In what now feels like an eternity, but was only 11 years ago; I created a website called altfotonet.org. It was going to be a publication of photography from creatives/artists/ideologues/ratbags/visionaries. I published 3 issues along with Gary Sauer-Thompson. Somewhere along the line it all became too much for me and the idea lay idle, the web site remaining static. In the intervening 11 years the ground has shifted drastically. So much so that even after recently having revived the website I am unsure if I should continue publishing? I originally published 3 issues.
The site was meant to showcase work that fell outside the mainstream art world and was not commercial photography either. I’m not sure what possesed me to undertake such an endeavour? As Facebook was launched in 2004, and it must have taken a few years for it to reach critical mass here in Australia. Facebook has famously sucked the life out of many other online communities; flickr in particular. So I ploughed on regardless. The truth is I was very fortunate to have been donated some server space and the ideas driving the idea were all very egalitarian at the time. I was hoping to make something that was useful and new.
Now I have a new appreciation of what it takes to publish a magazine. I have also learned lots about photobook publishing. The world both in real life and online, is completely different now compared to 2009.
With all this in mind I have archived the old site and started a new one. Using a WordPress installation I will write at length about the ideas and concepts that drive my picture making and some of my underlying concerns. With occasional guest writers artist and photographers.
Lately, my social media habits have drifted away from the big platforms. Facebook’s Cambridge Analytica scandal was the straw that broke the camel’s back for me. So my news and information sources has returned to pre-social media tools. Things like email, and their associated newsletters, as well as RSS feeds. One constant for me though since 2004 has been Flickr.
I try to upload one picture a week every week. Sometimes I post more frequently. There is a method to my uploading. Flickr once a hive of social activity now is a far quieter place. There are a handful of groups that are vey engaged. Some even stray a long way from photography which is at the core of what drives flickr. I had reason recently to visit an almost dormant group called the clubhouse. Another member had popped in and left a message to see who else was around. There has been 2 response, one from me and one from Chris. I then started poking around the archives of this group and found some thoughts I had shared there in 2006. As the group is ‘private’ all I can do is copy the post itself.
Here it is
Interrelationships are what I’m finding the most intriguing for me at the moment, form and light have always been a driving force behind my work too, as have the “marks of man”.
Frederick Sommer’s quote, “some speak of a return to nature, I wonder where they could have been”, now rings true even more in my mind now as I wander the streets and suburbs of Melbourne, perhaps it’s an age thing?
However a question that may never get answered is what of the photograph as an ‘object’ unto itself, in this day and age of LCD’s CRT”s and bits and bytes, combined with the wonderfully democratic process of digital capture and global encompassing online communities such as this one?
In my early years of studying photography this kind of image would not have been considered. The success for me about this image is the mixed lighting sources firstly. Secondly the brief moment where the woman is glancing down on the CRT TV. These things combined with the kind of meta reference of the shadow of the tree outside. As an indexical marker a nice reminder of the light outside.