On the way home as I meandered towards the nearest tram stop I discovered an empty box on the footpath with the word FREE written on it. Initially I was interested n the irony of an empty box with the word free written on it in a busy urban environment. Then as I shifted composition I noticed my shadow was in the picture. Having one’s shadow in the picture you make is often considered bad form. But I realised I could make a silly little statement by putting the shadow of my head in the box. Two clicks and a few seconds later and I moved on.
Stuart Murdoch is an Artist and Part time Photo Educator he ruminates on many things photographic. From his own work to others as well as aspects of technology that reflect on the sharing and consumption of Photographs.
Another cause for recent reflection was an encounter I had with Ian Lobb a few years ago. I asked him to look at some of my silver gelatin prints, which he did, over coffee in Fairfield.
He appeared enamoured by one body of work that I have been sitting on since about 2006, as it only consists of 6 or 7 prints.
The body of work was a response to Robert Adams’ book, Summer Nights. The first edition of this book has 38 images in it. The date of the first edition is 1985. This means I may have been exposed to it whilst studying my undergraduate degree. Ian Lobb would have definitely been aware of it. He knew what I was talking about when I discussed my motivations for printing them. I acquired my copy of the book in 2003.
I had no specific idea in mind while making the pictures however. I simply went for a walk one morning in a quiet country hamlet 3 hours north of Melbourne, and shot a whole roll of 120 film in that short time.
Because of Ian’s response I have decided to print the images to exhibition stage. I have work prints from about 2017 that are 8×10 inches. But in this instance I feel a larger size will really make them shine so I am beginning the process of making the final prints. Paper brand and final size is yet to be determined. I have started with Ilford Multigrade Fibre based paper at 12 x 16 inches.
Re-examing the contact sheet this morning I feel I may be able to push the series out to 8 or 9 prints. This is unheard of for me. I consider one good picture per 3 or 4 contact sheets adequate.
I want to finish with a quote from another of my favourite photographers, Frederick Sommer, that goes some way towards my reasoning behind making these prints:-
“… When you go out to make a picture you find you are moved by something which is in agreement with an image you already held within yourself.”
– Frederick Sommer
I am now well past my 60th rotation of the sun. I recently attended a former teachers funeral and this has me thinking about lots. I’m planning on posting a little more often here as a consequence. Also, I recently read over on cogdogblog ways to use a blog as an aid to your memories. This current blog only dates back to 2020. So to really get a sense of what I have done since the internet arrived in 1995 I’m listing several other blog and social media activities that have formed part of my creative online life. As best as I can remember. Here’s a list on my static site. The idea with this post is to hopefully have an archive of this activity.
Somewhere in all of this was a self hosted movable type, blog thanks to Cos. I blogged there from 2006 to 2011, thanks to the way back machine [internet archive] you can still read it.
Instagram became a huge focus for me around 2010. My original account is long gone however. Flickr and Tumblr at this stage were figuring highly in my life anyway. In amongst all of this were dalliances with Facebook, [I have deleted my data at least twice from that space]. Posterus, also sold and rebooted. ello.co now defunct and twitter a site that never really captured my attention. For all intents and purpose twitter has become colloquially, a ‘Hell Hole”. I still have an account there but rarely login to it.
In 2015, I had setup a free worpress blog, [s2zart.wordpress.com], this I ran until 2019, I briefly switched back to blogspot.com for 2 years, then setup this blog on my own server. My concerns over ‘data’, ‘search‘ and ‘privacy’ drove this change, along with ideas about the small web which were beginning to percolate though the internet generally.
Two views of Melbourne only made possible by our interest in real estate.
Some Saturdays my wife and I locate and list some properties that will give us an idea of what we could get for our money if we decide to change our lifestyle. This has the added benefit of getting to see parts of the skyline that we would not normally see.
These 2 views from Saturday just gone are from different properties in different parts of the western edge of the CBD.
This is probably as close as I can get to a true flâneur in my own home town of Melbourne.
My brief memorial to Ian Lobb, artist and teacher 1948 to 2023, as a teacher he was kind considerate and equal parts baffling, funny and obtuse.
In November of 2023, I learned of Ian Lobb’s passing. Ian Lobb taught me in my art school days.
I attended the memorial service for him in December and have been reflecting on his input and influence on my creative output since. While at the memorial I discovered to my delight he was using his smart phone to make images.
Ian along with William Heimerman ran the Photographers’ Gallery and workshop in Melbourne, Australia for a period of time in 1970s and 1980s. Prior to this he had spent time with Minor White and Ansel Adams, the former had influenced him heavily. It directed his approach to thinking about a photographic print and what it could convey; which underpinned his approach to teaching photography. He was concerned with the production of beautifully crafted prints as metaphors for psychological and spiritual states1. Something I tried to absorb as a student.
While I was at University the 3 weekly print review sessions were a highlight for me. In my first year I was mpressed by the tenacity of some 3rd year students who would show up to these sessions with the same negative reprinted over and over again. This is of course in the late 1980s early 1990s. Digital was still just a dream or nightmare, depending on your stance.
Sadly I feel that digital publishing has had me forget some of these ideas. Something I would like to address moving forward. The nature of Photographic education however doesn’t leave much room for this approach to art making though. Given where I am at with my ‘career’ as an educator I feel no urgency to bring it back into the curriculum, so this is no big deal. Maybe, anyway, I never really ‘got’ the more Zen like approach to making prints anyway. The last time I showed some prints to Ian for example, he honed in on some prints I had been sitting on for some time. He saw things in those prints that until he pointed them out I had not seen. While others were passed over completely.
All my teachers have to this day continue to be an influence on what I do creatively and on occasion professionally for which I’m eternally grateful.
David Tatnall and Dr. Marcus Bunyan have both much more detailed and lengthy pieces about Ian Lobb that are far more cogent than I probably ever could be.
Vale Ian Lobb.
NGA Website LIVING IN THE 70S Australian Photographs. Exhibition pamphlet.
We’ve all been there. You just spent hours scrolling through your Facebook Feed. You initially popped in to check up on some small detail, and before you know it, you have wasted a lot of time only to realise that some of the content you are seeing is four days old.
Here’s how to set your feed to chronological on a desktop and stay afresh as of 2023.
Next navigate to the friends feed
Now your feed will be Chronological. As far as I can tell there is no way to make this setting stick so you need to go through steps every time you use Facebook.
Here’s a body of work I made in the 1990s as a student.
I utilised the in-house Video editing suite at University with a camera and a tripod. I had already taken some prerecorded free to air TV. I then chose still images that piqued my interest. They are loosely organised here to form a narrative.
What frightens me is that some images could have easily been taken from last nights news.
The irony of using modern screens to share some thoughts on the then contemporary medium of free to air TV isn’t wasted on me.