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, 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

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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

PHOTOGRAPHY WORKSHOP INDIA

EXPERIENCE SOUTH INDIA 2015

I am happy to announce that I’ll be running a 10 day workshop in India, January 2015.  We’ll be photographing at some classic locations across the south as well as some personal favorite spots, well off the beaten track…

This will be my most adventurous workshop to date. So if you’ve been dreaming of visiting India this could be your chance to make it happen! India is a photographer’s paradise… a place I have many years experience with. I lived there with my family and we birthed our daughter Yali in a small village. India is my home away form home…

I’ll be sharing my passion and experience with the group and this will be a fantastic chance to get one-on one mentoring in the field. We’ve also worked hard to make this the most affordable India workshop out there!!

For more details, itinerary and accommodation details please visit this link: samharrisworkshops.com

dont worry for blog004Photo © Sam Harris

 

 

 

MOPLA – Instagram Jam

LOS ANGELES – EXHIBITION

I’m very happy to be exhibiting 10 images at this year’s Instagram Jam, which is part of MOPLA (Month of Photography LA) organised by The Lucie Foundation.

50% of print sales go to SNAPSHOP, Lucie Foundation’s photography workshop program for kids in under served areas of Los Angeles.

The exhibition kicks off at 7pm Wednesday 16th April at Contact Photo Lab’s gallery. LA 90031

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Below: one of my Instagram images from the exhibition

Yali, bucket bath - Photo © Sam Harris

Yali, bucket bath – Photo © Sam Harris

 

BURN MAGAZINE

Burn tMoS grab

A couple of weeks ago i had the honor of having my latest essay The Middle of Somewhere published on Burn Magazine. It’s always a special occasion for me when i can finally share a new series. Spanning 2011-2013 it’s been a slow process… from the day-to-day shooting (i’m almost always shooting) to the various edits (usually starts by thinking about a book layout, pairs, sequences etc.) then refining the book edit (some 80-90 images) down to a tighter magazine essay.

Like so many things, it is worth the wait. I like to have some distance between myself and my images, to detach myself emotionally to get the edit right. I usually rely on some outside help too. Yael my wife is always involved with  editing. Last May whilst i was over in Sydney i had to good fortune to spend a couple of days going over a huge pile of prints with the talented photo editor Isabelle Rouvillois. Isabelle offer a much-needed ruthless outsiders eye.

David Alan Harvey, Magnum photographer and Curator at Burn also provided a further edit, tightening my 29 images down to 22 and re-arranging parts of the sequence. The result is a flow of images i am very happy with.

This work continues my personal diary of home life where Postcards from Home left off. The Middle of Somewhere is the next chapter…  you can check it our over on Burn Magazine here.

FEATURED ON INSTAGRAM

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Yali – Mumbai Taxi © Sam Harris 2014

Crazy… recently my following on Instagram jumped from 350 to 20,000 within 2 weeks!

At first i wondered what was going on. Then i recieved an email from Instagram:

“Congratulations, samharrisphoto! You are currently featured on Instagram’s list of Suggested Users. Our Suggested Users List is a dynamic list that highlights some of the top photographers on Instagram…         …Being on the Suggested Users List means that we love your account and see you as a model Instagrammer.”

Living in the back of beyond, as i do, Instagram gives me and indeed us all a global connection for sharing our photography. You can check out my Instagram feed @samharrisphoto here

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Katie – Balingup © Sam Harris 2014

 

PRESENTATION – NATIONAL CENTRE PERFORMING ARTS, MUMBAI

I’m most honoured and grateful to be showing my new work, The Middle of Somewhere and talking with Dinesh Khanna and Raj Lalwani about my photographic journey, following my passion and my long relationship with India.
So, if you’re in Mumbai or can get there for next Sunday (8th Dec) it would be great to see you! Piramal Art Gallery, National Centre Performing Arts, 3.45pm Cold beers and further conversation will no doubt follow…

Sam Harris Final

RESIDENCY @ THE PHOTOGRAPHERS’ GALLERY, LONDON

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Recently i was invited to join in a global project around the exhibition Home Truths, curated by Susan Bright and on show at The Photographers’ Gallery, London, The Foundling Museum, London and The Museum of Contemporary Photography, Chicago.

I was asked to do a virtual residency and takeover the The Photographers’ Gallery Instagram feed for 7 days, sharing my domestic diary and bringing a father’s perspective to this wonderful project.

TPG IG takeoevr site home 1 copy - Version 3Below are  a few images from my residency. You can see the rest of my Instagrams as well as the other photographers shooting for the Home Truths Instagram Takeover at The Photographers’ Gallery Instagram feed here

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Photo © Sam Harris

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Photo © Sam Harris

Uma Reluctant Portrait

Photos © Sam Harris

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Photo © Sam Harris

BETTER CELLPHONE PHOTOGRAPHY

In May 2013 i was in Sydney to give a talk at The Museum of Sydney. The Future of Photobooks was a panel discussion and part of the Head On Photo Festival.

