Dennis Church included in BYSTANDER - A History of Street Photography

American photographer Dennis Church has had a selection of his photographs included in BYSTANDER - A History of Street Photography, authored by Colin Westerbeck and Joel Meyerowitz. 

This book has been called by some “the bible of street photography”. Church is one of thirteen contemporary artists featured and discussed in Chapter 21 The Conversation Continues.

Dennis Church, working in New York City, as well as more suburban areas, seems to be looking at the way overlapping planes of street furnishings create spatial confusion and a kind of “visual noise” that jams things together in playful tribute to the proliferation of signage and movement happening down at the street level. And oddly, some of them remind me of the way Saul Leiter, way back in the late fifties, used a vantage point near shop windows and corners to describe the city’s chaos as it appeared back then.
— Joel Meyerowitz

Backyard Exhibition

Aishah Kenton and her friend Nell Fraser, both students at The Australian National University, put on a great backyard exhibition and potluck dinner last night, with their prints for sale for $10 each (25cm x 30cm) and $20 each (80cm x 60cm). Unframed prints hung from a clothesline, some were attached to a large gumtree, while others were put on display in a garden shed. There was even a possum who made an appearance for the show (and enjoyed the crackers). With summer just around the corner, we reckon there will definitely be some more great opportunities for backyard exhibitions like this before the year's out.

Photographer Aishah Kenton with some of her black and white archival pigment prints, which were on display and sale for $10 each. 

Photographer Aishah Kenton with some of her black and white archival pigment prints, which were on display and sale for $10 each. 

Sean Davey's 'Lesson' at Belconnen Arts Centre

Exhibition installation of 'Lesson' at Belconnen Arts Centre from 23 September until 15 October 2017. 

In 2015 photographer Sean Davey spent six weeks at Charnwood-Dunlop School as part of the ArtsACT Artists-in-Schools (now defunct) program, funded by the Australia Council.

Sean spent time with all classes at the school, from Kindergarten to Year Six, and ESL (English as a Second Language) classes, teaching digital photography as well as setting up a working darkroom in which he introduced students to analogue black and white photography.

Sean was free to photograph in and around the school, producing his own body of work as well as collecting all the photographs made by the students.

This exhibition features a selection of images made by the students and by Sean, as well as featuring three books of photographs made by the artist together with the students.

Installation of 'Lesson' at Belconnen Arts Centre. Exhibition 22 Sep-15 October 2017.

Installation of 'Lesson' at Belconnen Arts Centre. Exhibition 22 Sep-15 October 2017.

Aishah Kenton published in Art Monthly

Aishah Kenton has the cover of this month's Art Monthly Australasia magazine, as well as a spread of images inside. This special 300th edition of Art monthly was accompanied by an exhibition of past magazine covers, shown at the School of Art, Australian National University in Canberra.

Celebrating the 300th issue of the magazine, the current issue focuses on the history of the magazine, with some great stories about the magazine's first editor Peter Townsend. A selection of Chinese prints collected by Peter is currently on show at the National Gallery of Australia to celebrate the 300th issue of Art Monthly as well. 

NEXT GENERATION: Solomon Islands After RAMSI

'NEXT GENERATION: Solomon Islands After RAMSI' by Sean Davey is currently on at Huw Davies Gallery in Canberra from 17 August - 10 September 2017.

'Lines of Site: Finding the Sublime in Canberra' at M16

Mark Mohell is exhibiting new prints and screen-based works at M16 Gallery in the Canberra suburb of Griffith (one time someone actually WENT to Griffith NSW instead of Canberra so we have to make it clear that Griffith is a suburb in Canberra). The exhibition opened last Thursday evening and is curated by Grace Blakeley-Carroll. The artists in the exhibition include Mark Mohell, Jacqueline Bradley, Cathy Franzi, Kirstie Rea, Annika Harding, Caren Florance and Melinda Smith. The exhibition is accompanied by an exquisite catalogue with loose leaf pages, one on each artist.

With only 100 copies printed, get your hands on one quick smart.

'Lines of Site: Finding the Sublime in Canberra' at M16 until 3 September.

Lines of Site exhibition catalogue

Lines of Site exhibition catalogue

Aishah Kenton's 'Ellie' selected as a finalist in the 2017 Maggie Diaz Prize for women photographers

Ellie 110cm x 150cm Pigment print

Ellie
110cm x 150cm
Pigment print

'Ellie' by Aishah Kenton has been selected as a finalist in the 2017 Maggie Diaz Prize for women photographers. The exhibition of finalists will be on show at Bright Space Gallery in Melbourne from 1-17 September. The $5000 cash prize aims to attract a wide range of photographers working only with available light. In 2017 the gallery received 318 entries, with 51 finalists selected for exhibition.

http://www.maggiediazprize.com/


This is the first competition Aishah has ever entered, so quite a coup for this young, up and coming photographer, who is currently in her second year studying Photomedia at the School of Art at the Australian National University in Canberra.

