My name is Christian Pearson, I am a professional photographer based in Melbourne Australia and this.....is my blog! Here I write about how photography and art influences my life and the implications of living 'a visual life'. Some of it will make sense and some of it will be nonsense but it is only my humble opinion after all.
'Face to face' 2011 Copyright Christian Pearson/ Misheye
As a student of photography at Photography Studies College (PSC), I always thought I had a good idea of how my life making photos was going to pan out. I studied fine art and I shunned anything that was remotely commercial at my development as a photographers expense. Gradually, after I left the bosom of PSC i realised I had wasted a lot of my time at school not learning how to make a go at being a professional photographer. I had a few solo exhibitions and generally was having fun but my early morning job as a cleaner and my late night finishes teaching photography at the CAE wasn't the photographic dream i'd hoped it to be. And so I embarked on working out what I wanted to shoot as a job and who for. I marketed myself to my chosen organisations and little by little gained a small reputation for the way i dealt with my clients as well as the standard of my images. Eventually the cleaning job was dropped and then the teaching at the CAE and suddenly the fine art snob photographer had come full circle and was now a fully fledged commercial photographer! It was only then that I also came to the conclusion that even when I have my commercial hat on I invariably see and feel the art in the surroundings I shoot in. In my latest solo exhibition 'Art of the underground', this has never been more true. I believe the documentation of the construction of our cities is a valuable addition to the heritage of our past. My images of the 2000's will represent the way we worked, and put a stamp on the activities of a time just as the great Wolfgang Sievers images represent the 50's and 60's. I have some very large shoes to even attempt to fill but I am ready with both hats on to meet the needs of my client and create historically significant images in a creative way.
Melbourne Water presents
Christian Pearson - Art of the underground
Take a journey into the surreal world of construction under Melbourne's feet
National Trust Tasma Gallery
4 Parliament Place, East Melbourne
Opening night: Thursday 19th July 6-8pm - all welcome
Dates: July 17th – August 17th 2012
Hours: 9-5pm Mon-Fri
As part of Open House Melbourne the gallery will also be open 10-4pm Sat 28th & Sun 29th July 10-4pm.
It often feels like i'm forever making images. As a professional photographer i spend most of my days creating and processing images for my clients, researching techniques, visiting galleries, putting together proposals, shooting for personal projects and of course doing all the boring things that NEED to be done when running a business.
Often the last thing I want to do in my spare time is to look through a lens of a big heavy camera. I often say to myself 'lets experience it rather than place a camera in front of it'. This has meant my kids have seldom seen 'the big camera' and instead are very familiar with the family snappy cam (Lumix DMC TZ20) and the ubiquitous iPhone. Documenting my family is important but I don't need a heavy 24MP camera to do it!
However from time to time I yearn for the quick shutter recycle time, the fast focus and the second nature of control the 'big camera' affords me. So on a recent camping trip I took my 'big camera' and put some rules in place so it didn't feel like i was hunting images the whole time. I had one lens only, I placed it out of arms reach and most importantly forced myself NOT to be always on the look out for defining moments. Instead i shot only when I had the urge and enjoyed being the hobby photographer I once was.
This time last week I was sound asleep in my little tent dreaming of stars and lightning. It was 3pm in the afternoon and I was exhausted by the events of the night before.
I had been up all night photographing an amazing spectacle that I was 'sort of' ready for. I was on a personal shoot creating a new body of work for an exhibition in 2013 loosely titled 'Before time'. My intention was to shoot stars, star trails and 'imbed' myself into the images.
I was setting up for the shoot at midnight when the sky was at its darkest. I was on a rocky shorline at low tide in the Great Otway National Park when it felt like someone shone a torch in my face. My heart skipped a beat. A giant flash of lightning had just illuminated the land. I quickly retreated in the dark to a large rock overhang to check out if I was in any danger. There was no clouds above me and absolutely no sound of thunder coming from the now regular flashes of light that was now roaring across the way out in the deep dark Southern Ocean.
I realised I had the perfect opportunity to photograph a lighting storm from a safe distance. It was pitch black so using my torch I dialled in Bulb on my cameras shutter speed settings and firmly locked the camera onto my tripod. Bulb is a shutter speed beyond 30 seconds that the user controls. I didn't have my timer remote so I simply used an elastic band and a small rock to hold down my shutter once i activated it. As it was so dark only the stars illuminated the frame until a bolt of lightning lit up the sky. The lightening acts literally like a flash unit, perfect for exposing the scene. After each flash of light I closed my shutter (by carefully removing my trusty rock) checked the results and started the process again and again. It was a primordial scene that lasted the next couple of hours.
Camera settings: Shutter approximately one minute dependant on when the lighting decided to strike, Aperture F2.8, Lens 24-70 ISO 640 on tripod with elastic band and rock to hold the shutter down!
Monday was the anniversary of the birth of Ansel Adams. Many regard him to be the greatest landscape photographer of all time.
If he were still alive today he would have turned 110 years old! It made me wonder if he were born like myself into the digital age he would still be defined by his mesmerising photographic pieces.
I purchased a large A0 print of the image you see here. It has sat on a wall in my kitchen for the past 10 years and in my bedroom for 4 years before that. In that time this image constantly reminds me of the mastery of Ansel's work and unlike many of the images I have had on my walls over the years I never tire of looking at it.
Sure the technique is outstanding, the sharpness and richness of the blacks is beautiful. Everything an image could be is here. It is not however an image of an incredible place in Yosemite that I can romanticise about visiting. It is just a coastal scene that could have been taken at a beach in my local area.
What I find mesmerising about this image is what makes Ansel Adams the legend he has become. It is the intangible beauty of the work. It is something an artist places in his or her work when looking through the lens. It is why we love to look at art. An artist has the ability to embed (like metadata) themselves in a piece.
Are we emotively drawn to a work by the artists ability to embed themselves in the piece or by the scene they represent? I like to think it is the former and this piece certainly fits into that category.