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Light Paths

Light Paths #2

The 2020 Exhibition newsletter

The website for Light Paths is now live. Even though it currently exists in a skeleton form it has received some favourable responses.The consensus is that an online public, art space that promotes contemporary photography, and is premised on creative collaboration, is what South Australia needs.

The next stage in this experiment is to put some flesh on the bare bones by way of adding some content into the website's different spaces. The first step in this process is to add more pictures in the online 2020 Exhibition. This newsletter, therefore, is a call for submissions to the online exhibition; and secondly for ideas for some posts for the blog.

As mentioned in the previous newsletter Light Paths is a low-key, art experiment to foster a digital public space in the form of a Khôra (or chora) for art photographies in/about South Australia. Khôra, understood as a receptacle space that wavers between the logic of exclusion and that of participation, is a space in which things come to be. It plays the role of receptacle. Light Paths as Khôra avoids the techno-fetishistic approach to new image technologies by those who talk in terms of a post-photographic future.

The Internet is changing the way we consider photography, and photography is undergoing transformations. No longer restricted to the gallery wall or the printed page, photography now regularly (and sometimes exclusively) appears on computer screens. The internet provides an expansion of what photography can be through opening up various opportunities to collaborate. Light Paths is a space for these collaborative activities to be connected.

Gary's image below is Burra Creek Gorge Reserve, (Worlds End) 2020.

Burra Gorge

As mentioned in the first newsletter Light Paths is modest in its ambition. As a digital space for art photographies about South Australia as a place, it is envisioned to be a work-in-progress that will change and mutate over time. It's capacity to develop and evolve as a digital public space will primarily depend on the level of support and participation from the art photography/visual art community.

The 2020 Exhibition

This second Light Path's newsletter is a callout for submissions for the online 2020 Exhibition.

The exhibition is conceptually simple and modest in scope. People can submit 3 images from a project that they have been working on in 2020. It is not necessary that the photo/image was made in 2020. It could be made earlier, since it is quite normal for a photographic or art project to take several years to complete. The criteria for being considered for inclusion is that the applicant artist photographer needs to have been working on the particular project that the image is a part of during 2020; and that the project has a title.

Interest in participating in the exhibition can be shown through submitting online. The website's submission form allows only for 1 image to be submitted (to prevent spam); but an administrator will respond and ask for the other 2 images, the title of the project and a link to further work online. Alternatively, you can email Gary directly with the 3 images and information for submission. His contact address is at the bottom of the Light Paths website.

The exhibition is open-ended in the sense that submissions can be made during December 2020. Not everything submitted will be necessarily shown as the submissions will be curated. We appreciate that this is not much notice, but we are squeezed for time. We thought that ensuring Light Paths is up and running in 2020 with an exhibition was a priority.

The image below of a "shop" in Farrell Flat is an outtake from Gary Sauer-Thompson's photos in The 2020 Exhibition.

Greengrocer,  Farrell Flat

Burra field trip: Autumn 2021

Field trips are designed to provide art photographers an occasion to explore parts of South Australia that they may not be familiar with. This provides an opportunity to create new narratives, insights, images and non-economic forms of value about our regional culture and geography.

It is envisioned that the first photographic field trip will be over a weekend in the autumn of 2021. The location is Burra in South Australia's Mid-North. Burra has been chosen because the surrounding region is visually interesting, there is a variety of accommodation available, and the town has a number of options for eating out. People are encouraged to stay longer than the weekend, if they so wish.

There will be more details about the Burra field trip in the third newsletter, which will be in the summer of 2021. People are invited to put forward other locations and timing suggestions for the second field trip latter in 2021. Bear in mind the three criteria mentioned in the previous paragraph.

The image below is a snap of the renovated Railway Station at Burra by Gary when he was on a road trip to the mid-north in 2021.
Burra Railway station


A brief note on the concept of Light Paths as Khôra. The relationship between Khôra and its contents is not a ‘water-in-a-jug’ relationship. Khôra interacts with its contents, while being simultaneously distinct from them. It is the process of a common relationship on all that happens, but it does not impose what that relationship shall be.

This approach to a digital art space avoids the technological discourse that opposes photography to the digital image in order to distinguish a sad, earthbound (crude, realist) photography to the creative realms of the new (innovative, constructivist) digital technologies. This is a new version of an old 19th century debate that distinguished photography negatively from the romantic view of painting as the expressed subjectivity of the gifted artist.

A sign of photography industry's downward trajectory is the closure of Photokina, due to the massive decline in markets for digital products. Another sign, this time in the art institution, is the Sydney-based and Sydney centric Australian Centre of Photography more or less closing down, due to a lack of federal public funding. The takeaway here is that, though looking at pictures on a monitor is not the same as experiencing physical prints in a traditional exhibition, online art spaces are becoming more central to providing opportunities for a spectator to discover more of an artist's work.

Siegfried Kracauer's book, The Mass Ornament, about the street life of Weimar Republic in 1927, is now online and it is well worth reading. His idea of the mass ornament was a precursor to Guy Debord's Situationist concept of the society of the spectacle.

Kracauer casts his eye over shops and meeting-places, newspapers, posters, best-seller lists, cinemas, hotels, trams and tourism. The was at a time when the very concept of ‘the mass’ and the perceived need to order mass life in new ways, was changing culture, including photography and philosophy; as well as changing our cities, our relationship with nature, and the physicality of our own bodies.

Kracauer touches upon the themes of individual isolation and alienation, urban culture and planning, and the relationship between personality and the group whilst exploring early twentieth-century culture, such as shopping galleries and hotels, film and photography. Popular fiction literature, science and religion, are also examined in the book. Kracauer discusses the similarity between the mechanism of a photo camera and human memory, the phenomenon of general dehumanization and automation of life, critiques humanity’s strive to become a “clean, polished” machine, and analyzes the inevitable effect of capitalism on art.

The image below is an outtake from Adam Jan Dutkiewicz's images in the 2020 Exhibition. This series has affinities to, and links up with, the current Abstraction: Different Interpretations exhibition at Encounters Gallery.


Josh Colberg in Conscientious Photography Magazine makes an acute observation about how the sense of community and excitement in photoland that existed back in the pre-social media days is completely gone:

"In a nutshell, social media have essentially atomized a vibrant community, to turn them into a group of loners that might engage politely with each other but that each just take care of their own domain. And that’s it."

Colberg says that the reason for this development is simple: on social media, users operate on the company’s terms, not on their own. He suggests that if enough people within photoland attempt to circumvent social media and to re-build more meaningful one-to-one relationships between its members, then something might actually emerge.

A big part of Light Paths is to help artists get their work seen. Apart from submitting images for the online 2020 Exhibition there are other ways to contribute to, or participate in the Light Paths project, prior to the Burra field trip in autumn 2021.

People can submit 3 images from a project they are working for a gallery; submit outtake images from a project or exhibition; submit images and text for a side project; submit images from a recent exhibition to the presented space; review a book; post a photobook you have produced; submit material for a blog post about a project you are provisionally working on; submit a Youtube/Vimeo video you have made; or a podcast you have been involved in.The blog could be used to provide an online space featuring a different photographer and their work on a regular basis.

The 2020 uptake is that more of us are connecting with each other through blogs and social networks; and those connections are bound to provide new opportunities for collaboration and discovery with respect to online publishing. The Internet is transforming photography in the sense allowing it to flourish outside the constraints of traditional publications and exhibitions. Online publishing also dissolves the old geographic boundaries.

Forward this newsletter to friends and colleagues to share ideas and perspectives that will help inform their photography. They can sign up below.

Do you have any feedback on Light Paths? If so, email us today at contact