Back in my student days at RMIT I first started duplicating my analogue images on a photocopier which I then manipulated by hand colouring or using various transfer techniques to achieve works that ventured outside of normal photographic processes but which still maintained the signature of images made with a camera.
It wasn’t until the late 90’s that I became acquainted with the digital world which I embraced much as I would a career in maths or science. Nonetheless, out of necessity I taught myself rudimentary computer skills. The first time I used a scanner in an image making process was for a hand made artist book ‘I Eye, a book of self portraits, 1983 to 2000’. I had an Agfa Snap Scan upon which I placed various objects, and with lid up, hit the scan button with my face poised just above the glass. It wasn’t a great portrait, but looked interesting in a ghostly sort of way. A little further down the track, year’s end was fast approaching and I was in search of an image for a Xmas card. I had a little black plastic pony that I had saved out of a Xmas cracker from a previous year and wondered if I could make some art with it. The immediacy of having a scanner to work with rather than the rather drawn out process of preparing a studio set, shooting and processing film had great appeal. The pony on its own wasn’t quite doing it for me, so I put it in a condom, and thus began the series ‘Condomonium’. This was followed by ‘The Elephant Stamp’, and then later, ‘Bountiful Harvest’ a series made whilst doing a short residency at Manning Clark House in Canberra.
My subject matter is limited only by the size of the A4 platen and is mainly sourced from my garden or the surrounding bush. Often it is plant or vegetable matter that is well past its use by date and no longer in a pristine state. In some ways it is a response to my many years of shooting commercially for clients obsessed with perfection.
I love the quality of the light and the rapid fall-off that the scanner produces together with the shallow depth of field and the ability to produce very large files capable of enlargement much greater than I can produce with my A2 printer. I use the computer pretty much the same way as I used a wet darkroom for making prints, with manipulation of images limited mostly to adjustments of contrast, density and colour control – most usually in specific areas instead of universal application. I want my images to appear photographic even though they have never been near a camera or a roll of film.
The works in this exhibition were all made on an Epson V700 A4 flatbed scanner coupled with an iMac desktop and output as archival prints on an Epson P800 printer