2012



G’day  Possums,
Popped into CCP t’other day to see the Gregory Crewdson Show, “In a Lonely Place”.

“In a Lonely Place presents the first comprehensive exhibition of Crewdson's work in Australia.

In Beneath the Roses, anonymous townscapes, forest clearings and broad, desolate streets are revealed as sites of mystery and wonder; similarly, ostensibly banal interiors become the staging grounds for strange human scenarios. Crewdson's scenes are tangibly atmospheric: visually alluring and often deeply disquieting. Never anchored precisely in time or place, these and the other narratives of Beneath the Roses are located in the dystopic landscape of the anxious American imagination. Crewdson explores the American psyche and the dramas at play within quotidian environments.

In his most recent series, Sanctuary (2010), Crewdson has taken a new direction, shooting for the first time outside the US. During a trip to Rome, he visited the legendary Cinecittà studios, which was founded by Mussolini in the 1930s and is associated with the great Italian film director Federico Fellini. Crewdson discovered fragments of a past glory, with occasional unexpected views of the surrounding contemporary Roman suburbia. Cinecittà is a lonely place deserted by the film crews who once used the site to recreate settings of ancient Rome, medieval Italy and nineteenth-century New York.”
(CCP Catalogue)

I didn’t see “Fireflies” or the video, which are also in this show (too many School-kids noising the place up) but was content to see the main event.

The works in “Beneath the Roses” are large, approximately 2.5 x 1.5 metres, which display that wonderful photographic quality of attention to detail that at one turn compresses scale and at another, expands reality. They invite your look and demand that you study the detail, as it’s in the details the story is woven.

There is also the Light. A light, or should I say an awareness of light, used as a compositional device not just as illumination, quietly leading your gaze through the scene. Apart from the technical impressiveness of balancing that light on such a scale the overall unity of it within the compositions is quite breathtaking.

 And the detail. What is that apple doing on the right of the window? 
And is the woman ( the man's daughter?) meditating or just paused in preparing the slab of steak for dinner? 
Time here is in abayence. The space indicates isolation and resignation but not despair.

Does the yellow ribbon on the pole on the right indicate that the pregnant woman has Endometriosis? The signs that abound in this work are numerous and confusing; it all becomes too much and if you look too far you will not "see" it. 

 Homage to Courbet's "Bather's" or Manet's "Le Dejeneur sur le Herbe"?  Beautiful light at an awkward moment in a relationship or assignation ..a quiet spot but with a sense of being overlooked.

The hints of presence, of resignation and rawness of feeling. Of the "play" set within a proscenium and centre stage.

Technical devices like the "Golden Mean" and single point perspective that structure the works into coherent wholes.

Impressive works but with a peculiarly "American" sentiment that prods toward a message but doesn't confront.

 At the Cinecitte studios there is a sense of the abandonment of a constructed Pompeii, of lives terminated and actions interrupted and the odd juxtapositions of elements that make theatre so alluring.


Here in the Tardis State (where all goes backwards) Big Bird Baillieu (genus: Silvertail Incompetens) seems to be getting advice from failed ex premier Kennett (the Dorian Grey of Victorian politics)

Returning from China, "Big Bird" decided that it would be good if more school-kids had a second language. 
It is ironic that this announcement came at the same time as the 20th anniversary of the disaster that began the Kennett era with the sacking of all the language teachers and closure of 350 schools.
As the State is still short of language teachers, Big-Bird is proposing a return to the failed Sattelite dish and "100-kids-in-a-classroom-trick" that millions of dollars were wasted upon all those years ago for 5 minutes use.
Big-Bird is also warning that there may be power shortages and price increases as Carbon Pricing makes polluting with brown coal less profitable.
It's a pity Kennett closed down the old State-run SEC research facility into wind and solar power when he got into office and didn't understand what Sir john Monash felt about jobs for the returning soldiers and infrastructure in this state and that Baillieu's recent restrictions have virtually made it impossible to site a wind farm in Victoria.

So what have we got?

No progress in alternative energy, no possibility of "public" service, just increasingly poor services so that shareholders can make a profit.
Millions of dollars in payouts to the DPP and past Police Chief as compensation for being politically  unpopular and, I suspect, avoiding their nasty probing questions.
Has Big-Bird Baillieu got integrity?
No. (See details of the "Shaw" scandal. He wasn't waving btw... he's drowning)
Is this a good government?
Will Abbott who looks and sounds increasingly like an addled loose cannon lead the Liarbrils to the next election?
I don't think so ...he will be "knifed' in December. (....there's a bit of soothsaying)

cheers petals,


Thursday, 11 October 2012

...enough is enough

Enough is Enough

Finally after two years of the most malignant and vituperatively bitchy comment the conservative trolls have been counterattacked.

