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Touch Me (Book Review)

Touch Me by Graham S Burstow

My partner picked up a second hand copy of Touch Me by Graham S Burstow for $2.25 at a local opportunity shop. It’s the soft cover, but in close to perfect condition. This 172 page book (23cm x 29cm) was published by Top Shelf Publications, Queensland in 1998 and covers 30 years of Graham Burstow’s black and white photography – street photography, social documentary and portraits. The vast majority of the work was created in the Toowoomba locale with a few pictures towards the end from Kenya and Zanzibar.

If you look at the author’s webpage for Touch Me there is a small automatic slideshow with half a dozen representative examples of the work. It’s easy to see influences in there that coincide with Rennie Ellis and Jeff Carter. And some of the portraits evoke the feeling of Sue Ford or Carol Jerrems. A couple of portraits from this book dimly reminded me of the work of Bill Henson. One thing I enjoy about photography is this ability to see influences in style and content. Or similarities. Possibly even small homages. And having never heard of Graham Burstow it just makes that pleasure of discovery the little more entertaining.

The bio of Graham Burstow is also impressive. Born in 1927 (making him 88 years old), he has an awful lot of letters after his hame – OAM, FAPS, FRPS, FPSA, EFIAP, Hon. FAPS, PSQA, HAFB, PSQF. He received an Order of Australia Medal for Services to Photography in Australian in 2004, prints acquired for permanent collection by the Queensland Art Gallery, the State Library of Queensland and the National Library of Australia. An old salt of Australian photography.

And I like the last sentence of that bio – “He continues to photograph using film and creates prints using silver gelatin.”

For AUD$25 new this is a great photography book that captures my idea of what used to be Australia. It smacks of Australian culture. I’m also a little tempted to pick up a copy of his other book Flesh: The Gold coast in the 1960s, 70s & 80s.

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About the Author

Steven Clark Steven Clark - the stand up guy on this site

My name is Steven Clark (aka nortypig) and I live in Southern Tasmania. I have an MBA (Specialisation) and a Bachelor of Computing from the University of Tasmania. I'm a photographer making pictures with film. A web developer for money. A business consultant for fun. A journalist on paper. Dreams of owning the World. Idea champion. Paradox. Life partner to Megan.

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