On the Inside Looking Out

I've written before about those special moments when a picture reveals itself right before your eyes. Some days when you're ready to take a photograph ... to capture something special a scene can prove elusive ... there are, I believe, times when it's almost as though you have to be 'open' to a photograph's materialisation. By that I refer to perhaps a process or state of mind whereby you as the photographer are open to the image that present itself to you. It's like realising there is an image waiting in front of you or even anticipating an image's appearance ... this one represents one of those moments

A young touches her finger to the water wall at the National Gallery of Victoria in Melbourne

Back story: A recent trip to Melbourne, Marina and I had just been to visit the Masterpieces from the Hermitage: The Legacy of Catherine the Great exhibition at the National Gallery of Victoria. Marina had wandered outside and I went to retrieve my camera bag from the cloakroom. As I walked across the foyer of the gallery toward the exit I noticed this young girl outside touching the glass of the water wall with her finger. I quickly reached into my camera bag, grabbed the camera and took a few pictures (before her father came and dragged her away from an anticipated episode of soaking). This one was my favourite... on the inside looking out.

The exhibition at the NGV is spectacular btw ... should you find yourself in Melbourne ;-)

Oh Japan

Oh Japan indeed! In the first week of July I took a spontaneous trip to Japan. When I say spontaneous I mean that it was less than 24 hours from deciding 'hey, let's go to Japan!', booking tickets and driving to Sydney at 2am to catch the flight! It was a blur but oh so rewarding. For reasons unbeknownst to me I have waited nearly four weeks to share this and some of the images from the trip.

We flew from Sydney into Narita, Tokyo and spent the first 3 nights in different districts of Tokyo - Asakusa, Ginza and Shinjuku before taking the bullet train to Kyoto and spending time in and around Arashiyama and the city of Kyoto. I have long had a fascination with Japan, the culture, food and design all have special places in my heart. Also the idea of being immersed in a place that is so foreign to my own. Oh and I love neon lights and the cities did not disappoint ;-)

I took loads of pictures, some of which are presented below and some which will be posted in future posts. Those of you with whom I communicate regularly will know I have been in somewhat of a creative doldrums of late ... personally I blame winter(!) but there are deeper reasons than things seasonal. I'm bringing you some pictures today from in and around Arashiyama, a smallish city northeast of Kytoto.

This first picture was taken at Arashiyama Station at sunset as we arrived back from a day in Kyoto.

Arashiyama Station at sunset
Arashiyama Station at sunset

This next picture was the view from the balcony of the traditional Japanese-style place we stayed in in Arashiyama ... sunsets eh? The place was amazing and we had shared some very special moments here.


Arashiyama is famous for, amongst many other things, it's giant bamboo groves. This place, like so many others in Japan was bristling with people but there weren't so many in the frame when you turned your gaze upwards ;-)

Black against the green
Black against the green

There's a river (the Hozu-gawa River) that's simply beautiful with long boats used for cormorant fishing and of course ferrying visitors around.

Anyways I hope you've enjoyed this little photo tour of this part of Japan... I'm currently working out how I can get back there :-)

I'll be posting more pictures over the next little while (now that I appear to have released myself from my writer's block!) so please stay tuned :-)

Have you been to this part of the world? Did you like it? Have you never been but always wanted to go? Do tell me in the comments below :-)


2 Tens & A Tomato


Hi, just a quick note to let you know about a new collaborative show of fresh art and words from myself and visual artist and poet Marina. We have mixed poetry, photography, sculpture and installation into works exploring the written word and visualisations of poetic elements. The show will opened by PS Cottier, renowned poet and local.

The show is titled '2 Tens & A Tomato' and opens this Thursday evening at 7pm at the Front Gallery in Wattle Street, Lyneham ... be great to see you there and show off the works personally ... plus the gallery's attached to a pub and there's a band on too ... art, alcohol, live music and interesting people ... sounds like fun.

