Double horizons : shifting figure and ground in some Australian photography
McArdle, James 2005, Double horizons : shifting figure and ground in some Australian photography, in IPT : Celebrating the diversity of photographic imaging. Proceedings 2005 Institute of Photographic Technology Conference, The Institute of Photographic Technology, World wide web.
Photography, normally considered a prosaic medium, is considered in this paper as a synthesises of the processes of human seeing, to develop an aesthetic, a poetics of space. The initial element of invention in my investigation was to devise the means by which the process of binocular perception might be depicted. Once the vortex form emerged from that experimentation, and I had the experience to predict the generation of affect, it became possible to manipulate it purposefully in seeking a solution to the problem of the portrait in the landscape.
This paper outlines a practice as research investigation into the construction and representation of the figure and the ground in photography through overlapping multiple temporal and spatial renderings of the same subject within single photographic images.
This included a critical investigation of the representation of time, perspective, and location in historical and contemporary photography with particular attention to the synthesis, imitation, and distinction of characteristics of human vision in this medium especially where they are indicative of consciousness and attention.
This investigation informed a re-evaluation of the premises of the genre of the photographic portrait and it’s setting, especially within the unstructured environment of the Central Victorian ironbark forests and goldfields. Analogue and digital photographic experiments were conducted in superimposed shifts in camera position and their convergence on significant points of focus through repeated exposures across different time scales. The images correspond to a stage in human stereo perception before fusion, to represent the attention of the viewer, where, in these images, the ‘portrait’ is located.
The findings were applied to the large format camera production of high-definition images that extended the range and effectiveness of selected pictorial structures such as selective focus, relative scale, superimposition, multiple exposures and interference patterns.
The outcome was an exhibition at Smrynios Gallery in Melbourne in April 2004. This presentation includes a discussion of relevant work by Australian practitioners Daniel Crooks and David Stephenson.
Abstract on conference website titled 'Why do we have two eyes?'; paper on conference website titled 'Double horizons :shifting figure and ground in some Australian Photography'. The paper is linked to interconnected experimental photography projects conducted between 2000 and 2004, submitted, and passed, for PhD in 2004. Unique works relating to this research as it evolved were exhibited: ‘A Day in the Life of Bendigo’, Penfolds Art Gallery, 1 - 29 March 2000; ‘Contemporary Australian Photography from the Horsham Regional Art Gallery’, Phyllis Palmer Gallery, Bendigo 2000; Anonda Bell (curator), ‘Celebrating the Exquisite Corpse’, Bendigo Art Gallery, 10 June - 3 September 2000, Swan Hill Regional Art Gallery 25 September - 16 November 2001, Ararat Gallery Inc. 16 December 2001 - 27 January 2002, Flinders Lane Gallery, Monash Gallery of Art 10 May - 24 June 2001; ‘Long Distance’ touring group show, Phyllis Palmer Gallery, Horsham Regional Art Gallery, Swan Hill Regional Art Gallery, Span Galleries, 19 February – 3 March 2001; solo show ‘Vortex’, Bendigo Art Gallery, 29 September to 28 October 2001; Gold Coast Ulrick Schubert Photographic Art Award exhibition, March to April 2002 ; solo show ‘Lost and Found’, Horsham Regional Art Gallery October 2002; Annual ACUADS Conference, Survey of current art and design research and practice within Australian tertiary art and design schools, University of Tasmania, Hobart, 1 – 4 October 2003; ENERGEX Contemporary Art Prize exhibition, The ENERGEX Arbour South Bank, Brisbane, October 31 – 12 December 2003 (Judges’ ‘Highly Commended’); solo show 'Vortex', Phyllis Palmer Gallery Bendigo, March 2004; solo show at Smyrnios Gallery, Melbourne, April 2004; Albury City Art Gallery 2005 National Photographic Purchase Award, 3 August – 4 September 2005.
Field of Research
190503 Lens-based Practice
Socio Economic Objective
970119 Expanding Knowledge through Studies of the Creative Arts and Writing
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