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LA FOCUS // GEMMA AVERY

 
 
 

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 have always been into photography in the sense that I have always collected images from books and magazines. When choosing a major at art school it was a toss up between photography and painting. However, although I majored in painting, photography became so prominent in my painting practice – as I was either painting from my own photographs or photographing my paintings – I got to the point where I wanted to engage with photographic images more directly.

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?
My decision to make a book arose out of a need to bringing things I had been making and ideas I had been playing with together. A lot of the images I work with are from old books, magazines and photo albums so I also liked the process of bringing this material back to a printed book format. One of the ironies of advancing technology and the Internet means that while books are being discarded it has never been easier to produce or self publish a book.

Working with a book differs from an exhibition in that it allows for a more intimate and immediate engagement with the images. In my case, it also allowed me to see the way the different series of work played off one another. This interplay of seemingly disparate subjects and genres was exciting. It allowed me to extend my thinking about the book, not only as a catalogue of individual works, but, as a collection of fragments, a work in itself.

Tell us a bit about your book featured at PhotoBook Independent.
Make Book derives its name from one of the 10 rules for Students and Teachers (composed by Sister Corita Kent, but popularized by John Cage), “nothing is a mistake. There’s no win and no fail there’s only make.”

The book represents a year of play, experimentation and shifting my practice from painting, in a traditional sense to a cross pollination between painting and photography. The book itself is about perception and interrupting the act of looking. Using found or appropriated imagery whether iconic or vernacular was a deliberate choice: I was thinking about varied perceptions of the same image. I was also interested in images as representative of a collective cultural knowledge and consciousness.

Banner image: Make Book cover

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