Thursday, November 3, 2016

What we got up to at Photoaccess in Canberra.

Photographs taken by Marina McDonald of Clayton Hairs, Malcolm Cayley and Bill Moseley at Photo Access, Canberra,
Our  v i o l e t  c r u m b l e  c a m r y was chewing up the bitumen last month, the O in October felt like   it had leaned sideways into the wind at times. I think we had something like 10 trips to Sydney and around  within the month.  I tend to do most of the driving because I prefer my driving to Bills', it's not that his not a good driver it's just my inner control comes into play and I find it really hard to hand over those keys, he gets a go every now and then. It's a boy girl thing.

We ate lots of chocolate and stopped in lonely lacking in vegetation little reserves along the way, you know those ones where in deciding where to pull over you end up passing all the green ones and end up at the bleached desolate one, because the next one is going to be better. This didn't really help as we spent 2 hours trundling along trying to get out of Oberon on the way to Canberra, but my oh my getting lost was crazy good, what great countryside that area delivers.

We had a teaching gig at Photo Access with a Wet Plate Collodion workshop down at our national capital Canberra, where all those politicians seem to plot one lost world against another. But Photo Access is no lost world, they are an inspiring world within themselves. We love going there to teach, entrench ourselves in dark rooms, photography potions and concoctions and red lights, it's all so ephemeral and magical. 

And the results are exquisite of this historical technique.

Having six students who were just so connected to the enthusiasm for antiquarian photography was terrific. For most of them they hadn't put their hand to this form of photography, producing  a negative image onto a piece of tin that when coated a certain way in the dark room, then off you go outside where one is set up for their shot, they then slide the plate into the back of the 
camera and the shutter is released. 

Bill showed them step by step a really informative guide to the history and method of coating these plates, which has to be done all very quickly so the plate doesn't have a chance to dry. How to pour photographic solutions onto the plates, it was handcrafted individuality and wet plates all round, far from my wet plates drying next to our kitchen sink in Hill End.

They all had numerous turns over two days shooting successfully an image on Bill's 8 x 10 very old wooden and canvas Kodak camera and brought their own cameras along too. (A friend recently described Bill as a freak of nature, a compliment to his go to of inventing, trouble shooting and artistic creating, it's so innately in him. He never ceases to amaze me, I call him my  w a l k i n g  g o o g l e !)

Actor Bob Kingdom and artist Sandra Winkworth taken by Bill Moseley in the Hill End Press studio, using tin type wet plate collodion method.
Going on in that same week was Artisans in the Garden at the Royal Botanic Gardens in Sydney, where we had a stand with all our goodies, letterpress stationery inspired by our wild garden here in Hill End and Bill's tin types for sale. We were spoilt though by the ever enthusiastic volunteers of the gardens feeding us with homemade cakes and when we weren't there, they looked after our stand   while we dashed to Canberra.

 Now starting to pine for my kitchen sink from being on the road, we returned to Hill End and started on my installation for Artlands - Future / Public part conference, part festival, all arts, which was a very successful event on last weekend. 

I created a  line from a poem I'm working on and the artwork had an 
old fashion appearance to it and you can see it on our Instagram. 
It was set up in Victoria Park Dubbo for four days.

My poetry line read  

#T h e   w o r l d   n o w ,  n e e d s  e m p a t h y  l i k e  a 
 g o s s a m e r  t h r e a d  f l u n g.

It's all about a message to the world, which at the moment humanity and the environment seem to be creasing between itself within the landscape. I was out one late winter afternoon and I noticed at the Hill End cricket pitch which has long not been used, threads of fine webs covering all the grass, I can't tell you how intriguing it was, it stopped me, so much so that I approached the paddock/pitch and my curiosity made me bend down to see what it was. It was everywhere as far as my eye could see, with the light hitting it gently. I still didn't know what it was only that it felt like optimistic. 

After that I was reading a John Banville novel and he described it in there and wow that's what I had seen, now I had experienced gossamer, hundreds of little spiders over night weaving the paddock horizontally.

So I thought it was an apt metaphor to use to blanket the world at the moment, a thread of empathy that is strong but transparent, there but not persuasive, empathy if only it could just naturally happen.

So a full successful month, we met many inspiring people along the way, 
and creativity was abound, 
just how we like it.

If your interested in catching us for a workshop, contact us for more information on alternative photographic process at 
Genevieve Carroll