Traditional Black and White Photography


 . . . I have always made snapshots; to use Imogen Cunningham's phrase a "celebration of the commonplace"

Until 2008 I had filed and ignored these snapshots, now I am giving them some attention.  These are personal documents and observations of things and events around me.  I am not attempting a Speculum Mundi.  Oddly I am finding these snapshots the most exciting part of my work at the moment.  It is the newest work, and the newest set of prints; but also the oldest, with images being recognised as part of this portfolio coming from Singapore in 1963 and Yemeni photographs from 1967, forty four year old images never printed before

I had been expecting a narrative to emerge unifying these pictures; however, there is none, but they do form ommatedic clusters.  Following the major printing of them for the 2017 BRAG show I now see the Snapshots as a load of mongrel puppies, all different, following me around sniffing and yapping and peeing on everything.

It may be observed that some of the pictures appear to be plagiarisms.  This is part of the process of learning to see how other workers have seen, playing with their ideas.  Play is crucial to continued growth within any medium, and is one of the many roles of these snapshots.

Play is one reason the new work in this series is made with ancient and fiddly screw mount Leicas, the oldest being from 1938.  I need the feeling of  play to put up with the Leica up-the-arse film loading, the innacurate, squinty viewfinders, screw mount lenses and the need to change the viewfinder for every lens change and the host of other awkardities that come with the ultimate in costume jewellery

It may appear that I am picking on Asian tourists in the Snapshots. In a sense I am.  My excuse is that Asian tourists behave as 'though no one is watching them, so have a lot of fun. But I don't consider this work descends to the level of Street Photography as in my case I ensure there is contact and engagement, 'though sometimes this is after the pic' has been grabbed. Often this engagement is sub-verbal and in sign language while waving an old Leica.  This is how I know the group with the mobile 'phone at Mandurah were talking with the man's mother

Origanally this portfolio was titled Eclection, from the Greek, and submitted to Macquarie Dictionary

  • Snapshots
Roger Garwood, snapshot - © John Austin Rae Starr and Pinhole Camera, Mandalay Beach WA, 2011, snapshot - © John Austin Kat Campbell, Fremantle, 2011, snapshot - © John Austin Rae and Pinhole Negative, Quinninup, snapshot - © John Austin Rae at Butter Factory Art Gallery, Denmark, snapshot - © John Austin Rae and Mural, Manjimup, snapshot - © John Austin Self Portrait with Torii Arch, Quinninup, snapshot - © John Austin Jessica and Elowen, Gold Coast 2016, snapshot - © John Austin
Bronwyn in Blue Wren Cafe, Denmark, 2013, snapshot - © John Austin Flare Test of a Lens, with Torii Gate Mk II, 2014, snapshot - © John Austin Woman Taking Pills, Fremantle, 1986, snapshot - © John Austin Glass in Sunlight, Fremantle (thinking of Sudek) 1986, snapshot - © John Austin First roll with Leica IIIc plus Summitar, Waychinicup 2013 jbaphoto131107B39 - © John Austin Umbrellas, Nannup Music Festival, 2017, snapshot - © John Austin Self Portrait with Fish, Burrup Peninsula 1987, snapshot - © John Austin Old Dunny, Quinninup, 2014, snapshot - © John Austin
Liz Bursey, Quinninup 2010, snapshot - © John Austin Grub, being forced to pose, Fremantle 2011, snapshot - © John Austin Clifton Cafe, Bunbury, 2017, snapshot - © John Austin Woman washing following Nude and Shell photography, Fremantle, 1992 - © John Austin People discussing Forest Threnody video, Mandurah 14 October 2018 - © John Austin Tourists talking to family in China with live vision, Mandurah, 14 October 2018 - © John Austin Gary Aitken adjusting print hanging, Mandurah 14 October 2018 - © John Austin
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