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LA FOCUS // CHRISTOPHER KOLLER

 
 
 

QCP is taking books of sixteen Australian photo-media artists to PhotoBook Independent (1 – 3 May 2015). This series of focus interviews gives an insight into the selected artists.

How did you get into photography?
I was the family photographer from the age of eight. I spent a lot of my youth travelling and taking photographs as I went. In my early thirties I decided to go to art school and study photography, and it became my life.

How did you arrive at the decision to create a photo book, and how is working with a book different from working on an exhibition?
I had wanted to publish books of my work for many years but the publishing industry in Australia is small and the cost was high. More recently costs have become more affordable. With the help of Helen Frajman at M33 I decided to begin by developing a book of my garden photographs.

Developing the book was far more work than an exhibition, but the advantage is that it endures. The book was a much more collaborative process than I am used to with exhibitions. I had to seek out a writer, to work extensively with Peter Hatzipavlis (Digital Centre, Photography Studies College) on the scans, with the designer and with the printers.

Tell us a bit about your book featured at PhotoBook Independent.
The book presents a collection of photographs of gardens taken with a $7.00 Diana plastic camera. I am fascinated by the way it leaks light, throws sections out of focus, creates vignettes around images and occasionally allows numbers and spots from the film backing to appear randomly in images.

I was certain I wanted Rebecca Jeffrey to design the book. She had designed exhibition catalogues and my website. Despite the fact she had moved to London, with the help of Skype, dropboxes and email, we were able to collaborate effectively and develop a book that I am proud of.

I looked around for a writer and through friends at the Victorian College for the Arts was introduced to Dr Katrina Grant who was great to work with. A specialist on Italian gardens, she was enthusiastic about my approach despite the fact I often choose not to find the iconic views of famous gardens and choose to photograph some very humble collections of plants, not to mention the weird effects of the Diana. I encouraged her to feel free to write about the elements of the gardens that she had insight into rather than write specifically about my work. I love some of the classic photo books that have essays that resonate and complement rather than describe the images. As a reader and viewer I like to make my own meanings.

The whole process of developing the book was encouraged and supported by my publisher Helen Frajman who helped edit the images and the essay. Helen communicated a quiet confidence throughout the process that the book would finally be a compelling publication.

For more information about Christopher Koller, please visit his website.

Banner image: Paradeisos cover

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