Well another week has passed! And boy, did it pass quickly. I am now on the home stretch with only little more than a week to go.
The teaching classes have been fantastic, with the kids moving well in terms of their understanding of photography and their willingness to take risks and find out what they can do.
We plan to have a small exhibition at the end of the week and invite all the parents into the centre for a bit of a look and some nibbles. That’s going to put a bit of pressure on the interpreter. LOL.
When we’re not in the class situation our time is spent traveling around to the various galleries and exhibitions that are on in Shanghai at the moment. The art scene here seems very vibrant and relatively open. I have seen some brilliant work here by various artists and marvel at the relative freedom these guys have to pursue their work. Firstly, they seem to take enormous risks in terms of what they are willing to pursue….many of them change style and subject as they would change their clothes, allowing themselves the freedom to pursue new ideas without considering how the market will respond. I like this approach. You may say that these Chinese artists have less of a free voice, with censorship present on every level of Chinese society……however, I seem to think this small barrier to absolute freedom of speech is surmounted easily and confidently by the artists who’s work I have seen, by innuendo, satire and irony. The censorship merely forces the artists to become more creative and subtle in the way they approach the subject or comment they wish to make….the comment is still made! Secondly, with China’s amazing industrial might, the artists here have access to materials and labour that may have been prohibitive to other artists elsewhere. They can also not limited by scale.
Well…..It’s been a while since my last post. However, I am writing from Shanghai!
What a blast this place is, just what the doctor ordered for a change of scenery and what a change of scenery.
I am here on an art residency program sponsored by ACAF (The Australia China Art Foundation), based in Melbourne and Shanghai and run by a wonderfully inspired Chinese lady called Yashian Shauble. I am over here in Shanghai for one month and I am teaching photography to disadvantaged kids and 3 different schools.
So for I am loving it! The children, as you can well imagine, are amazing. Even though it is, at times, exhausting working with young kids, they take so much……but they also give back so much more. This exchange is beautiful and you never really mind. Although, I don’t think I have the stamina to have chosen teaching as a profession. I have a lot more respect for those worthy professionals now!!
Below are some shots of various classes. I’ll keep posting as I go along. This will be the first post of many….or so I intend! LOL
Matt Mitcham dropped in to my studio the other night…..in hand was his latest stash of medals. The best one was the gold, of course and Matt was deservedly happy and proud of his achievements. I decided to snap a few shots……..
There I am, right up there with camera in hand! Finally, got the thrill of shooting Courtney Act (Global Ambassador for Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras) perched on the highest sail of the Opera House. Amazing experience! With limited time and tight technical restrictions you were more concentrated on getting the shot than taking in the remarkable view. However, it will be something I’ll remember for a long time to come. Courtney was the consummate professional and, as always, a joy to work with. Thanks to everyone involved in making the shoot happen, particularly the amazing staff at the Opera House for pulling all stops out to facilitate the shoot.
I had the best start to the morning, this morning.
I had to be at the stage door of the Opera House at 6.30am. Myself and a couple of comrades prepared ourselves for an exceptional climb. We were to view the location of a proposed shoot.
After weaving our bodies through the internal structure of one of the sails and along it’s spine, we squeezed through the last trapdoor to ascend upon the highest sail of the Opera House. As you climb out, the view almost takes your breath away.
It took a couple of minutes for the realisation that, “I’m on top of the sail of the Opera house…..outside!”, to sink in. How fabulous!!
Here’s a shot (below). I can’t wait for the shoot date!
Had a ball working with Decoda and Rhys and Jeremy on their up and coming extravaganza at ARQ, The New Trinity Show. It was fun to see Decoda schlepped in cases of all kinds of possible accessories! You can never have enough, hey! Happy to say we got some great shots out of the exercise.
Norrie is deservedly in the news, and I’m happy to see my portrait of Norrie May-Welby picked up by the Guardian newspaper, appearing on the home page of the Australian version of the Guardian’s web site. This portrait also made it as a finalist in the 2011 National Portrait Prize at the National Portrait Gallery, Canberra.