In addition, Marina and I will be guests of the July Canberra Poetry Slam the following Friday 25th July where we'll be reading works featured in the show.

The details in point form...

  • What2 Tens & A Tomato - Fresh art and words from Geoffrey Dunn & Marina
  • WhereThe Front Gallery - Wattle Street, Lyneham - 17th-28th July 2014
  • Opening: 7pm Thursday 17th July by PS Cottier ... that's like this Thursday ... yeah we know :-)
  • Poetry Slam Readings: Friday 25th July - 8pm

ps ... my solo show Zoologica is still running at the Kaori Gallery until 2nd August ... it's all go at the moment! G :-)

A Little Piece of Me


A Little Piece of Me


I feel it's pull

tangible as a kiss never realised


the space between

whirling sheets of colour


a piercing clarity

precision at a price


strangely within



a fern glowing against shadow

(August 2013)



The Enchantress


From the water she rose
hands like whispering flame
a face in shadow
elsewhere perhaps
ripples spread circles
the enchantment begins

One of a series of pictures from a session in the Adelaide hills last year.

This is also the first time I've posted wholly using android on my new tablet. Lots to get used to but I think it will work :-)

John Deakin’s photograph of George Dyer in the Reece Mews Studio, ca. 1964, Dublin City Gallery the Hugh Lane (Image courtesy Art Gallery of NSW)

On Francis Bacon, patina and love

John Deakin’s photograph of George Dyer in the Reece Mews Studio, ca. 1964, Dublin City Gallery the Hugh Lane (Ima</a data-lazy-srcset=
John Deakin’s photograph of George Dyer in the Reece Mews Studio, ca. 1964, Dublin City Gallery the Hugh Lane (Image courtesy Art Gallery of NSW)


In February of this year I travelled to Sydney for what really was a rather Arty weekend. I saw the Anish Kapoor show at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Circular Quay (very good ... so good I took the kids up to see it a couple of weeks ago) ... I saw Lisa Gerrard and Brendan Perry performing at the Sydney Opera House in their legendary duo (+ band) Dead Can Dance which brought me to tears on more than one occasion with it's power and sheer beauty.

I also went to see the Francis Bacon show at the Art Gallery of New South Wales.

Now let's get this out there first ... I'm not a huge fan of Francis Bacon ... none of his works feature near the top of any of my lists of favourite art but I do respect his work. I find it uncomfortable and violent, visceral and gutsy. I like that I feel something from his art even if it makes me uncomfortable. There's a certain violence in his work ... it's been said that he was ismply repsonding to the violence and opression he saw and felt around him. I think he was brave or perhaps he just didn't care ... I respect that he kept going and going ... thoroughly obsessed by his work and not caring whether it was liked or not. I think he did care and the angst in his pictures is, to me a demonstration of just how deeply he felt.

There was a large collection of his paintings and sketches, over 50 in all, along with books and and detritus from his studio. Then there were the photographs... they were what affected me the most. The photos were placed in simple frames that were deep enough to allow the crumpled prints to breathe. The photos were scrunched and ripped, taped back together, creased and stained, torn ... I imagined them cried over ... the tears falling onto them after the passing of his lover, I imagined them being scrunched into a ball and thrown in anger after an argument, unfolded and pressed flat by hands, left under whatever else occupied the artist's mind at the time... they had patina.

In short: they were loved

At a time when our culture is obsessed by perfection, the smooth and the wrinkle free, these photographs spoke of life and how it is messy and sticky and visceral and at times violent. I think we forget that or it somehow suits us to forget that. I realised I had been looking at them a long time transfixed by these thoughts and resolved to write them down ... to blog them ... I forgot - distracted by whatever else was going on in my life ... the new and shiny smooth wrinkle free objects of my attention.

I said I'm not a huge fan of Francis Bacon but re-redading my post I think just might be.

Are you moved by art? ... I think some of you might be...

