Darkroom Redux!

It's funny ya know, I remember a time when I would spend as much time as I could in the darkroom, now I have to spend an hour or two cleaning dust and cobwebs up before I can even start?

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Chance encounter?

A funny thing happened as we left the cafe/restaurant last night. We had eaten a very filling and spicy meal at LimeLeaves at QVC[ 13-15 QV Square Red Cape Lane Melbourne 3000 Australia +0396639777. As we stood up to leave we passed two guys who had been sitting on my right. One of the two stood up and asked me, “ Was Stuart Murdoch?”
I could do nothing but answer, “ Yes? But I'm sorry I don't know you?”
The chap them promptly introduced himself, and said he had been looking around for Photoshop workshops online and really liked my site, and my photography. Well blow me down, I was flabbergasted, chuffed and almost speechless!

Speaking of my website, I suspect a facelift this summer holidays, who knows?

Today an image from another pair, a recent decorative purchase that can be found in the sun room, as always, tweaked in Photoshop using Lobster. Tomorrow it's mate.

Rusty sign 1 of 2

An article in this month's Macworld has me ‘under the hood’ of Mozilla's great browser FireFox, tweaking a few settings has ramped up the speed of this browser, quite impressvely, looks like I'll use it for a while. Certainly when checking articles from NetNewsWire.

Why I love the web

Well it is Satdee after all? Brazil, anyone?

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Two of Two?

This image, I feel, would pair nicely with yesterday's image, horizontally of course, in a kind of in and out way if you like? Again, heavily tweaked in Photoshop using the “ Lobster” colour correction plug-in


These images are a kind of return to the homeland sort of pair, I've been long interested in the idea that ‘we’ as a culture are reflected in the environment we build and inhabit, an environment that is capable of as much repulsion as it is attraction. Originally I used black and white materials printed very carefully and subtly to get these ideas across, now, I'm using colour, light and composition, dunno if it's working or not, I guess my next "show" will tell me?

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Photoshopped creativity

As promised, here they come, all are heavily tweaked in photoshop using the Lobster plug-in.

Rusted pole in tweaked in photoshop


End of a burst?

Creativity comes in bursts, more on it's way I'm sure.

Ikea Carpark Arrows


condition - human?

The creative bursts just keep on keepin' on!


From some time spent in a retail store's VM studio, tiny bit of cropping and levels and sharpening in Photoshop, sadly; shot at 400 ISO, but hey you gotta take these opportunities when you can.

Spent a few hours in that place called the darkroom yesterday, fun it was indeed. Pretty pleased with the resulting print, am thinking that I may go back through my archives to get ready for a 20 year show in 2007, we'll see.

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Dusk in Hawthorn


Surprisingly minimal editing in Photoshop too?

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Live from Japan

Spent the better part of several hours on skype with my good pal Dan, chattin' away as if we were just in the kitchen havin' a yarn over a couple of cold beers.

Ain't technology awesome.

New Browser

Well a new bowser enters the market, it's called flock, will report back in a day or two - maybe?

Summer Photosop Workshops 2005-2006

Photoshop is considered a necessary tool by many, and it is indeed a powerful tool, I would argue however, it is but one of many available to photographers out there. Such are the vagaries of the commercial world I guess that is risen to market dominance, where to now for this app? It has everything anyone could ever need and more, I doubt I use anymore than about 1/3 of it's features, and yet they keep adding more. The only thing left for them to do is add true 16 bit editing and make it a vector based app like the long dead but still useable and graceful Live Picture, I would then devour it as an application for editing my photographs. I wonder then would backwards compatibility be an issue, well I'm not holding my breath for it to happen? Apple is now another contender in this issue, wonder what their software will be like?

My summer series of photoshop dates are now online, accessible form either, my personal site or my work site

Today's image, from my flickr set, 2005.10.15, no prizes for guessing who has inspired this one.

Homage to Smart

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While conducting a little research for the planned Melbourne flickr exhibition application, using the search term photography and the web, I came across this blog, brownglasses.com, very similar in look an feel to, daily dose of imagery. Both fantastic photoblogs. Funnily enough both Daily dose of imagery photographer Sam Javanrouh flickr, and Rachel James of brownglasses.com are on flickr. What I don't like about these kinds of photographers though is they are producing work that, shows how a powerful tool like photoshop is good at creating images that all look the same?

