Tag Archives: Sydney


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…



Bondi Diary… (based on a true story)

David Alan Harvey, photographer, mentor, book publisher, magazine editor and big time party dude came to Sydney a couple of weeks ago.  The Head On Photo Festival launched his ‘based on a true story’ book and exhibition as well as the Burn 02 in Print exhibition.

For me, David’s visit was special for many reasons… firstly, we finally got to meet ‘in real life’… then there was the chance for fellow Burn photographers to all meet (many for the first time off-line) and share ideas, passion for photography and good times.

Most special was the gathering of the team that helped David create the book. They came from all over the globe to Sydney to celebrate the book launch. Bryan Harvey who designed it, Eva – Maria Kunz, production manager, Candy Pilar Godoy, production / assistant photo editor, Roberta Tavares, fixer / production in Rio. Candy & Roberta also feature in the book.

David, always taking photographs… Bondi, Sydney 2012 – Photo © Sam Harris

Michelle & Niki – Bondi, Sydney 2012 – Photo © Sam Harris

Kerry –  Bondi, Sydney 2012 – Photo © Sam Harris

Bryan – Bondi, Sydney 2012 – Photo © Sam Harris

Candy – Bondi, Sydney 2012 – Photo © Sam Harris

Roberta.- Bondi, Sydney 2012 – Photo © Sam Harris

Roberta – Bondi, Sydney 2012 – Photo © Sam Harris

Celebration time…  – Bondi, Sydney 2012 – Photo © Sam Harris

Cheers! – Bondi, Sydney 2012 – Photo © Sam Harris

‘based on a true story’, blends fact with fiction to create a Novella that you can take apart and rebuild… it’s analog, interactive and 3d. there are even clues and a map to help you unravel the story hidden within… You have to hold it, feel it, pour over it, get inside it, take it apart, rebuild it, live it, smell it, caress it and then it all makes sense… Fresh, Sensual, Sexy, Killer, Dope… David leads by example, he could just sit back and talk about past glories, but that’s not David’s style… he’s out there doing it, living it. Now, right now… Ideas happen… ‘based on a true story’ is the living proof ; )) This book is an absolute classic. His best yet! And the very best thing about ‘based on a true story’ IS the PHOTOGRAPHY.

Check it out

It was also an honor to be asked by David to present my Postcards from Home series to his students during his 5 day Master Class…

But beyond all that, the best part of the experience for me was the friendships forged during my time in Sydney. I feel so lucky to have met so many special people in such a short time. Thank you David for bringing us all together and being such a generous host!

Postcards from Sydney…

I just returned a few days ago from Sydney and the Head On photo festival … My head is still spinning, so much to process & share… I had too much of a good time!  Hard to tear myself away, knowing that it’s all continuing for another 3 weeks…

I met so many wonderful people, a diverse bunch of photographers and other industry folk. With so many openings, almost every night, i caught some great exhibitions and drunk way too much red wine : ))

It all started with a trip to meet my printer Warren Macris. It’s the first time ever that i’ve had to work with a printer long distance… Going to check the exhibition prints was a nerve raking experience, but to my immense relief Warrens’ reputation is well-earned. He’s a master printer and i was delighted with the results.

Warren Macris… the final cut – Sydney 2011 © Sam Harris

Next it was over to Global gallery  to hang my Postcards from Home exhibition. An exciting part of the whole process, to walk into an empty space and start spreading  your prints out on the floor and eventually seeing a few years work going up onto the walls. Global gallery has several rooms, all showing photographers work as part of the Head On Festival. My neighbours  were Ying AngNatalie Grono, Eliza Gregory & Kelly Ann Denton. The togetherness and support between photographers helped make the exhibition for me.

Hanging with Ed Crosskill @ Global gallery, Sydney 2011 © Sam Harris

Out on the floor… @ Global gallery, Sydney 2011 © Sam Harris

Uma, steamy window @ Global gallery 2011 © Sam Harris

Wall # 5 Global gallery, Sydney 2011 © Sam Harris



My good friend Andy Baker kindly made the video below at the exhibition.