Photos by Renata Buziak
“What really has stood out for me at Lines is the company, and spending time with the other artists during the first week. The energy, and the conversations — and then separating to work during the day, and then meeting afterwards and sharing meals and more conversation together.
“And because we’re here for the same reason and purpose it’s very exciting to have that sense of community and spirit. Talking with Sharon – she was very good as a curator – very supportive and always generous with her positive energy. And thanks to her, my work is outside along the Gorge Walk.
“I hope to follow up on what I’ve done outside, so maybe it’s the beginning of something new. It’s been a great experience for me to go out in Nature, move my work from the gallery setting to the out-of-doors and re-introduce the images I’ve made of plants back into the environment. It’s very exciting conceptually, and I’m looking forward to taking this further.
“I have been working with the Biochromes since 2004. The images I’ve created specifically for this project on Stradbroke come from a list of plants I wanted to work with, and taken from the book, The Flora of North Stradbroke Island, by K Stephens and D Sharp. On many visits here to the island, I went out and looked for these plants. I’ve been able to discuss my project with some elders and community members and have used the plants to compose imagery. I make the actual images by putting the plants in direct contact with the photographic materials. They are in a closed environment for the duration of a few weeks, and the first image is created by biological and chemical reactions – micro-organic activity helps to create the work. I dry the initial composition and photograph or scan it to show what the process has created.
“For this project, I experimented particularly with leaving the leaves outside of the picture frame, in order to push the boundaries of composition, create more visual tension and to give the sense of growth and expansion. The end product is the initial arrangement enlarged. Then the viewer can see on a larger scale the plants’ structures and results of natural decomposition. I use Hahnemuhle Torchon 285 gsm paper for my prints because it’s very thick and has wonderful texture. Also, I use ultrachrome pigment printing, which is an archival pigment-based ink, as opposed to regular printing inks, they are very stable with good, clear and large range of colours.
“I started the biochromes in 2004 at QCA. I’ve experimented with many processes and the biochromes are the results of working through lots of false starts. I studied with Siegfried Manietta, the lecturer in photography at QCA. He talked about photographic rules, different ways of protecting equipment, tools and how you use them, but also options if we look outside the square. I keep experimenting with process and images – breaking the rules to see what happens if I come at my work the other way around.
“When I was about ten, my older sister set up a darkroom, and I experimented with the way it all worked, and I’ve loved photography since then. It’s more exciting for me to follow some rules, but not all of them, and not for their own sake. My interest in plants has also been with me since my childhood. My aunty has a farm in the small village where I’m from in Poland. As kids, we always went outside into nature collecting berries and mushrooms and other plants. Everyone has a big garden with veggies, and it’s always been an annual event to make preserves for winter: compotes, preserved plums and cherries, dill cucumbers, pickled mushrooms and vegetables, and jams from berries or plum powidl – it’s more of a spread than a jam.
“It’s very important for me to have contact with Quandamooka people here on Stradbroke. It’s been very enriching and important to me as a person. Through Nature I’m making this my home even more so. That’s what I’ve brought over here with me. I love it and that it’s a passion. There is so much opportunity in this country.