The Photograph Considered number thirty – Morganna Magee

The Photograph Considered number thirty – Morganna Magee

Brother, 2019. From the series All the things unsaid.

Although I’ve always worked with film, photographing with an 8 x 10 has made me essentially re-learn everything I know. It is a completely different process to medium format and 4 x 5 which was what I had predominantly used for portraits before. I am extremely  fortunate to be borrowing Lynette Zeeng’s with an Arca 300mm lens for the foreseeable future. 

It’s an incredible thing to see your subject so large on the ground glass, with some of the closer portraits I’ve taken almost life size. I’ve been photographing my estranged family with the 8 x 10 which creates an interesting dynamic. The sheer size and cumbersome nature of the camera demands a respect from the sitter which I’ve never experienced before. 

People really do sit still when photographed with such an amazing machine. This image is of my older brother, taken on the day of our first conversation after a decade of silence. I could not have made this image with any other kind of camera, I needed to work slowly to calm myself to take the photo and be in the moment.

Photographing on Porta 160 means that I have to get the film commercially developed. This has certainly caused some frustrations but also has meant that I’ve needed to ensure to compensate for any development problems with my exposure. 

The works are hand printed by Sandra Barnard as contact prints and will be scanned to form part of a book to be published at the end of my MA this June. Though I always enjoyed hand printing colour the lack of availability of darkrooms has meant I’ve not been able. Maybe one day I can have my own darkroom at home but for the moment it’s a real privilege to have Sandy print them for me.

Morganna Magee with 8 x 10 camera.

Morganna Magee is an Australian social documentary photographer and educator based in Melbourne,Victoria. Morganna’s work centres around long term projects in which the relationship between photographer and subject challenge the traditional notion of the impartial gaze of the photographer. To date her personal work has explored the issues and complexities around disability, grief and womanhood. Morganna is a founding member of Lumina Collective.

Her images have appeared in The New York Times, The Guardian, The Age, The Big Issue, The Weekend Australian magazine, Art and Australia magazine, Broadly,com, Wooden toy Quarterly, Lostateminor, and Black and White Magazine.

She has photographed major commissions for Wintringham Specialist aged care, the shire of Murrundindi, Victoria Police, the Mission for Seafarers, Ronald McDonald House and The Immerse Arts Festival among others. Morganna lectures in Photo Imaging at Swinburne University of Technology.

More of Morganna’s work can be seen on her web site and her Instagram and at Lumina Collective.

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Morganna Magee is an Australian social documentary photographer and educator based in Melbourne, Australia.

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