This photograph is part of Aishah's series Inside/Outside, which is currently on show in the Solo Gallery at The Photography Room until 24 September. This is Aishah's first solo exhibition.

Aishah Kenton photographing with her 5x4 camera in Canberra, ACT (2017).

Aishah Kenton photographing with her 5x4 camera in Canberra, ACT (2017).

My practice is set firmly in the tradition of personal documentary photography. The subjects of my photographs include my family, friends, as well as strangers who I see (and sometimes meet) in public places.

I primarily work with black and white 35mm and medium format film. Working with analogue allows me to explore the inherent nature of film and its granular structure at the same time I explore my photographic subjects. This series of photographs was made earlier this year for my medium format film photography class at The School of Art at the ANU. I am currently in my second year of a Ba of Visual Arts in Photomedia.
 
The people in these photographs are close to me and they collaborated with me to produce this series of photographs Inside/Outside, where I photographed each person from inside their home looking out and then from outside their home looking in. I’m interested in spaces where intimacy in photographs can be found, and I am currently exploring everyday, personal situations that we are all familiar with, as locations in which to make my photographs.

- Aishah Kenton

Review by Paul Costigan in The Riot ACT

Paul Costigan has compiled a review of current photography exhibitions in Canberra, including a positive take on our three shows by Rohan Thomson, Scot Newman and Gary Ramage.

The Makers are caught at work on their craft as well as in a portrait shot. His photographs are wonderful and this exhibition has the benefit of promoting local artists and craftspeople. Another must see exhibition from The Photography Room.
Photos of Rohan Thomson's 'The Makers' by Paul Costigan.

Photos of Rohan Thomson's 'The Makers' by Paul Costigan.

Gary Ramage's exhibition 'Afghanistan' purchased by the Australian War Memorial

Gary Ramage's exhibition 'Afghanistan' has been purchased in its entirety by the Australian War Memorial for the institution's permanent collection. Upon news of the purchase, Gary decided to donate his Hasselblad 500CM camera, which he used to make the photographs in 2011, to the War Memorial to accompany the prints. Gary also donated one print from the series as a sign of gratitude for the large acquisition and to Brendan Nelson (Director of the AWM) for his contribution to the opening of the show and for writing the exhibition foreword.

Gary Ramage (l) with Dr Brendan Nelson, Director of the Australian War Memorial. Gary is pictured with his Hasselblad 500CM camera, which he donated to the institution after the acquisition of his entire suite of images from his exhibition 'Afghanistan'. Photo by Steve Burton/AWM

Gary Ramage (l) with Dr Brendan Nelson, Director of the Australian War Memorial. Gary is pictured with his Hasselblad 500CM camera, which he donated to the institution after the acquisition of his entire suite of images from his exhibition 'Afghanistan'. Photo by Steve Burton/AWM

Emilio Cresciani at Huw Davies Gallery (PhotoAccess)

TPR photographer Emilio Cresciani is currently showing his series Face2Face at Huw Davies Gallery, PhotoAccess in Canberra. Emilio recently spoke with Canberra Times journalist Karen Hardy about his show, which continues until 23 April.

'Intimate Activism Honours Artists at Work' by Shane Breynard published in the Visual Arts Hub

Shane Breynard, Director of Canberra Museum and Galleries, knows a thing or two about Canberra artists, and the art scene in the nation's capital. Shane was kind enough to contribute the exhibition essay to Rohan Thomson's catalogue for his current exhibition The Makers, which has been published today on the Visual Arts Hub website.

Rohan's exhibition continues until 7 May (extended from the original 30 April end date).

Click here (or the image below) to read Shane's essay.

'The Makers' in The Canberra Times

Rohan Thomson's exhibition 'The Makers' was featured in a story in The Canberra Times on Friday 24 March by Jil Hogan.

Pages 12-13 of The Canberra Times, Friday 24 March 2017.

Pages 12-13 of The Canberra Times, Friday 24 March 2017.

Exhibition Review in The Riot Act

Paul Costigan has written a glowing review of the current exhibitions at The Photography Room. Paul must have accidently missed the downstairs gallery on his visit, as we're sure he would have been equally impressed by Dimitri Mellos's colour photographs from New York. The current exhibitions by Sean Davey, Spiro Miralis and Dimitri Mellos continue until 12 March.

Interview with Sean Davey on 2xx fm

2XX fm presenter Tania Paschen recently interviewed Sean Davey about his current exhibition on the Solomon Islands, for the program Lives Less Ordinary. The interview aired on Thursday 23 February and is available on Soundcloud here. One of the most comprehensive interview's Sean has done, this conversation runs for an hour and touches on photography, Sean's ongoing relationship with PNG and his varying musical influences (from Warumpi Band, Mob Deep to Sigur Rós).

