[17]

Skidded back into Buka a few minutes ago. The last few days spent down the big island catching up with a few peeps including the OG Arawa crew from early 2007 who I shot [17] with. Lazy times telling stories, stumbling about enjoying the view and generally savouring a few simple things to put away in the memory basket. Snapped a few pics in the process (of course!).

Now the gong-show begins… boxes to haul, people to see, items to post, swimming in the passage, fights to pick, dancing to be done.

The last week or so has been a shocker. Lying on my back sweating, slapped around by headaches and lethargy (let alone the weird panicked sleep talking I’ve supposedly been throwing around). A little paranoid at first, thinking the evil mozzies must have got at me again, but I seem to be on the mend at present (maybe just the man-flu raising its ugly head).

The first load of contact sheets and random work prints for South 2010 went through the darkroom this afternoon. Interesting to stare at the positive versions (finally), though couldn’t allow myself to get too wrapped up in checking out individual pics, I needed to keep moving. A lot more work to do.

At this point the world does not need any more pictures from inside my darkroom, so I’ve thrown up a picture from [17] to keep the hounds at bay.

Don’t miss it!

Get in there and find yourself a great print for your collection (or just enjoy the good food and wine while looking at great pictures).

www.mga.org.au

Seven days back… and I turn around again to haul south… a terrible reason for returning, but maybe (with fingers crossed) there will be some good to come of this trip.

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Plastic hat. Central Bougainville 2007

A day well spent so far. The morning was time out in the sunshine, snapping a few pictures, bumbling around on Quito’s trolley bus and generally wandering aimlessly and enjoying it immensely. The afternoon has been a little time set aside for chores and a lazy rest (because I can…).

As always my thoughts briefly drifted to work underway, and the boy wearing his plastic hat (snapped a few years ago in Central Bougainville) returned as I day-dreamed about projects to finish when I get back home.

 I think he is beautiful.

He came floating down the road as I stumbled towards a village polling station set up for the 2007 Papua New Guinea general elections.

I stopped him (probably with inappropriate desperation), and he humoured me for the few seconds it took to take the picture.

Burn box

The last few days have been filled with doubt about choices made in negative selection, and then a few rounds of problem solving as I worked through various prints. The usual excuses I make when there isn’t a lot to show for the time put in.

Today was a day spent refining some proposals and looking over the [17] edit (again)… some progress made… The next few days wil be busy as I try to capitalise on the results.

Fresh water soak under torch light

… I imagined being able to switch the lights back on when I needed to… oh well, at least the power went out (again) this evening after I had finished all the day’s work that required the enlarger bulb.

The second fix, toning, a few water soaks, hypo-clear and then loading the prints into the washer can be done under the light given out from a mobile phone (thank you Nokia for putting a little torch in there instead of a camera/MP3 player/foot massager).

It’s after midnight, I’m getting old, it’s time to head home to bed. The prints are in the drying racks which are then further secured under fly screen to keep out ‘the resident’.

If there’s anymore trouble…

Darkroom sink, Buka

Power on, water on, chemicals mixed, negative loaded, metronome on, lights out, focus the enlarger, open the paper box… fantastic.

A needed escape into the darkroom to continue working through the edit of [17] that I am now committed to. Some photographs that I had not considered, or had been passed over without a second look, have now been pushed to the surface as the experience itself is distanced from the printing of the work.

Hopefully the project will benefit from this.

Scrap. Loloho 2009

Even when all is right in the universe, things are all set out and you have a clear plan to follow… things go all FUBAR and you’re left standing there, holding your packed bag, looking like an idiot, with the opportunity gone (and like all events, never to repeat).

So today is a day of taking hold of the mess that is left over, and moving on with work. No point brewing over the loss (ha!… I’ll hang onto this for years).

[17] has been too long in the making. The pictures were shot two years ago, and countless edits and re-edits have been made since. Now the final prints begin, no more second guessing, I’ll leave it to the critics to decide if it works in the end.

Off to the darkroom, negs, paper and enlarger lens in hand.