EXHIBITING AT GUERNSEY PHOTOGRAPHY FESTIVAL

Guernsey Photo Festival Banner

Uma, bubble gum, used as a banner for the Guernsey Photography Festival 2014. © Sam Harris

I’m honoured to be representing Australia, exhibiting The Middle of Somewhere (including some images from Postcards from Home) at UK’s Guernsey Photography Festival 18th Sept – 18th Oct 2014. I’m humbled to be in the line-up alongside the great contemporary artists Broomberg & Chanarin as well as the legendary Magnum photographer Abbas. This year’s theme is Faith, Family & Community and will also host the excellent New York photographer Elinor Carucci as well as exciting UK photographers Liz Hingley and  David Moore among others…

I’m really looking forward to attending the opening of the festival and checking out Guernsey as well as all the other photographers’ works… I’ll be giving a seminar talk and participating as a lecturer in the education program.

Guernsey Photo Festival 2014

Guernsey Photo Festival 2014

BETH ORTON REVISITED

Beth Orton’s timeless classic Central Reservation has been re-released by 3Loop Music with a bonus disc of demos, B sides and other rarities, including previously unseen photographs from the sessions we did together.

Central Reservation shot in San Diego 1998 ©Sam Harris

The album cover for Central Reservation – Photo © Sam Harris

I can’t believe it’s 15 years since I worked with Beth taking photos for the album. Released in 1999, Central Reservation received a Mercury Music Prize nomination and helped Beth earn a BRIT Award in 2000 for Best British Female. Central Reservation spent 56 weeks in the album charts, selling over 500,000 copies.

A few months back I received an email from Beth, asking if I had any photos that hadn’t seen the light of day from the sessions we did together… Digging through the boxes of photographs that represent my print archive brought back many memories from that time. I love going over old photographs, not only for the nostalgia but also for the fresh discoveries. Time changes the way we view our photographs. Gone are the preconceived ideas of what a session should be and also the attachment to certain photos from within the session. It’s almost as if viewing the work as an outsider for the first time.

So, with fresh eyes I poured over contact sheets and work prints I hadn’t seen for many years. I remember that time so vividly. I joined Beth for a short West coast USA acoustic tour. We had a good connection and I was photographing her at every opportunity along the way; Car parks, hotel rooms, airports, thrift stores, cafés, sound checks, back stage… Most of our sessions were very short, just grabbing a quick moment on the fly, which is how we wanted it… more of a natural documentary approach.

Working with artists that inspire me was always my aim and working with Beth was great. The energy in the recording studio where I was fortunate to hang a few times and at the gigs was palpable. Sometimes you just know when something special is being created. It was an exciting time.

Beth Orton - Photo © Sam Harris

Beth Orton – Photo © Sam Harris

Beth Orton - Photo © Sam Harris

Beth Orton – Photo © Sam Harris

Beth Orton - Photo © Sam Harris

Beth Orton – Photo © Sam Harris

Beth Orton - Photo © Sam Harris

Beth Orton – Photo © Sam Harris

 

THE GENESIS PROJECT

Sydney Exhibition

I’ll be exhibiting a couple of my earliest images at M Contemporary Gallery, Sydney next week.  The Genesis Project (opens May 20th) is a group exhibition for Head On Photo Festival featuring an eclectic mix of prominent photographers (Australian and international) that have delved into their archives to find the image(s) that first made them think, “that’s it!”. Along side the images will be the story of the formative, creative moments that helped mold them into the photographers they have now become. The exhibition will feature work from photographers / artists such as Roger Ballen, Ben Lowy, Chris Rainer, Murray Fredericks, Peter Eastway, Katrin Koenning,  Craig Golding

Experiment with Polaroid Type 55 (Will) 1989 © Sam Harris

Experiment with Polaroid Type 55 (Will) 1989 © Sam Harris

Below is the text that will accompany my image ‘Experiment with Polaroid Type 55 (Will)

