Musings on being a Photographer in Residence at Skymirror Gallery
My time at the skymirror_au gallery is progressing really well and Rohan has been pleased with the engagement I am generating with my presence here. I sold another 'Fate or Destiny' book today to a couple of ladies who have travelled here from Canberra. But many of the visitors to the gallery have really been more interested in purchasing my book of aerial abstracts, 'Salt of the Earth’—a collection of images from two previous visits. Unfortunately, that book isn’t for sale but rather is a mockup I made, to share a few of my images from previous visits. Perhaps that’s another project for me to consider when I get back to Sydney.
I have learnt that connection to place is important when creating art for sale. Visitors are looking for a souvenir and a reminder of their time spent in a magical place. They are also inspired by speaking with the artist whose work is for sale. There is an extra level of story and connection they can take away with them and relate when they are back home.
Today, the ladies from Canberra invited me to present to one or more of the clubs they are members of. It is really gratifying to see how engaged people are in the art on display and their curiosity about the aerial abstracts in particular. There’s so much we take for granted as aerial abstract creators that isn’t obvious to someone who has not flown a drone before. Today, I spoke about how an oblique image might be more documentary and how looking straight down at the landscape can create a piece of abstract art that seems other-worldly. Visitors are also interested to know about what causes the pink colour in the lake and a little disappointed that the lake is dry. That is the luck of the draw of course and an element always present in landscapes that are water dependent but especially now as we live through a period of rapidly escalating climate change. The inspirational images that drew you here are not always there for the taking in a fleeting visit.
I have enjoyed my lengthy conversations with domestic travellers, transient workers, locals who live down the street, friends from my camera club at home and and many other photographers, drawn here from all parts of the East Coast of Australia. Despite all the international tourists who visit, especially from China, I realised today, I haven’t chatted to anyone from overseas yet.
A little 3-year old boy and his nan visited  a few days ago. He was completely entranced by the images around him. ‘Spider’, he said pointing to one of my images I had named Paint Splash. He was completely sure of what resonated with him and what didn’t. It reminded me of that innate curiosity & creativity we are all born with, before the 9-5 routine and societal expectations drums it out of us. I explained the concept of Pareidolia to his nan, and told her about our propensity to interpret patterns and shapes from nebulous stimuli. I often struggle with naming my images. Perhaps, engaging the help of a few 3-year olds might be the answer.
I am starting to process a few of my images and thinking about which images I might pick for printing and exhibition. My initial reaction to abstraction when I started exploring this genre, was to focus on perceived horizons and strong graphical elements, because I have a strong left brain dominance. But I told Steve, I would like my third series to be more whimsical—that i’d like to see an evolution of my artistic style.
When evaluating the positive traits of a photograph, there are many factors we assess from presentation and technical quality to composition and processing. But there are two factors that dominate, that often grab our attention first: Impact and Narrative. I also know there are differences of opinion of the importance of one over the other. While many of these elements can be argued about, there is another criteria that is far more personal and harder to define—the emotive element.
Art will always be subjective but ultimately, we create for ourselves and produce work that resonates with who we are. All we can hope for as artists is that it will also resonate with others.
When it does, that’s a bonus.
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