(More than) 10 Questions: Graduate, Commercial Photographer Peter Black

One of our earliest graduates from the original Certificate IV in Creative Photography program which was only ever delivered at Stepney was Peter Black. Peter has been working in Melbourne as a photographer for a design company since he graduated from the CCP in 1998 and has some enlightening stories about his life beyond study.

Before leaving for his current position in Melbourne, Peter also assisted in our studio classes as well as becoming a member of the Light Gallery’s Exhibition Committee and it was by this association that Peter and I became close friends, with Peter often “chaperoning” a much younger Aaron Blake through his teenage years and nights out on the town together.

We often catch up together when visiting Melbourne and Peter graciously attended Joanna’s and my wedding with his wife Emma, booking a room at the “wedding hotel”, so we could also get together a little less formally the following morning.

Below are a few images from what was a wonderful night; all guests were asked to bring a camera and Peter (fantastically) brought his pinhole camera - see photographs of me and Joanna, and Aaron. You may also recognise CCP graduate Leanne McPhee (who has just been to Harvard for work with historical printing processes) and CCP Lecturer and graduate Mike Lim.

I have been witness to the shift of vision and action Peter has undergone since his student days at the CCP those many years ago and I think it’s testimony to his working life that Peter is still really enjoying “work” after fifteen years or so in this industry. It’s always such a pleasure to witness the transformation from a student of photography to a working professional which is one of the reasons I have yet to miss a day at work as an Arts educator …Peter Black over to you.

Peter Black circa 1998 photographed by fellow student Sue Michael

Peter Black circa 1998 photographed by fellow student Sue Michael

MORE THAN 10 QUESTIONS: PETER BLACK

What first interested you, or made you fall in love with, photography?

I have always had at least a passing interest in photography but I'd always been more interested in mathematics and physics when thinking about careers. I'm not sure exactly when it went from a passing interest to thinking of it as a potential profession, it may have actually been well after I did my first paying job.

Why did you choose to study at the CCP?

I think I initially ended up at the CCP doing a course that North Adelaide School of Art outsourced to them in the very early of the CCP and very quickly realised that this was the place I wanted to be. They also seemed quite good at teaching photography!

Are you making personal work?  

It's been a while since I have shot something purely for myself but I try to make as many of the shots I make in my day to day work personal pieces as I can. Believe it or not shooting product photography in the studio is actually what I like to do! I enjoy the food photography that comes in to the studio sometimes too. Plenty of the things being photographed can be rather uninteresting in themselves but the process of photographing them to make them look good is usually interesting and actually making them look great is rewarding.

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What have you done since you studied at the CCP, and what are you doing now?

I studied at the CCP in the early days in Stepney and had quite a bit of fun doing the pilot versions of some of the courses and generally enjoying the atmosphere of the school as it was finding its place and developing its culture. After that I moved to Melbourne to complete an Advanced Diploma (pre-diploma days at CCP) and have been shooting commercial and advertising photography around Melbourne for the last 15 or so years.

How has photography changed since you commenced your studies?  

The biggest change from then has obviously been the shift from film to digital, the basics have remained the same but the way they are applied and who is applying them has certainly changed. As well as the obvious changes to post production workflow, often the way we shoot in the first place can be informed by the new post production techniques now available. Perhaps the most common example is the ease of combining multiple exposures allowing mutually exclusive lighting techniques to be used on a single image. On the other hand many clients have decided that Photoshop means they can now send poor condition or incorrect samples to be photographed because “You’ll just fix that up in post, right?”

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How have you changed since you were a student?  

I honestly hope I have not changed that much, outside of constantly trying to improve my skills, I hope I still appreciate the small things as much as I did back when being a starving student meant that small things were all I had to appreciate. While by pretty much any metric my life has been steadily improving since I was at the CCP many years ago it is a time I still look back on with some serious nostalgia.

I’m also a bit greyer in the hair and creakier in the joints since then too I guess.

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Which photographers - past or present - have been major influences on your work – and why?

While I don't pay as much attention to what's going on in the photography world as I perhaps should we're always exposed to plenty of images to draw inspiration from, movie posters often show interesting and dramatic ways of lighting people and there is no shortage of product imagery around to take the best of and expand on in your own way. In general I try to be more inspired by what I am shooting rather than what other people have done, making each shot to suit what it needs to be in itself rather than trying to make it look like something else.

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Who are the people who have shaped your work and career and why?

I like to think I’m mostly self-made but like everyone who says that it’s pretty much entirely untrue. Perhaps more accurately I have picked up so many little pieces from so many different people that no individual influence stands out above the others. One comment which has stuck with me right from the very early days of the CCP came from Barrie Washbrook during one of the first darkroom classes. Someone has commented that his printing skills were outstanding to which he responded that he did not think that his printing was necessarily extraordinary, he was just very particular in how he shot his images in the first place which allowed him to easily make excellent prints.

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Any surprises - good or bad - as you have progressed in your career?

Who’d have thought I’d be excited when a vacuum cleaner comes in to the studio to be photographed? Somewhere along the line I’ve developed an affinity for vacuum cleaner photography but, as much as I enjoy it now, I’m sure no student (myself included) goes into photography with vacuum cleaners in mind.

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Do you have any advice for student photographers?  

Easily the biggest piece of advice to people starting out in photography is to first and foremost make sure you have good solid and broad technical proficiency. From a creativity standpoint this may seem counter intuitive but if you concentrate on developing your creative vision at the expense of technical proficiency you are likely to end up frustrated in the attempt to get your ideas in to your images the way you envision them and sacrificing a lot of the impact of your vision.

Any funny anecdotes from your experience in the industry?   

I do recall telling someone about the glamour of advertising photography while trimming the bristles of a toilet brush to make it look just right for a catalogue so there are definitely plenty of days where it's just a job to be done for a paycheck too.

What are your passions outside of photography?

I have dabbled a little in car racing over the years but that has mostly been overtaken by getting off the beaten track and discovering the back roads and remote areas of Australia as well as pretty much all aspects of food from spending time in the kitchen, finding interesting and creative food eating out to getting out and about discovering great producers around the country.

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Outside the studio I actually like to leave the cameras behind as much as possible. I’m sure my photography changes the way I see things and I know when I’m travelling through different landscapes I see them very photographically which I believe increases my enjoyment of them but I much prefer to be creating my images from a blank canvas in the studio rather than recording or interpreting scenes I find ‘out in the wild’.

Peter Black can be found at Omega Creative in Melbourne

(More than) 10 Questions: CCP Lecturer Mark Spaven

Close to home again today this episode features a much loved lecturer at the CCP Mark Spaven who has been teaching our studio-based subjects since 2009, well after we’d moved from Stepney into where we are now at Marleston. I first got to know Mark as he started becoming a regular renter of the studios here; he struck me as a straight shooter. When Mark made an observation to me about his confidence that he could make a positive contribution to our education program, I was interested.

You see, I am approached fairly often by people who feel that teaching here would be a good thing, and surely it would be. However when it isn’t clear that the hopeful lecturer can actually contribute and add to the unique program we offer at the CCP, the conversation won’t go much further. This institution is after all a living enterprise responsible for the future of a lot of students here in our community, and I truly believe that members of the faculty here are more than just mouthpieces espousing information to the “great unwashed”.

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The resonance Mark Spaven tapped when he told me that he wished to contribute to our program here illustrated his desire to become a part of the crazy family collective we call the CCP crew. Of course it’s never as simple as just rocking up to class and teaching, firstly as I informed him, he required the mandatory qualifications of Workplace Assessor beyond his obvious skill set and training in photography. Naturally he was already working towards this qualification – another positive impression and another box ticked.

And so over a beer or two, we talked about photography, life and just what it meant to be a teacher – the last point being especially salient because Mark’s wife was a secondary school teacher (and still is) and so it came to pass, I decided to mentor Mark in the specifics of teaching and “cat herding”. He became my studio assistant when I was teaching my classes all while he was completing his Workplace Assessor qualifications. We ended each class in the evening at my place where I made him a light dinner which we washed down with a beer or two. This provided an excellent vehicle to de-brief about the particular evening’s class and various observations about positives and problems.

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It was always an engaging conversation which naturally meandered into rock and roll, life and just growing up in our generation. I think this brand of fun continued between us for about six months until of course Mark Spaven was ready to fly the coop and be let loose upon the CCP students solo and I left him with the sage advice to “make it your own” because of course this is what is required to separate fact from fiction – especially if you are the one delivering the day’s lesson.

Mark in his time here has certainly made the classes he teaches his own and he has become an extremely valuable member of the teaching crew at the CCP. Just as important, Mark is an engaging lecturer, a great person and a good friend and I enjoy his self-deprecating humour which is totally refreshing. We still get to share the occasional beers together and I enjoy going to see his band at their live shows whenever possible because they are actually really excellent.

Mark’s students also love having him around in class and this is obviously important as a lecturer and I know Mark derives a lot of satisfaction from being at the coalface so to speak. And with that I introduce another chapter in the history of the Centre for Creative Photography at 20 years… Mark Spaven over to you.

Portrait of Mark Spaven by a CCP student (Apologies to the student for forgetting your name - if this is your image please let us know so we can credit you!)

Portrait of Mark Spaven by a CCP student
(Apologies to the student for forgetting your name - if this is your image please let us know so we can credit you!)

MORE THAN 10 QUESTIONS: MARK SPAVEN

What first interested you, or made you fall in love with photography?

My parents moved our family from Canberra to Coffs Harbour, and then to Brisbane during my formative years. I knew nobody, and with my first pay packet I bought a RICOH range finder with a fixed lens. It gave me something to do and, using some fencing wire, I made a ring binder book out of my images. My second purchase was a sound system and my third, a car that I immediately drove back to Canberra upon receiving my driver’s licence. Four years later, still living in Canberra, I qualified as an Optical Mechanic. I then travelled overseas for two years. I hadn’t used the camera since Brisbane, so I dusted it off and took it travelling with me. When I arrived back in Australia, I lived in Sydney and showed my Kodachrome slide images from the trip to anyone that was interested. Everyone kept telling me how much they enjoyed the pictures; and I think that may have planted an unconscious seed. After two years in Sydney I came here to Adelaide and realised that I did not want to work in Optics long term. I decided that I would become a photographer. I enrolled in a TAFE course for photography and worked as a freelance optical mechanic while studying.

Are you making personal work?

I am making videos and posters for the band I now play in, in fact I have an animated clip for one of our original songs now playing in the current faculty exhibition at the Light Gallery. Why not drop past and see it – I think it’s a lot of fun and Gavin and Aaron make a cameo appearance... and if you can't make it in this month you can always check out the video here.

What inspires your work at the moment?

Teaching inspires me actually. I think I burnt out with photography a while ago; I worked as a creative on demand for 25 years and believe me when I say that running your own business without any safety net is tough. I loved it, but I am now really fortunate to be able to continue my career with teaching. It’s gratifying to pass on my experience.

What have you done since you started at the CCP, and what are you doing now?

Well I bought the camera first then the sound system. So of course I am now into song writing and gigging with GRID THE BAND. I still have clients that I shoot for; it’s just that I’m not looking to expand this enterprise any further.

How has photography changed since you started?

Wow, in many ways, the anxiety of waiting an hour and a half for a film transparency clip test, then that time again waiting to pick up the film at Duckpond (who merged with Atkins Technicolour a while ago), all while hoping you got the job done on time. We used to build film images in the studio while shooting Polaroids, a very slow and considered process and you were treated with a lot of respect and sometimes awe. I was shooting a lot of 5x4 for commercial usage. Trying to manipulate images with no Photoshop, I did a lot of art work for sets and also on images to stylize them. I think manipulation in Photoshop and the high ISO settings making low light more manageable are huge changes.  

How has photography changed your life?

Well, it really made my life. I started shooting bands, dancers, artist and actors. My first studio was shared with a dance company who were working with live musicians, I lived upstairs with one of the dancers, who I later married, and the studios were downstairs. It was a beautiful two-storey building cheaply rented to us by the government. They had cleared the site of businesses before we moved in, as they had bought the Hindmarsh site for what is now the Entertainment Centre, leaving most of it vacant for a few years. It was a very bohemian lifestyle, tap dancing classes Monday nights, we rented space to artists and got involved with the local community on that side of the city. It was the beginning of my metamorphosis from a country boy into a city boy. I’ve had had a lot to do with horses, rodeos and country life in my past and a lot of my friends were on farms in my early years.