It was an honour to sit along side Dan Rule, director of Perimeter Editions, Paulina DeLaveaux, publishing manager of Thames & Hudson, Kim Hungerford from the wonderful Sydney book store Kinokuniya and Libby Jeffery from Momento Pro.

Whilst walking the streets of Sydney i photographed quite a bit with my iPhone. I’m getting more and more addicted to shooting with it. I find it comfortable and fun to work with, unobtrusive, silent and always at hand… One evening i got caught out in the rain. Without an umbrella i found a doorway to shelter in and began shooting the passers by in the rain, enjoying the light flair, reflections, splashes and general chaos the sudden heavy rain caused.

 

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© Sam Harris – my Instagram from Sydney on the cover of Better Cellphone Photography

Fast forward a month… i received an email from Better Photography magazine in India. They were putting together a special issue on Cellphone photography, had seen my images on Instagram and wanted to use a couple.

So when you post to Instagram it doesn’t have to be the end of the story… It’s surprising where it can take you… I think it’s a fun and fresh way to share images that otherwise might just sit in a hard drive… you never know who’s watching and where it can lead to…

 

left a beautiful Instagram by David Alan Harvey, right my Instagram uncropped, above photo by Priyanka Chharia

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another of my Instagrams from Sydney used for the editorial page – © Sam Harris

BOOK DUMMY EXHIBITED AT DELHI PHOTO FESTIVAL

I’m honoured and most grateful to have been invited to exhibit a handmade prototype of my new book ‘The Middle of Somewhere’ at the 2013 Delhi Photo Festival. Curated by Sohrab Hura the collection of self-published & dummy books will be exhibited at the Open Palm Court Gallery, India Habitat Centre from September 27th.

tMoS duumy006

The process of creating a photobook is usually long and arduous; for me, the first step is to create a basic dummy to aid in the refining of concept as well as technical analysis. My book dummy is still very much a work-in-progress, a sketch of a book all the way. The prints are ‘roughs’ and  will  need  to  be calibrated.  Changes will be made to the edit, sequence and design.  It’s only once the book dummy has been made and can be held and flipped through that the process moves from mind to matter and becomes a tactile experience as well as a visual one.

tMoS duumy dipo007

This is the first time i’ve ever exhibited something unfinished. i hope its slight roughness helps  bring the viewer inside the book making process, questioning and thinking about all the elements involved, but ultimately going on a journey with me through the images…

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tMoS duumy004

MEDIEVAL CARNIVAL WORKSHOP

STUDENTS WORK

Once a year my adopted home town of Balingup, Western Australia is transformed for the weekend as it hosts the Balingup Medieval Carnival. Thousands of people from across the country visit our tiny town and most are dressed in hand-made, meticulously crafted period costume. What better scenario for a photography workshop…

We set up a portrait tent aka Ye Olde Portrait Booth and offered free portraits for all. Above you can view some of our favourites in a slideshow. So while you’re waiting for the next episode of Game of Thrones, don’t despair, just sit back, turn the volume up and check out my student’s portraits of the marvellous characters of the Balingup Medieval Carnival.

OLIVE COTTON AWARD 2013

from the series The Middle of Somewhere

‘Uma, Hula Hoop’ 2012 from the series The Middle of Somewhere 2013

I’m honoured to have been selected as a finalist in the 2013 Olive Cotton Award. My image of Uma (from my new series The Middle of Somewhere)  is currently being exhibited along side the other finalists at the Tweed River Art Gallery. Other finalists include Trent Parke, Narelle Autio, Ingvar Keene, Tamara Dean and Lee Grant.

Update: Magnum photographer Trent Parke won this years award and took home a cool $20,000. Congratulations Trent!

ACQUISITION PRIZE

I’m happy to announce that two of my images have been purchased by the City of Bunbury as part of the 2013 Bunbury Biennale. They join the cities permanent collection and are now on show at the Bunbury Regional Art Gallery.

from the series 'The Middle of Somewhere

One of my images acquired by the City of Bunbury – from the series The Middle of Somewhere

INSTAGRAM LOVE…

Sean... first fire of the season

Balingup, Sean & the first fire of the season ©Sam Harris 2013

I am perhaps a bit late to the party, but recently i’ve been playing with my iPhone and Instagram and loving it! For me it’s an opportunity to be more spontaneous with my photography, expand my diary and share images that would otherwise just sit in a hard drive.

This is a welcome change for me as usually my work process is much slower. With my family work, Postcards from Home and the new series The Middle of Somewhere I’ll often wait a year or more before trawling through my archive to discover what i have.