List to the interview here.

Exhibition Catalogues designed by CRE8IVE

We are honoured to have some incredible partners who sponsor The Photography Room; without their support the gallery, exhibitions and openings would not be what they are today.

At the end of 2016 The Photography Room partnered with Canberra's leading design and advertising agency CRE8IVE to develop a branding and design strategy to promote the gallery and our photographers' exhibitions.

We are extremely proud to launch the first installment of this wonderful partnership with CRE8IVE in the form of our 32 page exhibition catalogues, which accompany each of the three current exhibitions. 

The exhibition catalogues are stand alone booklets that have artist bios & statements, as well as exhibition essays for Spiro Miralis's and Dimitri Mellos's works. The catalogues are printed in an edition of 100 and are available in the gallery for $10 each. They will soon be available in our shop.

Visit our Partners Page to see who supports us, and the creative arts in Canberra.

32-page exhibition catalogues: (l to r) Spiro Miralis 'Underpass', Dimitri Mellos 'I Speak of the City' and Sean Davey 'Solomon Islands'.

32-page exhibition catalogues: (l to r) Spiro Miralis 'Underpass', Dimitri Mellos 'I Speak of the City' and Sean Davey 'Solomon Islands'.

Interview with Dimitri Mellos

Based in New York and working in a Bronx hospital, Dimitri Mellos sat down at his computer to answer some questions from TPR Director Sean Davey on his exhibition I Speak of the City, which is on show at The Photography Room until 12 March.

Detour (2009)  Archival Pigment prints on Ilford Galerie Prestige fibre based, baryta paper. 43cm x 57cm (edition of 10 + 2AP) 61cm x 91cm (edition of 5 + 1AP)

Detour (2009) 
Archival Pigment prints on Ilford Galerie Prestige fibre based, baryta paper.
43cm x 57cm (edition of 10 + 2AP)
61cm x 91cm (edition of 5 + 1AP)

Your photographs have a certain sense of urgency, can you elaborate for us on your choice of taking the camera into such busy, public places like the streets of New York? Why street photography rather than portraiture, or more personal, intimate work?

Walking around the city appropriating it through the act of looking carefully and photographing is in fact very much an act of intimacy, and I consider my work very personal. Somehow the fact that in street photography so much is up to chance and randomness, and so little under the photographer’s control, is something that I find not just intriguing but truly magical when things work out and everything falls into place in a picture. It feels like a truly collaborative effort between the photographer and the world. So on both ethical and aesthetic grounds, street photography appeals much more to my temperament and values. And many of my street photos are, in fact, portraits, albeit un-posed ones. I think there is often much greater authenticity and truth in this kind of candid portraiture, although I also absolutely love the work of some of the great portrait/studio photographers (August Sander and Irving Penn's Small Trades series immediately come to mind).    

You were born in Greece and recently returned to photograph there, which was published as an essay in the New York Times. Did you use the same approach to working there as on the streets of NYC? 

I wanted to convey the atmosphere of stillness and solitude of those vistas in the Greek countryside, so that also influenced how I composed my frames, unlike my street photos, where often the chaos and fast pace of the depicted reality is also reflected in the photographs’ form and composition. The work from Greece in fact accrued over several years and a number of road trips around the country, and initially I did not think of those photos as much more than mementos of my trips. Only with time did I realise that the work was starting to cohere into a meaningful whole with its own internal logic and aesthetics.   

Pink Ribbon (2013) Archival Pigment prints on Ilford Galerie Prestige fibre based, baryta paper. 43cm x 57cm (edition of 10 + 2AP) 61cm x 91cm (edition of 5 + 1AP)

Pink Ribbon (2013)
Archival Pigment prints on Ilford Galerie Prestige fibre based, baryta paper.
43cm x 57cm (edition of 10 + 2AP)
61cm x 91cm (edition of 5 + 1AP)

New York city streets are like nowhere else in the world. Bruce Gilden once said to me ‘People think the war is over in the Middle East. The real battleground is right here on the street. This is a war zone. You gotta be tough to survive here.” That always stayed with me. How do you relate to the streets of NYC on a personal level?