Which photographers - past or present - have been major influences on your work?

I started looking at English photographers like Bill Brandt and Michael Cline, all the black and white shooters. I loved the European light and their take on form and composition. Then once I acquired some serious overheads I was looking at a lot of magazine editorial as I had to actually make some serious money.

Who are the people who have shaped your work and career and why?

Joe Disario gave me my first big break. I had signed the lease on a large commercial space off Port Road, and I had nothing. I borrowed $1000 off my dad, bought a 5x4 inch view camera and signed a lease with six Italian business men, all related to each other. I negotiated three months free rent with them and thought if I didn’t survive the three months then what would I have to lose, nothing... although, I did have a recurring dream about a pair of cement boots and a subsequent sinking! I bought some very cheap flash heads and made soft boxes out of foam core. I then shot some commercial images which I took around to art directors. Joe gave me the LE GROG catalogue, then Pizza Haven. I also shot some big furniture catalogues for him. I was on my way as the money started to flow in. I sublet the studio to some film makers and began building the space into purpose built studios.

Do you have any advice for student photographers?

I was working with advertising agencies and graphic designers; I then teamed up with some designers, an illustrator and a writer. They moved into the studios with me and we set up a production company. We began working with direct clients which gave us control of the creative process; we had a round table approach. It was a great time and we did some really nice work together. I also took on a lot of different types of work, from very creative to basic retail. Now there seems to be a lot of crossover happening with visual communication and as such I would advise students to try and be versatile across graphics, web design and photography through association or training.

What is the best job you've done since you've been working in the industry?

Put it this way, it was perceived as the best job according to my friends. A company called Multivision helped me with an audio visual production that I was working on with a dance company. I showed the final production to Rob Brookman, from the Festival, using Mulitivision’s facilities and equipment. Multivision happened to have a job with the Grand Prix which they offered me. I shot rapid still images of the track volunteers and Multivision made a large multi-screen presentation, shown outdoors, using banks of slide projectors. It was shown outdoors at the after party to Tina Turner’s hit, Simply The Best. I did it for several years and had a pass to go anywhere I wanted. I even got a regular high speed turn around the race track in the clearing car with flags flying. I never shot one car during the entire time I was covering the event.

Ironically, the only race I didn’t photograph was the first race, but I did work there as a barman in the one and only beer (Coopers) tent on site. Saturday was fine but on Sunday race day, myself and four other barman served 250,000 patrons (not all buying beer, but still!). First we ran out of cups, and then the beer wouldn’t pour in the 40+ degree temperature. We couldn’t even get stock into the tent because the crowds were so thick. I started at 9am, and had to fight my way through, it was insane! We were surrounded the whole day by an angry mob that had lined up waiting for hours. Every order was a full tray and half the time we couldn’t serve them. I really thought they were going to jump the trestles and kill us! So there you have it, my best and worst jobs were both at the Adelaide Grand Prix!

(More than) 10 Questions: Award-winning Graduate Bernie Kaeding

This latest chapter features a recent graduate, Bernadette (Bernie) Kaeding (CCP Diploma 2014), who has since become pretty much a permanent fixture here at the CCP.

At least, Bernie is always present through her generous support of our exhibition openings in the Light Gallery with her wine label Red Art. And that’s as good a time as any to mention that Bernie will be supporting the upcoming CCP faculty exhibition, this year titled “Frame”. We will have a Red Art 2012 shiraz and 2011 petit verdot during all night long for your enjoyment.

Red Art is a collaboration with Bernie's partner in life Sam Kurtz and both are now both warm friends of the community that is the CCP.

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This dynamic duo have lived in Tanunda ever since I have known Bernie as a student. I was always so impressed that Bernie would make the drive down (and back after her classes finished at 10:00pm weekdays), often twice a week and sometimes more when Bernie broke the back of her Certificate IV. I remember all this was happening while working the winery full-time!

I recall Bernie first enrolled at the CCP just to complete a few subjects here, being Introduction to Photography to learn how to operate her camera and then Camera Portfolio 1 for a bit of conceptualising, so she could simply make images for her wine labels.

This was in 2010 and Bernie just kept going, completing her Certificate IV within a year. Bernie was hooked on photography and she kept coming back until graduating in 2014 with the final subject for her Diploma of Photo Imaging being Photography for an Exhibition, an intensive class we only run every couple of years.

But Bernie wasn’t quite done… the next term we asked if she would be interested in Portrait Photography 2 as an extra subject. This final subject fascinatingly enough provided the germ of an idea which went on to become an award winning book titled “True Stories - Portraits of Barossa Winemakers”.

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The book was relaunched here at the CCP with an exhibition and of course a delightful degustation featuring a wonderful selection of Red Art wines. As an aside, Bernie runs similar dinners semi-regularly and I would highly recommend you attend!

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Never one to sit on her laurels, Bernie is always developing her artistic projects and of course her wines have won numerous awards and as I tell anyone who will listen that I “bathe in this stuff” as often as I can! Most of all though, I really love the meshing of Bernie’s photographic vision with her passion for wine making. Just recently Joanna and I hung yet another one of Bernie’s images from her latest portfolio in our ever growing art collection at home, and as such we get to share in this vision every day.

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Now a firm friend of ours, it gives me great pleasure to illuminate today’s post with more than 10 questions from Bernadette Kaeding. Over to you Bernie:

MORE THAN 10 QUESTIONS: Bernadette Kaeding

Photograph (c) Milton Wordley

Photograph (c) Milton Wordley

What first interested you, or made you fall in love with, photography?

When I was in high school I had the opportunity to choose Photography as one of my elective subjects.  I had been quite fascinated by photography.  I was always keen on art, but felt the traditional drawing and painting was not suited to me.  This was confirmed by my year 9 art teacher who so eloquently wrote in my report card “she lacks the ability to draw”. Not one speck of constructive or positive feedback.  Just that one statement.  As you can see, I was able to let that slide and not hold on to any ill feelings.  Anyway, during the photography class, we were given little film cameras (this was back in the 80’s, so no digital) to photograph around the school and at home.  Once we got in the darkroom to process the film my love of photography materialised.  

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Why did you choose to study at the CCP?

After school I completed a Commerce Degree and entered the workforce, soon ending up in the wine industry. My partner Sam and I ended up purchasing our own vineyard and built a small winery.  I wanted to incorporate my love of photography into our business, initially through label design. I had my eye on the CCP for a few years.  Living in the Barossa, working and having a child, meant that it was difficult to get to the city and commit to any study.  When my son started school I decided it was time to squeeze the CCP into my life.  I liked the look of the CCP compared to other institutions because while it provided qualifications, there seemed to be flexibility and most importantly a strong sense of creativity.

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Are you making personal work?

Yes, I have started work on a new series which will be exhibited in my winery for an event in April 2017. I am only just into it, and I think the direction is going to change, so you’ll just have to wait and see where it ends up.

What inspires your work at the moment?

Stories and emotions.  My environment.  Light and shadow - it’s called Chiaroscuro - a term I learned when I first went into the studio as a student.

What have you done since you studied at the CCP, and what are you doing now?

I continue to work at my winery (with my partner Sam) which involves everything from grape growing, making wine, selling wine, and label design and so on.  I incorporate photography into my business through design and promotional imagery.  I also display my work in the winery and at consumer events.  It is a big part of my business.  My most recent completed project was a book and exhibition “True Stories: Portraits of Barossa Winemakers”.

Edit: here Bernie neglects to mention that in the 2016 Gourmand world cookbook awards, her “True Stories” won best wine book in Australia, and third in the world. If one does make it into this top three they may use the sobriquet "Best In The World".

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How has photography changed your life? 

It has given me so much joy, relaxation, happiness.  It provides me with the creative outlet I need, a different way of communicating and balances my business brain.  It has been extremely satisfying incorporating my two loves in one business; art and wine.

How have you changed since you were a student?

I have become a lot more confident in photography and in getting it out there.  My studies gave me skills, inspiration and a sense of direction.  Using that since study, and even while studying, has allowed me to use photography in my chosen areas (and not the areas that I don’t choose).

Which photographers - past or present - have been major influences on your work?

I know he was not a photographer, but since I was a teenager my biggest influence has been Rembrandt, purely because of the lighting and the drama, emotion and story telling his paintings invoke.  In the summer holidays after finishing year 12 I worked in an art gallery called the Hahndorf Academy.  We were exhibiting a Rembrandt etching series.  I spent those holidays reading every Rembrandt book we had in the gallery shop. My most influential photographer is Sally Mann, particularly her “Immediate Family” series.  Whenever I am looking for inspiration I pull out my Sally Mann books.

Any surprises - good or bad - as you have progressed in your career?

I didn’t know I could publish a book!  That was a real surprise.   

Edit: Did you know that you can purchase this piece of the Barossa history for just $35.00

Do you have any advice for student photographers?

Research as many artists as you can.  Look in all areas because you never know where new inspirations can come from.  Take risks with your photography and don’t pigeon hole yourself; allow yourself to follow any direction.  

Further reading: Please take the time to read this fabulous interview with Bernie elaborating on her relationship to the wine industry... Cheers!

(More than) 10 Questions: CCP Lecturer Mike Lim

Following on from the inspirational words from former student and now CCP lecturer Jess Eckermann, today’s episode features the very first student who followed into the teaching pool at the CCP, Mike Lim.

I knew Mike pre CCP when I was a course co-ordinator elsewhere and was also teaching various subjects in visual art which included photography which is how I encountered Mike as a student. Mike was very new to photography at the time…

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Mike had a passing interest in the medium as does everyone else who enrols in such subjects I suppose, however something about him even at that early stage impressed me with his thoughtfulness and application towards this new-found art form. I believe he took three subjects in total at the time he was at that other institution, the last one being with me before I spat the proverbial dummy and moved over lock stock and barrel to the former CCP location in Stepney. Mike immediately followed and enrolled in the first subject ever taught at the CCP, Photographic Concepts 1 in Term 2 1997 which commenced in May.

You may recall readers that Mike has already featured in one of the historical blog images in the pinhole portrait of this first class along with Sue Michael.

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Mike remained as a part-time student at the CCP until his graduation with the original award of Certificate IV in Creative Photography in 2000. Since that time he has held a number of job descriptions here as front of house, studio and darkroom assistant, gallery curator, assistant to the Director along of course primarily with his lecturing in photographic, digital and conceptual subjects. This broad experience has also given Mike a very deep understanding of the machinations of decision making and the philosophy behind the scenes at the CCP and he is always enthused as a popular and positive addition to the mix of personalities here.

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I like to call Mike the “intellectual” of the crew as he always has a slightly different bent on topics open for discussion and his clarity of thought never ceases to amaze me. By way of example, I have often sent out a subject blurb to Mike for comment; asking something like “are you available for this subject on this day?”, only to get the blurb back edited for better grammar and clarification of what I mean to say!

But this is what continues to make everyone at the CCP such a valuable contributor to the education program offered here. The different people, the different approaches and their confident interpretation of photographic art continue to keep the subjects and content vital and challenging for the student body.

Now, over to you Mike…

Shower portrait of Mike Lim by Chris Holmes

Shower portrait of Mike Lim by Chris Holmes

(More than) 10 questions - Mike Lim

What first interested you, or made you fall in love with, photography?

When I was a kid, my grandfather had a copy of that iconic Life book of photos with pictures by Henri Cartier-Bresson, Margaret Bourke-White, Nick Ut and many others. Every time I went over to my grandparents' house I'd pull out this book.

When I was about 12 I got a Nikon FG with a 50mm lens for christmas and was hooked. I shot as much as I could afford to. On road trips my dad would indulge me by stopping to let me shoot something that caught my eye. (Years later that camera got stolen out of the car near the Flinders Ranges.)

I don't know why photography specifically. It could just as easily have been comic books, or volleyball. But now, it feels so central, I can't imagine being without it. I'd never be able to fake my own death, because you'd be able to catch me by staking out the photography section at the bookstore.

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Why did you choose to study at the CCP?

The CCP was 5 minutes from my house. :P

I was hungry for more in photography so I enrolled in a camera class at the North Adelaide School of Art. It was Gavin Blake's last class there, as it happened, and I followed him over the new CCP he was just starting up. I got some solid technical knowledge from Gavin, and he showed me a wide range of photo work that really opened up photo culture for me. Studying with Gavin changed my attitude to photography, to something I took more seriously, but also to something more playful.

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Are you making personal work?

I've got a few things on the boil. I'm editing a portrait project and expanding a cityscape one. I'm shooting a lot of things with my phone.

What inspires your work at the moment?

The chance to make connections with people. The way photography gets me to pay attention to the world. Seeing the passion that people have for whatever craft they practice. The inventiveness of the students I teach.

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How has photography changed since you commenced your studies?

It's become easier to share work and to learn about things. For example, with my phone I can catch photographers, writers and curators on a podcast, see new photo work from all over the world, buy a photobook, read someone's ideas, take, edit and publish my own pictures, all while riding the bus home. Also the Nikon F3 that I longed for as a teenager is now pretty affordable on ebay.

How has photography changed your life?

I look at the world in a particular way. It's shown me that I can teach. I've found work with it, and it's given me skills that supplement the non-photographic work that I do. I've met a lot of people through photography. I've spent too much money on gear and books.

Which photographers - past or present - have been major influences on your work?

Henri Cartier-Bresson – among the earliest visual poetry that I remember. Ralph Gibson – the way he composes individual frames is sublime and his books make those frames resonate with each other. Mary Ellen Mark – there's a deep interest and empathy in her pictures. And she was one of the first people I saw who used the square frame eloquently.

Edward Burtynsky – his pictures are visually stunning but open into such important discussions about the environment, economics, consumption. Sally Mann – most of her work is made close to home, and I love how it's so thoughtful and evolving. Zack Arias – his approach to working professionally with whatever resources you have is inspiring.

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Do you have any advice for student photographers?

Be bold. Don't be thinking you don't have the right equipment, or that you're not creative. Start something.

Who are the people who have shaped your work and career?

Gavin Blake, as I said earlier, was a fundamental influence. Fellow CCP teachers like Sam Oster who taught me technical things, and encouraged me with conceptual things. Photographer buddies like Ben Liew and Peter Barnes who have given me opportunities and encouragement.

Sometimes we photograph things because they are significant and important. Sometimes we photograph things because they don’t seem important at first and we want to imbue them with a little more consequence. These objects (the ‘Worthy Objects’ photographs) are privately important to their owners, but otherwise they would be worth little. I’ve photographed them to help their owners share their specialness and as a way of thinking about the worthiness of everyday things.

Any surprises - good or bad - as you have progressed in your career?

I've realised that a small portion of the picture-making is putting camera to eye and pressing the shutter. Aside from editing, you also have to organise your office, test your technical stuff, get access, cultivate relationships, and wait for things.

Any funny anecdotes from your experience in the industry?

I once showed up at a shoot an hour late because it was the first day after daylight saving and I'd slept in.

Follow Mike's photography and projects

Tumblr  |  Instagram  |  Flickr  |  Website  |  cinememory.tumblr.com

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(More than) 10 Questions: CCP Lecturer Jessica Eckermann

One of the greatest pleasures I’ve experienced since opening the CCP in 1997, is watching and experiencing the development of some excellent students who grow on to become contemporary artists. They practice photography with a singular and original passion which extends and celebrates the uniqueness of the medium. Some of these people are of course being featured in the fortnightly blog posts as we celebrate 20 years of CCP life on this crazy planet – you have read about them and will be reading about them for the rest of our celebratory year.

Taking this to an even higher level, there are a select few in my opinion whom I’ve observed demonstrating a fantastic desire to share this passion with a generosity of spirit, meted out with excellent communication skills to share this confidence with their peers. It’s a singular love and sharing of the medium that my mentor John Weiss illustrated (and stressed) to me nearly 30 years ago while I was his Graduate Student at the University of Delaware.

Naturally I am extremely proud to be surrounded by these people as an educator. I have grown to appreciate these qualities in teachers, lecturers, facilitators and anyone who becomes responsible for passing the torch so to speak to yet another generation of (in this case) artists so they too may continue their growth with any medium they choose to express themselves with.

These former students I choose to approach and ask if they would like to become lecturers at the CCP after their graduation, and if the right circumstances prevail, they agree to come on board and indulge in the beauty of “messing with people’s minds in the sacrosanct act of delivering the message of creativity to the great unwashed!” as I like to say.

They choose to undertake this gift of giving so that their charges may too develop the confidence to express themselves in the medium of photography and develop their artistic voice just as the now-lecturers have. This is the tenet which all lecturers and support crew here at the CCP abide in an unspoken way. It comes naturally to them, because a generosity of spirit is innate; you realise that giving it away also has its own rewards and manifests itself in many different ways – just not necessarily as you may imagine. Teaching is a discovery and reward in itself.

This observation brings me to this fortnight’s chapter – a former student of the CCP who is now a loved member of the CCP crew – Jessica Eckermann.

Jess came to us in Term 1 of 2003 while we were still located on Union Street Stepney and studied fairly full time until 2003 when she’d earned her Certificate IV which I believe also coincided with her graduation from teacher’s college with a degree in Secondary School “Cat Herding”. This placed a bit of a crimp in her future studies at the CCP however, with Jessica’s usual determination, she continued her play at the CCP with single subjects in 2004 & 2005 while finding her teaching legs then undertaking more subjects here until graduating with her full Diploma in 2006.

I love Jessica’s “contemporary retro” bent with her own photography and I am extremely pleased Jess has been a member of the CCP teaching crew since 2009. It is because of her continued contribution and enthusiasm towards this program that the CCP continues to thrive along with our students and crew. Naturally today’s chapter is not to be missed as Jessica illuminates us with her observations of life post-graduation and her choice of more than 10 questions to respond to… Jessica Eckermann, over to you my friend, you are a delight to work with and to tease!

MORE THAN 10 QUESTIONS Jessica Eckermann

What first interested you, or made you fall in love with, photography?

I first got interested in photography in high school as we could take the photography class instead of a compulsory science class in year 11.  

Why did you choose to study at the CCP?

After high school I missed working in the darkroom and wanted to continue black and white photography in some way. I had bought darkroom gear with a friend but without the space to set it up permanently, I didn’t get much of a chance to use it. I had deferred University twice and found myself stuck working at a Subway fast food chain where I would often spend my lunch breaks poring through the employment section in search of a better career. It was in the Education & Training advertisements at the end where I saw the ad to study photography at the CCP. I picked up the phone right then and called. By the end of the conversation I was enrolled in three classes starting that week – I came in and paid with cash as I was so desperate to get out of Subway!

Are you making personal work?

I’m always attempting some sort of personal work in my spare time. However, I often have more ideas than I have time to execute them! My personal work often has strong connections to vintage eras and self-portraits but I also like to work outside of these areas when the urge arises, particularly with alternative cameras and processes such as the Holga, the Spinner 360 and cyanotypes.

What inspires your work at the moment?

I’m usually inspired by ideas around narratives and aesthetics with a sense of nostalgia – I feel I could explore past lives through photography forever! At the moment I’m experimenting with some compositing and also responding to the natural environment after having moved back up into the Adelaide Hills recently.

What have you done since you studied at the CCP, and what are you doing now?

Since studying at the CCP I have predominantly become an educator. I have worked in both high schools and the VET sector, primarily teaching photography. My photography business is mainly portrait based with some work in weddings also. Currently I am teaching at the CCP and working in an adult re-entry high school.

How has photography changed since you commenced your studies?

I didn’t have a strong focus for where I wanted to go with photography or much of a personal style when I first began studying. I have developed a stronger sense of aesthetic and a deeper technical focus and understanding. The biggest change of all of course is that digital is now my primary medium rather than film.

How has photography changed your life?

As a person with an intrinsic artistic need constantly demanding to be fuelled, I have always required multiple outlets to allow me to create. I feel that photography happened to be the one I engaged with the most and incidentally has had the biggest impact on my life.

How have you changed since you were a student?

I drink alcohol now with Gavin and Aaron and I never did that when I was studying at the CCP! …(Ha ha, no please don’t include that :-) )

Which photographers - past or present - have been major influences on your work?

Harry Callahan was the first photographer I remember being truly amazed by. He didn't have just one technique or one style and I loved the creativity and versatility of his approach with his portraits of his wife Eleanor to his street photography and abstracted landscapes.

Cindy Sherman introduced me to the world of self-portraiture. After learning of her work in Photographic Concepts 1 I made my own attempts at creating narratives where I got to play all the characters. I was hooked and have kept coming back to this concept for over a decade and feel I could keep exploring this forever. I still feel my self-portrait work is my best and most satisfying work to date.

Richard Avedon is one of my favourite portrait photographers, especially his series In The American West - a stark contrast to his celebrity portrait work, which is also great, but showing the rough and gritty reality of his subjects.

Alex Prager is a contemporary photographer who explores narratives through large scale tableaus with a very cinematic style. I feel a real resonance with her work and I especially enjoy the tension and drama she builds into her series.

Lastly, I feel W Eugene Smith is the ultimate story teller through his photo essay social documentary work. His perfectionism and dedication to "the story" is something I feel inspired by.

Who are the people who have shaped your work and career?

From being a mentor and then later my employer, it would be an understatement to say that Gavin Blake has had a prevalent role in shaping my career as both a photographer and an educator.

As far as the business side of photography goes, I have had to learn many things on my own but being able to talk to others with experience in the industry was also beneficial. More recently, I have found a vast amount of knowledge has come from the Australian Institute of Professional Photography (AIPP), which keeps me up to date with industry standards and code of practice to work by.

Any surprises - good or bad - as you have progressed in your career?

I was surprised at how difficult it was to continue my artistic photographic work after I finished university and started working beyond full time hours with my teaching work during the day and photography work on nights, weekends and during school holidays. The energy and emotion that a career can take from you is overwhelming and it can be hard to make the time to indulge in creative work. The creative process didn’t seem to come so easily when I was feeling burnt out at the end of every day. Forcing the mindset to create work can be difficult but it’s harder and certainly more disappointing if you don’t.

Do you have any advice for student photographers?

The work you do while studying is the most fun and freedom you ever get to have – despite the perceived constraints of the assessment tasks you are working to. Professional work is all about meeting someone else’s brief and while the outcome can be satisfying, the work isn’t as fun as your own creative explorations. Enjoy the luxury of following your own agenda and making mistakes without the pressure of delivering a product!

(More than) 10 Questions: Award-winning Graduate Ché Chorley

There are a lot of different outcomes for students who have studied at the CCP. Today’s episode talking to Ché Chorley illuminates his novel and successful approach to negotiating the fine art photography world, as well as commercial practice.

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Ché commenced his studies here at the beginning of 2009, took a two year gap from 2010 after the completion of his Certificate IV qualification, and resumed his Diploma studies at the beginning of 2012. Ché graduated the following year and rented an artist studio space at the Mill on Angas street where he now “resides” operating as Ché Chorley Photography.

A passionate surfer since long before I’ve known him, Ché Chorley has maintained his passion and affinity for the ocean while also becoming an award winning photographer—his was the first photograph to win the Heysen Art Prize and also had the first photograph to win the Emma Hack People’s Choice Award.

Ché says he is blessed to be able to pursue such an “accidental art-form”, referring to how his photography simply grew from his passion for the sea. He likes to say he takes his imaging seriously, but does not necessarily beat himself up by always expecting serious results.

Photography has been a natural accompaniment to his travels and he continues to strive to convey the beauty and uniqueness that surfing, adventure and travel allow.

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This was epically put to use (and no doubt put to the test as well) in his Land Sea You Me project. He “put his first pedal down in anger on August 4, 2016 on the other side of the Western Australia border, and almost five months later, crossed the finish line in a small town in Victoria on the Glenelg River”.

From Eucla to Nelson, over 4500 kilometres in the saddle and a world apart in landscape and even further apart in his mindset, Ché made over 12,000 photographs of this journey completely on bicycle, and with trailer in tow and accompanied by nothing more than his camera.  The result of this half year “odyssey” is his first publication titled “Land Sea You Me”, a book illustrated with a range of incredible images from his experience along with his ruminations from his journey.

You can read more from the blog he kept along the way, starting with the ending.

Funnily, Aaron tells me that Ché likes to tell a story about some feedback I gave him post-Diploma just as a catch up and probably over a beer or two. He had some images which, though not the ones in his upcoming book, were one nexus leading to the project. He was very proud of these photographs and considered them to be more or less finished. Knowing Ché’s determination to resolve his work as well as realising his splendid eye, I sincerely told him he could do better than that! I respect Ché, his artistic bent and motivation for his work so I felt a bit of “tough love” for the big guy was in order.

