July 26, 2013

Friday Round Up - 26 July

This week on Friday Round Up an inspirational photo essay from David Butow "Seeing Buddha," an interview with photographer, filmmaker and publisher John Ogden about his bestselling series Saltwater People and Cuban master Raul Cañibano Ercilla's Retrospective on show in Sydney.

And on a personal note, today I received my University grading on my Honours Masters Thesis "Has the Critical Mirror Shattered - What is the future for professional photojournalism in the digital news age?" - a First Class Honours-High Distinction! I am deeply grateful to all the photojournalists, editors and industry professionals around the world who gave their time to answer my questions. What is the future? You'll have to wait for next year when the book comes out! Have a great weekend wherever you are.

Photo Essay:
David Butow - Seeing Buddha
This insightful, deeply moving photo essay from photojournalist David Butow documents the various Buddhist practices taking us from Bodhgaya in India where Buddha found enlightenment, to Japan, the US and Cambodia amongst other countries. These photographs evoke the sentiments of Buddhism – compassion, love and happiness in all living things. To see more of David’s work please visit his website here

(C) David Butow

Raul Cañibano Ercilla - Retrospective

(C) Raul Cañibano Ercilla

Cuban master of photography Raul Cañibano Ercilla’s retrospective is on exhibition at 10x8 Gallery in Surry Hills Sydney from 31st July. A self-taught photographer, Cañibano has extensively documented his country, Cuba, with particular emphasis on the regional areas and communities in which he grew up. His tribute to Cuban farmers, “Tierra Guajira,” features black-and-white images that encapsulate the intricacies of national identity, and images from this series feature in the retrospective.

10x8 Gallery
31 July - 31 August
Level 5 / 56 - 60 Foster St Surry Hills

Saltwater People - John Ogden
Author and Publisher John Ogden

John Ogden’s second instalment in the Saltwater series, "Saltwater People of the Fatal Shore," is “a coffee table book with a sting,” says Ogden, or Oggy as he is known, as are all the books published under his imprint, Cyclops Press. The ‘sting’ in this instance comes in the historical commentary that was a feature of the first book and is expanded in the new edition. 

The waterways in Sydney are as much a social divide, as they are a physical divide. While the Northern Beaches are generally where the more affluent people settled, the shoreline that is traversed in "Saltwater People of the Fatal Shore" - from South Head to the Royal National Park – has a much more colourful history partly influenced by the fact that in the middle of this tract is Botany Bay.

“This book is a cracker,” says Oggy. “It is a fuller story than the one on this side (the Northern Beaches). There are more personalities with Botany Bay smack bang in the middle and all the stories that go with that”. For this edition Oggy unearthed thousands of photos, drawings and archival records. The book features his own photography as well as that of other professionals and he’s had tremendous fortune to uncover photographs that span generations.

As with "Saltwater People of the Broken Bays" the new book promotes reconciliation without being didactic. “That’s one of the main drivers for the book, to acknowledge the First People,” says Oggy who has a long history working with indigenous communities. In June last year he was the recipient of the Pauline McLeod Award for Reconciliation, presented by the Eastern Region Local Government Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Forum (NSW). The Award is in recognition of the books he has published - "Australienation, Portraits from a Land Without People," which raised significant funds for Indigenous health, and now the Saltwater set.

In "Saltwater People of the Fatal Shore" there is also an environmental thread to the story that is woven throughout and starts with the pristine waters of Botany Bay that were quickly turned to festering pools by the English. “The First People lived here for tens of thousands of years in a sustainable manner. The Europeans were rapacious. They didn’t only take what they needed, they went on a frenzy, and what was a Garden of Eden became a toxic waste area. When I look at it in the microcosm of 200 years of our history, you can see how much we have changed the land and it hasn’t always been for the good”. 

In the book he reveals a number of stories that if once known, are perhaps now forgotten. “The Aborigines in these parts were a canoe culture. They travelled as much by canoe as they did by foot using the rivers as highways. When their land was taken, to survive some worked on whaling and sealing boats. Even on the Third Fleet the majority of ships that brought convicts were whalers that had been converted. Later they were reconverted and crewed by Indigenous people from here and Africa and other parts of the world”.

He profiles several Aborigines who were amongst these early fishermen and tells of one man who was dropped off on an island with his team to kill seals. “This was a sub-Antarctic island and the ship was meant to come back for them, but they were forgotten. Two years later they were picked up by another ship. And people complain about work now,” he laughs. “You think you had a hard day? What about the day I had?” 

Saltwater People of the Fatal Shore is published by Cyclops Press.

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