I got to the Hokusai show at NGV on a rainy Friday afternoon and the collection of work did not disappoint. Viewing the great wave off Kanagawa, I could understand what Van Gogh meant when he said;
these waves are claws, the boat is caught in them, you can feel it”
The fishermen and their boats are dwarfed by this almost tsunami like force of water bearing down on them. It’s not something you get to appreciate until you see the original up close, as so many re interpretations of this iconic image leave them out.
It also made me think about the two other artisans involved and that relationship. To produce the woodblock prints, Hokusai’s illustrations were stuck to wooden blocks that were then carved into the different colour separations for printing. The final work shows their skills as much as the artists.
In a photographic context, Annie Leibovitz or Albert Watson work with teams who create sets, do costumes, makeup, lighting and post production. That’s important to consider when you try setting your goals to match their output but don’t have access to that team. It’s easy to be disheartened if you get sucked into comparisons.
Don’t view that lack of resources just as a limitation, rather it’s an opportunity to learn those aspects and having a hands on understanding of what those people do will develop your understanding of what is possible. It’s also an opportunity to seek out people in those fields for creative collaboration.
It’s also good to look at the work produced without the cadre of assistants and see that the fundamentals of what makes a good image are still present. No amount of additional people will save you from trying to work on a bad idea and subsequently producing a bad image.
Feeling like the coffee is not enough this week.
Looking at Some contemporary Japanese photography as a prelude for attending Hokusai at NGV this weekend. Portraits by Hideaki Hamada and Irwin Wong. Two contrasting approaches to portraiture, one light, the other darker, more moody…
Listening to Monoral
I could have stood in line and then been packed into the gallery to see Van Gogh but I didn’t feel 100% and it turns out that was Flu announcing it had arrived. Now the couch seems to think that since we spent so much time together this weekend, we should get engaged…
I have one goal this week and that’s to get to the Vincent Van Gogh exhibition at NGV before it closes. I think of it as a reward for getting all my gear cleaned and organised.
Some moody lighting in these portraits by Chris Knight
Still going through my old CD’s and currently listening to some 90’s acid jazz curtesy of Directions In Groove
I took myself to the National Gallery of Victoria to see some work shown for the Festival of Photography It showcased the diversity of approaches to this medium but apart from Bill Henson, nothing really made me feel anything, although there were some techniques I would like to explore.
I managed to see Degas at NGV before it closed this week. Turns out when he was not painting or sculpting, he had time to be a photographer.
Listening to Matt Nathanson
I got to see the Henry Talbot exhibition at the National Gallery of Victoria Fed Square on Friday. The highlight for me was seeing the proof-sheets with markup for framing and selections. I could see the decisions he was making and it brought me back to my brief time as his student, working the image with each successive frame.
Listening to Stephen Cummings Mainly because it harks back to the time I spent with Henry. Those were simpler times…