I'll give 'em this much however, uploading an image a day is no mean feat, and effort not to be sneezed at whatsoever,
“ good on 'em I say.”

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Have had a productive week or so, am going to upload the mages over the coming days. Here is the first in of several in no particular order.

Inspired by William Eggleston's similar image.

Webber BBQ

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Internet TV

Internet TV has arrived!

Try this tasty morsel

Photoshop Workshops

So, things are in some ways winding down for the year, one of my contracts ends in 2 weeks, the students at, PIC where I work for the other 3 days, are all focused on getting their final folios completed and gearing up for the annual end of year show. It is at one level, exciting and a real buzz to see the fruits of one's labours so to speak, but on the other hand it is a little saddening, not to mention financially testing. One of the ways I deal with the strain on the finances, is to run weekend workshops in Photoshop.

These are small scenarios, with lots of individual attention. They have proved to be popular over the years, and I am surprised and happy that people continue to want to pick up these kinds of new skills. Photoshop itself is a tool that while it's not the most elegent or forgiving of tools is a powerful one nonetheless. I'm glad to have been given the oppurtunity to learn and teach it. It has proved an invaluable asset in my creative arsenal, and there isn't a week goes by where I don't learn something new about it.

So if you know someone who is interested in learning a little more about Photoshop as a photo editing application, then send them along to my workshops, I'd be more than happy to share some of my knowledge of the application with them.

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Oh the humanity

Succinct, evocative and poetic, so says Dr.Paradox about "being human"

"...to be human is to have this intense drive to imagine and create"

With you all the way on that one!

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2 Warm days, and...

Phew, what a weekend, over 200 shots.

A new set as a consequence, 2005.10.15

Also dug out my Holga and "borrowed" one with a Polaroid™ back. With great light happening at the moment, and one contract winding down, all adding up to a nice creative burst.

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My current stats on Flickr

My current stats on Flickr

This many people have looked at my flickr photos!

What I find interesting is the ability to search and organise your photography and to allow others to search as well.

I'm glad that the sets link is second from the top as this is the driving reason behind my use of flickr.

I love that it's a live 24/7/365 online exhibition space.

I can organise my images in any way I see fit and re-organsie them as often as I want.

If people want t know more about me they can and from there I can link to several other pages or sites that help people build up an idea of who I am and what it is I do.

This weekend has seen me browsing my calender to add shots to eligible pools and tidy up my own searching by adding tags to my images. The first few months I was not clear on the power of these simple tools and now as my online portfolio is over 2000 images I really realise the importance of find the right photo quickly.

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Is that a Holga on your desk?

getting ready to shoot using a Holga Camera and Polaroid back

On Friday arvo, just gone, stumbled on some awesome flickr images made using a Holga Camera. I was inspired to go and get my own Holga camera, I also knew, that PIC, has at least one. So burrowing around in the store I found this one, with a Polaroid back, there was plenty of film as well, so back to my desk to practice and learn. I managed to blast through my 3 film packs by late Saturday morning, and produced this small piece as a consequence.


It seems that the only way to get a reasonable exposure is to wait for some decent quantity of light. Then when you do get it look out for the old light leak that Holga's are famous for. Looking back over the two days, I managed to pair two unrelated shots together and make this rather nice piece. I am now carrying a second camera with me this one is loaded with Kodak Portra 400 VC, so now, I'm back to using film for a while, not that I don't have a backlog of negs of various sizes and formats to scan and do something with? Don't worry the Nikon Coolpix 5400 is still running hot!

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Police Over Reaction?

Recently on the Corner of Elizabeth and Hoddle Sts in Richmond, I was approached by three police officers and asked.
“ What are you doing?”

You wanna now what I was doing? What I have been doing for nearly 20 years, taking a photos of our societies' zeitgeist. Images like this.

Police harassed me over the taking of this photo.

So I'd heard about the heightened sense of paranoia, that has swept the country of late. But had not really encountered it nor believed it. Well it is happening.

The 3 person foot patrol was out wandering the streets of Richmond, and just happened to walk past as I was taking this photo. The cops kept making wise cracks about justifying their activities to their boss, so their request for my details didn't sink in initially. I continued the banter about cops with coffee and donuts, so forth, and they then point blank asked me for some identification. They confirmed all my details were correct and re-confirmed that I was taking images for my own pleasure.[ I initially responded by talking about some of the features of the image that had drawn me to it, features that I hope need no writing about as the image chosen image shown here sums up my thoughts on the irony and ludicrousness of the image being displayed 20 feet in the air on a public and very busy road!]

