Walker Evans – “Depth of Field”

Ian-Poole-Brisbane-Photographer

Vancouver Art Gallery #1; © Ian Poole, Canada, 2017.

In my thought processes, the photographic output of Walker Evans (1903-75) was over-shadowed by the mid twentieth century photographers Robert Frank, Garry Winogrand and Lee Friedlander;  the Farm Security Administration (FSA) members like Dorothea Lange, Marion Post Wolcott, and Gordon Parks.  Whilst Australian heroes in Dr Michael Coyne and Tim Page piqued my visual interest.  The paucity of names on this list is a clear indication of my lack of knowledge of the genre.

Today I expanded that knowledge by a quantum of 100%!  Whilst others in my travel group were heading to Whistler for skiing – I was aiming to catch the final days of this block buster exhibition Walker Evans – Depth of Field at the Vancouver Art Gallery.  I was not disappointed.  Gathered with the skill that only a good curator possesses, from a multitude of sources, this exhibition documented some of Evans earliest work right through to his late output using Polaroid materials.  Colour even!

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Road Side Stand near Birmingham Alabama, 1936; © Walker Evans

I got to see personal favourites (the old reliable house mover) and discovered many new and ironic photographs (damaged).

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Truck and Sign; © Walker Evans, 1929-30.

These further fed my interest.  Of the monochrome photographs, there was a delightful mix of gelatin silver prints (both vintage and later printed) and ink jet.  The difference of printing techniques was never a consideration, such was the quality of both old and new.  The viewer concentrated on content not on technique.  I suspect even Evans would have approved.

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Robert Frank’s Stove, Cape Breton Island; © Walker Evans, 1971

Another intriguing find was a photograph of Robert Frank’s stove.  Such a personal insight into Frank’s personal space seems to indicate that the two great photographers had a knowledge of each other (albeit late in Evan’s life).

Evans trip to Cuba produced some delightful photographs including another of my personal favourites.  It was a joy to see three variants, including a large inkjet print, all side by side for the viewer’s pleasure.

Such curatorship is wonderful when it is carefully crafted to seduce and educate the viewer.

 

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Citizen of Downtown Havana; © Walker Evans, 1933

A pleasant gallery interlude and totally worth a trip around the world to view.  Thank you Vancouver Art Gallery.

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Vancouver Art Gallery #2; © Ian Poole, Canada, 2017.

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Vancouver Art Gallery #3; © Ian Poole, Canada 2017.


 

 

 

 

Making Pig Products more Personable

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KR Darling Downs I; © Ian Poole, 1980

It is 1980 and my fledgling photographic business is grateful for any assignments thrust my way.

My close mate, the Art Director, turns up at my Studio in the old pink church, with a set of water colour renderings that he has just had drawn at the direction of the client.  The Client thought that it would be a good idea to show the source of his product in a cute and humorous way.

The source was a pig!     And the product was bacon! 

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KR Darling Downs II; © Ian Poole, 1980

That is how the KR Darling Downs Christmas Card Assignment was launched.  My reservations about the quality of the concept are more pronounced today than they were way back in another century.

After all, an advertising photographer is just a hired camera sitting around waiting for a commission.

My job was to reproduce the artwork as accurately as possible for printing of Christmas Cards and a possible brochure.  This was a time of black and white newspapers, and whilst it may have been reproduced in the Toowoomba Chronicle, that was not a concern on this occasion.  Working at the 115 Warren Street, Fortitude Valley Studio, and using my Sinar P2 (5×4″) screen-shot-2016-12-21-at-5-34-12-pmcamera, Kodak Ektachrome transparency film and a Kodak Color Control Patch – I more than had this assignment covered!

Founded in 1911 as the Darling Downs Bacon Co-operative, KR Darling Downs eventually closed in 2006 putting 350 people out of work.  The company was a large employer in the Toowoomba region.