I made this image in the very early days of being a photographer, at a time when my bedroom (with curtains gaffa taped to the walls) was also a makeshift darkroom. I practically lived in that room 24/7 and would obsessively experiment through the day and night. I had a large format 5×4 monorail camera and had discovered the wonders of Polaroid Type 55 film. You’d get a black & white positive print and also a negative, which required soaking in a clearing solution. I decided as an experiment i’d leave the neg in the solution for a few days, to see what would happen… When i came to remove the neg from the solution, to my surprise, the photographic emulsion (containing the image) started to slide off the celluloid. I remember it reminded me of the skin on hot milk…

Carefully i placed the negative on a towel to dry. Inspecting it later it seemed ruined. A lot of the emulsion (and the image) had gone or been scratched. However when i carefully placed the neg in my enlarger and made a print i got a wonderful surprise. It looked great, i loved it, it inspired me! This process taught me a valuable lesson that i still stand by today. To embrace experiments and be open to “The Happy Accident“. If we do, we can allow for some magic to happen and our creativity will grow.

My second image represents the photographers first milestone. For me that was this record sleeve for Tremolo EP by My Bloody Valentine. Created at the end of 1990 and released 1991. A band i’m very proud to have work with.

My Bloody Valentine - Tremolo EP © Sam Harris

My Bloody Valentine – Tremolo EP © Sam Harris

This record sleeve was one of my first and a favourite. I took my experimentation out of the darkroom and into the studio, trying to achieve similar effects in-camera. My Bloody Valentine were a pioneering Indie band and very hip. After several meetings to discuss the concept we all met in the Curtain Road Studio for the shoot. I had created a wall of cling wrap stretched tightly around two poles, with coloured lights shinning along the surface. The idea was that the model would stand behind this cloud like wall of red & blue light. I’d photograph her, then cross process and over expose the film so i could then sandwich my favorite slides together to create the final image.

The funny thing is that we did this shoot a couple of days before Christmas. The model i’d booked didn’t show up, phoning in and saying she was sick… so with the band sitting on the studio couch in a cloud of smoke, i asked the make-up artist if she’d ever wanted to be on a record cover and help me out in the process. Looking back now, i can’t image it any other way…

 

HEAD ON MOBILE PRIZE 2014

Sydney Rain 2013 © Sam Harris

Sydney Rain 2013 © Sam Harris

FINALIST 2014

The image above is a finalist at this year’s Mobile Prize for Head On Photo Festival, Sydney. It’s a great looking show of which I’m proud to be a part. If you’re in Sydney you can check out the exhibition at The Depot Gallery, Dank st, Waterloo.

I took this image in Sydney last year whilst visiting the festival with my iPhone 4s. You can view more of my Instagrams here

BURN DIARY

Last week i was invited to shoot for Burn Diary over on Instagram. Burn Diary is the Instagram feed featured by Burn Magazine.  One photographer takes over for 7 days from anywhere in the world and is given total freedom to shoot whatever they want. I had a lot of fun shooting from home. I also felt the pressure!. I shoot all the time, so there is no issue with that, but the fast editing and decision-making is quite different to my regular work flow. I can always edit other people’s work quite easily but with my own work it’s not so simple… These days i tend to shoot for months without ever reviewing (or even thinking about) what i’ve got. Then when i feel the time is right, i’ll spend a few weeks going over all my material. I enjoy the distance this creates between myself and my work, it helps me to be more objective and less attached. Of course this is not the case shooting and posting on Instagram which is quite spontaneous and fast, but i would not normally post more than 3 images in a week. Burn Diary’s only requirement is that you post a minimum of two images every 24 hours. So it kept me pretty busy…

Below are my favorite images from my week in the hot seat.

Photo © Sam Harris

Photo © Sam Harris

Photo © Sam Harris

Photo © Sam Harris

20140319_8232

Photo © Sam Harris

Uma washing line 2 lo res

Photo © Sam Harris

Photo © Sam Harris

Photo © Sam Harris

Photo © Sam Harris

Photo © Sam Harris

 

 

 

ARCHIVE DISCOVERY

3 totally unrelated requests in recent weeks have had me searching through my archives. Boxes that should be better organised… but in that chaos there is the magic of surprises. I came across this photograph buried at the bottom of a box of old portfolio prints. Taken in 1994 it’s been a while… nice surprise!

Photo © Sam Harris

Photo © Sam Harris