One of my photographic heroes is the Dutch photographer and film director Anton Corbijn. His approach to photography has not changed that much in 25 years and his signature look is created by what’s called Lith printing - you would know his work with U2 and other bands.
It is a very cool method of black and white printing where the final print produced is a gorgeous contrasty slightly peachy warm toned gritty enlargement. It can vary enormously but the look cannot be produced any other way – digitally it is very hard to get the same look.
Quite a few years ago (it was big in the 90’s) I went through a Lith stage when darkrooms were still quite common and I have a number of very nice portraits done in this way.
Lith printing is fiendishly difficult to get any two prints that looked the same and this was one of its beauties. Basically a high contrast lithographic developer was used on conventional photographic paper (Oriental Seagull was a preferred) and the paper was pulled from the developer when it looked good and quickly halted in a stop bath. A bit hit and miss but so personal and bespoke.
Portraits have been one of my true loves in photography - a connection albeit a very temporary one to someone and the ability to render them though my lens. My portrait of Australian actor, arts guru and local Leichhardt dad Mark Gerber was created digitally and after a lot of tweaking the final product looks pretty close to my beloved Lith look of yester year. What do you think?
I've been in the print industry for most of my career and to have a few pages published of ones work is pretty special by any standards. The online magazine f11 approached my a little while ago about doing a spread on my portrait work which spans pretty much most of my working life. It was a combination of interview and details on how the images were taken and some funny experiences with some celebs. Well I just about fell off my chair to discover a ridiculous 40 whole pages of my work - it just kept going. I can die a happy man because I know I will never ever get that sort of a run again! So thanks to Tim Steele/Creative Director and the team at f11 magazine - keep producing that fab publication. Here's a tear of one of the double page spreads. The gorgeous Jessica Gomes and Master Chef winner Adam Liaw. To see the whole shebang go to the mag and current issue : http://www.f11magazine.com
It's really nice to get the news I was shortlisted as a semi finalist for the Moran Photographic Prize this year. There was over 3000 entries so the competition
is pretty fierce as always. Getting the final shot was no mean feat either. I'm getting into the habit of leaving things to the last minute (sound familiar....) I dragged the kicking screaming family down late on a Sunday afternoon with the Festival of the winds in full swing. The deadline was of course the next day! We should have left a 7am in the morning. It literally took over an hour and a half to get there. I hope for the sake of the marriage I do win the 50K !! The actual final thirty odd finalist are announced next week so fingers crossed. This is the first time I've played with a new technique of multiple exposing - how do think it looks?
Flights over Rabual Papua New Guinea are once again being diverted as the magical volcano Tavurvur spews forth tons of ash clouding the normally pristine skies. I've been lucky enough be very close when this incredible volcano vents - or lets gas and ash escape . Releasing the hot gas build up happens every 10 or 15 minutes and up has been one of the photographic highlights of my career. After photographing Ken Kolias (pictured) who lived amazingly in a village only several hundred metres away, we swam in the bubbling volcanic waters of the bay at the base of the volcano. It's actually impossible to explain the sensation of what sounds like a 747 Jumbo jet taking off whilst lying back in tepid waters watching as a massive cloud of ash roars out overhead. You just pray the cloud blows the other way or super fine silt rains down on you and all your camera gear. It loves cameras - super fine and corrosive. I was shooting for Travel & Leisure magazine on a 6x7cm medium format Mamiya camera that day, with Kodak Portra 160iso film.... possibly the last assignment I did with film. It's funny to think back that with this roll film camera you only had 10 shots per roll. A good discipline actually - you really had to think about the next shot. Click on the volcano picture to see more images.