The New & Greatly Improved Analogue Laboratory

The universe has a perverse sense of humour sometimes. Almost immediately after my last blog entry things went very poorly for The Analogue Laboratory and we found ourselves without a home for our dear little Lab. After a sickening emotional roller coaster ride we found a new (and dare I say better) home for The Analogue Laboratory as part of a brand new Adelaide arts hub called The Mill. We’ve spent the last few weeks fundraising, planning and building the new facility, which will be able to hold many more darkroom enthusiasts at once, and will be able to take advantage of The Mill’s inner city location and the *enormous*, light filled loft workshop space. We hope to be able to have regular weekend access for people who like to do their own black and white enlargements and semi-regular ‘wet plate weekends’ during which collodion enthusiasts can bring their props to the Lab and we will enjoy a weekend long making session. It’s going to be incredible!
We’ve found a lot of support from the photographic community and the wider arts community – recently we’ve received a grant from the Helpmann Academy to put towards our rent, and the very generous folks from Ductware have donated all the exposed ducting we will need to make the darkroom a super safe place to Get Excited & Make Things.
There’s a few more days of our online fundraising campaign to go and we can use all the help we can muster. There are some very generous rewards available for those interested in using the Lab when we are done, and some tidy little thank you’s for folks who’d just like to lend a hand.

We are so grateful for all the support we’ve received so far. It’s fair to say without the incredible experience we had being part of Fontanelle and the community backing behind us this Lab would have never have been reincarnated.

The Analogue Laboratory

A little over a year ago now, a superlative young man by the name of Alex Bishop-Thorpe and I began plotting how we might install a photographic darkroom inside the fledgeling Fontanelle Gallery and Studios. It was exciting – watching the old factory transform into artist’s studios while we busily hunted around Adelaide for all the invisible bits and pieces that go into making a truly winning darkroom.

Welcome to The Analogue Laboratory

According to Legend, Alex had been hoarding photography equipment for the last six years waiting for an opportunity just like this one. We had a darkroom sink, a drying cabinet, loads of enlargers, trays, tanks, beakers, filters and lenses – but most of all we had lots and lots and lots of enthusiasm. We were able to salvage an enormous revolving darkroom door and re-purpose some industrial extraction fans we found in the roof. The City of Charles Sturt kindly supported our endeavour with the funds to build and install brand new enlarger benches. I cheekily took off to New York City on a 3 month residency right at that point – but Alex and his dad Kim completed the darkroom fit-out just in time for the first series of alternative photography workshops.

That’s how it started, and thanks to Alex’s very hard work we are still going strong. Over January and February 2013 we have a series of workshops aimed at novice photographers on pinhole cameras, creative polaroids and Holga plastic lens cameras. Later this year we intend to run more workshops on more advanced subjects such as wet plate collodion. We are thrilled by the response to the workshops – which are mostly completely full – and the enthusiasm of the workshop participants. I had no idea Adelaide was replete with analogue photography enthusiasts, but I’m very pleased that it is and that they are coming to play our lab :D

The Analogue Laboratory website is growing, but I think it already gives a pretty good idea about what we do. Have a read – maybe we can work on something together!

Going Up?


My boys are my favourite collaborators, but working with old friends and their mad skillz is also up there on the list. Check out what Karen and the boys and I were able to make together, even though she’s in London and we’re back home on the beach.

This looping video is the welcome & soundtrack to the Instant Perspective Machine – on for another 3 weeks until the 16th of December 2012 at the Contemporary Art Centre of South Australia Project Space. Check it out & make art with me!

Art Marathon: sparkles & sunburn

Up early and all set up just in time for … rain! But not too much to cancel our big install day (this was third time lucky, after all) so we drank cups of tea and devoured the weather forecast websites while we sat in the car and waited for the rain to pass.

Seeing the project in negative made us excited for the next step…

Today we got the first and most important layer of the project down on the concrete. Just a little more finessing to do on Saturday, along with the all important task of marking the right spot to stand. After that we can all sit back and watch what the Japanese refer to as wabi-sabi in effect – time and the tide will change and beautify what we’ve made. The tide will wash away the moon incrementally – it will slowly wane from a full moon down to a little crescent moon, and then wash away entirely.

Finally, painting!


Today I was able to use a new (to me) material I’ve been really curious about – special glass beads made for road applications. I have several sacks of tiny round sparkles that road workers throw into still wet paint to make signs & lines reflective. We have used them in this anamorphic piece, so if you make it down to see the moon – check out how sparkly it is! Rainbow moon! ♥

Lots of people stopped to say hello and ask questions – apparently this artwork has been eagerly (and I suspect trepiditiously) anticipated by many of the local residents. I honestly didn’t realise so many people love that spot as much as I do.