Every once in a while I find myself in the middle of something I had never expected. Being in any kind of group or learning space tends to make this happen. Most of my photographs have been part of my art practice: I take photographs of things I want to paint or record in another medium. I also collect pictures as documentation for things I am writing. I have never seen myself as an art photographer. I adore great black and white portraiture, for instance, but have never thought of it as something I could master. It’s enough to have photographs as another stimulus for writing stories and painting places. The high-end technical properties of photography are not where I want to go, much as I admire those who do.
Just recently though as a member of a local Photography Group I have found myself exploring new technical and conceptual experiments in photography. I first tried this while doing the Photography course at TAFE, experimenting with black and white closeups and blurring and the visual qualities of architectural spaces.
Now that I can more or less use Photoshop I can see what happens when you take photography away from the Real and see the result as a creative act in its own right. But that is still very much a learning process. I have been trying to find a good local Photoshop course but although they are often promised through the Community College they somehow never materialise. The one I did start at TAFE spent several hours going on about fonts, which I certainly didn’t want to know about, fascinating though they are.
Our photography group has its own Flickr page, where we are putting some of our own work, but I went for Flickr Pro and have set up my page to load my experimental and conceptual work. I am turning some of this into Powerpoint presentations, because that is an ideal way to meld text with pictures, but discovered you have to separate out the Powerpoint slides and load them as an Album on Flickr.
I thought I could load the full Powerpoint here on my WordPress site. But although I am paying for a Premium Plan you need a special plug-in to load a Powerpoint and that means you have to have a Business site which costs $299 per year. What? Since I have no business intentions for this photography site, there’s really no point. So the best I can do is list the project titles and suggest you go to my Flickr site to take a look at the slides as they appear in the Album.
My first production is The Secret Life of Kitchens, opening with “The Strainer: a Secret Life”. In the group we were asked to create a meditation on the visual and narrative properties of a common everyday item. I began with a simple silver strainer, the kind you use to catch tea-leaves if you still make tea as we do, in a pot, with real leaves. The initial photograph, which tried to highlight its reflective and shiny qualities against the glitter of a granite benchtop quickly led into a narrative romance. Here is the link: