Sydney: Anish Kapoor - Museum of Contemporary Art

I have just returned from a glorious weekend in Sydney. Well, glorious for the people and things I saw ... the weather was cold and wet and so unlike Summer. The main purpose of the trip was see Dead Can Dance perform at the Sydney Opera House on the Sunday night. DCD are essentially two people; Lisa Gerrard and Brendan Perry. They have been working together for nearly 30 years with their first release coming in 1984 and their latest work Anastasis released last year. The performance was outstanding and supported by another 5 musicians. If you're unfamiliar with their work and you have 6 minutes of guaranteed 'alone-time' click here. There's no 'clip' with this one ... just a visual of the cover art for the album The Serpents Egg. The track was also featured on the Baraka Soundtrack. They performed this last night about half way through their set and I wept ... this piece always moves me and hearing it live has now somehow made my life more complete.

Anyways, I digress! I also saw the Anish Kapoor show at the Museum of Contemporary Art down on Circular Quay. This show is his first for Australia and didn't disappoint. There are many visually challenging pieces in the show and the scale of some is quite breathtaking. Like, for example My Red Homeland (below). From the catalog;

My Red Homeland is a monumental wax sculpture that consists of 25 tons of paraffin wax mixed with a deep red pigment. In this enormous circular sculpture, a large motorised steel blade slowly traces the circumference of the structure, which measures 12 metres in diameter. Each rotation of the blade takes about one hour, as it cuts a course through the wax, dissecting and reshaping it into endless new forms.

I know ... to make this work, I think we need some wax ... how about 25 tons of wax! And I want it red, blood red, so when it's cut and churned it resembles meat ... yes ... like that, flesh. Visceral, cut, shaped and continually reworked (once an hour) ... quite brilliant really.

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The scale alone is enough to grab you in.

I went up to Sydney with my good friend David and his wife Thao. David's a huge DCD fan and he drove us all up to Sydney for our weekend of culture. Here he is in the picture below photographing Kapoor's Memory, a 24 ton hollow steel construction that required the roof to be temporarily removed to lower it into its install space.

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Now, apart from these rather colossal installations, there are a lot of pieces that sincerely mess with your visual perceptions of the space you find yourself. Kapoor uses non-reflective pigments in a number of pieces which really works to mess with you perception ... I didn't take any pictures of those ... it would have  been pointless really ... you have stand in front of it and experience them yourself ... sorry about that.

I did take a picture of When I was Pregnant (below)

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Oh and there was a whole room of very shiny S-curves and C-curves all incredibly polished that served to reflect and cross-reflect the room and the people in it in a myriad different ways. I spoke to one of the assistants who explained to me that the artist has a team of specialist polishers flown over from New York specifically to polish these installations ... the polishing took nine days for the MCA show. They did a bloody good job!

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I really enjoyed this show by Anish Kapoor. It runs until the 13th of April 2013.

How's about you? Been to visit any particularly fine art recently.


2012 Plus One promotional poster

2012 PlusOne Collection

2012 Plus One promotional poster Found out yesterday that my photograph Feel the Wind was selected for the print edition of the 2012 PlusOne Collection.

boy standing in front of train passing a station at speed

It's exciting and it seems I'm in esteemed company ... the 299 other images selected are all fantastic. I've pre-ordered my copy and I'm looking forward to seeing it in April :-)

Great collection, great cause. Check it out.


Elsewhere

Time spent elsewhere. If I start to type will the words flow?

I honestly don't know...

It's been three months and now it's the last day of 2012. It's been an intense period for me and I'm looking forward to what 2013 will bring. As some of you will know, my partner and I decided to split amicably in August. We'd been together for over thirteen years and while I'm not going to go into the details here suffice to say that we both want different things in life and neither of us can see it happening if we stay together. Things are friendly and all but it's still tricky at times. So I've been busy renovating my flat and moved in two weeks ago. The renovations took much longer than planned, thanks largely to an oft-times absent builder, but it's worked out well with end of the school year and Christmas holidays. The flat's turned out very nicely and I'll do a whole post on that soonly. It doesn't feel quite so much like a hotel suite anymore ;-)

Astute readers of this blog will have noticed I've been very quiet creatively and while I've been taking some pictures I've not had a workstation to process them on until I moved in. That said, I have done a couple of commissions for Living Magazine;

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pimped a friends Cadillac

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got flown to Adelaide for a weekend of following two gorgeous musicians around the Adelaide Hills (the images are beautiful but awaiting my workflow mojo to return ;-) )

On the way there, I stuffed around in the airport;

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I did go outside ... to Sydney even;

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Wirestorm, one of the large pictures from last year's exhibition sold for $2,000 at a local gallery ... I was quite pleased about that :-)

wirestorm.jpg

 

Two of my photographs were selected for book covers;

Canberra by Paul Daly

canberra

 

and a dragon-fantasy book in Canada ... the title of which I am unable to currently recall

...dragon tail... [REDUX]

 

The Australian National Botanic Gardens featured my work when I photographed their AfterDark night garden experiences

31-12-2012 10-31-05 PM

I finally entered the smartphone fraternity and spend many, many hours playing with it. It takes decent pictures too. I've spent a good deal of the past three months drooling over the new Nikon bodies but came to the realisation that if I'd bought one then it would pretty much sit in its box... the time is approaching though!

On the way I lost track of some friends and I honestly don't know what happened with some of them ... things went quiet and just nothing ... I didn't have the energy to follow through and all and chase things that seemingly held no return ... my mind really was elsewhere.

Looking back I've been busy and I would oft look at my neglected blog and read through my feeds but have not commented  when I felt I had nothing to share back ... it's been kinda like that ... a lot of feeling I had nothing to share back ... not publicly anyways.

If you've read all the way down here ... thank you ... and I wish you the very best of the season and a spectacular 2013. I'm going to be there and I'd love to see you there too.

Geoff


geoff_selfie_quad

About time I said hello again

geoff_selfie_quad

A quick post to say hello again. Life has been very busy for me here at Chez Geoff with little time to devote to my blog or to photography in general. One of the exciting things I've been doing is pulling together an exhibition proposal for The Sum of the Parts sometime in 2013.

While I've been touching base in the briefest of spaces I have watched my list of unread post from the people I follow regularly grow and grow. I will come and visit but right now I have some things I need to get organised so I will be sporadically in and out. I did take the time to take a series of selfies on the weekend. It's been a while since I took any selfies and so I thought it a good theme for this post say hello :-)

Normal transmission will resume shortly!


I'm guest blogger today over at Vision and Verb

In what amounts to my first ever ... I am today's guest blogger over at Vision and Verb. I was nominated by my friend Ginnie who is a regular poster here at Pictures with Words. The article is my post Falling Out of the Habit of Writing (over at Vision and Verb here)

Vision and Verb describe themselves as a '...global gathering of women of this age' and you can read more about their philosophy. Astute readers of this blog will have worked out by now that I am not a woman. Apparently the gathering enjoys male blood on occasion though I have to admit this wasn't made explicitly clear in our initial correspondence! ;-)

Regardless of the whole blood thing, I'm chuffed that they thought my post was something that related well to the group's directions and philosophy and I'd like to say a big thank you to them. :-)


Let Me Count the Ways

As you may have guessed by now I'm in love with refraction ... the bending of light through water or glass. This picture is one from a couple of years ago when I was right into refracting patterns through droplets of water. My setup for these consisted of a sheet of glass suspended above the pattern, in this case a frangipani blossom, with droplets placed onto the glass. I adjusted the height of the glass until the pattern was contained within the drop. I particularly liked blurring the background so that it gave the viewer the knowledge that the drop was refracting something much larger behind it. This picture, Let Me Count the Ways, represents the culmination of those efforts and attempts (and failures!) to create something ... an idea ... an essence.

On another note: I'm going away on a family holiday for a week or so and am leaving the internet behind. I won't be visiting your beautiful blogs in that time but I promise to look when I return.

Geoffrey x


Petroleum

Petroleum


windswept leafy autumn chill
fuel that warmed machine's internals
now drained
tanks vapour filled
hollow booming - signage an empty promise
abandoned a day and already unkempt
fenced, dug up and replaced
the land given a new life
and on future warm summer evenings
when myriad people sip and gaze
from fresh balconies
a faint waft of petroleum
hangs sweetly in the air

-May 2012

 

Our local service station has finally closed. It marks the end of an era for this little suburb. One of the last small servos to go. The bicycle shop - it was handy having one just down the road - closed up months ago. I was on my way back from a family shoot on Sunday and saw that the place had finally closed ... so I stopped and took some photographs. The signage came down yesterday morning.  I know all things must change and the world moves on but I was sad to see it go. Soon it will be as though nothing was there. Units will be up in a year. Nothing will remain except the faint waft of petroleum hanging sweetly in the air.

What about you? Do you document the things that change before they change?


long exposure of the rainforest gully lit by small spotlights

AfterDARK at the Gardens

On Saturday evening I went along with the family to a special members event at the Australian National Botanic Gardens (ANBG). The rainforest gully walk has been kitted out with low wattage LED lighting funded by the 'Friends of the Botanic Gardens' and Saturday night was the first time they were showing it off. There were deleicious canapes and a glass of wine at the Visitors Centre before we were split into small groups of ten or twelve. Wind-up torches were handed out by our guides and, dressed warmly, we set off.

Being a regular visitor to the Gardens I was loving being in there at night. Familiar paths and trees took on new life as they illuminated only by our torch beams. Our guide Marion took us on a walk through the eucalypts before we entered the rainforest gully .

Wow!

The place was literally transformed. The mist jets which keep the gully moist and assist in maintaining an ambient temperature above freezing came on periodically and it was like walking through cloud ... really thick cloud. Lights have been set into both sides of the boardwalk so you know where the path goes and coloured lights have been placed in the garden beds as well.  I had brought my tripod and camera with me ... I decided on a single lens for the night: my Nikkor 20mm f/2.8D ... a little jewel of a lens. I wanted something quite fast and wide and my tripod enabled the longer exposures you see here.

The display looked fantastic and hats off to the 'Friends' program who both envisaged and funded the lighting program through subscription and donation.

There are plans to make this a regular event called the AfterDARK Firefly Tour begins officially in June. I suggest you get yourself along for a unique experience.

WhenSat 2 June  I  Sat 7 July  I  Sat 4 Aug
Time: 6pm and 7pm Tours
Cost: $19 adults; $14 concession (+booking fee) | Bookings essential 6250 9540 | Online bookings available from 8th May

This post has also been blogged over at The RiotACT


Assemble

Sometimes things just assemble themselves. Like this picture... I came across a table at my in-laws place in the countryside and there was an assortment of things on it that the kids had collected and been playing with ... there was this arthropod in a glass of water (I still haven't gotten around to identifying it yet ... it seems to have a lot of segmented legs!) and there was this illustration from a newspaper by the illustrator 'Reg' ... the two objects just seemed made to go together and well, here they are :-)


Dewdrops on a spiders web

Connecting you now

Dewdrops on a spiders web  I was inspired by a post by fellow blogger Star Rush in Seattle called Currents. In the post, Star spoke of the currents of energy, life and power. The post was accompanied by one of her beautiful monochrome photos featuring a jumble of power-line and cable. While I liked the post very much, it got me to thinking about not only the energy the lines carry, about how they power our homes or carry telephony (remember then?) but how they connected us. I got to reflecting that when an operator said "Connecting you now..." they really were. You were physically connected to the person you were speaking to.

Think about that for a moment ... physically connected to someone else whether in the next street or on the other side of the planet.

While I embrace the freedom that the mobile age has brought, I feel that something somewhere has been lost ... a connection to one another if you will. How we're more connected than ever but somehow dis-connected at the same time.

Connecting you now.


Stairs leading upward with sunbeams raining down from above

My image went viral on Pinterest (and I didn't know)

Stairs leading upward with sunbeams raining down from above I was going through my Google+ stream earlier tonight and came across a reshare of this image ... only it wasn't reshared from me but from someone else! Cranky! Theft! Piracy!

I contacted both my contact who had shared it to me and the original person who had it in their stream with no attribution. They got back really quickly and apologised meaning no harm and promptly removed it as I requested ... it still had my old 'Lushpup Images' watermark on the bottom left of the picture! I asked where they found it and they said #pinterest and sent me the URL (they really were quite helpful and I became less cranky). Sure enough there was my image with the watermark ... no attribution. What caught my eye was the list of 200+ reblogs listed on that page. When I did a Google Image search for the picture I was returned 15 pages of exact matches from all blogs and sites all over the world ... I stopped looking after that.

Interestingly, downloading a copy of the image from a number of sites to my machine (coming home in a way) the Author metadata still listed Lushpup Images as author and copyright holder ... not that anyone looked at it ;-)

Now, in the rare times I go searching for my own images using Image Search I come across one or two sites. I send them an email and in 99% of cases we resolve it through removal or attribution. In this case, where the image has clearly gone viral, what to do? I have heard that Pinterest throws copyright and intellectual property pretty much out the window by leaving it up to the individual account holder...

My image went viral on Pinterest (and I didn't know) ... What would you do?


From here they arced across the sky - Mamiya 645 Super


I recently 'inherited' a Mamiya 645 Super medium format camera. I just got my first negs (and medium resolution scans) back from the lab. I took a roll of expired Ilford SFX 200 to see if the beast still worked. It did but the battery died about two shots before I took this. I remembered that the camera will shoot even if insufficient power is contained in the battery but that the shutter speed is fixed at 1/60sec. So this one's fully manual and literally a straight scan from the neg ... ooh I'd forgotten how negatives are just the most beautiful things.

From here they arced across the sky


Were you interested in science at school?

Were you interested in science at school? I was!

Recently I was asked by a friend on Google+ if I would mind if her son (in Year 7) could interview me as part of a school science project. The project involved speaking with with someone working in science. I was chuffed to be asked and I received a sheet of 12 questions. I had fun putting the answers together and I thought I might share them.

1. What is the best thing about your job and why?
The best thing about my job is that I get to colour in. OK, there’s the cool technology and the high-end computing gear and the conversations with bright people who really understand their scientific specialities. That and the thought that you’re doing something useful and in a way that will be helpful to the people that come after you.

2. When and how did you become interested in science?
I think I’ve always liked science. I have always been interested in the way things work but as I got older I became more interested in the way things work together … the relationships things (and people!) have with each other … the way they interact.

3. Were you interested in science at school?
I was! I was very lucky to have teachers* who were not only interested in science but helped to teach me to think scientifically. I learned that science is not a thing you learn, a subject for memory but a way that you learn … a method if you like. Sure, we did simple experiments at school but most importantly it taught us how to think. You asked if I attended a private school? I did not … public education all the way.

4. Have you won any awards for being a scientist & if so what were they?

Not for the science or research. I have won awards for the contributions my team’s work has made to much larger projects. A lot of what I do is create block for other people to place together to create something else.

5. What qualifications did you need for your job?
I required university qualifications in natural sciences and many years of information technology experience to do well in my job. I have a Bachelor of Science from the Australian National University. Another important part of my work is explaining to others what my area does and I’m a skilled communicator.

6. What is computer mapping and remote sensing?
Gosh … how long have we got?
Computer mapping (or GIS (Geographic Information Systems)) is making database recording not only what something is (tree, light pole, drain, road, house etc) but where it is in relation to something else (on top of, next to, 100m away from, north of etc). Measuring the where of the object and how it relates to the where (or spatial location) of another object is very time-consuming and fiddly. Computers (and GPS (Geographic Positioning Systems)) enable us to make those calculations very quickly and so representing & mapping those relationships becomes much easier.
Remote sensing refers to measuring the nature or properties of something from a distance rather than directly. There are many remote sensing platforms and sensors … some slung beneath aircraft or helicopters or mounted on satellites. These sensors measure all sorts of things; light, reflectivity, radiation, magnetics. The information they collect is filtered and processed and then overlaid over data and information to again look at the relationship between things. Not only the relationships but, perhaps more importantly how the things measured change over time.

