These photographs from my archives from the 1980s and early 1990s are being curated for a book whose early working title was The Bowden Archives and Other Marginalia. It emerges from the earlier Oddly Squared weblog. Weblogs are my way of beginning to construct a project from a series of photos. Using a weblog to then kick start the construction of a photo-book is how I usually work. It is a roundabout way of working.
The project has been long time to come together and even longer to construct the project into a draft photo-book. It was initially based on an MA undertaken at Flinders University of South Australia in the late 1980s; an MA with its friction reconciling artistic creativity with traditional academic research. The photo-book is divided into 4 sections: Snapshots, Bowden, Adelaide/Port Adelaide and Roadtrips, each of which has a separate text. The book is a reconstruction of the photos from the archives, and the texts centre around place and memory.
The first section takes the form of snapshots made with a 35mm camera. Snapshots because I wasn’t consciously working on art photography projects then, as I was in the process of learning how to do a photographic project.
Snapshots are traditionally seen as sentimental in content, repetitively uncreative as pictures, and having little value in the market place of either ideas or commodities. They are, in short, the other to an art photography that is traditionally based on originality, innovation and individualism. The snapshot is the most numerous and popular of photographic forms, and as a genre associated with amateurs and the everyday it has traditionally been written out of the art history’s canon of art photography, which is primarily focused on celebrating the singular achievements of master photographers.
In the early 1980’s I had a photographic studio in Bowden, Adelaide, and I processed all my black and white film in my own darkroom — 35mm, medium format and large format. Whilst living in Bowden I photographed the industrial working class suburb, prior to its urban renewal as Bowden Village. These Bowden photos are a part of the genre of documentary photography understood as interpretation.
The third section is Adelaide/Port Adelaide based on me walking around Adelaide’s CBD and walking Port Adelaide. This urban walking was on the streets and along the Port River rather than the parks or gardens. The fourth and last section is entitled roadtrips, and this marks a shift to a more topographical approach to photography.
The overall theme is a loose look at an industrial Australia that was in the process of becoming history.
The old Bowden Archives is still active.