My connection was via the advertising agency Hertz Walpole and its art director Gary Edgar.  Over later years I was to produce some food photography for brochures.  My everlasting memory was of executives from the bacon company driving down from Toowoomba bringing packages of product for use in the photography sessions, and their boredom eventually culminating with their disappearance from the studio around lunchtime to visit a hotel.  Fortunately not to be seen again that day!

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KR Darling Downs III; © Ian Poole, 1980

Agency:  Hertz Walpole, Brisbane
Art Director:  Gary Edgar
Artist:  Unknown
Client:  KR Darling Downs Pty Ltd, Toowoomba

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These transparencies (IAN POOLE does PHOTOGRAPHY file #4737) (and many others), will become part of an online searchable database at the John Oxley Historical Library within the State Library of Queensland during 2017.

 

 

Business Cards – I have had a few.

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Business Card #1; c1966

My very first business card was also a photography card.  The agonising that went into such a simple small text document was amazing.

I had created the strangest collection of partners to combine into a photographic business.  My good mate Alan Larsen was also an accountant – that seemed to make sense.   Another friend was a pianist and vocalist and there seemed to be symbolic relationship between those skills and wedding photography.  Something to be exploited we thought.  The connection with Alan was also based on the fact that he possessed a darkroom – and that was where the wedding photos were going to be processed.  In fact in was in that darkroom on Sunday  17 December 1967 that we heard of the disappearance of Australian Prime Minister Harold Holt.  Yet another useful fact!

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Business Card #2; c.1969

More important than a gold embossed dairy maid, was the fact that my next business card came equipped with a brand new Ford Falcon Station Wagon – luxury beyond anything on my radar; and my first new car.

This card (and attached job) proved that my photography career was still in a transistory state.  It did lead the way to my first food photography jobs and other assignments.

The next card was a pivotal moment in my photographic career.

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Business Card #3; c.1974

I had finally made photography my primary source of income.  Not in a solo business but with a partner.  Greg had worked in an advertising photography studio and I had a bookkeeping background with candid and wedding photography skills – what a combination that was!  We were two steps ahead of being backyarders.  The colour of the card matched the corporate colours, the shade of the Mazda 1500 and the go-faster stripe painted down the wall of the foyer of our first hand built studio and darkroom.

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Brisbane Card #4; February 1976

Card #4 was produced just in time for Friday 13 February 1976 – the first day of business for IAN POOLE does PHOTOGRAPHY.   It was the first day of my striking out solo.  Albeit sharing a large former Lutheran church with David McCarthy OAM Hon. LM, Hon. FAIPP, APP.L AAIPP. former Australian President of the AIPP.

By this time I had been a member of the IAP (the precursor of the AIPP) since the previous year.  It also showed the phone number that I was to use (in slightly various altered iterations) until 2014.

Colour was of importance, as was a different shape (square to make it stand out); and the double denim of the clothing was the latest in denim safari suits!  There was NO trendier photographer in all of Brisbane!

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Business Card #5; c. 1980

Mind you I was to use a Hasselblad camera for most of my working career.

Business Card #5 was starting to show a little more sophistication in graphic design.  The denim remained but the typography was more restrained (and I was still a member of the Institute).

The next major move came with the transfer of the Studio to the Brisbane inner city suburb of Red Hill.  This was truly a one man business conducted from my home and enabled me to do some of those family things like taking a daughter to and from her local school. Ian-Poole-Brisbane-Photographer Card #6 was a utilitarian object with the addition of a facsimile machine to the Studio’s assets.  Smaller space but more facility.  Upper Clifton Terrace gave me the impetus to move from being a lecturer at the College of Art, Griffith University, to being a post-graduate student at the same institution.  This opportunity opened all manner of photographic avenues to me with exhibitions being held and curated, and artist’s residencies in places like Japan (courtesy of the Australia Council for the Arts).

Business Card #7 was the result of a commercial graphic art studio and the resources of the Government of the Great State of Queensland.

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Business Card #7; 1994

No mention was made of my membership of the now named Australian Institute of Professional Photography (AIPP), but I was able to flaunt my newly gained post-graduate status from Griffith University.

Joining the Queensland Government Photographic Unit gave me an opportunity to travel the state photographing all manner of projects and people.  Including an awful lot of “grip and grins” – hand shakes and ribbon cuttings!

Card #8 was an opportunity to indulge some of the finer things in photography.  Curate exhibitions at Gallery Frenzy, write articles for f11::for PHOTOGRAPHERS AND AFICIONADOS and spend a little time taking some portraits of special people.

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Business Card #8; 2012

I now no longer had a formal Studio, but I did have the freedom to chose where and when photographs could be created.

Documenting a career via one’s business cards is an interesting exercise in graphics, desires, dynamics and reactions to what is happening in and around your life.

My career has been as varied as the cards would indicate!


 

Portfolio Published in f11

It was with some pleasure when I read the current issue of f11 :: for photographers and aficionados.    With a substantial number of contemporary photographs to view it was a joy to see them presented with such care by Creative Director Tim Steele.

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The process of arriving at this point was both interesting and laborious.  My initial idea of submitting a grab bag of images from a checkered commercial career was ruthlessly rejected  (fortunately) by the editorial board.   I was forced to regroup and reassess the work to be presented and be also constrained by the publishing needs of a journal that is produced eleven times a year.

I am in good company with Stephen Robinson’s delightful memories of vintage New Zealand architecture, the NZIPP Iris Award winners and of course the essay by Tony Bridge and equipment review by Gary Baildon.   I am almost embarrassed to mention a column by yours truly amping up the debate about whether photography award entries should (or should not) be the sole work of the entrant.

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f11 Magazine has a social media presence on Twitter: @f11magazine; and
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……and one of the photos that didn’t make the cut –

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New Otani; © Ian Poole, 2015.

The Way to Art is through Craft

The way to art is through craft; not around craft – Ansel Adams

I was reminded of this cryptic comment whilst attending the recent Iris Awards held in Wellington New Zealand by the NZ Institute of Professional Photography.

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Piper and Posers; © Ian Poole, 2016 (IRIS Silver Award)

With over 1,200 photographs judged in various categories over three days by local and overseas photographers, this was an event of resounding success.  Some great images were viewed, discussed and awarded.  With this access to vast riches of both imagery and photographic knowledge, all gathered together in a couple of small rooms, it was an opportunity to absorb creativity beyond compare.

It was not the fact that there was an audience – it was the composition of that audience that surprised me.

The judging of the wedding and portrait categories were unsurprisingly a case of a full house at every session.  Hardly to be marveled at when the photographic industry is largely constructed on the business of domestic image making.  My surprise was that these people disappeared from the rooms when other apparently unrelated categories were being considered.

This is the age where few domestic photographers maintain a formal studio, preferring to work from a home environment, with resulting wedding and portrait images being taken in informal outdoor surroundings.  For example the family group in a park setting, or the wedding couple being dwarfed by a large factory wall.   These good uses of the natural and urban landscape are part and parcel of the 21st century portrait or wedding photographic experience.

So, I wondered, where were all the wedding and portrait photographers when the Landscape Category was being judged?

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Hong Kong; © Ian Poole, 2016 (IRIS Silver Award)

Where did they go? There were many entrants in the room but nowhere near the number of practitioners in evidence when the domestic genres were being assessed.  Many a time I have observed the plaintive cries of wedding photographers on social media agonising over an upcoming wet weekend and seeking fresh ideas and secret locations to use while documenting their brides and grooms.  It occurred to me,  wouldn’t observing the locations chosen by landscape workers be potentially useful for placing your bridal couples within their context?  Or a factory, or some city hall steps, or a strange dark and moody alleyway?  These are all locations where I have seen portraits produced for bridal couples working under a photographer’s direction.

A further cause for concern for me was the surprising comment by some audience members during the judging of the Documentary Category that men were assessing birth photographs!  This ironic observation would have had the potential for humour in times other than the politically correct ones we live in today, but the strength of such comments was a little daunting.  The category quite reasonably embraces the idea of the camera as a means of recording (documenting) the human endeavour.

A broad ethos at best.

The criticism was two pronged.  Firstly that male judges had no understanding of the birth process and that they were unaware of the degree of difficulty involved in this area of photography.  This seemed a somewhat sexist approach.

However, putting that aside, my first response would be that the judges (male and female) were briefed to find the best photographs showing a documentation of the human condition.  Note the requirement to arrive at a winning photograph.  All the judges came from different areas of the industry but carried with them skills and abilities to assess and arrive at a conclusion.  Some were skilled practitioners in documentary photography, and all possessed that necessary ability to assess, analyse and score a photograph within the constraints of a well-documented and rigorously maintained process.

The degree of difficulty argument is not new in the awards system.

The wedding photographer working in the pouring rain, the newborn photographer with the wailing baby, the architectural photographer without a cloud in the sky, the commercial photographer with a rubbish skip in front of a building at 5am, the medical photographer with surgeons and anaesthetists in front of their view –  these and many other obstacles are part and parcel of a professional photographer’s daily life.  To imagine that judges are unaware or unable to acknowledge these challenges is misguided and a sad slight on the skills and experience of the judges who worked tirelessly to ensure that high standards ensued.

Fortunately with some long hours, some diligent consideration, some robust discussion and eventual collegiate agreement, the 2016 NZIPP Iris Awards were a resounding success – congratulations to the Institute and their many workers on a job well done.

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Nagano; © Ian Poole, 2016 (IRIS Silver Award)


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This essay first appeared in f11 Magazine :: for PHOTOGRAPHERS and AFICIONADOS, p146, issue 56 :: July, 2016.

 

 

 

 

 


 

Canoes, Cats and Water Activities

Ian-Poole-Brisbane-Photographer

Home Made Kayak; Wivenhoe Crossing, February 1970

For a guy with skin as fair and Anglo-Saxon as mine is, it is surprising the amount of outdoor activities I pursued in my early years.  It was obviously a Boy Scout thing with a lot of hiking, mountain climbing and canoeing; then later owning a Hobie catamaran.

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Weir Above Murwillumbah

For a number of years I had been using the Canadian canoes owned by the Indooroopilly Boy Scout Group, where I was a scout master.  As opposed to the single seat kayak illustrated above, the Canadian is an open canoe requiring two people to work the craft and able to carry a third person or a lot of equipment – thus making it very useful for trips and a vehicle for camping.

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Canadian Canoe Construction; © Ian Poole, Albion, c1970

My only attempt at building a canoe was whilst I was a Scout Master at the Albion Group.  The Venturer Scouts there heard me speak of paddling on the Brisbane River with Canadian canoes and wanted to have some for themselves.  It was resolved that part of the project was for them to build their own.  I followed suit with constructing a kayak for myself.  Appropriate plans were acquired and then the search for materials.  I was using a framework of Oregon pine with upper trim of cedar.  The Oregon pine was relatively light weight, bendable and easy to work with.  The cedar trim was an affectation that was there for aesthetic reasons as well as being a soft and easy timber with which to work.  The framework was then covered with canvas that was treated with paint to provide the necessary water proofing.

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External Planking; © Ian Poole, Albion,  c1970.

The Canadian canoe was also ribbed with Oregon but then clad with marine ply strips.  Hence it was much more robust (suitable for teenage boys) and a far sturdier craft.

Whilst much paddling practice was done by launching from a point just upstream from the Indooroopilly Bridge where there was easy access into the Brisbane River, we also canoed many times on the upper reaches of the same river.  This was all prior to the construction of the Wivenhoe Dam.  There were many road crossings that enabled easy access to launch the canoes and camping spots could be easily found.  I saw my first live platypus in the wild on one of these trips.

