Celebrating Revela-T

Arriving in Barcelona for Revela-T 2017, I had little idea of what to expect. It is an incredibly long 28 hours by plane from Australia. The day after landing we headed out to Vilassar de Dalt early in the morning to hang the photos I was exhibiting at the Cal Garbat. Of course we got lost a little, had questions about paying bus fares, wandered the streets, and were found again. The exhibition space, an old abandoned factory we fell in love with. After meditating on the wall, and making a plan on how to hang my photos, we felt it was time for morning coffee, being still a little on Sydney time. With Melody, my partner’s help, we rapidly installed the exhibit in time for the mid afternoon lunch break: now we were on Barcelona time.

Lunch of course was a celebration in itself, as are most things perhaps in Catalonia. Although in the previous year, I had a photo included in Revela-T as part of the Next Best Thing Pinhole Project and many pinholers attended, it seemed just too far at that time. I had been recovering from heart failure, and always want to make the most of travel with a rigorous pace. Little did I realise that even this time, on returning to Australia blood tests showed that I was a little hypothyroid during these travels again and needed adjustments to my medications. Notwithstanding, no one ever wants to rust away by becoming moribund, so perhaps it is better to burn out a little, seize the day and enjoy the celebration of life, people, places, food, wine and photography.

And Revela-T is not just a photographic exhibition but all of those things, a festival bringing together a community passionately celebrating image making based in chemical processes from film to wet plate, daguerreotypes to instant film, cyanotypes to caffeine development, with lenses and without, from small to large formats and beyond. It is place to share stories, experiences, learn, to discover new friends, catch up with old friends and meet those known from across the internet, to listen to artists talk about their work, to enjoy the town of Vilassar de Dalt with its unique heritage, and perhaps more importantly to enjoy the photographic life that this analog fiesta celebrates.

I feel incredibly grateful to have had some of my photographs chosen to be exhibited at Revela-T, to have been unhidden, discover Catalonia and Spain, and be able to share the passion of those participating me in these images taken with my Olympus-OM2 on colour infrared film.

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Windang wheels

52 rolls

Windang Island sits just beyond the mouth of Lake Illawarra. At low tide it is possible to walk out to the island over a narrow sand bar or isthmus which becomes submerged at high tide in a big swell and storms. In a Dreaming story, Windang Island is an abandoned canoe used by the Thurawal people to reach Australia.

Carriage wheels on the rock shelf were from a rail line built here in the 1890s to carry rock quarried on the island for breakwaters at the mouth of the lake to keep it open. It silts over from the pressure of tides and waves, only breaking open after heavy rains on the escarpment behind which flood the lake. The project was abandoned soon after it begun, and the wheels were left on the rocks and beach. In the last 10 years the lake was opened permanently with the completion and…

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Pink rocks and blue pools

52 rolls

“The fool who is aware of his foolishness is therefore like a wise man.
But a fool who thinks he is wise is called a fool indeed.
A fool who, as long as he lives, attends to a wise man,

he doesn’t know the doctrine, as the spoon doesn’t know the soup’s flavour.
If a discerning person attends to a wise man even for a second,
he swiftly knows the doctrine, like the tongue knows the soup’s flavour”
                                                                             – ‘Bala vaga’ of the Dhammapada

After 14 kilometres hiking all I feel is my breath and the soles of my feet. I stop, rest, sip water, readjust my heavy pack and start off again. At the base of my back all I feel is agony. I concentrate, take step after weary step, hoping that I can transcend the pain. It is after all only reality, and there are only 4…

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On mountains and falls

52 rolls

“Flowers laugh without uttering a sound. Roosters cry without shedding a tear. Examining the ages reveals that good deeds are as rare as flowers among rocky peaks while evil acts are as plentiful as the grass on fertile hills” – Kyokai

“High peaks and lofty crags are where the wise dwell. Green pines and deep valleys are where practitioners sojourn. When hungry, they eat tree fruits to satisfy their famished belly. When thirsty, they drink the flowing streams to quench their feeling of thirst” – Wonhyo

“The suddenly everything was like jazz: it happened in one insane second or so: I looked up and saw Japhy running down the mountain in huge twenty foot leaps, running, leaping, landing with a great drive of his booted heels, bouncing five feet or so, running, and then taking another long crazy yelling yodelaying sail down the side of the world and in that…

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Signs

52 rolls

Time drops by with remembrances of moments skimming the surface of consciousness from deep within the mind leaving signs of a world beyond. The passage of time touches the world leaving marks such as deep erosion in cliffs, stratification of geological layers, and the presence of fossils from distant ages. A branch broken and dying may start to decay and become immersed in the foliage around it. Everywhere there are the signs of impermanence, and the markers of time.

january-2017-mermaidinlet-045f1-fp4-xtol1-3ro91-160-11 Immersion

This morning as usual, when I left for my morning walk, I placed buds in my ears and chose music that I felt like listening to: today it would be Santana’s Caravanserai. After several kilometers the sun rose across the horizon as I rounded a corner, and in my ears I heard the words, “…just in time to see the sun.” I marveled at the synchronicity and reflected upon…

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Sapphire coast

52 rolls

A few hundred kilometers south along the coast the ocean gets a little icier with deep cold currents from Antarctica, and along with golden rocks and beaches, the colour of the sea changes to a beautiful sapphire green.

january-2017-bermagui-olympus-35-s-ektar100-unicolourc41-1 The Mimosa Rocks

Sitting between Bermagui and Tathra, lies the Mimosa Rocks National Park named after a vessel that was wrecked on this jagged coastline. It’s inlets and lagoons are secluded, and beaches often empty even in the height of summer. The Mimosa Rocks are near Aragunnu with its ancient shell middens, and camp sites once inhabited by the indigenous traditional owners of the land.

january-2017-bermagui-olympus-35-s-ektar100-unicolourc41-5 A golden grain

january-2017-bermagui-olympus-35-s-ektar100-unicolourc41-4-1 Sapphire waters

january-2017-bermagui-olympus-35-s-ektar100-unicolourc41-10 Crocodile

Bermagui, or “Bermi” as it is known locally is a fishing port, with a farmers market outside the back of the co-op, a fantastic bakery nearby selling cardamon seed scrolls that are to die for, and some decent coffee shops. We…

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A purple dawn

52 rolls

Another year arrived, and I suddenly found myself shooting 120 film, and bulk rolling 35mm. I determined that it was an unconscious sign, like the purple dawn greeting me on the Myall River, and that I needed to return to 52rolls once more.

Seasons come and go, years drift by, but our political fate seems remarkably out of step with the changes signified by the world: hotter than normal nights and summers, rising sea levels, glaciers retreating, and storm tides reaching heights that have been unknown before.

Perhaps the current political climate is the last gasp of destructive forces, divisive ideologies, repressive religions and environmentally unsustainable capitalist enterprises, that are all deeply out of step with the spirit of the modern world. Taking photographs always gives me hope, particularly when the magic revealed in the salts, are symbolically in tune with the many millions of women (and men) not only…

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