7. What type of discoveries have you made?

I haven’t made any discoveries per se. I have helped to document and report relationships between ecosystems and natural resources (eg forests and water and salinity)

8. Are you passionate about your work or is it just a job?
That changes. Mostly I’m passionate about it … I do care about the quality of the work I do and ensuring that it’s useful to others to include in their work. Other times the repetitive nature of science based work (using the same tried and true technique over and over again to ensure consistent results – there is a lot of that in science-based work!) seems a drag and it becomes a job. That said, I believe what I do is important and makes a contribution.

9. Why does this type of science interest you?

I think I mentioned colouring in. The natural world is everywhere and we really don’t understand it … sure, we get bits and pieces of it and there are lots of people studying separate pieces of it very intensely but overall we don’t know how and why it does what it does. That we don’t know is what interests me.

10. Do you do experiments as well or do you just do research?

Not experiments in the ‘test-tube’ sense but we do put forward hypothesis, develop methods, test them, analyse results and then report them … so I guess we do :). Research? Always researching.

11. Have you done other types of science before?
No, not really … it’s all kinda scientific. I just want to say again what I said earlier … that science is not something to be learned but much more a way of thinking.

12. What do you want to achieve in your career?
It’s not a career more than a lifelong journey of discovery and (hopefully) understanding what goes on around me.

*thank you to teachers Lavers, Quodling, MacFarlane, Roxby, Scown, & Roseby :-)


Links:

Australian Science Communicators

Questacon - The National Science & Technology Centre


don't forget to smell the flowers

Don't forget to stop and smell the flowers

don't forget to smell the flowers

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I don't recall the very first time I heard the expression 'Don't forget to stop and smell the flowers'. I have always loved flowers and blooms, their myriad colours and forms ... and scents. My love of flowers has stayed constant while the way I look at them changes constantly. When I learned about plants and what flowers are for, the way they entice and mimic ... the way the look different under ultraviolet or infra-red. The way we use flowers to say things ... from red roses for love through a whole spectrum of colours to black roses for death ... 'say it with roses' indeed! Flowers as symbols of the transience of life. Fake flowers ranging from the trashy to the profoundly elegant. I learned about flowers as genetic markers, indicators of weed species, the passing of seasons, their rarity and their basic commonality. The sound of bees in trees in Springtime. The carpets of riotous colour beneath flowering camellia. I learned their smells ... I'd like to retire somewhere where I can smell the scent of frangipani blossoms ... the heady scents of Spring and warm breezes. Native Australian flowers whose scents pass into honey, bulbs, trees, bushes dripped with rain or dew. And then I started to take photographs of them.

And sometimes I don't see them, or smell them, or sense them ... I'm busy doing something else, preoccupied. Sometimes I sit and just watch them and think as I'm doing now about all the different ways I see them. The day I saw my children learning to sniff their first flower nearly made me cry. My advice ... don't forget to stop and smell the flowers :-)


'Sparklers'

2012 Royal Canberra Show - Clean Sweep

The Royal Canberra Show is held every year to celebrate and showcase the very best that the region has to offer. I have been entering photographs into the Canberra Show Art Prize for the past three years. There are four classes in which to enter photographs;

  • Open
  • Landscape/Places
  • People & Portraits; and
  • Black & White

I always try to enter a photo into each class and I have picked up several 1st places over the years in various classes. This year though something quite remarkable happened: I won every class! I still have not quite gotten my head around quite what this means but really it's an excellent result! The photos and their classes are presented below;

'Sparklers'
id="attachment_471" align="alignleft" width="300" caption="'Sparklers' (Open)"

 

Spring Storm (Landscape)
id="attachment_472" align="alignleft" width="300" caption="Spring Storm (Landscape)"

 

Accordian
id="attachment_473" align="alignleft" width="214" caption="'Accordian' (People/Places)"

 

Passing TRain
id="attachment_366" align="alignleft" width="300" caption="'Feel The Wind' (Black & White)"