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Downstream from Murwillimbah; photo by Geoff Knott, c1970.

A major canoe trip was a journey down the Tweed River from the first navigable water in the head waters (launching off the Uki Road) to Fingal Heads at the mouth of the river.  Done in the company of fellow St John’s Wood Rover Scout Geoff Knott, this multi day trip took us through fast moving currents, around fallen trees and low level bridges into the head winds and tidal flow of the lower reaches.  Byangum, the metropolis of Murwillumbah, Condong, Tumbulgum (a good camp site), Stotts and Dodds Islands, Chinderah and on to Fingal.

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Poole + XXXX: photo by Will Street, Clontarf, c1978

My final active connection with water was the purchase of a 14′ Hobie Cat in the mid 1970s.  A close friend (Gary Edgar) already had such a craft and it was under his tutelage that I bought and then learned (poorly) to sail the catamaran.  As I was to learn, whilst the 14′ version could be a handful, the more well known 16′ version was a killer to the inexperienced.  The smaller craft could be handled by one person but two crew were needed for the larger one.

Such were the halcyon days of photography in the late 1970s, a few photographers who owned catamarans would gather for a weekday afternoon of sailing and drinking and telling of wild and improbable stories.  These included David McCarthy (advertising photographer), Will Street (colour laboratory owner) and Graham Jurott (Queensland University medical photographer) and others.

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Poole + Hobie; photo by Jim Beitz, Noosa, c1980.

I was also to take the Hobie on a holiday to Noosa.   My Nikonos III underwater camera was used most whilst I owned the Hobie.

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Hobie 31013; © Ian Poole, Clontarf, c1980

The Hobie, with it’s iconic Tequila Sunrise sail full of wind, was a dramatic and striking sight – even if was on a final coast onto the shore.

The Ill-defined Role of the “Almost” Second Shooter…….

Having previously spoken about the delicious/difficult joy of having a daughter who is also a photographer – I trod into uncharted territory this week when I was commissioned to be the “almost second shooter” at a wedding that Nicola was covering.  As those of you in the wedding industry would know, a photographic second shooter is one who assists the commissioned photographer by picking up alternate shots (usually from a different direction/perspective/angle), or attending the less important location when there is a clash of photo opportunity.  I was invited to a nephew’s wedding and Nicola was commissioned to record the occasion.  A set-up for the classic Wedding Uncle scenario!  The type of situation that is written about (in bitter angst) on photography forums, on an hourly basis, all around the world!  Having done more weddings (in a previous lifetime and century) than I care to remember, the lack of full responsibility was a blessing; BUT the constraints that were placed upon me by said Daughter were daunting:

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The Bride and her Father; © Ian Poole, 2013.

  • Don’t get in my way;
  • Don’t distract the Bride when I am shooting;
  • No, I don’t need you when we leave to take the real photos at another location;
  • etc, etc, etc, etc.

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    Dress Detail; © Ian Poole, 2013.

A few days before this event I was fortunately distracted from these photographic imposts by the loan of a lens in a style with which I rarely work.  Most of my photography is done with prime lenses in the standard to wide angle area (20/35/60mm Nikon).  Tony Holden, Queensland Area Manager at C.R. Kennedy & Co Pty Ltd was kind enough to share with me a Sigma APO 70-200mm F2.8 lens.  Whilst I have on occasions desired a longer than standard lens, it has never been of great concern for me to have one in my camera bag.  So coupling a new photographic toy with photographic constraints – I was on a roll.

Working from my allocated position, I was able to record the detail in Kira’s dress.  The Sigma lens performed well – have a look at the detail from a crop showing the bow.

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Wedding Ceremony; © Ian Poole, 2013.

