Melbourne Art Book Fair 2024

As usual this year I’m sitting the Melbourne Photobook Collective stall at the Melbourne Art Book Fair. This year I managed to push two new publications out.

One “Zine” entitled Steps & Ladders is an offshoot of #emptyshops. Forty pages laser printed on 80gsm paper staple bound, edition of 6 with a 210gsm coloured cover.


A pile of books ready for sale each has a uniquely coloured cover, all are titled Steps & Ladder

The other a body of work created during Melbourne’s Lockdowns from 2020 to 2022. Trigger Warning is a rumination on the time spent in lockdown and its affects on my creative activities. It is 40 pages printed on 80gsm paper with 30 images and is staple bound, with a 210gsm yellow cover.

Cover image of Trigger Warning

Cover image of the zine ‘Trigger Warning’

About the author.
Stuart Murdoch is an Artist and Part time Photo Educator, with 30 years of teaching experience. He contemplates on 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.
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Vale Ian Lobb

The cover of Ian Lobb's memorial service booklet. It reads Ian William Lobb 02/08/1948 - 24/11/2023 St. Andrews Uniting Church, 85 Giles St, Fairfield 19th December 2023 - 2pm
The cover of Ian Lobb’s memorial service booklet.

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.

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TV in the 1990s?

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.

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Drossscape in flux

Some time after 2005,  I photographed this caravan park that was being remodelled into something more modern.

As I work my way though my colour negative archive I’m rediscovering work. Long forgotten and seen now with fresh eyes, having  seemingly more impact.

I may have even photographed around the park before its remodelling.

It’s rare that I get so many “keepers” from one or two rolls of film, of course not having looked at the images for more than a decade might have something to do with it.

Here’s a digital image made near the caravan park before demolition had begun. Taken in 2005. Look closely at the background and you’ll see several vans still in place and part of the fence.

A open field in sunshine with a disused telegraph pole in the foreground. a dramaitic sky and an old abandoned caravan park n the background. Taken in October 2005
A drosscape in Sunshine, former caravan park seen in the background.

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Narrative ideas

Television and I have a long complicated relationship.

We were only able to afford black and white televisons as I grew up. By the time I had moved out I still couldn’t justify the cost of a new colour TV so bought second hand ones for many years. By the time I was in a ‘commited relationship’ we aquired a discarded colour TV. Eventually at some point after, we bought a small colour TV.

In the interim however, for many years I was either too busy or studying to really engage in any serious TV watching. Often it was the late night rock and roll video show called Rage on the ABC that garnered the most attention from me.

At some point while studying my undergraduate degree, I decide to record some programming then take into the Video editing suites to take stills from it. Late one night I stumbled upon a film starring Tom Waits, called Big Time as well. It was a TV adaption of a live performance based on the album of the same name. Those pictures have been in my archive relativley unseen. Now that I have a scanner I can share them with the world.

Here’s a screengrab of them loosely organised in Neofinder. At some point I will sequence them and either publish them as a Zine or just make a gallery online.

screengrab of the TV stills I made in the late 1990s using film a tripod and a video editing suite
screengrab of the TV stills I made in the late 1990s using film a tripod and a video editing suite

Now of course screens dominate my life. I often sit watching the things that interest me on free to air TV, while using at least 1 or 2 devices to do other things while the ads are on.

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New Group Show ‘Sheet’ at XYZ Photogallery

I currently have some work exhibited at XYZphotogallery.

The show entitled ‘Sheet’ is a collection of work by photographers who use sheet film to make images.

XYZPhotogallery is open Winter time (standard) Wednesday, Thursday, Friday & Sunday 1:00-5:00pm  (last entry) and is at 312/757 Bourke St Docklands 3008 Vic [Entry on Batmans Hill Drive


Other exhibiting Artists include:-

  • Zo Damage
  • David Patterson
  • Hody Hong
  • Ali Choudhry
  • Andrew Green
  • Mark Darragh
  • Ellie Young
  • Lachan Fysh,
  • Kurt Baldonado
  • Avner Ben-Arieh
  • Kevin Xue
  • Shea Kirk,
  • Mat Hughes
  • Keria Hudson
  • Charles Li
  • Garrie Maguire

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