Exhibition press release, with Jon Carapiet

Two weeks away from hanging this show, Jon and I have put out a joint press release, since we are exhibiting in the same building at the same time.
Following, is the press release along with some pictures of each.

Disruption as photographers Celebrate 25 years

New ‘disruptive’ work by two photographers who have a history of collaboration of over two decades will be on show in Auckland in June, as part of the Auckland Festival of Photography.

Jon Carapiet and Stu Sontier have worked separately and together since 1995 but in their latest exhibitions they approach the photographic ‘moment’ from different and challenging angles.

Though they are veterans of the black and white print and darkroom processes, their latest photographs both disrupt and show reverence for photographic history and documentary photography. Both work in colour and both regard the photograph as an uncertain holder of truth, perhaps in sympathy with the age of fake news and ambiguity.

Carapiet scans broadcast television for ‘found moments’ that symbolise the threat of climate instability, while Sontier extends insignificant and repetitive moments to create a subtle level of intensity and questioning.



The notion of the ‘moment’ in photography has a pedigree tracing back to Henri Cartier-Bresson’s ‘Decisive Moment’ which Carapiet references in his show title. This – the significant moment that defines an incident – and the idea that the camera never lies, are brought into question in these two exhibitions running concurrently in the Hum Salon, on Grafton Rd, Auckland.

Carapiet is driven by a concern for global politics but without a hectoring voice. Sontier looks for a more internal dialogue where multiple images in varying forms beguile and echo around the walls. The moment is fractured and opened for investigation.

 Sontier: “Although the work in both shows fits securely in the contemporary art realm (and will likely infuriate some photographic purists), we have a reverence for photography and the work is part of a long dialogue with it’s history. We’ve both chosen to go outside of some photographic conventions in order to explore our interests in wider form.”

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Jon Carapiet:  Rain Fade (The Decisive Moment)

Stu Sontier:  From This One Moment

Both shows will run from June 2nd to 14th, with an opening on Tuesday the 4th of June at 5.30pm at Hum Salon, cnr Grafton Rd and Park Rd, Grafton Bridge, Auckland. Normal hours: 10am – 7pm Tues to Sunday

Preparing for June exhibition with a maquette

I’m planning a show in Hum Salon in June called From This One Moment. Rather than a clean gallery space, this will be in a converted room, so it presented some great possibilities to work with the space.

I built a rather makeshift model of the room at 10:1 to get an idea of the space and how an image flow would work. I’m rather pleased with the way it turned out and it is proving very helpful to consolidate ideas.

I wanted to use images from ‘ether’ but bring a feeling of fleeting space and time into the live space, along with a sense of repetition or reverberation, akin to the shifting of repetitive forms in minimal music of Steve Reich or Philip Glass.

Back to basics – experiments with inkjet dyes

Devolution of the image taken to its basics.
Cameraless photography and alternative processes often imply analogue and old chemical-based techniques. I was around in the days that this was ‘normal’ photography. To make a photograph you *had* to use light-sensitive paper and smelly chemicals, so that doesn’t seem alternative enough anymore. These experiments are part of a longer exploration of the alternative as contained in digitally based photography. The idea of digital alternative processes is also not new, but is probably less explored, and less accepted (and some might say less aesthetic).

Much has been made of the differences between analogue and digital photography and the supposed mystique that comes from dabbling in chemical processes. Anyone who has processed film or watched an image appear in the developer bath can attest to that magic.
However, there are analogies between the two as well. Much is made of the electronic nature of digital and an implied inferiority. But where we now have pixel-based sensors and the microdots of inkjet printers, we had film and paper grain. Where we had an enlarger and contrast filters etc, we now have digital renditions of those tools which can replicate and expand on the tonal variations that we were familiar with. We even find the need to digitally ‘spot out’ dust in the form of sensor dust and dead pixels.

Going further into the experimenting that has occurred since almost the beginnings of photography, we can look to early photograms such as Anna Atkins in Cyanotypes of British Algae (1843). Perhaps more interesting to me is the ongoing disruption of images and experiments that push the boundaries of photography, from the experimental processes of Běla Kolářová, various artists who have worked with polariod emulsion manipulations, and direct constructions (Gary Fabian Miller, whose work almost attempts to define light itself) and attacks on the base materials – eg unique chemigrams and the use of natural intervention (Susan Derges) in the analogue area and the inkjet print manipulations of Marco Breuer and the various digital experiments of Thomas Ruff.

