Thursday, 29 July 2010

No surprises are the best birthday presents

Sometimes you have to give yourself permission to buy art - for the pleasure it gives you - first by seeing, then choosing, then buying, and when you bring it home, the pleasure begins again...
if your loved one doesn't know what to get you for your birthday - the usual at our place - suggest something, buy it & get reimbursed.  For one of my gifts, I chose Hosang Park's image of a park in Seoul from the friendly people at 20x200 - a one stop online gallery where art is cleverly priced and the only way we were going to afford one of his photographs.  The one pictured below we purchased in early June but because it was a birthday present, I had to wait until Tuesday this week to make it mine.

Howon (© Hosang Park)
There's more to see with the real thing (heh heh) than the online view.  The print quality is stunning - heavy cotton paper with sharp & crisp definition.
Hosang Park is a Korean artist who has made a series of bird's-eye view park shots -his website has the set (click on "A Square") - totally cool.

THEN!, in the mail a money note from my parents... gosh...and how excellent that 20x200 also has some Beth Dow work available - not quite sold out yet but I got a move on just in case I miss out as I did for a previous edition of hers. 
Check out her website too - she has a large series of formal English & Italian gardens -  including Sissinghurst where the people in the picture could be mistaken for Vita & Harold themselves, taking a morning stroll.

Passage - Levens Hall (© Beth Dow)

This image originates from a platinum-palladium print - hence the excellent tones but it's the way Beth has framed her shot that is also outstanding for me. 
I'm not going to write a film vs digital rave - each has it's place and Beth Dow's work, along with Gordon Undy, Lauren E Simonutti & Filip Przewozny, to name a few diverse artists on my want list, proves that traditional photographic film & hand printing is alive and well (and being drooled over).

As an initiative, the Jen Bekman project; 20x200 is inspired - it makes art accessible and really good fun to be a part of & art lasts a lot longer than chocolate & flowers.

Images here are reproduced with permission - copyright remains with each artist.

Monday, 26 July 2010


semi-industrial Alexandria, Sydney Australia

© 2010 Anne Bentley

Thursday, 15 July 2010

old mobile phone photo

the phone is a 2006 model - old by today standards
Glebe (Sydney) NSW Nov 2009

Friday, 9 July 2010

Cori Harkness 1959-2010

Cori Harkness 12 June 1959 - July 2010

Cori just after the International Women's Day March Adelaide March 1992

I first met Cori Harkness 20 years ago in Adelaide.
The "women's scene" such as it was (& likely still is) was a small set up: annoying, incestuous, fun, emancipating and ridiculously dramatic - and all at the same time.

Cori, newly arrived from Sydney, appeared reserved and totally cool - everyone wanted to be acquainted with her - like some of the coolness would rub off.  Scene status by association.  The library class soon stepped in with their own claim but Cori, ever thoughtful if you looked closely and noticed (but don't tell her that!) was more inclusive and observant.  She was kind, clever, totally eccentric, funny with a sharp and cynically dry wit, reserved and shy.  Did I say she was pretty cool? yeah, she was pretty cool.
When I first met my parther, AH early in 1993, she was there with her own humour - oh, don't bother, she said as I headed off to the dance floor with the latest cool arrival from interstate on the scene, masturbation is easier.  Sometimes I never knew if she was teasing & being sarcastic or she really meant what she said.  Cori didn't let even those closest to her too close.  But she has left a trail of seemingly small actions that have made significant differences in peoples lives.
When AH moved to Sydney without me in 1994 to find us a house to live in, she ran into Cori at a pub & it was like a friendly welcome light.  Years later at small party Cori was hosting, AH was stressing over a dreadful, soul-destroying job & Cori simply said, "It's Saturday night.  On Monday just go in and resign.  If you don't I may have to kill you."
AH resigned and never looked back.  AH later also knew Cori when they both worked at the RPA hospital where Cori was a member of the MATT team of the mental health unit - the Mobile Assertive Treatment Team that case manage people seriously affected by mental illness - working as a psych nurse for many years, I think, contributed to her clever cynicism.
Early in 2001, I was showing Cori some photos I'd taken & she said, "I like how you see things" and suggested I do a course to learn the tools so I could just take the shot without having to worry about getting it right.  So I did a weekend black & white photography workshop (at the prestigious Point Light Gallery) along with a pile of self-education and, as I write, my 5th solo show is in a gallery.  Her kindness gave me confidence to do something.
I saw a lot of her during her last relationship, which introduced me to one of my now closest friends (MG) -  one of her great loves Cori never truly let go of her feelings for MG and even though they split around 6 years ago, they remained friends.
Then one day, Cori got cancer.  The side effects of treatments changed the woman I would see now and then were significant.  Many kilos heavier and a shade of sallow grey, I wondered if she'd ever recover some of whom she once was.  When she sold her lovely 1/2 coach house in Camperdown around 3 years ago & moved to Milthorpe in rural NSW, she sent me photos of her house & animals and then communication stopped.  A friend told me there was a secondary cancer sometime last year and I knew then, even if Cori wasn't totally conscious of it, that she'd taken herself off to the country to begin again or to die.  Her body chose death.
The last months of her life was her dying of cancer - horribly sick and in pain with just that little more morphine to help her along this week - so to speak.
Sad and final, I know that she would have just fobbed me off with an embarrassed wave if I said to her face the difference she made in our lives and I am sorry for me that I didn't get to say so anyway.
Funeral was today in Milthorpe as I write this in Sydney.
so, cheers Cori, check you later