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Memories of Rennie Ellis May 24, 2017

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Head On is finishing up soon and it is a good time to catch up with a pioneering photographer before the festival finishes. Rennie Ellis recorded the underbelly of  Kings Cross and its social fabric at a critically changing time in Australia’s history and the photos are still poignant and memorable. His Kings Cross images can be seen at Mossgreen Gallery in Sydney until the 6th of June.

Reynolds Mark “Rennie” Ellis (11 November 1940 – 19 August 2003) was an Australian social and social documentary photographer who also worked, at various stages of his life, as an advertising copywriter, seaman, lecturer, and television presenter. He founded Brummels Gallery of Photography, Australia’s first dedicated photography gallery, established both a photographic studio and an agency dedicated to his work, published 17 photographic books, and held numerous exhibitions in Australia and overseas. He died after suffering a cerebral haemorrhage at the age of 62.

His first exhibition and book, formed from work in Kings Cross, Sydney, followed in 1971. A year later he re-established Brummels Gallery, a commercial gallery established in the mid-1950s to exhibit contemporary Modernist Australian painting, sculpture and prints, as ‘Brummels Gallery of Photography’, above a restaurant of that name in Toorak Road, South Yarra,[2] and in 1974 Ellis went on to form Scoopix Photo Library in Prahran, which later became the exclusive Australian agent for New York’s Black Star photos. In 1975 he opened his studio, Rennie Ellis & Associates, at the same premises, and operated from there for the rest of his life.

The Guardian newspaper has also looked critically at his work.


Stanley Greene Photojournalist Dies at 68 May 20, 2017

Posted by bohdan.warchomij in : Metaphor Online, New York Times , comments closed


A Tribute to Stanley Greene, Teller of UncomfortableTruths

By James Estrin  

Stanley Greene, who started as a music and fashion photographer and later became one of the leading international conflict photographers, died Friday in Paris at age 68. A founding member of the photographer-owned agency Noor Images, he had been ill with liver cancer for several years, associates said.

Mr. Greene, one of the few African-American photographers who worked internationally, was known for his visceral and brutally honest photographs of wars, including conflicts in Chechnya, Georgia, Afghanistan and Iraq, that at times were too raw for many publications.

“You want to sit there comfortably with your newspaper and blueberry muffin, and you don’t want to see pictures that are going to upset your morning,” Mr. Greene said in a 2010 interview with Lens. “That is the job of a journalist, to upset your morning.”

Mr. Greene’s commitment to telling the unvarnished truth extended to his candid assessments of the ethical questions facing photojournalism. At times he seemed like an Old Testament prophet, willing to speak unsettling truths no matter the consequences. He railed against the use of Photoshop to alter the scenes of news images, a practice that he said turned photos into “cartoons.” And he scorned photographers who staged images in an attempt to recreate a missed moment after arriving late to a news scene.

“The public has lost trust in the media,” he told Lens in 2015. “We have to be ambassadors of the truth, we have to hold ourselves to a higher standard because the public no longer trusts the media. We are considered merchants of misery and therefore get a bad rap.”

Mr. Greene had once aspired to be a painter like Matisse or a musician like Jimi Hendrix, but he discovered his true instrument the first time he picked up a camera, he told Michael Kamber in the 2010 Lens interview. Mr. Kamber, a former conflict photographer himself and the author of “Photojournalists on War: The Untold Stories from Iraq,” this week compared Mr. Greene to a jazz musician.

“Stanley is like the Charles Mingus of photography,” said Mr. Kamber, the founder of the Bronx Documentary Center. “Stanley is about his heart, his emotions and his feelings. His photos are very impressionistic, like a stream of consciousness. Stanley was living on the front edge; all out, all the time. He wasn’t holding anything back for the future.”

Mr. Greene received numerous honors including the Eugene Smith Grant in 2004, the Lifetime Achievement Visa d’or Award in 2016 and five World Press Photo awards. His books include the autobiographical “Black Passport” and “Open Wound: Chechnya 1994-2003.” Anne Tucker, the former curator of photography for the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, featured Mr. Greene in “War/Photography,” a comprehensive exhibit and book.

“You have to acknowledge the strength of his eye, his capacity to encompass issues in a picture frame — to understand a story and put it into visual terms — as well as his courage and tenacity,” Ms. Tucker said. “He was one of those journalists who went towards the bullet because that’s where the story was.”