And they don’t like it.

They don’t enjoy the spotlight exposure being put fairly and squarely on their rank bully-boy tactics. They don’t enjoy having their collective behaviour dissected and shown for just what it is: the plain bad manners of a boorish rabble.

“Q and A” on ABC t’other night was a case in point. At every turn when Kate Ellis (Labor, Minister for Employment Participation and Early Childhood and Childcare) tried to answer a question, Chris (the Whyne) Pyne (Liarbril) and Piers (of Toad Hall) Ackerman (malevolent troll commentator) either talked over her, interrupted, or engaged others in loud conversation; even Lindsay Tanner (ex Labor) was sucked in by Pyne. It was a disgraceful but salient exposition of the conservatives’ manners and methods.

“Talk back” the next day was interesting not for the amount of people pointing out how boorish Pyne’s, Ackerman’s and Tanner’s behaviour was; but those who rang in to say that the people complaining were exaggerating!
We are seeing a great divide opening in Australia: for twenty years the conservatives have courted the bogan vote with negative, simplistic and popularist themes feeding off their clientele’s inherent selfishness and lack of critical thought.

The shock jocks, the conservative commentators, the politicians, even so-called entertainers like Sam Newman and the commercial radio and television stations have all fed into this race-to-the-bottom mentality where nothing is off limits and taste and manners are a quaint idea from the distant past. Well, they have garnered a large audience but at least because of internet media those who disagree can also have a voice too and who, by the way, are just as large a group but are not an uncritical absorbent mass. As Gillard said in response to one of Abbott’s first attacks, “Bring it on”!
Spike Milligan would have loved it: after all he did write “Hitler, My Part in His Downfall”!

Leigh Sales (ABC 7.30) has been appalling again, badgering Penny Wong (Labor finance) with “When-did-you-stop-beating-your-wife”? type insulting blasts.
Stop it Sales, it’s unseemly and unnecessary behaviour. More like what the IPA think a good technique.

Here in the “Tardis” State where all goes backwards, the Liarbril member for Frankston it has finally been found that he has abused not only gays but also his parliamentary car privileges. It will be interesting to see whether “Big Bird Baillieu, (Silvertail Incompetans) will protect this flawed Pentacostalist from being thrown out of Parliament and causing a bye-election in what is a fairly marginal seat.

Is protecting corrupt behaviour ok to protect a one seat majority?
Shades of Slippery Pete!

Cheers Petals.


Saturday, 6 October 2012 the frame

I've just recieved news that 2 of 3 of my submissions to the Ballarat International Foto  Biennale ( competition for performance photography "Take a Bow" have been shortlisted as finalists.
see link for further details

Giselle Act 2, Myrtah and Wilis

Giselle Act 2

(the following material from the current exhibition) ......Invitation to the Dance.

A title borrowed from a film Gene Kelly produced
and starred in which was at the time and possibly still is
one of the most innovative dance films made.

At photography’s inception capturing movement
was impossible and even a subjects’ head for a portrait was
clamped into place to limit any blur through movement.
In all art forms the attributes of  the medium modify
and inform the methods and conceptual paths the artist can take.

Photography’s 150+ year history has culminated in our present
digital cornucopia;  a veritable feast of image making equipment
and modification and manipulation methods which allied to the
quality and longevity of the final print is releasing the production
of new forms of expression in graphic art.

There are a variety of performance modes in dance and each
can be realised in photography through a variety of techniques
which hopefully give true expression to the qualities of the
choreography, the dancer and dances inherent theatricality, a
theatricality that is in part the ability to suspend belief: to make you
believe a woman is a Swan or a spirit and that weightlessness
is normal.
It’s the illusion of human aspiration achieving completeness.

And politically....very briefly....
after Alan "Bondi" Jones' shellacking from all and sundry, Tony "Rabbit" Abbott was obviously feeling distinctly without attention so enlisted his wife to give a series of "interviews" to say what a wonderfully warm, caring, and non-mysoginist bloke he is.
The ones I saw had all the naturalness, sincerity and spontaneity of Stalins' Show trials.
You really don't get it Tony. It's not just Julia Gillard you abuse, it's every-one!