« August 2008 »
1 2
3 4 5 6 7 8 9
10 11 12 13 14 15 16
17 18 19 20 21 22 23
24 25 26 27 28 29 30
Entries by Topic
All topics  «
100 people
365 days
artists wanted: exposure
book covers
digital post-processing
divine diptychs
f-stop magazine
gig photography
greeting cards
jpg magazine
mixed bag
mooncruise* magazine
photography books
portraiture sessions
road trip 2009
road trip 2010
rosebank, nsw
saatchi showdown
shots magazine
the big issue
the bubble
toyota travel award
travels with kyle 2012
vignette press
visible ink
You are not logged in. Log in
2 August 2008
boy's club
Now Playing: lou rhodes - beloved one
Topic: photography

boy's club

Once again last night on an online forum I was reminded of the element of commercial photography I particularly dislike. That of the "boy's club" mentality of so many male photographers in the industry.

Coming across a thread about model / photographer's releases started by a model (who, by the way, seemed to avoid the thread after that), I decided I'd share what I do in terms of a general description of the photographic agreements I have in place with my clients and models. Having seen the way subsequent photographers (including one woman in particular) were torn apart I guess I'm happy I got off with minimal notice the way I did.

What disturbed me about the thread was the derogatory manner with which the photographers assumed superiority over their models; as if models, like all good Victorian (the era, not the state) children, should be seen and not heard. Admittedly there are times when I am thankful I can model for myself just for simplicity's sake, but in many cases these photographers would be nowhere without their models. In addition, the way that the male photographers (including one who is only 26 and has only been practicing photography for two years according to his profile) tore into other photographers including one woman in particular who was willing to voice herself in this area and defend herself once attacked (for I can find no better description of the way in which some of these folk took to her comments).

To a large extent, forty-something and older male photographers assuming superiority over female photographers never surprises me. However to see that this is still something being fostered amongst the younger generation of male photographers saddens me.

One thing I've been aware of almost since I started pursuing photography is the (false) view that a photographer's skill is measured by the length of their lens or the dollar value of their kit. I don't disagree that using the right equipment for the job is valid, but just because you have a high-end camera, lighting and a studio in a fancy part of town does not make you a master photographer.

Many of the photographers I know of who have all the bells and whistles and make no bones about telling you all about them in detail, I find often take the most uninspiring and cliched images. Yes, they are technically perfect: well-lit, well-exposed, pin sharp. But they're boring.

And so many of those photographers love shooting nudes, which are also, for the most part boring. Because of course another part of showing how successful you are as a photographer is by how many young, beautiful female models you can get naked in your studio.

Not to forget, as the 26 year old male photographer above states in his profile, that it is important that his models be "tall and skinny fashion models for test shoots, and yes you need to be tall and skinny and (ideally) with an agency. It's not like I'm going to be mean to you if you're not tall and skinny, but I will point you to my rates." Le sigh.

All this is by no means to say that I am against male photographers in general – quite the contrary, I am regularly inspired by many male photographers (and males working in other areas like film and music). Nor that I am against nude photography – some of my favourite photographers create honest, raw, stunning nudes that not only beautifully capture form and the human figure, male or female, but also capture the essence of their subject as a person, not just as an easily substituted body.

But the three reasons I personally found the responses from some of these people irksome were:

- The assumption that you cannot write up a photographic agreement without having some sort of law degree. I have dealt with publishers, photographers and so forth who have put together plain language contracts that clearly state what is required of both parties, who owns copyright, what the usage rights are for each party and so on. As these documents are not full of legal doublespeak and therefore eminently more understandable to the average Joe (or Josephine) I understand they are as enforceable as any other contract as long as they are signed by both parties. The photo agreements I tailor to each client / model allows protection for both parties and clearly state what each party can expect from the other in respect to the shoot. In the event that an image or series of images of any of the models I photograph were to be sold for usage by a third party I clearly state that this would be subject to a further agreement, and in that instance I would seek legal advice. As it happens, to this date the usage requests I have received and accepted have all been self-portraiture so I have not had to deal with this element yet.

