ND5 - A Personal Reflection

February 10, 2014  •  1 Comment

Image credit: Christian Fletcher

Over this weekend just passed, I attended the exhibition preview for Shark Bay “Inscriptions”, plus seminar run by the Ninety Degrees Five (ND5), held at Maud Creative in Newstead, Queensland. ND5 is the grouping of five prominent and well-known Landscape Photographers from around Australia; Christian Fletcher, Peter Eastway, Michael Fletcher, Les Walkling and Tony Hewitt.

Having been starved of big names in Photography to visit the region, I had to jump on the opportunity to hear these rock stars of mine speak and to view the work in the real.

Shark Bay - Inscriptions features abstract, punchy, beautiful and delicate aerial photography, captured individually from their group experience together in honoring the stunning world-heritage area. Every image hanging on the wall is the result of years of experience, remarkable attention to detail and packed with raw earthy colour – showcasing the mind-bending shapes and tones that this region can produce.  Having only previously seen a few images online or in newsletters, I was not disappointed. All images were printed large on fine art papers, mounted on board similar to foam core which helped the viewer really enjoy the work, without a frame or glass. This helped give the works lightness in the gallery, to draw the viewer instantly in, without having to contend with reflections or other unwanted obstacles that come with traditionally framed work.

The gallery lighting made the images dance by using a pure-white LED instead of the warmer bulb which features in many older galleries. It was like walking around in an orchestra of visual enjoyment, complimenting pieces stood side by side in unity, it was almost as if these pieces were a look out the plane that we were all on. It was simple, clean and elegant – a presentation technique that will stay with me for some time to come. Purchased works of course, were to be framed.

The Seminar on Saturday was broken down into hourly-blocks presented by the four (one absent) photographers. The session began with a video filmed by Michael Fletcher (absent) which gave an insight into both the fun and serious sides of shooting in a group, something I could relate to well given the collective I once shot with. The ability to have so much fun with jokes and being so tuned into the focus of the serious side of being out in the first place. It was clear that these guys all shared a special bond and camaraderie.

Tony Hewitt followed on by discussing collaboration and creativity, I was feeling charged and driven to think about what we do as photographers, something I often blog about here, much like pondering the universe whilst looking up at the stars. I enjoy the discussions regarding the existential reason that we do what we do, the inner force that drives us and guides us.

Next up was Peter Eastway who again took it from a different angle by once again, making Photoshop look like a breeze. Every single adjustment that he made to the demonstration image made sense to me, but I remained frustrated because I couldn’t figure out how to do that myself. I know it’s going to be one of those things that when I ‘get’ it, I’ll feel so silly for not having learnt it before. He is definitely the master of layers. I think a future Photoshop course is in order for this confused girl.

Les Walkling followed the lunch break with some humour about his love/hate relationship with the processes within Photoshop, but then broke down the steps for image manipulation into their most basic forms. What I found most practical is his document library which he showed us the links for. I will definitely be having a read and sorting through the information in order to grow more this year. I sensed the brilliant mind that stood before us and explained so passionately the way he thinks of an image from creation to exhibition. It was hard not to be in awe of someone who could stand up so confidently and extoll the nature of what he is passionate about. I do however wish I had recorded his little rant about Photoshop, it had the seminar participants in laughter. Great work Les!

The final session was Fletch’s Freaky Photoshop. Christian handled it like a true artist. Funny, informative and once again made this fascinating tool look like a second nature. He made magic out of images that I would have previously tossed away, dropping in new skies and changing the colour ranges of items with ease. I tried like mad to record every changing tool, but in the end all I could do is sit and watch. Given the hope that I could definitely do this at home by bridging the knowledge I had, with the knowledge I’d just gained, I was rearing to get home and give it all a go.

I left the seminar feeling like an overflowing fish tank, large chunks of important information sloshing around, little sparks of creativity jumping out and around like fish showing off. I could not have asked for something better to breathe life into my practice at this time. I am determined to bridge my gaps in knowledge and learn some functions that I have avoided using, purely because I did not realize their intrinsic power until now.

Superb guys, simply superb.

Thank you all for taking the time to come to Brisbane!

I highly recommend that if you’re in Brisbane, that you go and see the Exhibition. Maud Creative – 6 Maud Street Newstead. Shark Bay “Inscriptions”  Exhibition runs Feb 11 2014 to March 8 2014. See website for details:  http://www.maud-creative.com/nd5-shark-bay-inscription/



Peter Eastway(non-registered)
Hi Mel - what a great post and very complimentary, thank you. We're finding we 'collect' people along the way, other photographers who think like we do in a broad sense, but who have their own vision and goals. It's amazing to see the work that they produce and also very inspirational for us. I can also see some stunning work here on your website and I have no doubt you're on your own road of 'discovery'. Thanks for coming along.
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