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Archive for January, 2015

On the Destruction of a Dogmagraphy

Tuesday, January 27th, 2015

There is no more lofty rise to strap ourselves in photography than onto that immaculate pedestal of photographic Purism like Captain Ahab of the Pequod in pursuit of the white whale. Even if the purist produces the most ordinary images with sophisticated cameras or historic processes, they remain in some idealised boudoir of non-pedestrian love-of-the-art far-and-above the ordinary banal suburban photographer. At least, in their perspective.

The purist, self proclaimed under storm-angst-skies, has the power of that word to billow their path. A get-out-of-gaol-free magic belt worthy of Aladdin. Purist. Smell it. Stretch it out on the table for all the pirates to gawk in rabbled awe. Purist. Wars are lost and won with less advantage. Cut the purist open to see… real blood.

Purist magically infers upon the wearer a state of clean innocent and undefiled beauty. Purist conjures up the image of a Holy Something, the perfection of transcendence; it implies a condescending knowing that “You listen to me, son.” All eyes around the camp fire turn to that One, the all-knowing, the man(or woman)God. Purist. First-born.

You see, I have a large and incredibly hot fire burning in a corner of my consciousness. The Fire of Dogmas Past. In an uncommonly sober state I’ve begun to take all the rules and sins and Magnificent Sevens from their cupboards, to push back the dank piles of this-and-that advice to one side and the other; to unwrite dogmagraphy – that list of things you say are bad or good or whelpishly fucked about my pictures. If I like your pictures. I’ll listen. Otherwise, get fucked.

If I crop. Fuck you. If I place a subject in the middle. Fuck you, also. Fuck you, too. Fuck you and that merry ship of Sinbad that brought you through the door. Fuck you (rings loudly as an echo up and down the lips of this social apostrophe). Stop complaining about what and how I go about making pictures. Stop dictating the morals of the moment on snot-filled photo-stock.

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Erotic Flashback (Book Review)

Saturday, January 17th, 2015

Erotic Flashback

My favourite bookshop in Hobart is Cracked and Spineless located in Collins Street. Mostly because they have great photography (and erotic photography) books for sale. My partner picked up a copy of Erotic Flashback by Michael Berkowitz and Adrienne E. Gusoff. The erotic photography of Berkowitz derives influence from a book of 1800s nudes titled Early Erotic Photography published by Taschen. This was the book that brought him around from being a painter, sculptor and performance artist focused on religious themes into the direction of shooting erotic nudes in his Manhattan studio on a 4×5 camera. He uses a standard portrait lens, Kodak Tri-X 400 film and a combination of natural and augmented lighting to recreate that 1800s French erotic aesthetic.

Michael Berkowitz took his first lessons in photography from Alfred Eisenstadt. But it wasn’t until reading the Taschen book he felt compelled to become a serious photographer. And this is where I admire his technical balls. He writes:

I was so taken by the images that I purchased a large format camera, built a set in my studio, hired a model and took some photos. I was so pleased with the results, and the reaction of others to the images was so swift and strongly positive, I became hooked on photography. It felt as if I was doing exactly what I was meant to do. I have never looked back. Michael Berkowitz

This 228 page hard cover measures a hardy 1.5 x 6 x 8.2 inches and fits comfortably in the hand. The card is high quality and the 4×5 images are reproduced at the size of the original negative in sepia. It’s also worth noting this is a true erotica book in the sense that some fingers may or may not on various occasions wander into the various vaginas being exposed. This isn’t a lingerie model photoshoot. These are real women between 18 and 50 years of age from real life without fake boobs or manufactured enhancement. All but a few approached the photographer and requested their images to be created.

We picked this copy up as either new, or possibly second hand in mint condition, from Cracked and Spineless for AUD$25. Another example that shows we don’t need to spend a veritable fortune bringing together a worthy photography book collection.

I may be a dirty rotten Narcissistic Psychopath

Friday, January 16th, 2015

Whether or not these are selfies or self portraits is splitting hairs. Are these pictures of myself put on this website because I’m a narcissistic psychopath, or simply to share ideas about pictures? I guess the framing of that story is what the viewer brings to a photograph as baggage. Add into that mix our human tendency toward halo bias and voila – there are the pictures that I made and the pictures that you see. In one sense we’re looking at the same pictures. In another, we’re looking at different pictures of the same visual content. Some will call me a narcissistic psychopath. Others will call me an overeducated photographer with too much free time on my hands. Or I may even just be another crazy firefly hanging out on the Internet for validation that I exist. OK, that’s deep.

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About the Author

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

My name is Steven Clark and I live in the Derwent Valley in Southern Tasmania. I have an MBA (Specialisation) and a Bachelor of Computing from the University of Tasmania. I'm a mazer & a yeast farmer (making beer, fruit wine and mead as by-products of continuous improvement in my farming practices). I'm a photographer, although my film cameras are currently silent. I do not tolerate idiots. I do not tolerate bigotry. I do not tolerate excuses. Let's be clear, if you sit with my enemies you my are my enemy for life.

Blogger. Thinker. Brewer. Drinker. Life partner to the amazing and incredible Megan.

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