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Black White & Grey. Photographic Studies (Photosheets) Image

Gallery 1
John Nixon
Black White & Grey. Photographic Studies (Photosheets)

The camera here is used as an extension of the eye—of looking. Most of the photographs have been taken in my local environment, in my Briar Hill garden/house/studio focusing on elements or details within this environment. The photographs are taken close-up to the subject with attention to detail and composition, and with a textural and abstract overview. Though drawn from the real, they further my ongoing exploration of the abstract.

The principles for what I photograph are:
Textile/Building material
Straight line/Curved line

As photography itself is the centre of my inquiry, I can take photographs wherever I am, with no need for special locations. This group of works, for example, began in earnest in August 2011 when I photographed some black and white, geometrically patterned silk fabrics in the window of Job Warehouse in Bourke Street, Melbourne. What interested me was that this subject was already inherently black and white. From here, the qualities of contrast, white/sunlight—black/shadow, became the focus of these photographic studies.

The techniques I have used are standard, not special. The photographs were taken with a small Panasonic Lumix digital camera and converted to black and white by my assistant Renee Cosgrave using Photoshop—grey scale. They were then printed at the standard size of 6 x 4 inches using the 'self-serve' Kodak Picture Kiosk available locally at a newsagent in Montmorency.

I have presented the photographs on cream-coloured Foolscap Manila Folders, which serve as framing devices, creating what I refer to as 'photosheets'. This format allows me to organise the images as information, for example, by arranging them in various pairings. This helps to clarify the intention of each of the five groupings of photographs presented here.

We mostly see photographs in printed form—in books, magazines, newspapers etc. The format of the photosheets allows me to organise visual information by the traditional means of 'cut and paste'—a manual method inherent to 'old-style' graphic design (book design/layout).

In the first and largest group of photosheets, single images are juxtaposed. In the second, the images have been split in half and then newly combined (2 into 1). In the third and fourth folders, several images are spliced together to create colliding geometric structures, so that each photograph contains multiple views. In the fifth group I have substituted pieces of black, white and grey paper to construct the 'pictures'.

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