With Ché feeling a bit knocked back, (gutted I think in his words) I knew he would, and did, soon see this was actually a vote of confidence in his very evident talent. Ché soon took this observation in stride and started working on something… else. These later reconsidered aquatic images went on to become the celebrated series “The Sea and Me”, a precursor to his book which will be launchéd on 25 August at Chateau Apollo at 74 Frome Street at 6:30pm and I hope to see you there to celebrate with him.

I am so thrilled to have been a small part of the germ of this work and to hear that Ché even tells people as much, which only goes to prove what my mentor John Weiss (1942-2017) very wisely told me when I was his student in Graduate School at the University of Delaware in 1988: “Always be kind to your students as you’ll never know when you’ll be working for them!”. And with that anecdote I give you the answers to more than 10 questions I sent Mister Chorley and so Ché, over to you…

MORE THAN 10 QUESTIONS Ché Chorley

What first interested you, or made you fall in love with, photography?

Floating in the ocean and watching the dance of light on the sea surface. The elemental interaction of colour and water. These fleeting moments that can never be repeated are what inspired me to pick up a camera and from there my interest blossomed.

Why did you choose to study at the CCP?

I had a friend studying at the CCP I admired his work. He took me in and introduced me to the crew and that was it, I felt at home immediately.

Are you making personal work?

Always. I can't emphasise how important I feel personal work is to my professional development. Both my clients and I benefit greatly from any work I make outside of my commercial practice. Every time I make a photograph I'm learning more about light, trying new techniques, solidifying my style, and practising in different conditions.

What inspires your work at the moment?

My family, my partner Myf, my daughter Juniper and son Comet. We are a team. It takes a team to build a photographer.

What have you done since you studied at the CCP, and what are you doing now?

I finished with the CCP in 2013 and began my commercial practice in 2014. I've been working for myself since then with commercial, editorial and lifestyle work. I work out of a shared studio space in Adelaide city where I balance my personal work and clients. I have a great and diverse client base who challenge and inspire me to make great work. Currently I'm working on a major personal project named LAND SEA YOU ME, a photographic expedition, book and exhibition, launching in August 2017.

How has photography changed since you commenced your studies?

The fundamentals of the art form will never change. The emotion and importance of the message remain the same, regardless of technological improvements, styles, movements or medium.

How has photography changed your life?

My experiences with photography have been extremely positive. The camera has taken me around the world, opened doors otherwise closed to me, showed me sights otherwise inaccessible, introduced me to some wonderful friends and colleagues and given me the freedom to determine my own future. The camera has allowed me to explore themes I couldn't articulate any other way, to capture emotions and moments I would have otherwise missed.

How have you changed since you were a student?

I still consider myself a student. There's not a day that goes by that I don't read a blog or watch a video exploring new techniques or flick through other photographers work who I admire. I try to focus on one aspect of my photography each year to improve on. Last year was landscapes, the year previous studio portraiture, and this year is food.

Which photographers - past or present - have been major influences on your work?

Frank Hurley, Ray Collins, Jon Frank, Bill Henson, Narelle Autio.

Who are the people who have shaped your work and career?

I tried to get assisting work with as many photographers as possible whilst I studied at the CCP. I worked under a few but perhaps most notable were Adam Bruzzone, Nat Rogers and Peter Fisher. Nat Rogers has been an important person in my continued professional development. I can't recommend enough building relationships with established photographers to gain an invaluable insight into the real world of commercial photography. Between my formal education at the CCP and assisting work, I gained well-rounded and real-world insight into what to expect and the levels of professionalism required to succeed in today's commercial environment.

Is there a person (from anywhere, dead or alive) you admire most?

Not an individual per se, more qualities of individuals that I admire. Photographically, I'm drawn to individuals who consciously undertake unique projects, take real risks or chase adventure with the camera as a partner.

Any surprises - good or bad - as you have progressed in your career?

Having a camera in hand has opened up so many new opportunities. It's surprising where a camera can get you if you just ask.

Do you have any advice for student photographers?

Get into a shared spaced with other artists as soon as you can. Photography is all about relationships, the photographs are secondary. If you want to make interesting photographs, put yourself in front of interesting subjects.

What is the best job you've done since you've been working in the industry?

So many jobs have been good for many different reasons, but generally jobs where I can convince the client that we need to do the shoot in-water are the most rewarding for me.

What are your passions outside of photography?

Adventure, surfing, family and cycling. If I can combine the lot, (LAND SEA YOU ME) I'm extremely happy.

(More than) 10 Questions: Emerging Photographer of the Year Bente Andermahr

One of the fantastic CCP experiences I never tire of is the varied lives of the students who pass through the doors of the CCP to commence their photographic career.

The featured graduate for today’s 20th Anniversary blog is no different. Before becoming a student at the CCP Bente Andemahr had already received her Diploma in Teaching (Secondary-Fine Arts) from the (then) South Australian School of Art/Western Teachers College in 1971, and had been teaching art and design in NSW and SA for over 23 years. Bente had also received her Bachelor of Visual Communications (Graphic Design) from UniSA 2001 which along with the Certificate IV in Photo imaging from the CCP has been well used in her (now) profession “Andemahr Photography”.

Bente is an imaginative Adelaide-based designer who prides herself in creating an environment that thrills and exceeds clients’ expectations and she primarily offers primarily two types of (favourite) services: creating unique photographic art to suit the colour and theme of styled interiors and interpreting the creative work of designers, decorators and stylists with images that recognise each client’s individualism.

Bente Andermahr commenced her studies with a course in Term 1 in the last year of the CCP at Union Street in Stepney in 2004, returning in Term 1 2005 when we’d moved to Marleston officially and were finally conducting our first classes there. Bente graduated with her Certificate IV in Photo imaging in 2006 – returning in 2007 to complete one more subject being Advanced Lighting 2 with former CCP lecturer Ken Binns. Most significantly Bente has just been awarded the AIPP (SA) emerging photographer for 2017 and so funnily enough, even after 10 years in the industry, Bente is still emerging!

Bente’s passion with photography started very early on as a very keen enthusiast, following the growth of the family and capturing travel locations and architectural inspirations for later artwork. Before she enrolled at the CCP, Bente was entering photographic competitions, local and international exhibitions, building upon her photographic talent, skills and creativity, extending her oeuvre particularly into anything architectural, industrial and mechanical.

Among Bente’s achievements since graduating from the CCP are: Three Silver Medals: South Australia AIPP Epson Professional Photography Awards (2017) Three Silver Medals: SA AIPP Epson Professional Photography Awards (2016), an Honourable Mention: Siena International Photo Awards Exhibition for Architecture (2015) and her photographic work exhibited extensively throughout Adelaide and South Australia, and internationally online where it has also been noted for several special merits including the Royal Society of Art (SA) Inaugural Portrait Prize Exhibition.

No 1 King William Street, Adelaide (Went to Siena International Photo Awards Exhibition for Architecture 2015)

No 1 King William Street, Adelaide
(Went to Siena International Photo Awards Exhibition for Architecture 2015)

Never to retire, Bente is also a volunteer Gallery Guide at the Art Gallery of South Australia where she absolutely loves to impart her passion about elements of the collection and exhibitions to visitors.

Bente welcomes any enquiries you may have regarding your photographic needs either work for hire or wall decor at bente@andermahrphotography.com or 0403 177 252.

Over to you Bente, it is always great talking with you on Tuesdays over a coffee at Alfonso’s on Hutt St, Adelaide, and congratulations on your latest achievements at this year’s APPAS.

BENTE ANDERMAHR: MORE THAN 10 QUESTIONS

1.    Why did you choose to study at the CCP?

I looked around at the time (2003? -close, it was 2004 Bente!) for an opportunity to formally learn some skills in the photography I had spent my life indulging in, and the CCP was really the only choice, in that it had credentials, was easy to get to (at Stepney then) and outlined the details of the courses available and their content. I only intended to do the one term, but it was kind of addictive, so I returned the following year and did another, then another unit over subsequent Terms until I had achieved the Certificate IV in early 2006. I must say that it has been the best, clear most practical study I have done, with photographic experts providing the training.

2.    Are you making personal work?

I spend much of my time doing personal work. Firstly, I create fine art images using my photography, and explore the concepts of impermanence, transience and imperfection, working through a reductive style of abstraction, taking it as far as I can without losing reference to the original source of the idea. My inspirations come from harbours, airports and railway stations and the markings found there. It is a slow but very creative and personally fulfilling area of work, hopefully leading to an exhibition. My second personal project is just getting off the ground now, where I am photographing and researching the architectural work of women architects in South Australia. It is very much a work-in-progress.

3.    What inspires your work at the moment?

My work at the moment is inspired by the outstanding architectural photographers around the traps today, such a Peter Barnes, David Sievers, Mark Zed (also a CCP graduate), Tim Griffith, John Gollings and William Long. They are doing the work I aspire to and it is very inspiring when you speak with them and tap into some of their thinking.

4.    What have you done since you studied at the CCP, and what are you doing now?

Since then, I have done a number of photographic projects including a baby shoot, corporate photos, winery work, real estate photography and other commercial jobs. I also
• went back to university to complete my Graduate Diploma in Visual Art and Design (Photography)
• joined Australian Photographic Society (APS)
• did the graphical layout and published with the APS two books of collections of the works of Australia wide members
• entered and did well in a number of international photographic competitions (including a Honorary Merit award at the Sienna Inaugural Photography Awards in Italy)
• joined the AIPP (Australian Institute of Professional Photographers)
• Entered the AIPP APPA (Australian Professional Photographers Awards) for the first time last year and gained 3 Silver awards – I received another 3 Silvers this year – how thrilling!

Currently I am working on my Women Architects in SA project and growing my architectural/commercial photography work.

5.    How have you changed since you were a student?

Essentially, I have changed in that I have become better aware of where my photographic skills sit in the industry (commercial and fine art) and I am gradually gaining the confidence to assert myself more in achieving my goals.

6.    Which photographers - past or present - have been major influences on your work?

A huge list of the architectural and urban works of photographers such as Wolfgang Sievers, The Russian Constructivists (Alexander Rodchenko etc), The Bauhaus photographers (Maholy-Nagy etc), the German Dusseldorf school graduates (Andreas Gursky etc), Aaron Siskind, Edward Steichen, Alfred Stieglitz, Harry Callahan, Charles Sheeler, Kathrine Westerhout, to name just a very few.

7.    Is there a person (from anywhere, dead or alive) you admire most?

I am not sure there is just one outside the Australian painter Jeffrey Smart. His subject matter, the compositional discipline and the sheer evocativeness of his stark urban landscape here and in Italy have irrevocably impacted my eye and work.

8.    Is there one iconic image which has most impacted on you and your work?

I can’t think of one particular iconic image in isolation, but I was very inspired and activated in photography by a book covering the world’s most impactful photographs.

9.    Any surprises - good or bad - as you have progressed in your career?

Having been a mature student when I went to the CCP, and having spent my life (even if creatively focussed) in working for an organisation, my surprise has been the challenge in self motivation and working alone in trying to transition as a self-employed photographer. Instead of, in a sense, work waiting for you to do within an organisation, my surprise is the adjustment I am needing to make to create my work, seek out the opportunities, find paid work, manage the business side, discipline my schedule to cover my needs and remain motivated and self-assured as I progress, learn and achieve. It is not for everyone.

10.    Do you have any advice for student photographers?

Simple; keep the passion. Have faith in your own voice/style in photography, find the niche it sits within, and don’t give up. Life is continual learning, it never stops, so be prepared to seek, investigate, research, try new techniques and experiment even if the areas are off the track of photography. It all goes to broadening your mind, perception and ultimately the quality and message of your photography.

Join the AIPP (while a student), to meet a great and willing group of photographers working in the industry. Compete in well chosen competitions that suit your genre. (AIPP APPA is a good start).

11.    What are your passions outside of photography?

Is there a life outside photography? Facetious I know, but finding a work-life balance is important. However, I am a creative creature who has been involve in fine arts all my life, so my passion outside photography is the volunteer touring I do art the Art Gallery of South Australia, for students and the public, through the permanent collection and particularly the feature exhibitions (like the Versus Rodin currently on show). In our on-going training, I am particularly passionate about researching and presenting to the gallery guides on photography. 

20 Years of the CCP: The Light Gallery

THE LIGHT GALLERY: a brief history

The Light Gallery has always been a vital part of our teaching of photographic art at the CCP, both to the students as well as the public. The gallery has never been intended to be a commercially viable concern; however we are very proud to say that because the Light Gallery has existed almost from the inception of the CCP, it is the only fine art space exhibiting photography continuously in Adelaide for the past two decades.