- That my view was dismissed because "Has it occurred to you that he is in Australia, which does not have the kinds of rights of privacy and publicity laws the US does?" I think that's a simplistic way to ignore someone given that many of our laws are similar, though admittedly (and thankfully) Australia is (thus far) less sue-happy than the United States.

- That as I was a photographer I was assumed to be male. The person (supposedly) defending my (naive, in their view) response managed to take the time to note my location from my profile, but didn't manage to read the word "Female" which appears above my location in my profile on that site. Because unless my name is a blatantly obvious feminine one (though Bronwen is just that, given that traditionally names ending in ~wen are feminine, and ~wyn are masculine, in Welsh grammar) the assumption is that as a photographer I must be male, and models should, for the most part, be female.

As I said: boy's club. And perhaps that is why I got off so lightly, because I was assumed to be male, though I did assert otherwise in my response.

To balance all that I have said above and make it clear that this is an element I dislike, not a blanket statement about all male photographers, let me introduce you to some of my favourite male photographers:

Lou O'Bedlam
Jon Jacobsen
Andrew Farrington
Brett Walker
Eamonn Harnett
Federico Erra
Patric Shaw
Simon Pais-Thomas

And since I'm in a giving mood, here are some of my favourite female photographers:

Katie West
Kristamas Klousch
Olive and Rose
Samantha West
Elle Moss
Bogna Kuczerawy
Lara Jade
Julia Galdo
Miss Aniela
Haggis Chick
Kate O'Brien
Ola Bell
Shannon Hourigan

All of which are doing wonderfully creative things, whether with honesty and raw imagery or with highly fabricated fairytale-like worlds, and many of which include nudity in their oeuvre in ways that are not banal and soulless.

Thankfully there are far more people producing wonderful photographic work within all areas of the industry than those who continue to uphold the "boy's club" mentality.

Posted by Bronwen Hyde at 13:51 BST
Post Comment | Permalink | Share This Post
31 July 2008
Now Playing: isaac hayes - greatest love songs
Topic: exhibitions

my life inside a box

My work can be seen in three shows opening over the next nine days:

RedBubble at the Rialto opens Monday 4th August. Featuring 40 works from artists in the Melbourne & Victoria Group, the exhibition can be viewed in the plaza between 7am and 6:30pm Monday to Friday until Friday 15th August. All work is for sale.

My Life Inside A Box, a new InnerNortherns photography exhibition, opens at the Northcote Town Hall on Tuesday 5th August 2008 and runs until September 2nd. The show can be viewed in the display area on Level 1 of the Northcote Town Hall, 189 High Street, Northcote during business hours and all work is for sale.

The Corangamarah Art Prize opens at the Otway Estate Winery & Brewery on Saturday 9th August and runs until 17th August. The exhibition is open from 10am to 5pm every day and all work is for sale.

You can also vote for one of my images in the latest round of the Saatchi Showdown.

And buy my book!

Posted by Bronwen Hyde at 11:41 BST
Post Comment | Permalink | Share This Post
25 July 2008
hot chilli
Now Playing: herbie hancock - dedications
Topic: self-portraiture

untitled #65

So I was standing in the hair care aisle of my local stupidmarket this afternoon contemplating which particular shampoo and conditioner to get since the shampoo of the usual type of the usual brand I've fallen into using wasn't in stock.

And I ended up buying a colour-friendly version of the shampoo because I thought "Ooh, I should use up the rest of that chocolate rinse I have, and colour-friendly would be good for that".

But then, standing naked in my bedroom I realised that I must have used up the last of that particular colour when I coloured my hair last (however many months ago that was).

Moving to the bathroom I noticed that I had some 'hot chilli' red rinse of the same brand in my medicine cabinet.

Seeking just a word of encouragement from Anthony I mentioned it and asked "what do you say?" to which he replied "red? go for it :)"

And so an hour or so later I found myself with red hair for the first time in over three years.

Posted by Bronwen Hyde at 12:16 BST
Post Comment | Permalink | Share This Post
24 July 2008
suits you, sir!
Now Playing: nick cave & the bad seeds - abbatoir blues
Topic: self-portraiture

suits you, sir

The one and only suit I've ever owned and it hasn't fit me for about nine years. Now it does.