But it’s not only about shooting and sharing… Instagram is also about staying in touch and seeing  what other photographers are up to. It’s a fun way to communicate…

Take a look on Instagram – samharrisphoto and check out those i follow…

©Sam Harris

Bali ©Sam Harris 2013

Bali ©Sam Harris 2013

Bali ©Sam Harris 2013

when the ink runs out... print error ©Sam Harris 2013

when the ink runs out… print error ©Sam Harris 2013

Balingup ©Sam Harris 2013

Balingup ©Sam Harris 2013

Perth ©Sam Harris 2013

Perth ©Sam Harris 2013

Bali ©Sam Harris 2013

Bali ©Sam Harris 2013

PUBLISHED IN CHINA

Photoworld - China. Feb issue 2013

Photoworld – China. Feb issue 2013

Celebrated Chinese art-photo magazine Photoworld has run a 13 page feature on Postcards from Home in their February edition. This is one of 12 monthly features on the works of contemporary Australian photomedia artists, curated and written by Alasdair Foster.

below are a few pages from the article, including some new images from the forthcoming series ‘the middle of somewhere’

Photoworld - China. Feb issue 2013

Photoworld – China. Feb issue 2013

Photoworld - China. Feb issue 2013

Photoworld – China. Feb issue 2013

Photoworld - China. Feb issue 2013

Photoworld – China. Feb issue 2013

Photoworld - China. Feb issue 2013

Photoworld – China. Feb issue 2013

STRANGELOVE REVISITED

Patrick (Paddy) Duff - Strangelove © Sam Harris 1993

Patrick (Paddy) Duff – Strangelove © Sam Harris 1993

20 years ago, back in February 1993 i directed my first ever video clip for the band Strangelove. I’d just returned to London after living in L.A. for a year and back then i was still very much experimenting with my creative direction.  Hollywood is full of movie people and culture so perhaps it was only natural that i wanted to  get into directing, and with my love of music, video clips…

Stranglelove were a new band that i’d just photographed for Food records. I liked the band, their energy and attitude. Paddy the lead singer was a great performer who reminded me of a sort of Dickensian cross between Johnny Lydon and Morrissey. So when the band’s manager Cerne asked me if i wanted to have a go at making a video clip, albeit on a shoestring budget… i jumped at the chance!

Hysteria Unknown was shot on Super 8 film (camera Susie Hug) at Rockfield recording studios, Wales over one night with additional material shot on the way home, along the Old Kent Road and at Kings Cross, London. I edited the footage with the help of my friend, film director Gareth Roberts.

We were all pretty happy with the result and MTV played it on rotation on the show Alternative Nation.

I enjoyed the process and the result and went on to make a few more music videos, but eventually made the decision to dedicate myself to documentary photography and my diary.

Below you can check  out my 1993 directorial début

Strangelove – Hysteria Unknown 1993

RECENTLY…

a few from the light table

© Sam Harris 2012

#1 © Sam Harris 2012

I’ve been beginning the process of editing my next series ‘the middle of somewhere’.

Meanwhile i’m always shooting and these are a few I took recently. I’m not sure yet which ones i’ll end up using if any… but something i always find interesting is the process of selection and elimination and the idea of finding the definitive image from a sequence… the one shot… Sometimes i feel the sequence itself has something more to reveal, something else more akin to the flow of cinema… any thoughts on this?

© Sam Harris 2012

© Sam Harris 2012

© Sam Harris 2012

#3 © Sam Harris 2012

© Sam Harris 2012

#4 © Sam Harris 2012

© Sam Harris 2012

#5 © Sam Harris 2012

© Sam Harris 2012

#6 © Sam Harris 2012

© Sam Harris 2012

#7 © Sam Harris 2012

© Sam Harris 2012

#8 © Sam Harris 2012

© Sam Harris 2012

#9 © Sam Harris 2012

© Sam Harris 2012

#10 © Sam Harris 2012

© Sam Harris 2012

#11 © Sam Harris 2012

BOOK OF THE YEAR & AUSTRALIAN BOOK OF THE YEAR

Postcards from Home wins the 36th Annual Galley Club Publishing Awards – Book of the Year & Australian Book of the Year.

Totally unexpected, i’m blown away and greatly humbled… This is the first time ever a self-published / print-on-demand book has won either of the two main titles at the annual publishing awards. Up against major publishing houses such as Thames & Hudson, Penguin, Random House, Harper Collins and Hachette et al, this is a milestone for indie book makers everywhere!

The Galley Club of Sydney encourages and promotes the highest standards of excellence in book and magazine production”.

A special thank you and well done!! goes out to my book making partners Momento Pro Australia for fantastic printing and binding… Teamwork!!

Look inside the Limited Edition of 50 version below:

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from the book Postcards from Home © Sam Harris

from the book Postcards from Home © Sam Harris