Monochrome self portrait with white light bars across my face

The Wind In My Heart

Monochrome self portrait with white light bars across my face

Searching, it's a common theme here on this blog ... searching for that indescribable piece that falls into place the moment we find it. The thing you don't know what you're looking for until you've found it. That thing.

I've been looking for pictures to post ... this is Pictures with Words after all ... but I've come to realise over the course of this search that I'm grown dissatisfied with my body of work. Don't get me wrong, I don't dislike them, they remain good photographs but they don't represent where I am now. What to do about that? Well take some more obviously! Like this one taken this afternoon as the sun was beginning to set out the window of the flat. Those beams of incandescence, hot and bright. I felt them as I closed my eyes and breathed.

The wind in my heart

The wind in my heart

The dust in my head

The dust in my head

The wind in my heart

The wind in my heart

(come to) drive them away

Drive them away.

Listening Wind, Talking Heads, Remain In Light


as I ride the wave
the rush and churn of new over old
I am still.
centered and reflecting a blue sky


I love gerberas.

moonlight on blue water

a full moon always rises at sunset

moonlight on blue water

moon rises full
across a sparkling sea
the sun cedes the sky

You want to know something that absolutely fascinates me? Of course you do! You'll need to think about this a bit so let's go ... 'a full moon always rises at sunset' ... think about that for a moment. Have you ever seen the full moon rise at any time other than sunset? You know, like in the middle of the night or in the morning? The answer will be no because it doesn't happen. OK, so far, so good. Now hold that thought and add to the fact that the lunar cycle is fixed ... well OK, let's say regular at 29 and a half days (29.53059 days to be precise). So every 29 and a half days there's another full moon. OK? Now the next bit gets confusing but stay with me and let's quickly recap;

  • full moon always at sunset
  • full moon occurs every 29.5 days

Alrighty, there's another cycle working here too, the seasons. Every day the days get longer or shorter depending on the season you're in and by 'day' I'm referring to the amount of daylight. So, here in SE Australia the days are growing longer as we march toward Spring. There's a full moon this Thursday (2nd August) and it will rise at sunset even though the day has lengthened. What balance!

There's lots more moonphase related stuff over at Moonconnection.com which is where I lifted the diagram below;

] moon phases diagram

Courtesy Moonphases.com

Think about it next time you see a full moon rising ... just remember 'a full moon always rises at sunset'.

I'm the type of person who follows the moon and the seasons ... I know where the moon will be (roughly!) at any given time of the day or night depending on where the lunar cycle's up to.

Do you follow the moon? Do you use the sun to tell you which direction you're facing? Do you live above the arctic circle? You can tell me what happens there! Do tell. I'm interested.

triptych of ripple patterns in monochrome


triptych of ripple patterns in monochrome

a pebble dreams of falling

sinking slowly into sleep

ripples spread in silence above

A warm lazy afternoon ... cooler in the shade by the water. A stone thrown into a pond. You hear the 'plop' ... a quick, fluid sound. You look and see the ripples radiating. Think of the pebble then ... as it drifts down to the bottom ... turning perhaps ... a little sideways drift but a certain destination. The air brought down with it bubbles away leaving a sunlit trail of sparkle as it nestles on the bottom amongst a myriad others. While above the ripples spread.

Rusted mesh fence

Falling Out of the Habit of Writing

Rusted mesh fence

Falling out of the habit of writing

Not that I'm running out of things to talk about ... quite the contrary, my mind is often full of ideas and thoughts all competing to get out. Sometimes in conversation I am so internally focused on the discussion that the conversation has moved on by the time my bit is ready to go ... other times I hear someone talking, think 'that sounds interesting I should listen to that' only to find it is in fact me talking! Thankfully that weirdness doesn't happen too often.

