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.
Vale Ian Lobb.
- NGA Website LIVING IN THE 70S Australian Photographs. Exhibition pamphlet.