The second shot that this lens enabled me to achieve was the discrete reaction that only a telephoto can achieve.  The genuine joy on the faces of the Bride and Groom is placed in the context of the Maleny hinterland location, and despite an autumnal haze, the coastal seaside can be viewed in the background of the ceremony.

Of course, the creative photographer in me wouldn’t allow the opportunity to pass without putting my photographic finger prints on the occasion.  Dragging a more familiar 20mm lens from the camera bag I was able to grab this one.  I have owned a variation of this lens since the early 1970s and have fond memories of being given access to its Leica 21mm equivalent a long time before I could even afford to buy a Nikon…… It is more my style, and probably why I am not in demand for wedding bookings these days.

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Kira and Daniel, Maleny; © Ian Poole, 2013.

Thank goodness!

Cameron Attree – published photographer

Cam Attree prepares to launch his book; © Ian Poole 2013.

Cam Attree prepares to launch his book; © Ian Poole 2013.

One of the joys of being a mature photographer is that you are often called upon to open Exhibitions, act as a Master of Ceremonies, and generally give spontaneous off-the-cuff comments to groups of people – ‘cos you’ve been around for a long time……

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One of those occasions occurred last night.

We at Foto Frenzy (disclosure – I am one of four Directors) held our first exhibition opening at Gallery Frenzy.  These will continue at roughly monthly intervals through the year. (hint – the 2014 Gallery bookings are now being discussed).  Not only was it Gallery Frenzy’s first formal exhibition, but also a first solo exhibition for Cameron Attree.  In conjunction with the Naked in Baja Mexico Exhibition, Cam has produced a boxed, hard cover book.  This edition has been printed on the new Canon DreamLabo 5000 at Picture works, Melbourne.  All of the reproductions are of a very high standard, but my greatest response was to the quality of the black and white images.  They are close to gelatin silver analogue prints.  Cam, a Brisbane based photographer (and fellow Foto Frenzy Director) has been involved with the American based ARTnudes Network, and this current exhibition is a result of his endeavours in Mexico in 2011.

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St Merrique, Casa Dracula Veiled; © Cam Attree 2013; 1 of 5, 16×24″.

Cam used the Pozible crowdfunding creative projects system to generate interest and finance for this activity.  With a series of incentives ranging from signed prints through to a signed hard copy of his book, Cam was able to generate enough funds to start the project.  Using the opening ceremony last night, Cam was able to present the signed books to many of his initial backers.  This was well received by those supporters in attendance.

Print editions will be limited to five photographs, and prices range from $A395 (11×17″ matted) to $A750 (16×24″ matted).  The limited edition coffee table book has been printed in high definition using a 7 dye-based ink system never before seen in a photo book; offering colours with a wider spectrum and greater detail.  Bound in a laser engraved black linen cover, the 230gsm paper gives the pages a real photographic feel.  Limited to 100 copies, each book will be individually numbered and signed and will include an open edition art print; presented in an English Black Arlin bookcloth presentation case.  Remaining books will be on sale for $A395.

Brooke Lynne, Green Rocks 1, © Cam Attree; 1 of 5, 11x17".

Brooke Lynne, Green Rocks 1, © Cam Attree; 1 of 5, 11×17″.

The exhibition will be on show at Gallery Frenzy, 3/429 Old Cleveland Road, Coorparoo, Brisbane, until 15 March.

Instagram – Real Photography or Not?

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Incident on Ginza-dori, Tokyo; © Ian Poole, 2012.

In an article (page 10 March 2012) written for my Auckland based friend, Tim Steele, in his f11 Magazine, I spoke of my anxious concern as to whether a smart phone could take photos/be a camera.  As a late adopter of smart phone technology (an early adopter of belt mounted pagers in the late 1970s, but that possibly doesn’t count); I came to the concept of mobile phones as cameras rather late in life.  Up until late 2011 the telephone had been a “ring ring – hello” type of device for me.  At that time I was preparing for a trip to Japan and was keen to share images with friends both at home and on my travels.  Whether my Japanese friends had good English skills (my Japanese is just short of non-existent) they all had good visual literacy skills.  Therefore photography was a legitimate form of communication.