The gallery began as a student-run concern with me presiding as the representative of the CCP in its early days. In the fullness of time it has evolved to a point where it is run with the expertise of a dedicated curator for quite some time now, and shown a very broad range of mainly local and interstate photographic artists.

For posterity I’d like to note many of the truly excellent, inspirational exhibitions we have shown.

The 1998 Gallery schedule:
Even in its modest early days the Light Gallery managed a regular six week rotation of artists showing their photography with Michael Lim (now Mike) as the original co-ordinator, including
15 July-30 Aug    Sophia Marchand    Note the Coaster for a Small Bottle
5 Sept-7 Oct    Michel Barone    Recent Work
12 Oct-13 Nov    Sue Michael    Domestic Photographer
17 Nov-19 Dec    CCP Student Work – our annual GHOTI (pronounced “FISH”) student exhibition. In these exhibitions we show artwork by students from the past academic year.  Why GHOTI – that’s a whole other story, but essentially it’s because we are a school after all.

Here are a few images from that heralded first opening evening with a spiky haired (porn star moustachioed) me awarding some prizes while ensconced in the main studio (one of only two) on the night of the opening. See the rest of the album at our Facebook page.

4 CCP history 4 Ghoti 1 ed.jpg


Twenty years on we’ve just recently hosted GHOTI XX and the openings are still a fantastic event to add to your social calendar. If you would like to become involved in this venture for a year or longer if you would like, please contact Alyssa at the CCP. You do not have to be a student of the CCP, just passionate about photographic exhibitions, promoting the medium, and helping artists find success. Many firm friendships have been formed between gallery committee members since its inception and I can highly recommend your association with such a great and diverse group of people.

One of the greatest things about being associated with the gallery as a voluntary committee member is that you get to experience all facets of the organisation required for putting a top quality exhibition together. Every facet of gallery operations can be experienced by any member of the Gallery Committee from the initial planning of the schedule of exhibitions, to hanging the show, publicity of the show and the opening night and associated preparations.

Along the way gallery volunteers get to meet and work with artists using photography who are passionate enough about it to show their work. Many members have benefitted from this association and as such have come to realise just how broad working within the arts can actually be aside from making artwork. There’s a whole world out there of working in the arts in which an interested person can be a theatre programmer, a galley curator, an artist’s representative, a theatre mechanic, even a window dresser, not to mention being a practicing artist and much more. Gaining practical experience by volunteering with a space like the Light Gallery provides opportunities for practical experience no matter what your end goal.

In 1986 when “The Developed Image Gallery” closed its doors on King William Street there had been no dedicated photographic gallery in Adelaide until the CCP opened its doors in 1997 and formed our gallery as a result. Today the Light Gallery still remains as the only photographic gallery in the state! Honestly, I have no idea just how many exhibitions have been held since 1997, but we held our first student exhibition Friday October 12 2001 having established a critical mass (70) which could support this venture; past student Bianca Barling was our Gallery curator way back then. And today another past student Alyssa Cavanagh is our current curator; Alyssa is also our in-house designer, so this is a great combination of job descriptions for all concerned.

The original Gallery Committee comprised: Bianca Barling, Mike Lim, Monique Sengpiel, Allie Pfitzner, Graham Crane, Yasmin Steen, Barrie Washbrook, Connal Lee, Adam Lee, Lynn Freebairn and me. Since then Barrie and Yasmin are now happily married and I attended their wedding as best man 10 years ago – the first of a few CCP relationships that have evolved at the CCP since our time on this planet! Below is a recent image of four of the Light Gallery curators gathered for a meal and the occasion for their silliness is something I’m not a party to except to say that clearly the friendships still continue even post CCP. We have from Left to Right Alyssa Cavanagh the current curator at Marleston, Mike Lim (Union Street), Sarah Eastick (Early Marleston) and Ross McNaughtan (Marleston).

I also have a little bonus for our readers. In 1991, I installed “Strange Attractors” which was an installation of composite images I’d made; the completed piece had to be edited down by a row or two of images to accommodate the smaller walls of the Union Street Gallery main wall and below is a wobbly Polaroid photograph as seen from the street.

The bonus though is in the next image as it’s of Aaron fresh out of school the day the installation was completed and standing in front of the images and the next one is the composite approximating where he was. Aaron was 14 years old and in year 8, way before his beard and his administrative duties here - he’s even cuter now though don’t you think?

As I stated earlier, I have no idea just how many exhibitions the Light Gallery has hosted between Stepney and Marleston, it’s certainly in the triple digits and its always been a lot of fun attending openings and meeting the various artists who have shown their work on the walls and befriending a lot of them. Essentially though, the gallery has continuously shown work throughout the entire existence of the CCP over its two locations with a few blanks being during the move to Marleston in 2004 and the renovations to the new gallery in Marleston in mid-2010. The Gallery was a very different looking venue when we first arrived in Marleston as the original space in its previous life was a showroom of sorts and given the main focus at that stage until all classes were settled and the school had grown to accommodate the new space, the Light Gallery made do very well with the space it had. You can see from the image below that it WAS indeed very different from its current manifestation; however there were still exhibitions to see and openings to attend nonetheless.

THE RE-CONSTRUCTION
The space seriously changed mid-2010 once the classrooms, darkrooms and studios were moved and located more comfortably into the larger place. We then had the time and resources to dedicate to turning the Gallery into a more fully functional space. Our Builder Trevor Hocking was once again enlisted to assist with the realisation of our “mud map” for the Gallery, which Aaron and I had determined also required a purpose built administration office and reception desk. Firstly though the carpet had to be torn up so the floor could be polished, giving it a more urban industrial feel, which also in turn facilitated the construction of the extra walls. Here’s a brief record of the progress as it rolled out. If you’d like to see more, there’s an entire album documenting the process in our Facebook page.

As you can see, with Trevor and Aaron working together, there was still time to have a bit of fun during this process!

So in the fullness of time, walls were completed, doors were hung, new power points installed along with hanging rails, everything was ready for painting and voilà, the new look Light Gallery at the Centre for Creative Photography was ready to roll.

The inaugural show in the “new venue” opened to much applause on Friday December 17 2010. It was “Images for a Rhest Cure”, a solo exhibition and book launch from the CCP’s own Sue Michael, the first graduate featured on May 12 blog entry. At last everyone was feeling that this place was getting its legs, and the CCP was feeling like the brilliant place it is as soon as you entered the building.

The Light Gallery is also an excellent second venue for the various “Photography for Exhibition” classes we’ve held at the CCP and I can recommend the current showing which ironically is opening tonight (oops, I meanfew nights ago—slight delay with posting this blog entry!). OPUS comprises seven students including four for their final Diploma subject being Chris Holmes, Sarah Battistella, Lucy Partington and Shianna Mules, one Diploma graduate Megan Ferguson and two still completing their Diploma, Natalie Rowland and Janet Simpson.

The Photography for Exhibition class is an extremely important part of the Diploma in Photography and Photo Imaging which we run at the CCP. It is not a core subject as the skill sets the students pick up as a result of this experience are not necessarily where everyone wishes to go with their photographic enterprise. Due to the intensity of what is covered in this class, it has to run over two Terms – Term 4 and Term 1 the following year. My task is to be co-ordinating the end event which is of course a professional exhibition of the group’s personal photographic work in a public art gallery which is not initially at the CCP rather an “outside venue” so the group has to actually approach an unknown quantity being a gallery which is able to accommodate their work.

I consider it a “coming out” in terms of the end result being a sustained body of images being exhibited along with the ensuing publicity machine required to create a great opening event. This also ensures that the exhibition is not only successful, but it provides each exhibitor with an excellent opportunity to continue with the self-promotion of their artistic endeavours well into the future .

The next instalment will take us back to the Stepney location which still concerned our registration as a Registered Training Organisation and the eventual move lock, stock and barrel into our Marleston complex…stay tuned.

20 Years of CCP: (More than) 10 questions with Heidi Linehan

MORE THAN 10 QUESTIONS

Heidi Linehan (Certificate IV graduate 2005)
www.heidiwho.com

Today’s featured graduate Heidi Linehan first studied and graduated with our original Certificate IV in Creative Photography from the CCP in 2004 while we were still located on Union Street in Stepney. We didn’t move to our Marleston location until Term 1 2005, and Heidi returned in Term 4 to check out the new location while she studied our then newly planned Portrait Photography 2 class with Sam Oster.

Since then, Heidi has become an accredited photographer with the S.A. Australian Institute of Professional Photographers (AIPP) and opened her own business “Heidi Who Photography” located in Happy Valley some 15 years ago. Since then, Heidi has “stood in the rain, crawled on the ground, even tried to have a chat with a sea lion to get the perfect shot”. She’s happiest when seeing the world through a camera lens.

Heidi has worked in rainforests and deserts and throughout the urban landscape across 20+ countries, and has photographed everything from prime ministers to prime properties, and even the Melbourne Commonwealth Games while on assignment for News Limited.

Interestingly for me, Heidi states that she is a location photographer, specialising in travel and tourism, however my wife Joanna and I have a book titled “Divine Vegan Desserts” which we bought last year at Wakefield Press to use for entertaining our vegan friends. Imagine our surprise when we realised that the gorgeously styled food images were shot by none other than Heidi! You will also see on Heidi’s website that she does a fantastic job with portraits and interiors.

Heidi’s clients include the Adelaide Showgrounds, Crowne Plaza, Expedia, Fleurieu Living Magazine, Holidays with Kids,Organic Gardener, the RAA, SA Government and Local Government.

Heidi also volunteers her time on the very compelling work that is done by a wonderful organisation, Heartfelt, which she has been involved with for the last one and a half years. Heartfelt is “a volunteer organisation of professional photographers from all over Australia and New Zealand dedicated to giving the gift of photographic memories to families that have experienced stillbirths, premature births or have children with serious and terminal illnesses.” (From the Heartfelt site).

Heidi Linehan, congratulations for your years in the photographic industry, it’s always a pleasure to share a coffee with you at the monthly AIPP breakfasts at Alfonso’s or a glass of cheer at the Annual AIPP Awards evening.

Please read on and discover just who “Heidi Who” is for the third instalment from CCP alumni, as we celebrate 20 years of photographic education at the CCP.

(More than) 10 Questions: CCP graduate Heidi Linehan

What first interested you, or made you fall in love with, photography?

My first real spark of interest was at high school. In year 8, Photography was one of the subjects offered. I loved ‘seeing’ things through the viewfinder, developing my film and making prints. Moving schools in Year 10, I was disappointed I could no longer take photography as a subject. So, I incorporated into my Craft subject and travelled the 45 minutes back to my old school to complete the tasks.

My ‘break’ into the work of being a photographer came when I walked into a wedding photo studio, a few years after finishing school, with a pile (literally) of prints - and they saw promise. My final push came when I was working in a London pub and made friends with a fashion photographer. He got me a job on a cruise liner as a photographer, cruising the Greek Islands. Not the best photographic job, but it was enough to make me fall in love with the craft enough to live and breathe it as a pro photographer. When I came home I then had to make the decision to get a ‘proper’ stable job as a travel agent or follow my photography passion. You can guess what I chose. I think I chose right.

Why did you choose to study at the CCP?

I can’t remember how I came across CCP, but I do remember the feeling I got when walking in. There was a sense of ‘being home’, passion, creativity and positivity. I loved being at the school, surrounded by like-minded people, created images in the darkroom and going through ideas and principles in class. Hours and hours flew by while I was in there.

CCP offered me the flexibility to study what and when I liked. I didn’t want to study full time, and loved the idea of studying what interested me. The excited environment propelled me forward even further.

Are you making personal work?

Since having kids, the only personal work I have done was while travelling. Last year though, I decided to start work on projects that make me the person I am. Salty Girls is the first in a series, telling the story through words and images of a group of surfer girls in South Australia. I want to make a sequel, including more water based images, along with another passion project, salsa dancing.

I also love to photograph for charities. I have photographed for Leukaemia Foundation, Cancer Care Centre, Hutt Street Centre, Bali Kids amongst others.

What inspires your work at the moment?

The idea of legacy—of making the world a better place by changing at least one person’s life. I want to inspire people to travel. My motto is to show the world off to the world.
Through travel comes understanding and respect. With more understanding and respect, I hope comes more peace.

What have you done since you studied at the CCP, and what are you doing now?