Will this stop me from doing this? No. I will certainly not stop wandering the streets of Melbourne capturing the visual details that make up for a pleasing and intriguing scrap book of images describing who I am in relation to this city, what I've seen and where I've been. Will I respond differently to the next approach by police? Yes. How though I'm not really sure?

prohibited image made on private propertywithout permission

Enjoy these other images made, in prohibited places.

Or maybe you'd like to see a complete slide show of some of my urban landscapes

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...elswhere on the web.

I've been blogged at Utata.org, this the second one now since November, 2004, when I first signed onto flickr. The first was at flickrzen.


I shot this many photos in 2 months

As the term break draws to a close, I have just completed a back up of all my images shot in the last two months, 758 mg. I was expecting to shoot more, but sadly a couple of events got in the way. Nik's father is a builder back in her home town of Mildura, he has just built a display home. His sales rep wanted to furnish the house and as Nik's Dad had recently paid a visit to Ikea in Richmond he thought it would be great to house the furniture using their furniture. So we get a phone call.
“ Can you please buy some furniture and bring it up to us by Monday?”
“ Of course” says Nik.
“ We'll fax a list later in the week”
The List arrives — it's three pages LONG!

So we dutifully head off to Ikea on Friday morning, a wise move, Saturdays are a nightmare in that store. It took all of the day to buy everything on the list. Seven trolleys full in total. Don't even get me started on the whole issue of finding someone high enough up the food chain to help us organise the temporary storage of the trolleys as we went in search of a means of transporting the goods to Mildura. We had already spent the morning looking into options and decided we would try and book a Furniture van and tow it behind my Magna, station wagon. We were picking this up on Saturday, around 1:00pm. [Perfect timing to escape the annual event that pre-occupies Melbourne's collective psyche, a time when I try and get a cheap flight out of Melbourne, often easy if there is at least one interstate team playing.]

We spent the best part of Saturday morning getting organised, and then headed off to pick up the Van. A saga develops!

We had tried to book one type of van the company claimed that none were available, so we settled for second best. We arrive at the depot, three of the damn things are sitting there! Back on the phone. It seems that they weren't prepared to give us one as the destination of this one way rental already had too many up there. Back out to the trailers and we spent 45 minutes trying to get the trailer we had booked unlocked. No luck even after several phone calls. Then another long phone call to the company. Finally after a much discussion we got the trailer we had originally wanted. No thanks to the company, we hired it from. The rest of the day involved wheeling trolleys out of Ikea, and loading the van. When we'd finished, things didn't look right and my poor old car wasn't coping too well with the 900kg trailer, plus load.
I decided we needed to re-load the van and re-distribute the weight more evenly.
It took an hour.
Not counting the 20 minutes or so it took me to reverse into our drive!
That night was dinner at Pete and Sue's. I was wrecked and barely made it to 10:00pm.

Me and Nik @ Chalrton

Sunday was the big day, and surprisingly once on the open road the car trundled along ok. After four hours we stopped at our usual stop in a place called Charlton. Great Hamburgers and steak sandwiches there, at the Mobil on the south end of town! Then on and upward to Mildura, when, somewhere south of Ouyen, it started raining, it didn't stop till we got to Mildura, thank god we had the covered van!

Finally in Mildura we set about unloading, and this time I got some help from Nik's Dad in how to reverse and we unloaded the trailer in no time, off to the depot to finally rid ourselves of that 900kg beast and home for a quiet evening meal and an early night.

The drive home was so different to the drive up, in fact I drove all the way home. We did stop for a short break at one of the many picnic spots that dot the highways of Victoria. Which in itself brought back a whole heap of memories about Sunday drives and picnics. Still I will do it differently next time, perhaps with a small 3 tonne truck.

At least I now know how to reverse a trailer!

So back to my original thought. Whilst backing up my lastest round of images, I scrolled though them all for another look using iView a neat little freeware app for managing photo-libraries and of course after 6 weeks or so I managed to see some images that looked like they were worth a revisit. So this process of dealing with my images served a twoflod purpose. It allowed me the oppurtunity to revisit the images and decide their visual merit, it allowed me to remember what i'd done over the last 6 weeks and where I'd been.

God I love photography.