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Clouds over Queenstown; © Ian Poole 2013.

Despite using professional equipment (Nikon D800 and a much loved Panasonic Lumix GF1), I found that the note taking capacity of my i-Phone was seductively easy; as was the instant capacity to communicate with friends on the run with Instagram.  There has been contemporary debate about Instagram since its sale to Facebook, but whilst I have taken some cherished images and placed into this software, it is a visual communication device that differs from my “real” cameras.

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Homage to Cartier-Bresson at Matisse Exhibition; © Ian Poole Brisbane, 2011.

Moving from travel documentary, I found that the ready availability of have a device in my pocket led to images being taken that would not normally be exposed.  I am not a reportage type of Cartier-Bresson photographer, but found that I was seeing and taking more of these style of images.  My i-Phone had become a notebook that was as indispensable as my Moleskine.

Just as good darkroom technique is important in analogue photography, post-production with i-Phone (or Android) images is critical.  My preferred software is Snapseed, with a camera setting called 6×6 permanently set at black and white as my monochrome image maker; reminiscent of Hasselblad days.

Yes, my i-Phone is an integral item in my camera bag; no, it hasn’t replaced any of my cameras (and that includes a Holga, a Lubitel, a Sharan pinhole and some more serious bits and pieces.

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One Way – Keep Left; © Ian Poole, Brisbane, 2011.

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Guardian Angel, Queenstown, New Zealand; © Ian Poole, 2013.

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Brisbane Cliche Wedding Location; © Ian Poole, 2012.

My First Art Photograph

My First Art Photo

Boy Scout First Class Hike; © Ian Poole, c1958.

Sorting through old negatives last year I was excited and thrilled to find the FIRST roll of film that I had ever exposed!  Frame four of an eight exposure roll.  Look at the deep brooding malevolent shadow in the foreground (lemon squeezer Scout hat and all), the apprehensive figure tentatively crouched at the tent, the leaning landscape seeking to overgrow the small campsite – what a mature capture for one so young!!  I will not deny that there is a little 21st century post production via NIK software – but the original capture is there for all to see.

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With some trepidation I looked through this chemist shop processed roll of 620 black and white Kodak Verichrome Pan negatives, still in the original cardboard envelope that was used in 1960.  Remember when rolls of exposed film were carried to the chemist shop, given with care to the shop assistant and you were counselled to call back in a week?  No “chimping” on the back of camera immediately after exposure.  The background to this surprising find was that as a raw fourteen year old Patrol Leader in the Sarina Boy Scouts, I was heading out to complete my First Class overnight hike with a companion (Rex Pannell – where are you now Rex?).

Part of my instructions (offered to me in a sealed envelope) gave me directions to follow, and a number of map reference points where I was to take a photograph as visual proof of accomplishment.  Not owning a camera at that time, my dear Dad’s Kodak Box Brownie 2A was pressed into action.  Stern warnings were given about treating the valuable device with great care; always shoot with the light over my shoulder; hold it steady – the instructions were endless, and my teenage brain was at full capacity.

Logbook_3_blogThe photograph in question was taken at our campsite for the night; a minor stop on the main Brisbane to Cairns, North Queensland railway line, which went by the delightful name of Oonooie.  It was here that I took my second Art Photograph.  There is no other way to describe this masterpiece of abstraction.   The disembodied mechanical device beside the endless steel of the rails.

Yes, I did pass my First Class Hike.  I like to think (now) that it was the calibre of the photography that did it.  But, sadly, I feel that deep and meaningless fine art photography was not respected in the deep north of Queensland in the 1960s.

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That was to come much later in my life – and sadly to the consternation of my Dear Old Mum, who felt that I was indulging myself and not settling down to a steady and real job!