Writing, I find, gives me an opportunity to focus, to concentrate, to refine in a way that conversation doesn't. The poems, the haiku, the questioning and searching ... it all makes more sense when written down rather than floating as abstracts in my head. That once I chose a subject to write about the rest just flows ... it's the choosing I find difficult. Like what image to post next(?) ... that is the hardest decision for me with regard to this blog. There are so many to choose from but which one conveys what I'm trying to say now? Once I decide I can find something to write about it. I do like those blogs where only the image is placed ... sometimes no text at all. They have a minimalism that I admire but still I sometimes wish I knew more about the thoughts behind it. It lends a level of understanding of what the photographer is trying to say ... what did they want you to see by placing this image in a place where you are going to see it? Why put an image up if you didn't want people to 'see' something in it.

Today, it's a picture of a mesh fence, the background fernland dissolved into a warm bokeh. The fence for me is that barrier to my mind ... the filter that lets thoughts in and out ... it's a little rusty like my writing skills of late ... I've fallen out of the habit of writing you see.

I can feel myself falling back in too ... thankfully.

Thanks for coming along for the ride.

Long exposure of coastal headland by moonlight

Malua Moonlight

Long exposure of coastal headland by moonlight

Rock pretending eternity
Moonlight heavy on the sea
Clouds bring the sky

Photograph and haiku of Malua Bay on the south coast of New South Wales. Lit here by about 8 minutes of the full moon. All is not what it seems. The moonlight softens the waves creating a smooth effect of deceptive calm ... the clouds coming in give the game away.

Old clocks


Old clocks

Clocks show their faces
moments pass us by in silence
there is no time today

Time. I've never truly gotten a handle on it ... slippery thing that it is. I can count. I count really well. I count in even beats and measures ... I turned this into percussion and music ... it seemed a natural progression. I read an interesting series of articles in New Scientist recently on the nature of time ... of causation both forward and backward (think about that for a bit ... something in the future having a causal effect on the past). Of how time doesn't inherently have direction ...that it doesn't implicitly flow one way or the other - it is how we perceive time that makes it appear that it flows. That bends my mind it - really does.

What is time to you? What your watch or phone says. Is it a feeling or a notion? Is it an instant or a the suite of sensations that accompany an event or moment? For me it can be all of those things ... how about you? I'm interested.

About the photo:
Camera: Mamiya 645 Super with 80mm f/2.8
Film: Fuji FP-3000B B&W Polaroid
Scanned: my dusty 3-in-1 multifunction scanner
Subject: Old clock sitting on the piano at Ness

black and white image of a droplet falling and refracting a checkerboard background


black and white image of a droplet falling and refracting a checkerboard background

My colour - your colour
blending unseen against solidity
As pattern is introduced
My being warps it
Becomes visible
Clearly refracting 
seen only as a distortion of your regularity
bending the very rays
and become visible against them
perfect imperfection reveals
a passing lens

I remember falling past you
on my way to a fluidic oblivion
the relic of a splash I made when I was someone else

Water and the refraction of light are common themes in my work. I remember being in primary school and realising that things were visible only if they shone with their own light or reflected light into my eyes. I had this little mirror I used to take to school and I would play games with it like positioning it in the grass on the oval at just the right angle so that it effectively disappeared. I would then spin around or close my eyes for a time, and proceed to look for it ... could I pick out the tiny replication that signalled where the reflection was? That moment of suspense when I thought that perhaps, this time I had actually lost the mirror... upon reflection (no pun intended) I was maybe a little odd as a child. Not that much has changed, I was in love with light even then.

When did you realise you were in love with light? Was there a moment when you really noticed it ... noticed it or simply became aware of it? Do tell :-)

High key long exposure of waves upon rocks.


High key long exposure of waves upon rocks.


I had no words today
I thought to set words to this image
to say what I thought when I created it
or it created me ... I never can tell

then I realised
I remember standing there ... holding the trigger 
the roar of the ocean
the bright dawn light
I recall the click of the exposure ending 
after, I guess, the minutes I asked for
that in between I went somewhere
to where I do not know but it was peaceful

there were no words