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

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.

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

New Online Group Exhibition

I am involved in yet another online exhibition. This time with the Friends of Photography Group. This is their 3rd exhibition asking ‘members’ to submit an image made or printed during the Covid restrictions. I submitted a print I made on Ilford Multigrade Fibre Based paper, scanned. I made 2 versions and toned one in sepia and the other in selenium, this is the sepia version.

Here is my ‘statement’ for the image.

Back in 1989, I listened to one of my lecturers talk about his relationship to the landscape and in particular She Oak trees. That notion has stayed with me ever since. This print is a result of this exchange. I continue to photograph these trees as I encounter them. Given that many councils are regenerating their open spaces the significance of these trees is important.


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