Saturday Evening Post #189: All I Need.

I have as many will be aware working a lot with Black and White, or Monochromatic images recently.
In somewhat a return to beginnings.
My very first attempts at photography were with a 127 size film camera and making contact prints from each negative individually, at first, in the family laundry under the glow of weak orange light. It’s hard to know if my somewhat blurry images of Blackie, the Cat could be seen as anything more than a waste of pocket money. 🙂

But I persisted, and as I did I learned something of the craft of photography by osmosis from books at my local library.

Here I learned of the work of a Sydney based photographer, Max Dupain. Most will have seen a version of his “Sunbaker” image. But Max was a much more influential artist.
There are plenty of sites that delve into his life, history and art, so I won’t belabour that.
He stood, against, in the 1930s the ‘pictorialists’. The blurry, hazy interpretations of people, landscape, architecture and more. He set a course of drama, clarity and importance of tone, shape and design..

You can flick through a range of his images on the web and conclude, “Oh, I’ve seen that before, or made shots just like that of the same subject.”
But Max did it first.

Some sites worth checking out to see his work.

7 Works

Light and Shadow

Sydney Opera House Construction

I remember acquiring for my Father a copy of a Max Dupain series calendar around 1989. My Father’s own work was in someways contemporaneous with Max. We did spend a few hours occasionally discussing the photos on that calendar.

Max did not travel the world, preferring his own home locations, but I remember a print with rich black tones of “Lunchtime in Hobart” and a similar one of “Collins Street, Melbourne“.
Another fine series is the “Shark Tower at Manly
and from that tower several images of the surf running on Manly Beach. and “Lifesavers

Max once wrote that if his work was to have any significance,:

” It has to be devoted to that place where I have been born, reared and worked, thought, philosophised and made pictures to the best of my ability. And. That is all I need. “

So it has been from that background that I’ve been been working in Mono of late. Not taking a preexisting image and using the amazing effects of Nik Silver EFx Pro, but rather looking for shape, tone, texture and design but rather seeking out images that have the qualities of a great Mono shot. I have been using the Monochrome setting in-camera, (and yes, they are JPEG), and once again experimenting with the use of inbuilt colour filtration to increase, or decrease a range of tones.

When I saw Bronson sitting in an open area against a clear blue sky, I was already seeing the final result. I have published a version of this shot on Flickr. I had opened up the shadows and brightened up the sky, but my first choice was as it came from camera.


6 thoughts on “Saturday Evening Post #189: All I Need.

  1. A fine image, David. Yes, I like this version, it really depicts Bronson as the patriarch. And carries wonderful impact!
    I have spent considerable time viewing Dupain’s images over a period of time. A worthy study.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi David, glad you liked it. I guess I’m happier with the dominant negative space, gives him something to work against.

      Max Dupain had an interesting time during WWII as a camoflagist. “amouflage Australia: Art, Nature, Science and War by Ann Elias ” has a chapter on the work of Max Dupain..
      If I read it rightly in the end Max became bored by it all and applied to be a war photographer, but the war, fortunately for all came to end. He was also mates with Damien Parer who used his studio for a time at the start of the war.



  2. Love the way you have used the light in your mono of Bronson David. It is an impressive photo.I have not done any work in mono, but back with my first camera as a boy and also when learning to develop mono photos as part of my medical science studies it was all I knew till I could afford a colour camera, but that was colour slides, as they were the most economical for a family at that stage. The black and white image certainly brings attention to particular features of the image in a way colour doesn’t.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Ashley, I guess the bulk of my work commercaily was shot on slide. I still think that way with digital, inspite of all the Expose to the Right smarts handed out on the net.
      One field I never had a need to follow was medical science and related fields. I do know several Medical Photographers and wow how has their industry changed in the pats 20 years of digital.

      As I said in the blog, I’ve been approaching subjects thinking in terms of mono, rather than making changes in post. I like the challenge of being able ponder the tonal range and chose the settings to get what I want. This is one of the more successful of recent.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Sorry it took me a couple of days to respond to this post – I needed to have the time to revisit the Max Dupain images, so thank you for the various links. Your photograph of Bronson is splendid in mono. He stands out so wonderfully against the dark sky. It take real skill and artistry to visualise and take such an image – bravo!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Eleanor, Max Dupain did not receive the publicity perhaps till later in his life. He certainly caused ripples in the early years.
      I think I’m a bit lucky with the Kite pair as I’ve now got both the time and no immediate hurry just to record them. So I can spend a bit of time looking for the best opportunities.
      Max did not have official sanction for the opera house construction, and if I recall correctly his assistant was Jill Crossley and I must do a blog on her one evening.
      David Moore was appointed to photograph the construction.

      Liked by 1 person

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