I would be cautious about overly romanticising or exaggerating New York’s toughness. I think street photography is extremely tough to do anywhere, not just in New York, and in fact probably more so in other places. It is interesting that even someone as apparently brazen in his approach as Bruce Gilden would say that it’s tough; that definitely resonates with my own experience. It’s never easy. It has gotten a little easier with time, but basically every day I photograph I almost have to start from scratch – I am much better technically than when I first started, but emotionally it is always extremely hard. The real challenge of street photography is overcoming my own emotional inhibitions. It is not easy to cross that boundary into the lives of strangers. But the other side of this coin is that, just by engaging in the very process of overcoming one’s fears and inhibitions, and of looking and observing and photographing, one develops a much deeper connection to one’s surroundings. I mentioned before how street photography is an act of emotional appropriation. I think that was part of my motivation when I took up photography again after moving to New York – I used this fascinating city to rekindle my interest in photography, but at the same time I used photography to start feeling more at home in the city.

Trauma (2009) Archival Pigment prints on Ilford Galerie Prestige fibre based, baryta paper. 43cm x 57cm (edition of 10 + 2AP) 61cm x 91cm (edition of 5 + 1AP)

Trauma (2009)
Archival Pigment prints on Ilford Galerie Prestige fibre based, baryta paper.
43cm x 57cm (edition of 10 + 2AP)
61cm x 91cm (edition of 5 + 1AP)

Your photographs embrace colour and contrast. Is colour a motivating factor for your work in this series? Have you worked in black and white as well?

In my early 20s I got a real camera, and started shooting black and white film and developing and printing in a darkroom. That went on for 2-3 years, but for various reasons I abandoned photography again for the better part of a decade until finally getting into it for good. I am very glad I had the experience of the darkroom, there is something really enchanting about the tactility of the whole thing, and I also love black and white photography on an aesthetic level. In fact, when I took up photography yet again, after moving to New York in my mid-30s, the main reason I initially switched to color was that I no longer had access to a darkroom, and it was much easier and cheaper to just have my color film developed at the pharmacy. But soon I discovered that I really loved color, and also that I was doing much better work in color. Still, I don’t believe in color for color’s sake – it should not take over a photograph at the expense of other elements; it’s a fine balance. It also depends on the subject-matter: I’m still open to occasionally doing black and white work when I feel that b&w will better convey the emotional tone of a particular theme or situation, for example. But overall, I enjoy color much more than b&w in my own work, although I have no such preference when I am looking at the work of others.   

Tell me a bit about your thoughts on your own photography and how your vision has evolved.

For one thing, when I started out I was focused more on single images. I am now thinking of my ongoing work more in terms of coherent series or projects. I still feel that every single image in a series should be able to stand on its own as well, but I have also come to realise that a whole can be more than the sum of its parts. By the same token, I am now conceptualising my work more as a “long game.” Once I realise that I have the seeds of a bigger project at hand, I work patiently, over years, accumulating images and editing and re-editing the work.

Another way in which I feel my work has evolved is in realizing that closer is not always better. Sometimes taking a more inclusive, somewhat more detached view of a scene does more justice to the photographed reality, and in fact makes for greater emotional closeness. I can do aggressive close-range street photography, but now that is just one tool in my toolbox, to be used sparingly. Similarly, I have realised that strong form is never enough without equally strong content, without emotional depth.

Protest (2011) Archival Pigment prints on Ilford Galerie Prestige fibre based, baryta paper. 43cm x 57cm (edition of 10 + 2AP) 61cm x 91cm (edition of 5 + 1AP)

Protest (2011)
Archival Pigment prints on Ilford Galerie Prestige fibre based, baryta paper.
43cm x 57cm (edition of 10 + 2AP)
61cm x 91cm (edition of 5 + 1AP)

You have a job at a hospital to pay the bills. Do you relish that you are not a professional photographer or is that something that you would like to do, work professionally full time?

Far from relishing it, I actually agonise over the fact that I need to spend most of my time doing something else instead of being able to pursue what I consider my true life's work. Photography feels like the most meaningful thing I am doing with my life, and not just in a self-indulgent sense (I do enjoy it!), but also in terms of giving something back to the world and creating something that may outlive me. As such, what I do in my day job pales in comparison. The way things stand, I can only photograph on weekends and on vacation, and on a few weekdays I take off work once in a blue moon. It is very few photographers who actually have the luxury to be getting paid for pursuing their own personal vision, or at least for doing work they are interested in. For example, I would not want to be doing advertising photography to pay the bills and fund my personal vision - I might as well keep working at the hospital.

You have been honoured with a number of awards for your work. Do you see your work developing/evolving into something else or will the streets keep you occupied for a while yet?

Well, this ties in with the previous question. Doing street photography is something I really love, but it is also making virtue out of necessity in my current circumstances. It is something I can do on the side, in my spare time, while being tied down in a particular city due to my day job and other obligations. That said, there is nothing I would rather do than street photography, there is no genre I love more. It is easy to make impressive photos when the subject-matter itself is impressive, for instance in a war zone or an exotic locale of stunning natural beauty. But street photography is the poetry of the everyday, the poetry of small moments. In that sense, it is the most transformative photographic genre.