What he was not, she said, was a good self-promoter. “He cared about the story, he cared about the issues, he cared about getting it right,” she explained.

Stanley Greene was born in Brooklyn on Valentine’s Day in 1949 and grew up in New Rochelle, N.Y. His father, also Stanley, was an actor, producer, filmmaker and director; while his mother, Javotee Sutton Greene, was an actress. His father, also an activist devoted to black culture, was blacklisted as a Communist in the 1950s and reduced to taking anonymous bit parts. Still, he had hoped his son would become an actor.

He had a “somewhat privileged yet traumatic childhood,” said his longtime friend Jules Allen. “There was a loneliness there that was insatiable, but he was blessed enough to at least partially deal with his pain through photography.”

As a teenager, he joined the Black Panthers and was active in the antiwar movement. His dreams of becoming a painter gave way to photography, and he was encouraged in that pursuit by the renowned photojournalist W. Eugene Smith.

In the 1970s, Mr. Allen and Mr. Greene shared a darkroom and a studio in San Francisco while Mr. Greene studied photography at the San Francisco Art Institute and photographed the local music scene. Among his early work was “The Western Front,” which chronicled the city’s punk scene in the 1970s and ’80s.

He cut as striking a figure as some of the acts he photographed. “Stanley was a punk rocker who drove a Mustang,” Mr. Allen said. “He wore a black leather motorcycle jacket, a black beret, two scarves, three watches and four bracelets as well as two great cameras and a bandolier of film strapped across his chest.”

Mr. Greene worked as a fashion photographer in the 1980s and moved to Paris where he later joined the Vu photo agency. He traveled constantly, working extensively in Africa and the former Soviet Union. He was the only Western photographer in Russia’s White House during an attempted coup against the president, Boris Yeltsin. Trapped inside, amid shelling and gunfire, Mr. Greene continued to photograph throughout the building, capturing two images that received World Press Photo Awards.

“The fact that I thought I was going to die gave me courage,” he told Lens in 2010. “Courage is control of fear. I think that this incident is the one that steeled me. I’m no hero, but it made me so that once I commit to a story, I have to see it through.”

A 1992 Moscow encounter with Kadir van Lohuizen, a fellow member of Vu, marked the beginning of a close friendship that would continue at Noor. “He was always my big brother,” Mr. van Lohuizen said in an interview on Thursday. “Stanley is my big brother, and Noor is his family”

The agency was born from a conversation between the two, who often worked together.

“Stanley and I wanted to be independent at the time of transition from analog to digital and from small agencies to a few large ones,” Mr. van Lohuizen said. “We believed that visual storytelling was the essence more than ever and that we should stake the ship and steer it in our own direction.”

In “Black Passport,” Mr. Greene talked candidly about how he felt while covering stories of violence or catastrophe in Rwanda, Chechnya, Haiti and New Orleans. He spoke just as openly about his personal life, including his marriages and numerous love affairs. His Noor colleague Nina Berman described him as “a hopeless romantic, forever falling madly in love — and being pained and hurt.”

He was a “gracious and generous mentor” and teacher to young photographers, she added, and one of “too few” black American photographers working internationally.

Not surprisingly, given the emotional and personal toll of his approach to life and work, along with the physical dangers, he discouraged others from following in his footsteps.

“Though I’m bombarded by young photographers who ask me how to become a conflict photographer, I tell them, ‘Get a life,’ ” he said in 2010. “If they persist, I tell them about the consequences. I tell them there is no glory.”

Even as his health was failing, Mr. Greene continued to work, returning last month from a road trip through northern Russia where he and Maria Turchenkova began a project on the 100th anniversary of the Russian Revolution.

At the end of “Black Passport,” Mr. Greene reflected on the centrality of storytelling to the human experience. Wars are fought, he said, because people have different views of the same story.

“Photography is my language and it gives me the power to tell what otherwise is not told,” he said. “Eugene Smith told me vision is a gift, and you have to give something back. He haunts me like that. It’s not the bang-bang that compels me. It never was. At the end of the day it is not about death, it is about life. The quest is to try to understand why human beings behave the way they do. The question is, how does this happen? And sometimes, the only way to find out is to go to where it is happening. One day the neighbors are talking to each other over the fence, and the next they are shooting at each other. Why is it that we don’t consider life precious, and instead, we literally let it drip through our fingers?”





