Being asked to join a small disparate group of photographers linked by the common thread of seeking further knowledge and sharing past experiences; was what happened to me in the mid-1980s. The Swiss Broncolor organisation, via their Australian distributor gathered together a group of Australian photographers (mostly advertising/commercial based) and linked with a visit by the Swiss art photographer Christian Vogt. Vogt still works out of Basel, Switzerland. A further addition to the group was the Tokyo based advertising photographer Takuya Tsukahara from the famed Striped House Studio in Roppongi.
Ayers Rock (now known by its traditional name Uluru) is world famous for its monolithic shape and rich red colours at most times of the day and seasons of the year. It was a perfect space to connect with other photographers, and led by Vogt, we could experiment with various forms of landscape and land art including wrapping items within the landscape with cloth and fabric. Kodak sponsored us with its ill-fated instant film material (a Polaroid look alike that cost the Kodak company dearly). But it did serve us well as an instant form of assessment and critique in a pre-digital era. Look at the Kodak-roids on the ledge of the Tsukahara portrait.
Christian Vogt was kind enough to first offer to document each participant with a portrait light by Broncolor. Each session was held privately with only the sitter and Vogt in attendance. For me it was an intense process of watching, whilst participating with a Master at work. To my amazement it was almost the first image of the session that was chosen; and it was an illustration of a photographer desperately trying to out-think the photographer by asking “where are you cropping this image?“.
Why is that we photographers can’t relax and let the professionals do their job?
Tsukahara, on the other hand was comfortable enough to decide to replicate the portrait session, but to do so in the full glare of both the participants and a Kodak Carousal Projector. The ubiquitous Carousal certainly now belongs in a long forgotten era – along with colour slides, tintypes and daguerreotypes! ….but I am straying from the story. Tac (as he is known to his friends) decided that his portraits would portray a more inclusive sense of image making, and he wanted us to perform under the glare of the projector’s bulb and the subsequent shadow becoming part and parcel of the image.
Two photographs – two interpretations. These gelatin silver 20x25cm black and white images have become treasured pieces in my art collection. Thank you Gentlemen.