Beta and f11.
THE enterprising people at the Ballarat International Foto Biennale have a new reason to subscribe to their regular information update - a free online magazine, BETA: Developments in Photography (ballaratfoto.org).
The biennale is a spectacular event, well worth the trip to Ballarat, and BETA, in its first edition, showcases the work of several photographers exhibited at the past two biennales.
The photographs include tragically poetic aerial shots taken by John Gollings after the 2009 bushfires. We saw these prints on exhibition in Ballarat and they look just as mesmerising on a good computer monitor. It is monochrome landscape captured in monochrome pictures. Once you see them, you won't forget them.
We are also much taken with the fantasy photos of Maleonn (there is only one name), titled The Little Flagman. These pictures of a solitary, clown-faced figure in desolate landscapes take some understanding. But whatever they mean, they are beautiful. BETA is an initiative of festival director Jeff Moorfoot and edited by Heidi Romano. The design is superb, with a beautiful layout.
From across the Tasman comes the latest issue of f11, a free online magazine showcasing exceptional work from New Zealand and Australian photographers (f11magazine.com).
This issue also features the work of English fashion photographer Lara Jade, who works in New York and is the author of a book on how to get into the fashion photography business. It is titled Fashion Photography 101 (Thames and Hudson, $29.95) and gives an interesting, if somewhat oversimplified, introduction to the profession. Or perhaps not. Perhaps all you need is a Canon 5D MkII and a few good-looking models and it really is shooting fish in a barrel.
Melbourne photographer Rodney Dekker is also featured in this issue of f11. He documents the devastating effects of climate change in Australia, the South Pacific and Bangladesh. He is also proof that when it comes to breaking into professional photography, a dollop of audacity helps.
Dekker picked up a Nikon compact camera in 2005, liked the experience, bought a Canon 20D and set off to make a photographic record of life in the Philippines. These days, his photos are held in public collections and are published in magazines and books. So what's stopping you?
Looking at these two magazines' great photos on a high-resolution monitor is a special experience. At the risk of starting an argument, we feel that for ephemera such as magazines, electronic viewing beats paper. We find that we spend more time contemplating an image on screen than we do on the page. These magazines can be read on the computer or downloaded as PDFs for viewing on phadlets or printing. It is the way of the future.