Miriam Stannage Exhibition Art Collective WA May 17, 2017

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Please join  Art Collective WA for the opening of Miriam Stannage Territories on Saturday 27 May, 2-4pm. 

Territories reveals the extent to which Miriam Stannage continued to contravene the ‘rules’ of art throughout her practice.

This exhibition, the second of her work at Art Collective WA, recognises the important contribution made by Miriam Stannage to Australian art. Territories celebrates both the transgressive nature of her art, and her engagement with the relationship between place and identity. The works speak of borders, of realms beyond our physical, of transition from one state to another.Over her 50-year practice, Miriam produced works across the genres of installation, photography, painting, video, prints and drawings, and artist’s books. Miriam also taught art and was a founding member of the Contemporary Art Society (CAS).In 1998, Miriam was awarded an Honorary Doctorate of Letters from Curtin University and, in 2015, she was honoured as a ‘State Living Treasure’ by the Department of Culture and the Arts for her contribution to our society as an artist and mentor. Her works can be found in all the major Australian collections.

This exhibition has been organised with the support of the artist’s estate and curated by Lee Kinsella.

MIRIAM STANNAGE ‘Territories’ is open at Art Collective WA’s gallery from 27 May – 17 June 2017. All works are for sale.

Email us for more information or to arrange a private viewing. art@artcollectivewa.com.au





Cathedral Square
Rear/565 Hay Street Perth WA
Opening Hours:
Wednesday - Friday 11-4pm
Saturday 12-4pm
Or by appointment 0418 945 011

Photographer Marcus Bleasdale reporting on the Central African Republic Civil War for Human Rights Watch and National Geographic May 16, 2017

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National Geographic Staff


In recent years the Central African Republic (CAR) has posed some of the most vexing questions in Africa: How does a relatively large country (roughly the size of France), with a small population (4.5 million) and vast resources (including gold, diamonds, and timber), become a failed state? How does a place that has avoided major conflicts over its 57 years of independence and one that was most often seen as a haven for refugees from neighboring war-torn countries suddenly find itself become a killing ground?

Seeking answers to these questions, photographer Marcus Bleasdale and writer Peter Gwin traveled throughout the Central African Republic as it has reeled from a brutal civil war that has left thousands of its citizens dead, nearly a million displaced, and the nation’s meager infrastructure in ruins. Their story, “The Burning Heart of Africa,” appears in the May issue of National Geographic magazine.

During his years of reporting, Bleasdale also captured numerous hours of video footage that documents the unfolding of the conflict and provides an intimate look beyond the headlines. This is a view into the daily lives of the people trapped in the chaotic disintegration of their country and their determination to survive and rebuild.


The Rise of Sneaker Culture AGWA Photos Bohdan Warchomij May 13, 2017

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adidas X artist Cey Adams image of Muhammad Ali Photo Bohdan Warchomij

After popular showings in Toronto, Brooklyn and Atlanta, the international exhibition The Rise of Sneaker Culture opened on Friday at AGWA for its only Australian presentation. On Saturday an open day saw throngs of people, amongst them collectors, aficionados and bemused children milling with Gallery Director Stefano Carboni and Curator Robert Cooke wearing happy smiles on the upper floor of the gallery.

Curator Robert Cook and AGWA director Stefano Carboni Photo Bohdan Warchomij

The Rise of Sneaker Culture is the first exhibition to explore the complex social history and cultural significance of the footwear now worn by billions of people throughout the world.

Photo Bohdan Warchomij

photo Bohdan Warchomij

On display are shoes from the archives of Adidas, Converse, Nike and Puma, as well as private collectors such as legendary hip-hop group Run-DMC, sneaker guru Bobbito Garcia (Kool Bob Love) and Dee Wells of Obsessive Sneaker Disorder. Also featured are sneaker collaborations between celebrities, artists and high-end fashion houses, including Kanye West, Damien Hirst, Prada, and Lanvin. Artists working on designs were huge contributors to the rise  of sneaker culture and it was particular poignant to see the artist Mache’s customised artwork of Heath Ledger’s portrait as the Joker from the Batman Movie The Dark Knight in a week when the documentary film I AM HEATH LEDGER had its premiere at Perth’s Luna Cinema.

