Last night, my exhibition entitled "CITY AND SURF" opened at Juniper Hall in Paddington. I was thrilled to have art advisor and consultant, Fiona McIntosh, open my exhibition. Here is what Fiona had to say...
Thank you Craig. And thank you Pamela for inviting me here today.
Prize exhibitions present good opportunities for artists and audiences :
For artists they are an opportunity to win - & its always good to win - &, depending/ at times, be acquired into a good collection – as with the Moran Prize for contemporary Australian photography
They have an opportunity to rethink their practice in some way to embrace the ambitions of the Prize –
They get to put their work in front of colleague judges who may never have seen their work before;
And they are offered a new audience for their work which will always open up new possibilities …
the opportunity of a Prize exhibition really lies in thinking about the quality of the work & considering why that work stands above the rest. It requires some solid looking.
Invariably a prize exhibition offers only a taster of any artist’s practice. You’re only offered this one glimpse into what may be the summation of many years work.
I think it is a fabulous initiative of the Moran Arts Foundation to not just offer what are particularly generous art prizes for practising Australian artists, across several genres, but also to create more opportunities for the finalists – to present a solo exhibition such as this here particularly & finding a new purpose for this beautiful building. Now we get to see more of an artist’s work & in so doing, develop a greater appreciation.
And so it is with this exhibition of photography by Pamela Pauline. These are wonderfully moody, at times ethereal, images of the city which inspires her – namely, Sydney.
I think it is fair to say that Pamela has embraced her life here with a similar enthusiasm and curiosity to learn, understand and enjoy, as she did with the other 8 countries and 5 continents in which she has lived and worked. Photography has been her constant companion across all these countries: looking, documenting, reflecting on the life and place around her.
Something Pamela said to me when we first sat down to talk about her work & something which I think lends insight into her, both as an individual and as a photographer is “Grow where you’re planted”
She has planted herself here well: nurturing a family, finding meaning in community activities – acapella singing in the choir Soul Food and supporting the women at the Bakhita Sudanese Refugee Centre – as well as focussing on and extending her photographic practice, to good success.
What seems to have captivated her most and has become the compelling expression of her reaction to Sydney is its sky –
– the clouds, the wind, the storms, the light, the breadth of it;
- how it wraps around buildings in the city;
- how it creates the atmosphere of the sea and beaches.
I gather she is a weather watcher, chasing the right cloud or fog or storm as the key backdrop for her next shoot.
She starts with a strong image – always a big sky with the drama of a storm at sea, or thrusting vertical skyscrapers – and captures it through different exposures. Long exposure dissipates frenetic activity – in the harbour views, the water is still and quiet – people, boats, waves become unnecessary details.
Then, at her computer, she plays with the visual elements to enhance the intangible qualities - an emotion or mood – to add her personal touch and recreate her memory of the moment. And there are some wonderful moments:
Storm clouds over the sea take on biblical proportions – dense, powerful and dramatic.
the sails of the Opera House billowing, feel soft and full.
Sydney harbour is quiet and calm.
She pays particular attention to detail – both the detail you can and cannot see.
Highlighting a sunlit window frame
Sharpening an edge
Deepening a shadow
Photography becomes more and more interesting to me. We all have the capacity to point & shoot – we’ve got cameras in our phones, which is an extraordinary technology really. And invariably we approach the photographic image with the somewhat misguided notion that it is simple: we can all do it, anytime we like. But dig a little deeper & you realise that the process behind a wonderful photograph is complex and requires as much a solid understanding of technology, equipment, exposure, colour saturation and printing, as it does a keen eye, a feel for composition and timing, of light and shadow – be they film and darkroom development processes or digital and computer techniques.
Pamela’s is a wholly digital approach and nothing about it is simple. The end results are sophisticated and thoughtful, based on a singular vision and a passion for seeking out the creative potential of the environment around her.
Congratulations Pamela on beautiful show in this great venue.
I would now like to your exhibition declare open!