All this is to set up a way to ground the following images in a historical continuum. Whether or not they are still photographs is an interesting question in that it interests me after the fact but only tangentially during the making. If you quickly come to the conclusion that they are not, just make sure you have looked at the work shown in a recent Victoria and Albert Museum show Cameraless Photography (link is to the book published by Thames and Hudson), or a previous show they had called Shadow Catchers (link is to a review).

Collapse – Geste Paris

Submission of selected works from Collapse to Geste Paris call for work on the theme of Binary/Non-binary resulted in the shortlisted works being shown on-screen in the space from 10 – 30th of November 2018.
The series couples a playful connection with scientific thought along with the acknowledgement that scientific investigation allows us to look seriously at the environmental problems we currently face. It may offer knowledge that could help us avert the very worst. The title Collapse can refer to classical quantum theory and the notion of wave function collapse, to the possibility of climate tipping points and to current problems with bees and colony collapse disorder.

 

Collapse – work in progress

Collapse, like much of my work, revolves around uncertainty. It’s an ongoing series of experiments with introducing uncertainty into the apparent certainty of the digital process, involving faulty printers and various non-standard processes and materials. Here is a sample of the work.

Observer phenomenon

This series is a sequence of images, that may be presented in several ways (sequenced wall prints, animated gif, monitor-based slideshow), as an experiment in sequential delivery. It investigates the concept of the seen and the unseen in nature, the unconcerned beauty that is produced by natural phenomena over long and mostly unobserved time-frames. The full project can be found here.

 

Flickr now owned by SmugMug – new terms seem like a template for good

“FLICKR USERS: As of April 19, 2018, Fantastic Fox, Inc. has acquired Flickr.”

This seems like an enlightened and simple statement of reasonable terms. Something that many organisations could – if desired – learn from, if they want their users to trust them and understand their terms. And of course if they don’t have hidden motivation for unclear terms.
Key for me is this very clear limitation of their use of user generated content: “as is reasonably necessary in order to enable SmugMug to provide the Services”.

As always, I’m not a lawyer and this shouldn’t be taken as any form of advice, legal or otherwise.

The Content section of the new Flickr terms:

https://www.smugmug.com/about/terms-flickr

6. User Content

The Services may enable you to upload, post and transmit photos and videos to the Site or other portions of the Services (including to your user photo galleries or groups through the Services) and also provide you with access to discussion forums, blogs and other interactive areas in which you or other users may post or transmit photos, videos, text, music, messages, information or other content or materials (collectively, the “User Content”).

You retain all intellectual property rights in and to any User Content you post, upload or otherwise make available through the Services, including the copyright in and to your photos and videos. SmugMug does not claim any ownership, right, title or interest in and to your User Content.

Notwithstanding the foregoing, by uploading and/or posting any User Content to the Services, you grant SmugMug a perpetual, nonexclusive and royalty-free right to use the User Content (and the user name that is submitted in connection with such User Content) as is reasonably necessary in order to enable SmugMug to provide the Services, including to display the User Content on the Services.

You represent and warrant that (i) you own or otherwise control all of the rights to the User Content that you post or transmit, or you otherwise have the right to post, use, display, distribute and reproduce such User Content and to grant the rights granted herein; (ii) the User Content you supply is accurate and not misleading; and (iii) the use and posting of the User Content you supply does not violate these Terms of Use and will not violate any rights of or cause injury to any person or entity.

ether – sections 8 – 11

Four new sections of ether. These all come from several days of work in Sandy Bay, Northland. They continue the themes of the first seven sections but experiment with both more abstract and more realist directions.

Each image links directly to its gallery on ether.stusontier.net and opens a new window.

ether – first seven sections

The first sections of ether explore the beginnings of the project, at various locations in the North Island of New Zealand over 2015 and 2016. These are places I frequent and immerse myself in – although many are spectacular beaches, I see them as homeground (and sometimes they are around my home).

I’m interested in the tension between beauty in the environment and the damage that humans are causing it. Many of us, individually, hold a sense of guilt and a desire to find better ways to live, yet as an over-populous species we remain unwilling or unable to confront the effects of overconsumption.

Now, when we see beauty in the environment, it is tinged with the knowledge of our potential to undermine it.

Each of these images links directly to the gallery on ether.stusontier.net and opens a new window.

Experimental outtakes from the ether series