Photo Bohdan Warchomij

Photo Bohdan Warchomij

Photo Bohdan Warchomij


Among the shoes on display are an 1860s spiked running shoe, an original 1923 Converse All Star/Non Skid, a pair of 1936 track shoes, the original Air Force 1, and early Adidas Superstars. Also featured is a complete presentation of Air Jordans I–XX3 on loan from the Kosow Sneaker Museum.

President Barack Obama on the sole of a sneaker with the slogan A BLACK MAN RUNS AND A NATION IS BEHIND HIM Photo Bohdan Warchomij

Film footage, interactive media, photographic images, and design drawings contextualise the sneakers and explore the social history, technical innovations, fashion trends, and marketing campaigns that have shaped sneaker culture over the past two centuries.

Artist Tom Sachs work on the prototype of a moon boot Photo Bohdan Warchomij

I AM HEATH LEDGER: Luna Cinema Premiere May 9, 2017

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From the Sydney Morning Herald: Michael Idato

Leaving I AM HEATH LEDGER Photo Bohdan Warchomij

In the darkness of a Los Angeles theatrette, the elf-like figure of Heath Ledger dances from side to side, all impish grin and dangerous thought. Up there, with a still affecting presence and the power to slay with a sidelong glance, it’s easy to see how Hollywood fell in love with him.

But this strange, celluloid second life in the documentary I Am Heath Ledger might never have come to be, had filmmakers Derik Murray and Adrian Buitenhuis not come across a vast trove of material filmed by Ledger himself.

“Heath was in his 20s, he was creative, he loved film and he turned the camera on himself and his environment,” Murray says. “He was passionate about life and the people around him.”

Hayley Eckker and Kate Ledger Photo Bohdan Warchomij

Photo Bohdan Warchomij

Initially, both the Ledger family and Matt Amato, Ledger’s production partner in the art collective The Masses, rejected the offer to transform what amounted to the home movies of the late actor into a documentary.

But after Amato spoke to Ledger’s former partner and the mother of his daughter Matilda, actress Michelle Williams, it was Williams who suggested that perhaps the time was right to acknowledge Ledger’s artistry.

“We have for the last nine years had offer after offer and it wasn’t until it came through Matt and we had the blessing of Michelle that I sat up and took notice,” Ledger’s sister Kate said.

“It’s been cathartic for all of us,” she said. “I think it’s amazing we can give this to the world and they can see how brilliant he was and what he truly was about.”

“It’s been very emotional for us as well,” Kate added. “It drags everything back up again, the emotions, it’s been incredibly difficult but therapeutic as well.”

Photo Bohdan Warchomij

“Our focus is celebrating a life, that really is our focus,” Murray said. “These individuals get to the top of the mountain, many of us are in awe of what they’ve done but we haven’t understood the challenges. Who were they? What makes them tick?”

“You have to be sensitive,” Murray adds. “Family members and close friends are obviously going to be protective. What’s really important is that we’re here to tell this inspirational story.”

This very good and important documentary blends footage of Ledger- much of it shot himself with interviews from those close to him, to create a sensitive, optimistic film about an amazingly creative and successful actor cut short in his prime.  It was so important to have Heath’s family at his event, and to learn much about Heath. There were more than a few tears shed at the screening in Perth.

Photos Bohdan Warchomij

Mt Hawthorn Streets and Lanes Festival Photos Bohdan Warchomij May 8, 2017

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Photo Bohdan Warchomij

The Mt Hawthorn Streets and Lanes Festival attracted a huge crowd on a beautiful autumn day in Perth.

The highlights of the festival included exclusive local market stalls, food, music and entertainment with activity  in the lanes of Mt Hawthorn, stretching along Scarborough Beach Road from Oxford Street to Coogee Street, as well as the streets around The Mezz. A moving feast of performers  held Perth’s biggest onesie dance party, involving strangers from the festival to dance.

The performers toured the festival for an hour to an interactive DJ set from the Gorilla Sound System and the Llama Sound System with a number of playful games of connection.

Frederik Buyckx Photographer of the Year 2017 Sony World Photography Awards May 3, 2017

Posted by bohdan.warchomij in : British Journal of Photography, Metaphor Online, Sony World Photography Awards , comments closed

Frederik Buyckx has scooped Photographer of the Year at the 2017 Sony World Photography Awards

Frederik Buyckx has scooped Photographer of the Year at this year’s Sony World Photography Awards, with a series called Whiteout that explores how nature is transformed by winter.  “I have chosen a series of landscapes so that we may return to the essence of looking at photography,” comments Zelda Cheatle, chair of judges at Sony’s World Photography Organisation.

