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Archive for the 'books' Category

The Land Before Avocado (Book Review)

Thursday, January 31st, 2019

Front cover of The Land Before Avocado

My Christmas included the thoughtful gift of The Land Before Avocado by Richard Glover. A book, I should explain, I had considered buying on the odd occasion and never quite justified the purchase. So it was a perfect present by definition – something I wanted but wouldn’t buy for myself. And, yes, I’m known to seek a warm nostalgia from my youth of the 1960s-1970s… and this is a book aimed at the foreheads of every human like me with that delusion. Because was it better back then? Honestly? And, if so, why don’t the statistics support this argument?

Glover paints a great picture of the abysmal food. Pre-1960 you could count the people from non-European countries in the hundreds (or merely tens, or less). We had been a British bastion on the edge of the World and under the White Australia Policy that pretty much meant there were us, the other Europeans we let come here and the indigenous population. We treated people appropriate to that order, too. Even as a heterosexual male there was a fine path to be trodden. Difference wasn’t what Australia tolerated – enshrined in Law were ideals of sexism, homophobia and racism. I’d even forgotten how bad these laws had been, partly because as a child/youth it’s really the only culture you know.

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Tokyo Lucky Hole (Book Review)

Tuesday, January 19th, 2016

Tokyo Lucky Hole by Nobuyoshi Araki

Santa brought me a special gift this year in the form of Tokyo Lucky Hole by Nobuyoshi Araki and published by TASCHEN. If you don’t know anything about Araki then I’ll find it difficult to begin: Araki is a leading figure in Japanese erotic, bondage, pornography and art photography. His obsession for pushing the limits, the trademark round dark glasses and a boundless energy for sexual exploration have made him possibly the most recognisable face in the erotic genre. This book, created between 1983-1985, offers the reader over 800 photographs created behind the doors of Tokyo’s vibrant sex industry.

Araki was joined on these forays by Akira Suei, editor-in-chief of the monthly magazine Photo Age. The magazine featured mainly Araki’s work and pushed the boundaries of what was allowed in a Japanese publication of the era. When pubic hairs were made illegal in photographs they pushed back by shaving the models’ pussies. When their pussies were required to be covered in ink, Araki and Suei had the pubic hair manually inked onto the photographs. When underwear was required by law, the tactic was to use transparent material.

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Rennie Ellis: Decade 1970-1980

Friday, May 8th, 2015

Rennie Ellis: Decade 1970-1980

Rennie Ellis (1940-2003) is one of those photographers who captured the urban Australian experience of the 1970s and 1980s. Vietnam, the fall of Whitlam, gay and female rights campaigns, the post-hippie push to legalise marijuana; an adventure from Sydney’s Kings Cross to the streets of Melbourne’s Prahran. Rennie Ellis captured the rebellion, excess and debauchery. Prostitutes, policemen, politicians and power trippers. The book Rennie Ellis: Decade 1970-1980 follows the meandering sunlight of Rennie’s camera across the party decade. He followed the never-ending party; the pictures are a result of his obsession with recording life as he experienced it in the raw.

This book was originally a dream project that Rennie had put together over a long period of time. He found funding to produce and a publisher to complete. Yet, despite his publisher admonishing him for the content, it was never completed. His mock-up of Decade sat unrealised. Rennie’s words from that mock-up are in Decade 1970-1980 along with his choice of photographs. The book was further filled out with photographs deemed to be iconic or important to the time and sourced from the “Rennie Ellis Photographic Archive and the State Library of Victoria Rennie Ellis Collection”.

One of my favourite photographs is that cover – Fitzroy Extrovert 1974. I’ve always loved looking at Mirka Mora 1973. And In a Hurry, Flinders Street Station 1980 depicts a young sailor that I recognise from my time in the Royal Australian Navy. He’s familiar, but I never knew his name. He stands with his mother waiting for that time he would have to say goodbye at the station.

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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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