I am the incredible shrinking woman.

And my hair is still growing.

I suspect this suit will end up appearing in some sort of location film noir self-portrait shoot soon.

Posted by Bronwen Hyde at 15:27 BST
Post Comment | Permalink | Share This Post
21 July 2008
play belle
Now Playing: belle & sebastian - if you're feeling sinister
Topic: film

play belle

Back in 1998 I fell in love with the work of Guy Maddin when I saw Twilight of the Ice Nymphs, and immediately preceding it, the documentary "Guy Maddin: Waiting for Twilight". It wasn't just Tom Waits husky voice narrating the documentary that washed over me and lulled me into a dazed wonder: watching the extent to which Maddin goes to create his cinematic worlds and then seeing the final, dreamy, glowing product had me utterly enthralled and enamoured.

His work has elements of what I love in the work of Tod Browning's Freaks and F.W. Murnau's Sunrise, and generally has me in a similar state of wonder.

As Maddin mentions in the documentary, his films generally just get packed up on completion and sent around the world on the film festival circuit as most of his films don't attract a large enough audience to warrant general release, though The Saddest Music In The World did manage to break that pattern for a moment.

So every year I look forward to the prospect of another Maddin fix, this year being "My Winnipeg", a mixture of fact and fiction about his hometown. That, Peter Greenaway's "Nightwatching" and Miike Takashi's "Sukiyaki Western Django" (spot the odd one out :P) are my most anticipated MIFF bookings.

And amongst my various long-intended photographic projects is the intention to create a series of narrative, cinematic images in the style of Guy Maddin and Tod Browning's films. Maybe one day soon... but for now I just have this one image that's a sort of trial run experiment.

[alternate colour version of this image]

Posted by Bronwen Hyde at 18:11 BST
Post Comment | Permalink | Share This Post
19 July 2008
live on stage
Now Playing: young werther - treasure (ep)
Topic: jpg magazine

young werther

I've submitted photos to the On Stage and Geometry themes scheduled for Issue #18 of JPG Magazine.

Feel free to vote for them.

And listen to Young Werther.

And buy my book.

Posted by Bronwen Hyde at 16:28 BST
Post Comment | Permalink | Share This Post
18 July 2008
what's it all about?
Now Playing: princess one point five - vous je vous
Topic: art

untitled #116

Now that the largest projects that have been on my plate for the past couple of months are all done and dusted I've been catching up on some light reading.

Following links from the Arts Hub UK weekly "Front Page" email that I subscribed to a few weeks ago, I read an interview with Tracey Emin which leaves me no more decided on how I feel about her or her art; and one about Martin Creed's "Work No. 850" currently being staged at the Duveen Gallery, Tate Britain.

And I found myself having to agree with the author of the latter article in regard to his points about art and meaning, and the imposition of meaning on art:

What we're up against here are two of contemporary art's guiding imperatives. Rule 1) Justification by meaning: the worth and interest of a work resides in what it's about. Rule 2) Absolute freedom of interpretation: a work is "about" anything that can, at a pinch, be said about it.

In short, meanings are arbitrary, but compulsory. And this double bind holds almost universal sway. Whenever you learn that a work explores or investigates or raises questions about something, that it's concerned with issues around this or notions of that or debates about the other, you know you're in its grip.

It's weird how people can't resist. If you want to make art sound serious, this is simply the way you do it. Read any gallery wall-caption or leaflet or catalogue, and see how long it is before the writer commends the work solely on the basis of what it's about. And then note how it is isn't really about that at all.

Meaning comes first – even before the work itself. At some point in the near future Antony Gormley's project One and Other will occupy the much-discussed fourth plinth in Trafalgar Square. For 100 days, 24 hours a day, a succession of volunteers will stand, for an hour each, as living statues on the plinth-top.

What will happen exactly? Goodness knows. It's anyone's guess. But what will it mean? Oh, we know that already, for the artist himself has explained: "Through elevation onto the plinth and removal from common ground the subjective living body becomes both representation and representative, encouraging consideration of diversity, vulnerability and the individual in contemporary society".

