Tuesday, 26 February 2013

The critic becomes the critiqued

For the last four weeks I've been doing an introduction to DSLR photography course at the Australian Centre for Photography. Over the course of the four weeks we were given homework which was to be shown and discussed at the last class. Below are two of my images that the teacher singled out as my better ones. 

It was interesting to be on the receiving end of a critique and slightly unnerving if I'm telling the truth. Overall I think it was a good experience for me - photography is not all point and shoot (not that I ever thought it was!). I genuinely really enjoyed the class and plan to continue photography in the future (as a hobby). Even though this has shown me that having your work discussed and critiqued can be a nerve-wracking experience, I still feel it's imperative to learning and growth.

Having said that, feel free to critique the critic and comment on the photographs. Not planning on giving up my day job just yet! 

NB. to put it in context the first was an exercise in capturing colour and the second in capturing reflections. 





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Sunday, 24 February 2013

GUEST POST: Elizabeth Little reviews Time in Motion


Swan Lake

Time in Motion: 50 Years of the Australian Ballet Arts Centre Melbourne (9 June –23 September 2012)State Library of NSW (12 November 2012 – 10 February 2013)


2012 was a big year for the Australian Ballet. It celebrated its fiftieth birthday, which is no mean feat for an arts organisation. Its 2012 season featured ballets both old (Robert Helpmann’s The Display) and new, or freshly re-imagined as in Stephen Bayne’s Swan Lake. It threw a fabulous birthday celebration in Melbourne with a gala performance that included some of its favourite international guests dancing some of the most loved pas de deux from a range of classical and contemporary ballet. Elisa Badenes and Daniel Camargo from the Stuttgart Ballet performed an extract from Don Quixote that was probably one of the best performances of the year.
The Merry Widow and Coppelia

Mitchell Gallery

Helping to put all that dance into an historical context is Time In Motion, a touring exhibition by Arts Centre Melbourne developed in association with The Australian Ballet and shown in Sydney at the Mitchell Galleries, State Library of NSW. This exhibition proudly displayed the history of the AB through archival video footage of performances and interviews with artistic directors, choreographers, designers and dancers; photographs of the dancers in rehearsal, on stage, travelling overseas; newspaper articles, promotional posters, models of stage sets and delicate hand drawn costume designs. There were framed worn pointe shoes, signed by the ballerinas who had worn them, including Dame Margot Fonteyn, Ann Jenner, Lisa Bolte, Fiona Tonkin, Justine Summers and Marilyn Rowe.  

Costumes from a range of ballets including The Nutcraker – Clara’s Story, The Merry Widow, Swan Lake, Melbourne Cup, Swan Lake, Coppelia and Madam Butterfly were also in display. I found it fascinating to be able to get a proper look at the detail of these costumes, which can often be missed from where I sit in the third back row of the dress circle at the Opera House!
Coppelia

The Nutcracker - Clara's Story

The Merry Widow

I was enthralled by the yellowing newspaper clippings that had been carefully clipped and stuck into a scrapbook by Betty Stewart. Stewart was the publicist during the 1964 season that featured Dame Margot Fonteyn and Rudolf Nureyev dancing with the company. ‘The brooding Tartar’ Daily Mirror 14 April 1964 featured an interview with a 26 year old Nureyev, who spoke about being a guest artist and partnering Fonteyn in Giselle and Swan Lake. In ‘There is nothing like a dame’, an article published in The Daily Mirror 15 April 1964, a star struck  journalist complained that she wished she had never met the pair, as Fonteyn was rehearsing in laddered tights and an old black leotard, was busy sewing ribbons onto a pair of ballet slippers. All of the journalist’s idealistic thoughts about ballerinas were squashed with a short meeting with the two dancers.
The Nutcracker - Clara's Story

Signed pointe shoes

By the time I left, I had the lyrics to that song from A Chorus Line swirling around my head. Yes, Everyone is beautiful at the ballet / Every prince has got to have his swan /Everything was beautiful at the ballet / Graceful men lift lovely girls in white / Yes, Everything was beautiful at ballet...


