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One of my art projects is being exhibited in Sydney until Sunday 24th May. The show consists of 44 portrait drawings of myself that I had made by street artists in 7 cities in 6 countries; Sydney, Los Angeles, Mexico City, Kuala Lumpur, Hanoi, Chiang Mai and Bangkok.

While observing two street portrait artists at work in Paris in September 2000 I had the idea that it might be interesting to have multiple realistic portraits made of myself in different parts of the world. My thought was that comparing the final results could reveal some of the complexity of what happens in a portrait.

From it’s beginning a portrait embodies uncertainty. The artist observes the sitter and then moves their eye to the paper and makes their mark using a combination of memory and technique. There are further  complications when a third party viewer looks at the finished work, as we experience portraits in a different way than we do landscape or still life. We see the portrait as a work of art but also as a person and will assess the face in the picture in the same way that we do when facing someone. There is the illusion that we are looking at them solely with our own subjectivity when in fact we are also looking through the eyes and memory of the artist who made the portrait.

The work is at the exhibition gallery inside the Sydney Antique Centre, 531 South Dowling St, Surry Hills. Open 7 days from 10-6.

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Chatuchak 2

January 23, 2009

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Another shot of interesting looking young people at Chatuchak market, Bangkok. Same details as the one previously posted.

Above

December 13, 2008

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I loved the skytrain in Bangkok; it’s a great way to get around but it also offers a lot of vantage points to look down at the street. There are multiple viewing options at the line runs down the centre of the street with wide platforms so there are views from both sides, and one side of the street can be quite different from the other. Along with the staircases, walkways and escalators there are also multiple choices of levels from which to shoot.

Both of these photos were made with a Fuji 645zi & Kodak Portra 800 neg film. The camera data tells me they were exposed on August 7th ’08 & both had the lens at 55mm. The red bus roof was shot near the Chatuchak market. I don’t remember where the second shot was exposed, probably at a stop where I was going for a meal.

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Chatuchak 1

November 27, 2008

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Chatuchak market, Bangkok   Aug ’08   Leica M6

I only had a few days in Bangkok at the end of a 5 week trip. Luckily I had a weekend there & got to visit Chatuchak market. It’s open 7 days but Mon-Fri is just a plant & pet market. It’s a big place, covers something like 17 acres. I went there to find street portrait artists & that worked out well but it was also a great place for people watching & photography. If I had more time in Bangkok I think Chatuchak would be a regular weekend hangout. I’ll have more shots to post later. I was struck by this young woman’s persona & also the doll she was carrying. She was with a couple of friends who made sure they kept well out of frame. One of them spent a minute arranging the doll’s hair before I took the shot.

Film was Kodak Tri-X 400 processed in Xtol. Camera was a Leica M6 with 35mm lens. I think the aperture was about f/5.6 and in retrospect I wish I’d opened up to 4 or 2.8 as I find the background a bit too sharp.

A strange dream I had last night ….. it’s afternoon & I walk into Hyde park, Sydney, intending to photograph people. As soon as I walk in a guy approaches & tells me that he is there to photograph people & will I pose for him. I don’t want to but feel obliged to say yes. He says that I can stand wherever I like. The sun is at a low angle & very contrasty as it comes through the tree branches & leaves. I decide to stand so I’m backlit with high contrast scene behind me. I want to make it difficult for him to see how he’ll deal with it. He sets up a tripod with thick legs, looks like the biggest industrial style Gitzo, then he starts fiddling about with a large format camera. People are standing about watching, waiting to see what happens when he takes the photo. I see him holding a 45 readyload packet & ask something like “Is that a Kodak quickload?” He doesn’t answer & slowly I become aware that he has moved off & has now become interested in photographing someone else, or at least has lost interest in photographing me. Perhaps I made it too difficult for him, but I think it could have made a nice photo.

Better than nothing

November 16, 2008

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Chiang Mai, Thailand   August ’08   Nikon 28ti   Kodak EPP

I took this early August in Chiang Mai, Thailand. It was late afternoon & there was a torrential downpour. Happened most afternoons. I had an umbrella but it wasn’t much use in such heavy rain. For a while I sheltered one someone’s porch in an apartment building but then I got tired of waiting & decided to walk back to my lodgings. The gutters were overflowing & the streets were flooding.


I saw a group of schoolboys running along the footpath seeking shelter. None of them had umbrellas. I got my Nikon 28ti auto camera out from the belt pouch. It was a bit awkward as I was trying to operate it one handed while staying under the umbrella. Just managed to get it ready when the last kid ran by. He laughed with joy when he saw what I was up to & then ran into one of the many grand buddhist temples to escape the rain.

The strange colour is from the cross processing. EPP typically goes a bit green/blue. Ideally I would have liked to have been a bit more prepared & tilted down slightly to get more of his feet & the ground in the frame but I didn’t have time. I figured it was better than nothing & overall I’m pretty happy with the end result.