I have done nearly everything related to photography! I worked in a lab, camera store, shot a lot of weddings (Greek, Italian, Lebanese and Australian), started Heidi Who photos, got married myself, worked at News Ltd, photographed the Melbourne Commonwealth Games through to local domestic and commercial work, had two kids... I even had to work a full day shoot when my son was two weeks old.

I now work as a location photographer, specialising in travel and tourism. When I get my words together, I also write travel articles for magazines and my blog. Thinking of long term travel with the kids and combining my work keeps me entertained and busy.

How has photography changed since you commenced your studies?

We have moved from film to digital! Argh, I struggled with it at first. I remember one of my first shoots on digital – the card corrupted. I had to re-book the studio, makeup artist and client. A horrible day.

How has photography changed your life?

Photography has given me so much variety, learnings and understanding. I have seen inside the lives of others, been to places I’d never get to go otherwise (especially while working at the newspapers) and fulfilled me creatively. I’ve cried with strangers, cracked jokes with new friends and discovered new places alone. I could never imagine having a cubicle job.

How have you changed since you were a student?

Oh wow! No idea. I have grey hairs now.

Which photographers - past or present - have been major influences on your work?

I admire a lot of photographers’ work - but particularly love newspaper and photojournalism photographers’ work. They work under pressure and deliver.

Who are the people who have shaped your work and career?

I have received a lot of help. From CCP and my first employers (Frank Priolo, Lucy Cheesman and Ken Binns of Prima Photographics) to virtual mentors in the online community. I’ve attended lots of AIPP national events, entered the awards, sought portfolio review from Christina Force (NZ rep) and contacted photographers I admired at various times for help.
I’m continually learning and developing and broadening my skills in writing, social media and the online world of business.

Is there a person (from anywhere, dead or alive) you admire most?

At the moment it’s David DuChemin because of his strong humanitarian eye.

Any surprises - good or bad - as you have progressed in your career?

I’m always feeling like I’m not good enough. Not matter how much I learn, or how much I improve - there’s always the feeling of needing to know/learn/do better.

Do you have any advice for student photographers?

The business of photography can be hard. Make sure you are passionate. There will be weird hours, lots of hours, not enough work, and bad backs - all in the one week.
And don’t get caught up with equipment - the eye is the best tool.

What is the best job you've done since you've been working in the industry?

Even though I hated it at the time, I’d say photographing the Commonwealth Games for News Limited. What an experience.

Any job that gets me travelling is one of my best jobs. My most fave recent job is my regional photo tours - driving all over SA photographing one hour jobs for different clients. In between, I discover and photograph what I see in this beautiful country.

Any funny anecdotes from your experience in the industry?

You would not believe how many times I went to a job for the newspapers where the people would open the door and say with great surprise ‘oh, you are a girl!’

What are your passions outside of photography?

I love travelling, surfing, street salsa/bachata and yoga.

You can see more of Heidi’s work at:    www.heidiwho.com

 

(More than) 10 Questions: CCP graduate Marcus Brownlow

See much of Marcus' work at marcusbrownlow.com

Alumnus Marcus Brownlow commenced his studies at the CCP in 2007, graduating with a Diploma of Photoimaging in 2013. The flipside to this is that he is also an Analytics and Data Visualisation Consultant. He holds a PhD from The University of Adelaide and is a member of the Institute of Analytics Professionals of Australia. Marcus has stated to me that everyone in their life time will have three different careers and is “always good for one book”.

The majority of Marcus’ photographic work explores aspects of the urban environment, particularly built forms that emit a strange beauty despite their utilitarian purpose. He is interested in how people use space as evidenced by what they leave behind. While his images are often devoid of people, their presence is alluded to by the marks they have left on the landscape.

Marcus believes that the discipline of his numerical work is a perfect complement to the rigour of his photographic art practice. “They are not as different as you might think, and one certainly informs the other” he says. 

marcus-brownlow-portrait by Stewart Kirby.jpg

In 2008 Marcus also participated in the Governor’s Leadership Foundation (GLF) program, applying because he was attracted by the diversity of both topics covered, and its previous participants. Marcus has found that the program has had a subtle but influential effect on him. As a result, Marcus still finds himself reflecting regularly on the myriad his experiences that year.

Marcus was also the recipient of an artists’ residency in Berlin in 2012 “Picture Berlin” which had a powerful impact on his image making(you can see the work he produced if you scroll down to past residents and check out 2012), and he was invited to return in 2014 as part of PictureBerlin Festival.

That same year, Marcus collaborated with three other CCP luminaries, Leanne McPhee, Jennifer Hofmann and Sue Michael (featured in our last blog post, May 12 2017), all with backgrounds in one or more of community development, primary health care or aged care, and with current art practice involving photography.

The ensuing exhibition “Hidden Places, Hidden Lives” showed at the Kerry Packer Civic Gallery in the Hawke Centre, North Terrace, and proved to be an incredibly engaging exhibition due to the fact that the four facilitators deliberately blurred any distinction between residents and the four primary photographers. This made the authorship of many of the photographs impossible to distinguish which was wonderful and intriguing because all too often, social justice art projects can inadvertently make the distinction between “us” (the experts) and “them” (the marginalised group). To borrow a phrase from Robert McFarlane, they sought a “democracy of vision” and simply promoted the exhibition as a collaboration between 16 photographers.

Marcus believes that it’s easy to forget how powerful photographs can be. “A single photograph can make you laugh, cry or think, and sometimes all three. It’s a moment in time captured forever on a sheet of paper. It’s so simple but so powerful and that’s what attracts me to the medium.”

Please read on and discover just who Marcus Brownlow the artist using photography is for the second installment from CCP alumni, as we celebrate 20 years of photographic education at the CCP.

Cheers from Gavin

(More than) 10 Questions: CCP graduate Marcus Brownlow

Why did you choose to study at the CCP?

It all started with a flyer I picked up at the Central Market camera shop one Saturday morning: Creative Photography Made Easy, a one day workshop held on a Wednesday at the CCP. I had wanted to take my photography more seriously for some time, and this seemed to be a good starting point. I had the day off work and felt rebellious and subversive. It was great.

I had the best day and felt totally energised by this immersion in photographic design, theory, concepts and history. I resolved then to study photography more formally and enrolled in Camera Portfolio 1. Everything else followed naturally and organically after this one decision, albeit concurrently with full-time corporate work. I now have a Diploma of Photoimaging and could not be more pleased.

Are you making personal work?

I am only making personal work.

What inspires your work at the moment?

I’m using photography as the start point of a creative process rather than as the end point. I still maintain a strong interest in image-making, but am now more interested in what a photograph can become rather than what it is.

What have you done since you studied at the CCP, and what are you doing now?
I have exhibited work in Berlin several times since studying at the CCP, and maintain an ongoing connection with the city and its flourishing community of artists. In fact, the city supports over 30,000 practising artists across all disciplines. I now divide my time between Adelaide and Berlin and am planning to make new work during the northern Winter this year.

Below: Marcus' Picture Berlin project evolved to explore his observations of one of the "essential" elements of modern Berlin: gentrification, and replacing the old with the new.

How has photography changed your life?

Photography started as an interest 25+ years ago and it’s been variously a hobby, working tool, study topic, creative passion and life saver ever since. It is now the foundation upon which my full-time art practice is based. Had you asked me, even 10 years ago, whether I would be pursuing photography full-time, I would have said that you were mad. Life is always full of surprises.

Which photographers – past or present – have been major influences on your work?

I’ve been influenced more by painters than photographers, especially Edward Hopper (1992-1967), Jeffrey Smart (1921-2013) and Richard Maurovic (1963-), all of whom address aspects of the urban landscape, and latterly Sol LeWitt (1928-2007; conceptual art and minimalism). Often visually simple, their works contain multiple levels of complex symbolism and commentary on the contemporary world.

I am strongly drawn to the architect Mies Van Der Rohe’s adage that “less is more”, and try to use it as a guiding principle in my own work.


    
Do you have any advice for student photographers?

James Bennett, the Curator of Asian Art at the Art Gallery of South Australia shared some advice that he’d been given early in his career and I agree with it completely:

Follow your passion, not your ambition.

Pursue what interests you, not what your peers, well-meaning relatives and others think you should be doing. The illusion of stability and security working for The Man can mutate into a Faustian Pact; as Barbara Ehrenreich observed (“Smile or Die”, 2010, Granta), “having to simulate happiness [in a job you hate] is the feeling you might get from getting a hand job while your soul is dying.” If photography is your thing, then go for it.

Don’t ever believe that photography is an easy medium. Chuck Close (artist and hero) noted:

Photography is the easiest medium with which to be merely competent. Almost anybody can be competent. It's the hardest medium in which to have some sort of personal vision and to have a signature style.

It’s a wonderful observation to share with those who conflate the ownership of expensive camera gear with authentic photographic vision.

What is the best job you've had since you've been working in the industry?

I collaborated with Leanne McPhee, Jennifer Hofmann and Sue Michael (all CCP alumni!) on a social justice photography project that aimed to shine a light on a misunderstood aspect of ageing in the community: the residents of Supported Residential Facilities (SRFs). The community that lives in SRFs is easy to stereotype but difficult to accurately describe: compared with the general population, there are certainly higher proportions of mental illness, histories of alcohol and/or substance abuse and various co-morbidities. Were you not able to live in an SRF, you would probably be homeless and it is with this community that we worked.

Working with 12 residents across three suburban SRFs, we taught them about how to use a camera and apply basic photographic techniques; we encouraged them to document their own worlds and lives, and to take their cameras everywhere; we reviewed work and gave tips and encouragement; we saw both confidence and enthusiasm grow; we also made our own photographs of these otherwise hidden people and places.

At the end of the workshops we had accumulated over 5,000 photographs. From this, we edited down to make an exhibition that sought to illustrate the world of residents in SRFs. Called Hidden Places, Hidden Lives it was a SALA Festival event in 2014 presented by the Seniors Information Service and the Bob Hawke Prime Ministerial Centre, and exhibited at the Kerry Packer Civic Gallery.

The project was immensely rewarding and underscored the power of photography to stimulate and encourage creative practice among all members of the community.

You can see more of Marcus’ work at marcusbrownlow.com

20 Years on: CCP graduate Sue Michael

In anticipation of the celebration of the 20 year anniversary of the CCP, last year Aaron and I compiled a range of questions which I sent out to a swag of our alumni.  It was requested of them to select and answer about 10 of the questions about their art practice and their journey post CCP which they thought would be relevant and inspiring for the CCP community to ponder. It is my pleasure to give you one of our very early graduates from our time in Stepney, Sue Michael for a wonderfully entertaining read.

A brief introduction to Sue Michael before her instalment:
(you can see some of Sue's work on Instagram and Twitter)

Sue Michael began her art journey with photography in 1996, unable to even change a roll of film. Sue commenced her studies at the CCP in the second Term (that’s Term 3) in the first year of our existence in Stepney – Sue is one of the first students featured in the pinhole class portrait in last month’s CCP@20 instalment standing behind another CCP luminary, Mike Lim.

Sue came to us as a registered nurse with her first degree in Visual Art and Applied Design with TAFE which she earned in 2004. Her first accomplishment studying at the CCP was a certificate II in Creative Photography which I had written and had accredited very early on in 2000 and so Sue was one of the very first graduates from this program. In 2001, Sue then completed the Certificate IV in Creative Photography which I had also written at the same time as the Certificate II and her art practice has been pretty much informed by photography ever since.

Sue then took a hiatus from her studies here and reconnected with her painting with photography well and truly absorbed into her arts practice. Sue and her family however maintained a close friendship with the Blake family with all of us often sharing many meals at our respective homes and catching up at arty-farty events.

In 1998 Sue had a solo exhibition in our Light Gallery in Stepney titled “Sue Michael Domestic Photographer”. Sue returned to study at the CCP in 2010 to gain her Diploma in Photo imaging, (again one of the very first graduates from this program as well). Sue Celebrated this achievement with another solo show called “Sketches for a Rhest-cure “at the relocated and refurbished Light Gallery in Marleston. These highly original images formed the nexus of a self-published colouring book to aid convalescence of which we have copies available here which Sue has donated for any interested readers.

A view of the installation of this wonderful exhibition is below.

Now photography is the quiet, life-blood of her painting. Sue has a large photographic image bank, mainly unseen except those adapted into her paintings - the photographic images, particularly from her favoured plastic cameras, having allowed her to see the poetic inflows and eddies of daily life having left their mark on her wonderfully urbane canvases. Sue Michael is currently completing her PhD in Visual Arts by research at Uni SA and I am extremely pleased to have her as our first featured CCP alumnus…please read on and enjoy Sue’s pearls of wisdom.

