5 Miles from the Sea part 2

At the opening of 5 Miles from the Sea

The exhibition 5 Miles from the Sea opened on April 19 at Level 17 Artspace which is part of Victoria University. Twelve artists responded to the brief, creating new work in a variety of mediums: painting, photography, drawing and sculpture.

Curator Geoff Tolchard proposed the exhibition in the following terms: “Five Miles from the Sea is a look at the incursion of non-indigenous Australians and their resulting mark on the land. Who lives five miles from the sea? What does it look like though the eyes of twelve diverse artists, some from different parts of the globe, who have indeed made Australia their home? Each of the participating artists will visually interpret, in a medium of their choosing, a reference point that is five miles from the sea, illuminating what is now a multicultural land, a society that is twenty-first century Australia”

The artists have explored issues of Australian history and identity using a specific geographical location as a starting point. Terri Brooks has made a sculpture based on the site of the notorious treaty between John Batman and the local Aborigines in 1835. Caz Guiney has made jewelry from discarded plastic found at a various parks – “waste remains one of our most significant marks on the land.” And Kirsten Perry has explored Dights Falls as “a place where a number of forces converge and divide” – sandstone/lava, saltwater/freshwater, indigenous/introduced.

The website for the exhibition is www.fivemilesfromthesea.com, designed by George Alamidis. It contains images by each artist, as well as an artist statement explaining their approach to the exhibition concept.

5 Miles from the Sea

Greg Neville, 5 Miles no. 2, 2011

This work is in a new group exhibition at Level 17 Artspace until May 17. Curated by Geoff Tolchard, it’s based on the idea that for white settlers and immigrants, penetration of the continent of Australia sort of stopped at about 5 miles from the sea. We are a coast-hugging nation.

The work I’ve put in is based on old family snapshots, some of me at the family home which was … 5 miles from the sea. The snapshots have been manipulated in Photoshop to create a blur through which parts of the original can be glimpsed. Here is my artist’s statement …

Snapshots are potent artefacts, they keep the old, young and the dead, alive. Each family’s snapshots are a record of their movements and growth, their existences and extinctions. Eventually, over generations, the chain of recognition is broken, the memories embedded in them fade away. The people who look out from these slivers of paper become phantasms.

In the first half of the twentieth century, my parents and their families moved around Victoria, to Chiltern and Echuca, to Bendigo and Wonthaggi. Ultimately, they retreated to the coast, settling in Melbourne only a few miles from where their own grandparents had first set foot here.

The snapshots that generated these prints were taken 120 miles from the sea, then 2 miles, and finally, true to the theme of this exhibition, 5 miles from the sea. One of them is of me at the age of ten, another coastal white Australian.


Magazine Women at the CCP

Greg Neville, Magazine Woman no 50.

This is from my Magazine Women series, (see my previous post, Profile Embedded). It’s on display at the Centre for Contemporary Photography Kodak Salon.

Years ago when photographing in the railyards at Flinders Street Station, I found  a soft-porn magazine on the ground. It was weathered and decayed and had even been set fire to, which seems like a creepy ritual to me. All of this damage created a nice contrast to the smooth female bodies inside. The images were scanned and details cropped. It’s a pretty Judeo-Christian project really, all that beauty and pleasure facing the fires of hell.

The Limitless zoom

The amazing new movie Limitless, starring Bradley Cooper, has a lot of jaw-dropping visuals. Boiled down, the story is about the consequences of suddenly becoming very, very intelligent, through taking a pill. The feverish excitement and stimulation of this condition is brilliantly conveyed through the so-called “fractal zooms” which are seen at various points in the film. Basically, it’s an infinite zoom down Manhattan streets, as Cooper’s character powers through the night. It baffled me how this could be done.

As you scroll down these screen grabs, watch for the visual links. Then read below or go to the fxguide siteto see it happen in motion.

Look Effects visual effects supervisor Dan Schrecker describes the process:

The ‘infinite zooms’ that were shot at 4K using a three-camera RED rig with short, medium and long lenses. One major zoom, for example, follows Eddie as he runs across New York, parties at a nightclub and ends up on the Brooklyn Bridge.

The camera’s not moving through this space so much as it’s a zoom … As you push into the first one we begin to bring in the second one and it goes on and on and on, without losing the resolution because we used these long lenses.”

“It was a light rig on a tripod,” says Schrecker, “so we could literally drive around to find our spot, hop out of the van, shoot some stuff and go to the next one.” Look artists then used After Effects to control the speed and scale of the final zooms create appropriate seams.

See www.fxguide.com for the complete article, and especially to see the above zoom in real time. You won’t regret it.



John Maloof, the discoverer and champion of Vivian Maier’s photography, is a photographer in his own right. A Chicago real estate agent, historian, published author and photographic researcher, he now has a website showing his own street photography. This is the loose category that Maier’s work belongs in, as well as that of Joel Meyerowitz, Gary Winogrand, Henri Cartier-Bresson … you know, the greats. Maloof’s work is not in that league but he’s trying hard and it’s worth a look. His site is johnmaloof.photoposts.org. And yes, I know this shot was not taken on the street.