“Landscape is often overlooked but it is central to our existence. I hope this award will inspire many more photographers to take pictures that do not simply encompass the terrible aspects of life in these troubled times but also capture some of the joys and loveliness in each and every environment,” she continues.

Buyckx’s work, which was picked out from 227,00 entries by photographers from 183 countries, was shot in remote areas of the Balkans, Scandinavia and Central Asia, where people often live in isolation and in close contact with nature. “There is a peculiar transformation of nature when winter comes, when snow and ice start to dominate the landscape and when humans and animals have to deal with the extreme weather,” explains the Belgian photographer, who freelances for De Standaard. “The series investigates this struggle against disappearance.”



WHITELY: A Movie directed by James Bogle showing at Luna Cinema from May 11, 2017 May 1, 2017

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WHITELEY is an amazing visual journey into the private life and creative legacy of Australia’s most iconic artist, Brett Whiteley, told “in his own words” using personal letters, notebooks and photographs, interwoven with reconstructions, animations, CGI, archival interviews and rare footage. 25 years after his untimely death, there has never been anyone like Brett Whiteley in the history of Australian art. A talented self-taught illustrator and painter, he was catapulted out of Sydney at 20 when he won a travelling art scholarship to Italy. So began a stellar career which saw him budding in Europe, flourishing in London, and almost disintegrating in New York.

Returning to Australia in 1969, Whiteley helped to define the young nation’s unique creative voice, as it emerged from colonial conservatism and independently entered an ambitious, cosmopolitan era. Whiteley combined the influence of Lloyd Rees (his own Australian role model) with eclectic inspirations gathered overseas, forming an illuminating personal style that propelled him into the global limelight.

Whiteley’s constant muse was his wife, Wendy. Both a catalyst for his creative passions and a witness to their incendiary consequences, she remains the sole custodian of his artistic legacy. When they met, she was an art student, almost 16, and 17-year-old Whiteley was instantly spellbound by her. Together, the wide-eyed teen sweethearts grew into international art rockstars, with Brett’s increasingly complex and contradictory persona swinging them between triumph and disaster. Wendy was the subject of some of his most famous and popular paintings, and was the mother of their only child, Arkie.

Like so many brilliant artists, Whiteley’s ambitious ascent to dizzying heights would eventually meet with a tragic downfall. Having built a tower of artistic statements exploring monumental ideas like Love, Evil, War, Beauty and “Endlessnessism”, he irretrievably fell from it.

Whiteley’s artworks were made across just 30 years, but their ongoing impact on Australia’s creative culture is extraordinary: he blazed a trail that still lights a path forward for a new generation of artists.

James Bogle Photo Bohdan Warchomij


Kevin Ballantine PHOTOGRAPHS 1986-2001 Lawrence Wilson Art Gallery Curated by Sally Quin April 30, 2017

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Kevin Ballantine Photographed by Bohdan Warchomij

Kevin Ballantine’s PHOTOGRAPHS 1986-2001 provides an insight into a mysterious sculptural world on the edge of the Indian Ocean. The series list includes

Cup City 1983-1985

Cottesloe Beach 1988

Beach Pictures 2000-2001

Town Pictures 1989

Protest Pictures 1986-1990

Great Eastern Highway 1989

Photo Bohdan Warchomij

His collaboration with curator Sally Quin has successfully created an exhibition which looks at a world that is somewhat empty and alienating and references links to an international universe that is somehow impinging on and connecting with an isolated Western Australia.

It helps explain to us the vacancy of commercialism and naive corporatism through the billboards and advertising that his photographs capture. There is a sense of unease in many of the photos, bodies in the water look to the horizon, people  stand like statues in clusters, searching for the mythical race that is so far off to sea that it is practically invisible. The people in Ballantine’s photos are outsiders, with no sense of belonging to the world they are part of.

It is a powerful look at a world that has passed by, a capsule from the past, perfectly legitimate and intact in Kevin Ballantine’s vision.

On Saturday 6 May at 2pm Kevin Ballantine will participate in an artists’ talk at the Lawrence Wilson Gallery.