- Gavin

More Than 10 Questions: Sue Michael

What first interested you, or made you fall in love with, photography?

During the 1960’s and 70’s my family often held their own slide evenings. Our travels across Australia were like a step further than my grandparents who rarely left their regional towns. The atmosphere at the crowded slide nights was electric and full of great wit, laughter and phenomenological insight. And so I began to associate large format colour images with the height of nourishing social interaction. As a young adult I was fortunate to visit the Pompidou Centre in Paris, again relishing the social engagement with images. It was within this art museum that I was memorably chastised by security for snapping a Giacometti sculpture with my Kodak 110 camera with flash cube.

Why did you choose to study at the CCP?

I had been attending evening life drawing classes at the North Adelaide School of Art. Chance directed me to photography classes after the drawing was cancelled. We had a 1975 Nikon FM at home, so this was the deciding choice to do photography at the CCP rather than another sort of class. I had no idea how to even change a roll of film, let alone the ‘wheels of fortune’ on the camera body. From the earliest weeks I was completely beguiled, fascinated, challenged and curious about making photographic images. The inner passion surprised me. I wanted to learn the breadth of knowledge rather than a specialised depth.

Are you making personal work?

Barely a day goes past when I do not meddle with photographic images. It is an intuitive process, where my wilful thoughts are put to the side for a short time in the day. Then access to the cosmos is obtained, through the camera. Instinct lets me know where to go, where to point the camera, where to position myself, when to press the shutter button; the camera ‘dictates’ my activities, not my own rational intellectualism. The genius loci, or the feel of the land, also engages with my instinct. This is a key subject matter for my paintings as well as photographs.

What inspires your work at the moment?

My current Visual Art PhD studies at the University of South Australia concern a more thorough examination of the meanings of place, using Humanistic Geography’s framework (David Seamon’s triadic approach to place) to explore place’s singular characteristics, complexities, ever-moving qualities and perhaps “clearly invisible” qualities. It doesn't take much to inspire me. All sorts of locations can be examined for the interface between people, the geographic ensemble as well as the genius loci. You just have to have your eyes peeled, your camera battery charged and a willingness to be open to reciprocal engagement with the wider world.

What have you done since you studied at the CCP, and what are you doing now?

I am a genre painter, but all my skills relate directly to the tens of thousands of experimental documentations of everyday life through the medium of photography. I completed a Bachelor Visual Art and Applied Design at AC Arts, majoring in Printmaking. A Bachelor Visual Art, First Class Honours was completed at UniSA, prior to beginning my Visual Art PhD. I currently am enrolled at the Turps Art School, London’s Correspondence Course. I have recently been involved in teaching art in the Mid North of South Australia. Together with local residents of the smallest towns there, we are seeking to explore the meanings imbued in place there.

How has photography changed since you commenced your studies?

I was fortunate to learn with some wonderful other students, who had skills, and back ground knowledge far beyond my cache of enthusiasm. There was a level of professionalism amongst the students that I had not been aware of. Charts that noted enlarger heights, filter numbers, as well as the usual f-stops and times of the enlarger, were a revelation. The studio lighting was trialled and modified over hours and hours. This quiet, slow dedication was not known in the fast paced world of nursing I had come from. It makes me wonder when you pass the crowded counters at the camera franchises or the rows of printing equipment in the office supplies shops, do the general populace understand the mastery that can be reached in photography? We all have access it seems to image making, but it is the few who walk towards its deep consideration of the technical and philosophical understandings.

How has photography changed your life?

I have learnt to trust my love for painterly photographs and paintings made with specific photographic input.

How have you changed since you were a student?

I am the same, but everything has changed.

Which photographers - past or present - have been major influences on your work?

I love looking at everyone’s representations. Ralph Eugene Meatyard’s experimentation with Zen twigs, and no focus images, is never far from my thoughts. I am fond of Pictorialism, so given ‘a long run for its money’, here in South Australia. I am influenced by the current hyper-saturated and “perfect” digital images of our current time: I am afraid I am a bit like a baboon screeching at the bars when I see lavender skies above real estate displays in the so called best magazines.

Who are the people who have shaped your work and career?

I was fortunate to have been taught by you Gavin in most of my Photographic courses. This has given me a broad and worldly view of the various genres tackled by photography, as well as the early ‘permission’ to be brave, experimental as well as focussed on the gifts that are within each individual artist/ photographer. The late Jim Cowley also provided just a fantastic philosophical foundation, and I will always remember his kind anarchy.

Is there a person (from anywhere, dead or alive) you admire most?

Goethe- for his science that ties in with current Quantum understandings of interconnection and ways of seeing.

Is there one iconic image which has most impacted on you and your work?

The grainy images of Astronaut Neil Armstrong stepping down and walking on the moon were profound (I was 8 years old at the time). As viewers, we were asked to half imagine the setting, because the images were so visually unsure. This blend of scientific / analytical thought that can interweave with the poetic imagination seems to be the most valuable way to consider thinking. And it leads to Noetic Science – how our consciousness can engage with the material world.

Any surprises - good or bad - as you have progressed in your career?

Surprises? How hard it is to be an artist in Adelaide? I work without days off, holidays, and for very long hours. I used to go to art school til 3.30pm, then return home and refine the day’s activities til midnight.  I am not therefore out and about much; I am busy at home making art. So it is no surprise that still, after twenty years, I am not well known in the wider community. Perhaps it is a surprise for others that I am still a busy and inspired image maker. It was an honour and a surprise last year to be a runner up for the AIPP National Art Photography Award 2016.

Do you have any advice for student photographers?

Move about and find, then settle on what photographs give you the most heightened natural brain chemistry. Then you have to practice, practice, and then practice more, so that your craft becomes automatic. Your level of proficiency must be so that you are not focused on basic details concerning materiality, but instead available to be open to the creative spirit that wanders down from the greater cosmos.

What is the best job you've done since you've been working in the industry?

I have had very few job opportunities with photography. I have done weddings, parties, hundreds of children’s portraits, event photography, newborns, followed a local band, but my payment was the extension of my knowledge.

What are your passions outside of photography?

Painting, photo-collage, etching, relief printing, gardening, antiques, collecting 35mm slides from op shops, collecting antique children’s art and activities books, live psychedelic music, travel in regional South Australia, Irish terriers and architectural phenomenology in trans–disciplinary research opportunities.

Any funny anecdotes from your experience in the industry?

Old women are the cutting edge.

Opus Exhibition: a fantastic Sunday opening

The “OPUS” exhibition class embarked on their journey with great success at their opening last Sunday at Magpie Springs Cellar Door and Gallery just outside Willunga on Brookman Road Hope Forest – the exhibition looks fantastic. Philip White the raconteur and bon vivant opened the show with his usual thoughtful words of wisdom which certainly illuminated the work presented.

All seven exhibitors have extended themselves, creatively and artistically. They have developed a very clear idea of how important organisational skills are in order to successfully plan, develop, publicise and launch a unique public exhibition of their art work.

Incredibly the day before, there was a wedding at Magpie Springs which meant that there were a load of trestle tables laid out from that event which meant those who arrived earlier to avail themselves of a picnic before the opening were spoiled for choice as to where to sit – perfect!

Last Sunday, I certainly enjoyed basking in the light of what they have created in the 26 weeks we’ve been meeting. For now their journey is complete until it’s time to organise the exhibition’s second venue at the Light Gallery at the Centre for Creative Photography in June.

OPUS exhibition at
Magpie Springs April 9 – June 3
The Light Gallery June 23 – July 21

I hope you can make this most excellent showing of photographs.
Gavin Blake

PS don't miss Philip White's delicous, poetic take on the exhibition at his Drinkster blog

Twenty Years of the CCP: Early Years

Twenty years along is a funny thing, a lot can happen in that (seemingly) short time and the story of the CCP is no different. My previous gig as a lecturer and course coordinator in South Australia (pre-CCP) was at another Institution which proved to me to be a very frustrating experience, however it steeled my determination to found my own school some twenty years ago.

EARLY DAYS

I first needed a name for the project and having returned from the USA where I lived in Philadelphia for the best part of four years again as an art educator, I settled on The Centre for Creative Photography as a nod to another Center for Creative Photography at the University of Arizona. Not only is it one of the the most prestigious centre for photographic education in America, it also houses the entire W.Eugene Smith photographic archives amongst other noteable contributors to the history or photography. This name was registered as a business on January 31 1997 which just happens to be the birthday of my artistic mentor from graduate school, Professor John Weiss, as a nod towards everything he did for me when I was a graduate student of his at the University of Delaware.

After researching possible locations for the CCP I found a modest but suitable building at 11 Union Street in Stepney. After setting up a “Business Plan” I went to my bank with cap in hand to apply for the requisite funds to start on a lease, construction and to move in to the CCP to start classes. The first class was held on Saturday May 10 of 1997 essentially with five students and one independent study – Mike Lim who is now lecturing as part of the CCP teaching crew. Initially I supplemented the income by having Four Seasons Photography – Ken Binns and Kristina Jansons as tenants; they occupied our Gallery “The Light Gallery at the Centre” which was in the front office. Paula Alexander was a”teaching assistant” who was also finding her legs as an independent photographic business and we contra’d a bit of space for her in exchange for some front of house and administration. I later mentored Paula to become the second teaching member of the crew.

Union Street was a modest 190 square meters compared to the current CCP which is about 660 square meters, but with just six students and me we had plenty of space.  As we slowly grew in student numbers and classes, so did the crew associated with the CCP. there were a few more teaching crew including Mike Lim and Ken Binns and the place was looking a lot more like the school I wished it to look like. By 2002 when we were then averaging 100 students each term and the CCP had become an RTO, it was becoming clear that I needed to start thinking about relocating the school to a larger premises, that however was not to be realised until 2004 with the finding and negotiating of the current space in Marleston with the entire move and reopening in 2005 some (nearly) eight years after we opened in 1997. At that stage, I’d never imagined just how large the CCP was to become, I’d initially seen it as a “Mom and Pop” business and not the RTO it has become, thanks to the belief of a LOT of people who have passes through the doors.

Looking at the original floor plan, I do wonder just how we managed to fit everything in, but of course we did. Just as a point of reference though the Main studio was about 4.5x5.5 m, smaller than studio 3!

A great time was had there though, studio, darkroom and conceptual classes, exhibition openings and of course a lot of people who completed their studies there, are still making work, which is a great thing to experience – I’m so very proud to have been a part of their artistic education.

Funnily enough I had a small office in the roof line at the very back of the building, which was referred to as “Cambodia” essentially because it was seemingly 10C hotter than on the ground floor on any given day; this though good in the Winter, was “interesting” to say the least in the Summer as there was no air conditioning whatsoever! This illustration shows how the space looks today – courtesy of real estate dot com and I’ve inlaid an historical image of me conversing with someone over a book at my desk one evening – many people hit their heads on that ceiling when they stood up! I still have that same desk at Marleston to this day, just veneered particle board across two filing cabinets.

THE FIRST CLASS HELD

It was a Saturday and Introduction to the Darkroom had four students, that combined with two people studying independently with me gave us a total of six students. The Centre for Creative Photography was a school.

In the second Term there (which is the academic year 3rd Term) students made pinhole cameras with their Camera 2 class and in that class were two very noteable members of the group – Mike Lim who now teaches here and Sue Michael who is an accomplished painter/artist who has held solo exhibitions of her work at the Light Gallery amongst other venue. Sue was also runner up for last year’s (2016) National A.I.P.P. Contemporary Photography Award – here they are those 20 years ago standing with the rest of their class for their first “group portrait”.

I overlaid this image in situ overlaid with a current photograph of the original building just to give you an idea of where they were at the time.

We managed to doubled our numbers in Term 4 to 12!  After that, things grew at a reasonably steady rate each Term there after.

So the CCP was actually starting to even “feel” like a real school and probably to this end, I clearly remember my excitement when in Term 3 2000 we managed to reach a coveted 70 – I’m not sure why this was seemingly so significant for me at the time, however I think it must have seemed like a goal worth aiming for, which seems funny now as we average 150 students each Term, workshops notwithstanding. This was also the same year the CCP became a Registered Training Organisation (RTO) offering a Certificate II and IV in Creative Photography…the CCP was certainly growing up, and digital cameras weren’t quite knocking on our door.