Elizabeth Little has a B. Art Theory (Hons)and M Art Admin, COFA UNSW. She lives and works in Sydney.

All images supplied by the writer. 


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Monday, 18 February 2013

out of place: atyp


out of place
The Voices Project, atyp: January 30 - February 16, 2013


Out of Place presents ten, seven minute monologues that are both humourous and dark, moving and disturbing. Directed by Paige Raffray and forming part of The Voices Project, the work of young Australian playwrights is showcased perfectly and performed by a brilliant young cast. 

Each monologue flows seamless onto the next despite the fact that each are very separate and touch on very different issues. There is the girl who, when out in the quarry with friends (Falling Through the Blue/Grey), one of the friends little brother falls and is killed. She feels the loss and carries the blame for the incident, told with the awkwardness of a teenager. The boy who is a clown (These Things Happen) and feels the sting of social exclusion and mockery. He is hit on by mothers at children's birthday parties and even his own girlfriend cannot stand the sight of him as she fears clowns. He is standing on the edge, poised to jump, but he doesn't.  

Peach, written by Izzy Roberts-Orr and performed by Georgia Brindley

The school girl on an excursion to the museum who sees her Chinese heritage in the artifacts on display (Red Panda). She begins to question her identity and whether her ignorance of it is slowly destroying her ancestry until it too can only be found in a museum. The girl who is studying at a friends place and asks about sex (Private Research). Her virginity is a result of her cultural upbringing but her natural curiosity will not waver. She is embarrassed and unsure yet quietly determined.

Perhaps for me the most moving monologue was Sunrise Set, written by Krystal Sweedman. A young girl rushes to her grandmothers bedside, her laptop grasped earnestly in hand. She is trying to show her grandmother a video, or she would if the internet connection wouldn't continuously drop out. Her constant frustration at this provides some humour in an increasingly somber moment. It becomes clear that the grandmother was at one stage a great singer and the girl had promised to show her footage of her singing before she died. As with so many things, life gets in the way and it becomes obvious the girl has arrived too late. You see the recognition dawn on her face a moment before she draws the covers up over her grandmothers head. Then she sings to her one last time. Beautifully portrayed by Charlotte Tilelli, Sunrise Set reminds us that sometimes all we really have is this moment.

The monologues that make up Out of Place are intensely varied but carry with them this sense of exposure. We are seeing beyond the facade into the minds of these people and are privy to the conversations they have with themselves when they are alone. Often heartbreaking but always punctuated with a degree of humour, Out of Place calls to the awkward teenager in us all and reassures them they are not alone.       
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Monday, 4 February 2013

Sydney Festival: Masi


Sydney Festival 2013
Masi
Seymour Centre: January 20 - 25, 2013


Presented by New Zealand Theatre Company The Conch, Masi tells the story of Ratu Noa Nawalowalo, a High Chief of Kadavu and Mary Tancock, the daughter of Cambridge educated schoolmasters. A chance meeting over a game of chess in Wellington during the 1950's spawns a romance that would last decades. Directed by Nina Nawalowalo, their daughter, the story begins as she uncovers the secrets of her parents. As she reveals the history of her parents meeting it is played out in front of us through stage illusions designed by Paul Kieve which includes original images projected onto screens.   


This technique is impressive, if a bit over-used, and successfully demonstrates the characters progression. A highlight was definitely the members of Fiji's Kabu hi Vanua Dance Group who performed a stunning routine that lifted the entire production. Masi, traditionally known as intricately printed textiles made from beaten bark of the paper mulberry tree, incorporates beautiful tradition with a contemporary love story. As the story unfolds the audience is taken on a journey accompanied by a gorgeous soundtrack composed by Gareth Farr. Absolutely stunning.     
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