And in the circumstances, pre-emptive interpretation is only to be expected. When meanings are crucial but also completely out of control, the artist had better get his meanings in first. He must make it clear his work will encourage us to consider "diversity, vulnerability and the individual" – rather than other less uplifting things, like exhibitionist tendencies among the public or messianic tendencies among artists.

One and Other is another of those works that might mean anything or nothing. But because it's art, not life, it has to mean something. In fact, that's pretty well what defines the difference between them.

Although there are images of mine that were directly born from an event, an experience, an idea and therefore do have meaning that I may choose to elaborate upon with text or a journal entry; and I have had to write proposals at various stages in regard to my art before it's even executed; I don't believe that art has to have meaning or a prepared explanation by the artist or a gallery accompanying it for it to be a successful artwork.

I find it interesting to know what the artist was aiming for / thinking about / influenced by when producing the artwork, and I enjoy the written word and the way it can be used with images, whether as a title or as accompanying text. But not everything lends itself to a title, not all artworks require explanation or accompanying text of any type.

Although I always feel proud of my work when an audience recognises in it the same ideas, meaning and influences that I have been conscious of when creating the work, I am just as intrigued to find out what other interpretations the viewer brings to my images.

Because in the end we all view art (and most things in life) from our own subjective viewpoint. The work in front of us is "tainted" by our own knowledge, our own experience, our own personal visual preferences. When you view an artwork, listen to a piece of music, watch a film, there are always doors opening in your own memory behind which lie other artworks / images you've seen, sounds / music you've heard, films you've watched, places you've been, people you've met, experiences you've had of which the work may remind you or may colour your enjoyment (or lack thereof) and interpretation of the artwork.

Posted by Bronwen Hyde at 14:56 BST
Post Comment | Permalink | Share This Post
13 July 2008
my life in a box
Now Playing: tegan & sara - this business of art
Topic: exhibitions

untitled #17

More exhibition news!

The above image and "The Nights You Stayed Always Ended this Way" will be included in the next Inner Northerns exhibition "My Life In A Box", which will take place in the display case on Level 1 of the Northcote Town Hall from August 4th until September 2nd.

I also found out just today that "Mannequin" has been selected to be included in an exhibition showcasing Melbourne and Victoria Red Bubble work to be held at the Rialto Towers for two weeks in August.

I'll post opening times and dates as soon as I know.

Oh, and since I have your attention, I'd love it if you could vote for "The Nights You Stayed Always Ended This Way" in the latest round of the Saatchi Showdown...

Posted by Bronwen Hyde at 13:01 BST
Post Comment | Permalink | Share This Post
12 July 2008
the nights you stayed always ended this way
Now Playing: jacques brel - integrale: les flamandes
Topic: self-portraiture

the nights you stayed always ended this way

Standing half-naked in the kitchen, unable to sleep, as the world shook off the night and I shook off the false belief that there was anything more to this than fleeting desire.

Posted by Bronwen Hyde at 16:03 BST
Post Comment | View Comments (2) | Permalink | Share This Post
5 July 2008
[im]material girl
Now Playing: the cure - join the dots
Topic: photography

immaterial girl

Laying in bed this morning contemplating arising from my warm cocoon a random jumble of thoughts meandered through my mind.

One of which was that if I were to leave these shores next April there would be only three items of furniture I would not sell or give away: my dressing table and chair, my piano (okay, so not technically furniture, but you know what I mean) and my red-ribbed velour lounge suite. Everything else I now feel I would be able to part with permanently, unlike last time when it all went into storage.

Though I might have to part with my lounge suite if everything else could be stored at my parents' house - they would definitely take the piano and quite possibly the dressing table, but the lounge suite would not fit into their home.

Of course I don't actually expect to win the travel award, but it's good to know that I could leave it all behind if I had to.

In other news, you should check out the Inner Northerns' exhibition at Brunswick Bound which opened today. Some beautiful images to be seen.

Buy my book!

Posted by Bronwen Hyde at 11:03 BST
Updated: 5 July 2008 11:10 BST
Post Comment | Permalink | Share This Post

Newer | Latest | Older