>>>Thanks so much for reading this first instalment as we look back at twenty years of the CCP. Stay tuned for more thoughts on how the CCP got where it is today!

OPUS: The 2017 CCP Exhibition class

Since October 2016, seven CCP Diploma students have been meeting every Friday morning for the Photography for Exhibition class. This subject is an extremely important part of the Diploma of Photography and Photo imaging which we run at the CCP. It is not a core subject as the skill sets the students pick up as a result of this experience are not necessarily where everyone wishes to go with their photographic enterprise, but it is always very rewarding.

Due to the intensity of what is covered in this class, it has to run over two Terms – Term 4 and Term 1 the following year. My task is to be co-ordinating the end event which is of course a professional exhibition of the group’s personal photographic work in a public art gallery.

I consider it a “coming out” in terms of the end result being a sustainded body of images being exhibited along with the ensuing publicity machine required to create a great opening event. This also ensures that the exhibition is not only successful, but it provides each exhibitor with an excellent opportunity to continue with the self promotion of their artistic endeavours well into the future .

The OPUS exhibition class have embarked on this journey and are certainly honing their exhibition skills to this end. It never ceases to amaze me the individual talents everyone brings to the class, and of course nothing can happen without first securing a venue. Now having secured their venue, OPUS are very pleased to announce they will be opening at Magpie Springs Winery in Willunga on Sunday April 9. The exhibition will travel back to Adelaide to its final destination at the Light Gallery at the Centre for Creative Photography in June. Stay tuned for the invitations.

All seven exhibitors are extending  themselves, creatively, artistically and already they have developed a very clear idea of just how important organisational skills are in order to successfully hold, publicise and develop a unique public exhibition of their art work. I hope to see you at the opening at Magpie Springs, as these events are always a huge celebration of the artists and their work as a coming of age. In the meantime, I hope you will visit them via the website they’ve established and enjoy the site developing. It needs a little bit more work, but as a living document please tune in and witness its evolution. Please visit their site here   opusphotoexhibition.com  and support their successes.

Gavin Blake

CCP DIRECTOR and Cat Juggler

Merry Christmas & Holiday Hours

From all of us at the CCP, have a wonderful Christmas and a very Happy New Year. Hopefully you have some time off to relax and recharge, celebrating with the people you love.

We want to thank each and every one of our students who have made this year and every year so worthwhile. Seeing you each week, catching up, talking photography, and having a lot of fun is a joy and a reminder of why we do what we do. You inspire us and prove that the goal of making this school a little oasis of creativity is worthy. So thank you.

The CCP will be closed for the holidays from Friday 23 December, reopening Monday 9 January

Congratulations to our 2016 VET award winner, Jayden Williams!

Jayden Williams

Most Promising Young Photographer 2016

This year we had a great semester of Creative Camera A&B with outstanding results from all the high school VET students. While the results were extremely close, the clear winner of this year’s VET Most Promising Young Photographer award was Jayden Williams from Modbury High School. Jayden was surprised that he had been chosen as the winner, acknowledging the incredible work from his classmates, saying “I thought for sure that one of my other classmates would have won! They’re all very talented and I learnt so much from each of them. Overall, I’m very humbled to be the recipient of the award.”

So far Jayden has enjoyed exploring a wide range of photographic styles. He initially started his studies at the CCP taking a Seascapes and Star Trails workshop late in 2015. This encouraged him to enrol in Create Camera A where he learnt in more detail about camera functions and settings He says that he soon realised he would have to upgrade from his mirrorless Olympus if he was going to reach his full potential in Creative Camera B. “Over the break, I bought a new camera, a Nikon D7200, and I love it! There’s so much more I’m able to do with it. It definitely helped me with the course, my photo quality improved and I was able to experiment more with different styles of photography.” This was evident in Jayden’s work in Creative Camera B and he says he loved every style he has come across so far in his studies. He is yet to pin down his favourite trying everything from portraiture to landscape to architecture as well as long exposures just to name a few. But in saying that, he is beginning to develop his own personal style where the use of techniques such as symmetry and diptychs/triptychs and vivid colours can be seen across much of his work.

Jayden - Already Gone.jpg

The use of multiple images in one piece was a revelation to Jayden. “The one thing that helped push my creativity was when Sam, my lecturer, said that we could have as many photos as we wanted in a single frame. To me, this opened up so many more possibilities and helped me to create heaps more interest with my pieces. My favourite one was of my Stepdad’s band, Already Gone. I had a photo of each of the members, and 2 shots of the band playing. I felt like this was a different take on the traditional portraiture style, as it created more of a story within the frame.”

In the future Jayden is looking forward to expanding his knowledge and skills further. This term he has enrolled in Darkroom #1 and Camera Portfolio #2 where he is learning about film photography and photographing a series. Beyond his studies he is still considering where he wants to go with his photography. “In the future, I’m not really sure what I want to do. I like the thought of other people enjoying my work, so I might take on contract work, or I may just become a freelance photographer. I still have a lot to learn.”

For now, he is looking forward to using his prize money from the award to go towards some new equipment, stating that “the money could be put to many things that would help me advance with my photography; a new lens, another set of ND filters, a microphone (to help with videography aspirations I have), really the possibilities are endless”.

 

Finally Jayden summarised his experience so far at the Centre for Creative Photography by saying “The courses I’ve studied have been really fun, the facilities provided at the CCP are really good, the lecturers and staff are extremely friendly and easy to get along with and it’s definitely better than regular school work. When I proposed to do this photography course, I was told that it would be hard work and that I would need to commit myself to an odd school timetable, as well as unconventional study hours. I’m very glad that I went ahead, did it, and dedicated myself to achieving my goals.”

Open Day Sunday 14 August 2016

OPEN DAY 14 August 2016

Are you interested in pursuing your passion for photography as a career?

The Centre for Creative Photography will be hosting an Open Day on Sunday 14 August 2016 from 11am - 3pm.

You are invited to visit and meet the dynamic staff and students who have made this institution the premier space to launch your photographic career.

Get course and subject information, meet the Director, recent graduates and staff, talk to lecturers, enjoy photographic and darkroom demonstrations and experience your future at the CCP.

Your photographic career starts here...

See & Taste the Barossa Story

Two years ago CCP graduate Bernadette (Bernie) Kaeding enrolled in Portrait Photography 2. She already had her Diploma but wanted to finally settle her love/hate relationship with portraiture. Now, she has published True Stories: Portraits of Barossa Winemakers, the best Australian Wine Writing book! (2016 Gourmand World Cookbook Awards).

Buy True Stories: Portraits of Barossa Winemakers by CCP Diploma graduate Bernadette Kaeding now. You can collect your signed copy of this award-winning book from The Light Gallery at the CCP during Bernie's SALA exhibition, 29 July—30 August 2016.

The Light Gallery at the Centre for Creative Photography is pleased to announce a very special
exhibition and VIP winemaker dinner as part of the South Australian Living Artist (SALA) Festival.

Red Art & Michael Hall Wines have collaborated to create an exclusive exhibition opening and VIP winemaker dinner for SALA.

Go on an indulgent journey as Bernadette Kaeding (lovingly known as Bernie to her friends) and partner Sam Kurtz from Red Art Wines and Michael Hall Wines will present their award-winning current vintage and cellar reserve wines at a long table winter feast. The wines will be matched to a three-course menu, designed by celebrated Barossa chef, Stuart Oldfield from Hand Made Catering.

The event officially launches Bernie’s portrait and book exhibition ‘True Stories: Portraits of Barossa Winemakers’. The book gracefully tells the true stories of the inner lives of Barossa winemakers, in a rare insight into the characters and culture of the Barossa, including of course the three winemakers the three winemakers from the dinner themselves.

‘True Stories: Portraits of Barossa Winemakers’ recently won Best Wine Writing Book Australia and Top 3 in the world at the Gourmand International Cookbook Awards 2016, while wine industry doyen James Halliday enthused, ‘Every photograph and its accompanying story is a joy to look at and to read.’

Held at The Light Gallery at the Centre for Creative Photography in the central Adelaide suburb of Marleston, the event is an exquisite intersection of fine art and wine, bringing the essence of the Barossa to the capital for Adelaide’s premier festival South Australian Living Art (SALA).

Details:
True Stories: Portraits of Barossa Winemakers
VIP Exhibition opening night and dinner
Three-course wine matched menu by Barossa chef Stuart Oldfield
Friday, 29th July 2016, 7pm
The Light Gallery at the Centre for Creative Photography
138 Richmond Road Marleston SA 5033
Bookings online: http://rojomoma.com.au/product/exhibition-opening-winemaker-dinner/
Cost: $135 per head
Links:
Red Art Wines: http://rojomoma.com.au/product/exhibition-opening-winemaker-dinner/
Michael Hall Wines: http://www.michaelhallwines.com/
Hand Made Catering: http://www.handmadecatering.com.au/
The Light Gallery: http://www.ccp.sa.edu.au/
SALA: http://www.salafestival.com/

For further information or access to images, please contact the curator Alyssa Cavanagh at The Light Gallery, alyssa.cavanagh@ccp.sa.edu.au | 08 8354 0839.

Important information: changes to the Certificate IV and Diploma

Read this letter as a PDF

I’m writing to let you know about some important upcoming changes to the Certificate IV at the CCP. As of January 2016 we are in what is called the “Transition” phase for the qualifications we offer:

CUV40411-Certificate IV in Photo Imaging is superseded by
 CUA41115-Certificate IV in Photography and Photo Imaging

CUV50411-Diploma of Photo Imaging is superseded by
CUA50915-Diploma of Photography and Photo Imaging

The Transition period is eighteen months, and so will end in July 2017, after Term 2. At that point the superseded qualifications (CUV40411 and CUV50411) will expire from our scope of registration.

What this means for current CCP students:

• Students who commenced studies in Term 1 or Term 2 2016 have already started the “new” Cert IV qualification, CUA41115.
- These students are not affected by the Transition period.
 
• Students who undertook courses before 2016 can complete the qualification they started. But these students must complete the “old” qualification by Term 2 2017 or they will be transitioned to the new award.
- For Certificate IV students in this group, there is little change between the old and new Certificate. But we recommend completing the old qualification within the Transition period.
- For Diploma students in this group, there are more significant changes. We strongly recommend completing the old Diploma within the Transition period.

* In the new Diploma, Digital Imaging 3 will become a core subject. Therefore if you do not wish to undertake Digital Imaging 3, you will need to complete the Diploma by the end of Term 2 2017.

* In the new Diploma elective subject choices will be more prescribed. Instead of choosing any five electives, you will choose electives as follows: Two “Group A” subjects, two “Group B” subjects and one “Group C” subject. Hence your study plan may be adversely affected if you do not complete the Diploma by the end of Term 2 2017.

Please see the new course structure to see what these changes look like.

If you’d like any further advice on this transition, please contact the CCP and Aaron or I will only be too pleased to help. If necessary we can make a specific time to catch up.

It’s part of what I do here to relocate this information and to incorporate the changes into our curriculum so as to ensure your continued progression through each qualification. I have included the current course structure as well as the new course structure so you can compare both awards.

Cheers and all the best and I hope to see you here to complete your studies soon.
Gavin Blake
CCP Director

Background:
(Only if you want to get into the weeds of academic administration)

Qualifications (Certificates and Diplomas) are made up of building blocks called “competencies”. These are nationally-recognised units of study. So if you study at the CCP and move to Victoria, RMIT won’t know what “Introduction to Photography” is but they will understand the competencies CUAPHI302 and CUAPPR403.

Competencies and qualifications are bundled together under the umbrella of “Training Packages”. What we teach at the CCP is part of the Visual Arts Training Package.

Every four years that training package is updated to continuously reflect the changing industry and relevance in education. Competencies may be modified more frequently but this creates small changes at the subject level only.

Updates to training packages can be minor or major. Updates may include changes to the number of competencies, the mix of core and elective competencies, and the “packaging rules” for how elective competencies are permitted to be chosen.

Now that I have completed the mapping of the new awards, I can tell you that essentially there is little change to the Certificate IV. The number and mix of subjects has not changed.

However the changes to the Diploma are more significant. The overall number of subjects is the same but Digital Imaging 3 will now be a core class. So there is still a total of nine subjects but there will be four core units plus five electives.

And Diploma educational pathways will be more prescribed. Instead of choosing any five elective subjects you will need to select given numbers of electives from “Groups A, B and C” as indicated on the new award flow chart.