As Modern as Tomorrow State Library of Victoria Mid-20th-century…
Double Vision features works by David Roberts and Jeremy Rabie, bridging the technological shifts that have transformed the medium to date. Roberts is a traditional photographer, carrying his huge view cameras all over the country, capturing Australia onto large format negatives and printing them in his purpose- built darkroom. Rabie uses a dedicated digital black and white system, working mainly on the street and printing onto state-of-the-art papers which evoke the look and aesthetic feel of traditional darkroom papers.
Photographer David Roberts has spent extended periods in isolation. Nine weeks above the Arctic Circle allowed him to observe the landscape evolve into winter before his eyes. His choice of camera was not necessarily a practical one: a Kodak Master view camera from the 1940s, accompanied by film and holders, tripod and lenses – with a total weight of over 50kgs. This, along with camping equipment and food supplies was dragged by hand through ice and snow on a daily basis. An issue with contaminated water resulted in a dramatic rescue by helicopter, but he has no regrets.
With a BA in Philosophy and an MA in Theology, David lived for over 10 years learning and translating the language of the Dene Indians and the Inuit First Nations People in remote regions of northern Canada. He built his family a home, learned to traverse the ice as his daily commute and to hunt caribou. It was during this period that he developed an interest in photography and it became an increasingly contemplative preoccupation. He realised that by using ultra-large format view cameras, that he could get the photographs he was truly after – both technically and aesthetically.
A finalist in the National Photographic Portrait Prize in 2014, David is one of the few photographers in the world given the privilege of a formal portrait session with the Dalai Lama. With many famous faces in his collection, The National Portrait Gallery, National Library of Australia and other state institutions have purchased his work. He was recently commissioned by The National Portrait Gallery to make a portrait of Nobel Prize-winning, Professor Brian Schmidt. A process that he describes as a collaborative and highly contemplative time with his subject, David enjoys the fact that the equipment slows everything down and allows a new kind of intimacy.
Jeremy Rabie is a Sydney based photographer whose street photography evokes a stark yet human response in the viewer. Convinced that black and white images best reflect the essence of photography, Jeremy has engaged with the complexities of monochrome to express his vision. He was born and raised in South Africa during the Apartheid years, where the violence and tragedy of daily African life, reflected in the remarkable images of the time and shaped his initial photographic awareness. He has recently returned to his first love, photography, after a working life, which included activism. This exhibition provides a landmark opportunity for Jeremy to expose his prints from the past few years.
Main photograph: David Roberts. Being and Emptiness. 2006. 20 x 24 silver gelatin print.
Magnet Gallery CBD. Level 2, 640 Bourke Street Melbourne. 15 November – 8 December 2018
A previous article by David Roberts can be seen here.
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