March 21, 2014

Friday Round Up - 21 March, 2014

This week on Friday Round Up Trent Parke's new exhibition, breathtaking landscapes on show in Sydney, an exhibition in Melbourne to raise funds for Human Rights, a photo essay on Grozny and more.

MikiNobu Komatsu - Selected Works

Having taken photographs in both hemispheres there is no doubt the light in Australia, and New Zealand, is very different to the softer light in Europe, or the light of neighboruing Asia, where pollution in the atmosphere often masks the horizon and humidity leaves the air thick with noise.

Here we still have the benefit of relatively clean air bringing a true clarity of light, which Japanese-born photographer MikiNobu Komatsu says “is vivid and obvious. This “rich and strong light” captured Komatsu’s imagination when he first came to Australia in the late 1970s. Since that time he has created a vast body of work focusing on landscapes in both Australia and New Zealand the latter of which is the subject of his Selected Works exhibition currently on show in Sydney at Black Eye Gallery.

Comparing the light of the Antipodes to his homeland, Komatsu says, “Here the light is much more visible. Every moment is so interesting, the way light changes from early morning to late afternoon and sunset…it’s such a different quality. When I arrived in Australia for the first time in my life I started to look at what was around me, at my environment. I became intrigued by what I saw and that’s what inspired me to start taking photographs”.

(C) All Images MikiNobu Komatsu

For the past 30 years Komatsu has focused his lens on the environment, particularly drawn to remote vistas where sky and earth meet in soaring mountains and vales, where waters reflect the light in steel-like tones and where frosty nights and clear days bring endless visual stimuli.

The exhibition at Black Eye features around 25 works, which are taken from Komatsu’s self-published book ‘Light Moods South’. The book features Haiku poetry alongside each image. “I like the simplicity of Haiku, but it also has depth, what you could call complex simplicity, so it complements my photographs because they are both simple and layered also.”

“I like to think that my photographs convey the emotions I felt shooting at that moment when I encountered such beauty in nature,” he concludes.

Until 6 April
Artist Talk – Saturday 22nd March 2pm
MikiNobu Komatsu Selected Works
Black Eye Gallery
3/138 Darlinghurst Road
Darlinghurst (Sydney) 

Exhibition: Melbourne
A Selection of Works by Wolfgang Sievers
Raising funds for Human Rights Causes
"Gears"Wolfgang Sievers

Considered one of the world's great industrial and architectural photographers, Wolfgang Sievers (1913-2007), a student of Bauhaus, fled Nazi Germany for Australia at the outbreak of WWII. In 1939 he opened his photographic studio in Melbourne and became one of Australia’s most renowned photographers with his work collected here and internationally.

When he died in 2007 he bequeathed his print archive to Human Rights lawyer and advocate Julian Burnside AO QC, with all proceeds from the sale of these works going to the pursuit of human rights. His final public speech, which consisted entirely of three words, encapsulated his desire for humanity: "One word. Compassion".

Burnside says his association with Sievers began around 2003 when he bought a series of 92 framed photographs. The pair struck a friendship and before he died Sievers gave Burnside his collection of prints to use as he saw fit in order to benefit human rights causes.

“He drove around to my place one day and delivered all of these boxes, about 14 of them”. Inside one box was a print of his now famous “Gears” photograph (above) with a Post It note saying ‘this is the best print of this photograph ever’. Sievers was an absolute perfectionist, and the significance of this handwritten note is not lost on Burnside who is holding back that photograph in the hope that it will command a high price. “I won’t take less that $50,000 for that one,” he says.

Burnside believes the popularity of Sievers work, which has increased posthumously, is “partly because people with the right money can see the quality of the work and know that there won’t be anymore around. Also people do respond to the fact that proceeds go to human rights causes and not into someone’s pocket”.

An exhibition of 51 photographs taken by Sievers between 1933 and 1977 opens in Melbourne on Tuesday 25th March, presented by Liberty Victoria. 

(C) All images Wolfgang Sievers Archive

25 March to 5 April, 2014
fortyfive downstairs
45 Flinders Lane

Photo Essay:
Grozny: Nine Cities 

Grozny: Nine Cities is a project by three Russian photographers - Oksana Yushko, Olga Kravets and Maria Morina – who have been documenting the societal shifts in this war-torn capital of Chechnya since 2009. Of their ongoing study the trio says “Our project Grozny: Nine Cities is inspired by a Thornton Wilder book, Theophilus North, and centers on the idea of nine cities being hidden in one, which gives us a concept to explore specific aspects of the aftermath of two Chechen wars considering them as 'cities' hidden within Grozny.” Here are a selection of images taken by Oksana Yushko. 

(C) All images Oksana Yushko

To find out more about this project click here.

Exhibition: Sydney
Trent Parke – The Camera is God (street portrait series) 

Opening next week at Stills Gallery in Sydney is Trent Parke’s latest exhibition. In this show Parke, who is the only Australian member of Magnum Photos, takes us back to his street photography roots with a series of photographs featuring anonymous people standing on street corners. Here “Parke’s camera is all-seeing, non-judgmental, indiscriminate. If you stand before it, unwittingly, it will see you. If the timing is right, it might capture you. Within this sequence of images, a beautiful alchemy takes place – a combination of life and chance, light and photographic chemicals. The resulting body of work allows us to see anew and to find ourselves amongst the crowd. In installation, around the gallery walls, the portraits are encompassing, turning the tables on who in the gallery might be the viewers and the viewed.” 

(C) All images Trent Parke courtesy of Stills Gallery

26 March to 3 May 2014
Stills Gallery
36 Gosbell Street
Paddington (Sydney)

Exhibition: Melbourne
Reminder: Opening Saturday 22 March 

(C) Paul Batt

This group show features works from the Monash Alumni including Daniel Boetker-Smith, Ross Coulter, Siri Hayes, Kristian Häggblom, Katrin Koenning, Georgia Metaxas and Paul Batt. Opening tomorrow.

Trocadero Art Space
Level 1
119 Hopkins Street
Footscray Melbourne
19 March to 5 April
Opening event Saturday 22 March 4-6pm

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