Back in the Darkroom

seven prints at 8x10 inches that Ian Lobb saw that prompted me to enlarge and exhibit all are a mixture or the natural and man made with neither dominating.
Seven  8 x 10 ‘work prints’ pinned to my darkroom wall.

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.

choice of paper for this body of work in not yet final here are some of my options in my darkroom
Choice of paper for this body of work is not yet final here are some of my options in my darkroom. Forte Fibre based on top of Ilford Multigrade Fibre based paper.

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.

the contact sheet that I am making up to 9 prints from
the contact sheet that I am making up to 9 prints from

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.

The first print in the rinse tray.
The first print in the rinse tray.

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


About the author.
Stuart Murdoch is an Artist and Part time Photo Educator, with over 30 years of teaching experience. He contemplates many things photographic. His ruminations include his own work as well other’s and the aspects of technology that impact on the sharing and consumption of Photographs. And of course the act of making and taking photographs in the 21st century.

☛ Website | Flickr | Instagram | Photography links | s2z digital garden | Tumblr

Inflection Points

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.

a screen grab of my blower.com page
My blogger.com page I posted a phone camera image daily , in a curated and interconnected way from 2004 to 2010

From 2004 to 2010 I blogged on blogspot.com, now a google property, and used a phonecam to achieve this. It was called s2art’s mophone photography blog. I was at the same uploading regularly and frequently to Flickr.com. Then I used tumblr for the same ends called lo-res daily. This was just before Instagram became big. The tumblr still exists but my posting frequency is spotty at best. This particular  tumblr was actually a Sub-Tumblr as I had already setup a tumblr in 2007 [s2z.tumblr.com] which mainly hosted links and other text snippets; in the beginning anyway.

A screen grab from my Tumblr page taken on 22nd of January 2024
A screen grab from my Tumblr page taken on 22nd of January 2024

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.

My Movable type site archived at the internet.org
My Movable type site archived at the internet.org

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.

Screengrab of my old free wordpress site
Screen-grab of my old free WordPress site

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.

a screen grab of my pinboard.in links page taken on 22 January 2024
A screen grab of my pinboard.in links page taken on 22 January 2024

All the while I am uploading content to Flickr very frequently. Although these days not chronologically, and of course the ‘Camera roll’ part of flickr forms a part of this process these days too. [This may form the content of a future post.] Other online activities include a Mastodon account, a pixelfed account [an alternative to instagram], a public listing of links/bookmark on pinboard.in a notion website of notes links and other digital artefacts a pika micro-blogging account and a threads account.

Why I do all this has shifted since 1995 when I began, it’s now about leaving a legacy, a digital footprint if you will.

☛ Website | Flickr | Instagram | Photography links | s2z digital garden | Tumblr

Melbourne’s skyline

A saw line rooftop dominates the foreground of this picture of Melbourne's CBD seen from its western edge. It's a warm but overcast Saturday. The middle ground is dominated by newly built apartments while the office buildings dot the horizon
Melbourne’s skyline seen from West Melbourne. 2024-01-20 11:53:39
Melbourne's city fringe seen from a balcony of an apartment situated on the North Western edge of the CBD. A pool which is part of the complex dominates the foreground, a palm tree centre frame paths the eye with many high rise builtins in the backgound one of which is the Royal Women's hospital
Melbourne’s north western edge from 8 stories up. 2024-01-20 10:53:38

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.

☛ Website | Flickr | Instagram | Photography links | s2z digital garden | Tumblr

Vale Ian Lobb

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 impressed 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.

Footnotes

  1. NGA Website LIVING IN THE 70S Australian Photographs. Exhibition pamphlet.

☛ Website | Flickr | Instagram | Photography links | s2z digital garden | Tumblr

Static Website Updates?

Recently a friend of mine launched a website. This prompted me to dig around my own static site and see what changes needed to be made to it.

I decided to update my links page, prompted by my friend’s new site.

Other updates include:-

☛ Website | Flickr | Instagram | Photography links | s2z digital garden | Tumblr ☚