SUE JACKSON Therapist/Writer/Photographer/Activist

Last year, as the unofficial blogger/photographer to the anti-East-West Link campaign, our battles were my blog's entire focus. But by Christmas, with the electoral win for people power and the dumping of the dud Tunnel, I was suddenly at a loss. What to write about now? Not sure yet. But there will be ongoing musings and images from this Australian life. So please leave a message. (No need to sign into an account. Simply comment as ‘anonymous’; then leave your name within the comment itself.)

Monday, April 25, 2016

PhotoMarathon Practice

Next Saturday 30 April is the big day. PhotoMarathon is being launched in Australia and the hosts are our very own Susanne and Michael Silver of Magnet Gallery.
How the marathon works is that, over the course of the day, participants report in to the gallery on three separate occasions. Each time they are given 3 previously undisclosed topics as subjects for their pictures. They are then let loose on the Melbourne CBD.
Everyone has to start the day with a fresh memory card,  and no 'post-production' like photoshop or cropping is allowed.  At the end of the day we all have to present 9 images exactly in the order allocated. All of the pictures will subsequently be put on display in the gallery and judges will choose some for special mention.
I am lucky to have a wonderful camera - a Fuji Film - but even though I have owned it for over a year now, I still find it technically intimidating. So I decided to put the Anzac day holiday to good use by having a practice run for Saturday.
I asked my partner, Peter, to come up with 9 topics, none of which I saw in advance or influenced him to include - I promise - and then I headed off on the train. His topics were 'light', 'happiness', 'windows', 'speed', 'weariness', 'doorway', 'cold', 'corner' and 'friendship'. I only had half the time that will be available next Saturday. This was actually a good thing because - as you will soon see- I faded early. Here is what I came up with:

Light

Happiness
Windows

Speed

Weariness (my selfie)
Doorway

 Cold:I know it's a long bow, but I reckon you could be if your shoes ended up suspended rather than on your feet

Friendship
Corner

I had a lot of fun doing this exercise, and  I wonder what I would have come up with had I moved beyond the one city block I found myself occupying!  
Watch this space to see how next Saturday's real PhotoMarathon unfolds. 

UPDATE: Sadly, I fell at the first hurdle. 
My wonderful camera started shooting continuously. Although I have now discovered it is a simple matter to rectify, on the day I sat in Exhibition Street trying to sort it out for a whole hour. Finally, realising that I had missed the deadline to collect the second set of images, I gave up. I walked glumly to the nearest tram stop, and managed to avoid all eye contact with my fellow passengers all the way home. Next year...  

Sunday, April 03, 2016

Only in Fitzroy... or Southern Namibia: Emma McEnvoy's Sand Castles



'Sand castles'

Just last night, at the closure of our 'No Lilies' Photo Exhibition at Magnet Galleries in the CBD, we photographers were talking about alternative ways to showcase our work. That's when someone mentioned a unique exhibition opening off Brunswick Street today. It only took a reminder from my son Alix and his partner Jode this afternoon and I was off. This was the view that confronted me as I locked up my bike near the venue:


Classic inner-city street art

And that's when I noticed a long snaking queue of adults and kids waiting patiently, and not so patiently, to enter Emma McEvoy's 'Sand Castles' photo exhibtion:


The venue

The artist, who was stationed to greet guests at the entrance to the soon-to-be-demolished house explained how she had lucked on such a perfect setting for her exhibition.

Emma McEvoy

McEvoy's extraordinary images were taken in Southern Namibia, where she travelled to photograph the ghost town of Kobmanskop. The town features many examples of traditional German architecture, built by and for German miners who came to the area hunting for diamonds. But when the diamonds disappeared so too did the miners, leaving their houses to fill with sand as the desert inexorably reclaimed its own.
McEvoy wanted to hang her pictures in just such a sand-filled place and when she saw a developer's sign on a house she asked the developer if he knew of any space she could use. He generously offered this very house for a 'pop-up' exhibition in advance of its demolition this coming Tuesday. The artist seized the opportunity and in so doing created the perfect setting for her photos. I'm sure I'm not the only one overawed and inspired by this demonstration of ingenuity and entrepreneurial flair.






That the exhibition and the story behind it has captured the popular imagination was evident in the droves of people who changed their weekend plans to include an impromptu visit to Fitzroy beach. And did the kids love playing in that sand!  Congratulations Emma.






Saturday, April 02, 2016

Close of No Lilies: Women and Work Photo Exhibition

Cleaning, Havana

The 6th annual fundraiser exhibition by women photographers in honour of International Women's Day opened on 3 March at Magnet Galleries in the Melbourne CBD. Thanks to Susanne and Michael Silver, the gallery owners, for their vision.

I was delighted to be invited to participate, to join Pam Davison, Margot Sharman, Helga Leunig, Ilana Rose, Jill Frawley, Cheryl Lucy, Wendy Currie, Judith Crispin, Joyce Evans, Carole Hampshire, Maggie Diaz, Susan Henderson and Amy Feldtmann, who produced a fascinating diversity of images in response to the theme.

After I got over the stress, opening night was great. It was a thrill to be in such company and to be buoyed up by the loving support of the family and friends who managed to attend. It was a real buzz to join the crowd looking at my fellow photographers' work and to discuss my own pictures with a range of different people. And I loved the fact that my kids were so proud of my efforts.

Listening to Bronwyn Halfpenny MP who launched No Lilies (photo courtesy Gina Perry)

Much as I would like to talk about everybody's work, space doesn't permit. So here is the artist's statement and 5 other photos of mine (number 6 is the header) that were in the exhibition:

  Sue Jackson is a photojournalist with a particular interest in social justice and environmental activism.



 Sue also loves food, particularly of the fresh, organic variety, and those who grow it. But as any departure from the inner city tends to bring on light-headedness, Sue’s particular interest is the numerous urban dwellers worldwide who are farming their streets.

With 70% of its food produced within city limits on footpaths, balconies, bathtubs, windowsills, even buckets and in community gardens of every description, Havana proved a ‘must’ on her travel itinerary. ‘Home Grown Havana’ is a picture of the tiny stall for city-grown bananas on the corner near her hotel in downtown Havana. ‘Cleaning, Havana’ (header) is a picture of Claribel who always had the entire outdoor dining area spotless before hotel guests arrived to breakfast on their locally-grown tropical fruit platters.






Much closer to home, in fact within a mere 10 kilometres of the Melbourne CBD, the old public housing suburb of Heidelberg West is home to a small cluster of farmlets, run by the ‘Hoodies’. This inspiring group of young permaculturalists are living ‘almost self-sufficient lives’ amidst an array of vegie gardens, fruit trees, worm farms, bees, rabbits, chooks, ducks and, of course, their beloved goats.
‘Goat herders Heidelberg West (1) and (2) captures two of the hoodies tending to their ‘girls’.





Sue was the unofficial blogger/photographer for the successful campaign against the environmentally disastrous East-West Link project that was dumped by the incoming Victorian Labor Government at the end of 2014. The daily Tunnel pickets, integral to the campaign’s success, started earlier and earlier. ‘Keeping the Peace’ captures a police officer, guarding a test-drilling site at 5am, asleep on her feet.
‘Disturbing the Peace’ is a photo taken at last year’s ‘Reclaim Australia’ rally where the police, and their horses, acted as a barrier between the ‘reclaimers’ and their many opponents.

Sadly 'No Lilies' had to come to an end. And last night proved a fitting farewell. We all sat together at a long table in the darkened gallery sharing great food, wine, conviviality and talking about why we do what we do. And why we will never stop.