Photo of the Week 35

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Greg Neville, bald man on a tram, 2013

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CCP Salon

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CCP Salon, November 2013

The CCP curators have hung my piece in a very nice position looking out over the main gallery. This year’s Salon is a good one, there seems to be less of the corny camera club type of photos and more images that make you want to see more of the artist’s work. Some of those are my students from NMIT. I counted four in the Salon but there may be more. Look out for the work of Sally D’Orsogna, Marlene Zammit, Bernadette Boundy and Vicky Catchpole.

The annual Salon is a tribal meeting of Melbourne’s photographers and is on until December 14.

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Grad show

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Fred Zhang, 2013

The NMIT Photoimaging graduate show opened at Chapel Off Chapel this week and runs until December 8. One of the notable features of graduate work from this course is the high image quality, the precision in the technical means of photography. Since the course is mainly for aspiring professional photographers, this is an important issue. Sheer visual beauty, quite apart from content, is one of the first requirements of a good commercial photograph.

Fred Zhang from Beijing, won an AIPP award for the beautiful picture above and was announced the Victorian Student Photographer of the Year. This is prestige in the small community of professional photographers. See his website here.

Steichen and Deco

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Edward Steichen, Tamaris with a large Art Deco scarf 1925

The great U.S. photographer Edward Steichen helped establish fashion photography as a genre. He was head photographer at Vogue and Vanity Fair from 1924 until 1937 thus spanning the period of Art Deco. That is the subject of the excellent show at the NGV Edward Steichen and Art Deco Fashion which runs until March 2.

Steichen looms so large in the history of photography he’s almost invisible. An establishment figure in that he was always successful and always celebrated, he might be missed out by people looking for artists with more edge. That would be a pity because he achieved everything you could in a 60 year career: painter, art photographer, modern art impresario, military photographer, technical expert, pioneer of fashion photography, portraitist, World War II filmmaker, curator of photography at MoMA and creator of the most successful photography exhibition of all time – The Family of Man. Who can match match 60 years at the top? The exhibition has a 1930s film showing the master at work in his New York studio and you can see what a grand figure he was.

The 8×10 prints in the NGV show are so beautiful they constitute a master class in photography – if you’re willing to look close enough. Study the lighting, pose, composition and print quality and you’ll see what a good photograph can be. Steichen was a photographer’s photographer – let him teach you.

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Edward Steichen, Pola Negri, 1925

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My CCP Figure

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Greg Neville, Figure 1, 2013

This year’s CCP Salon opens on November 21. This is my work, a human figure taken from a 1912 postcard of Wall Street. I have a small collection of vintage postcards of US skyscrapers, many of which include tiny ant-like people on the streets.

The printers dots almost overwhelm the figures, which hover just at the point of disintegration. They have an appealing quality of mystery. Since the postcards are derived from photographs, although heavily retouched, they do represent reality and the figures are real people. Who were they? One of the enigmas of photography is this preservation of identity. Despite the distance of time and the disruptions of technology, we encounter this anonymous figure as an individual like ourselves, a fellow human being,

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Postcard, Wall Street, New York City, 1912

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