Broader Reality is an exhibition of analogue photographs captured between 2009-2012. The panoramic format of these images heightens the power and persistence of the natural environment. By transforming these scenes into a ‘broader reality’, the viewer is encouraged to reflect on their relationship with the urban and natural environments that they inhabit. The aim is to positively endorse the persistence of nature through the repetition of key motifs such as clouds and water.
Broader Reality was shown in No Vacancy Gallery (Federation Square, Melbourne), in October 2012. The images were sold as editions of eight, (please see image list for how many editions were sold per image, as of October 2012).
The images were shot on an XPAN camera, a compact yet sturdy camera originally designed by Hasseblad. The camera is compatible with ordinary 35mm film. Panoramic images are captured across two pieces of film producing a 70mm film plane – which is essentially a medium format within a 35mm camera body
Greta Costello lives and works in Melbourne, Australia. She is trained in the visual arts and uses photography as a means of artistic expression and inter-personal communication. She has recently completed a Masters of art history & theory which has informed her visual practice. Through her imagery she aims to reveal alternative perspectives on the diverse cultures that surround us. Greta shoots across a variety of genres. In particular she enjoys the exchange that occurs between photographer and sitter when photographing portraits. She also has a passion for architectural and landscape photography; and has traveled extensively to photograph diverse locations..
Influences and themes
Over time I have been built up a collection of images of urban and natural landscapes. At first glance these images may appear to be realist in style. However, I have not intended to pursue photography for its realist qualities, nor do I aim to present travel photography. I intend to use the narrative quality of photography to interpret nature and everyday street scenes. I do not mean a complete departure from realism, but I do believe that simply by capturing an otherwise fluid moment in time, as photography does, the alteration of reality automatically shifts space and time, resulting in imagery that can be interpreted in varied ways.
I have aimed to subtly employ this quality within my work to encourage a reflection upon our relationship with urban space and what natural environments we identify with. I believe in the persistence of nature. Despite man’s indelible footprint on this earth, I feel that we are at the mercy of nature and the elements. I endeavour to create uplifting imagery that also carries the weight of this persistent power.
Apart from their panoramic format, you might ask what a beach scene in Australia has to do with a dusk shot of a castle in the south of the Czech Republic or a volcanic lake in Chile? How does the old man in the suburban streets of Prague have any connection with holiday makers in the south of France? Again, it comes back to how we define ourselves in relation to the natural world as we continue to encroach upon it. This definition is often based upon aspects of history that our now beyond our control. Our lives are shaped as much by urban planners and architects of old as by the rivers that continue to flow through our cities. How we negotiate a balance between natural and unnatural environments really comes down to individual priorities. Nature needs to be sought and actively observed for it to play its crucial role in the common city dwelling life of the 21st century. Throughout the series, common motifs are water, dramatic clouds, and the juxtaposition of architectural and man-made forms with natural elements.
Some images contain human form, others don’t. There is a conscious adherence to aesthetics on my part. Composition, lighting, colour and form play a large part in how I have constructed these images, as well as my own experience of the places I have sought to capture. Many of the images I have recently photographed were captured in the Czech Republic, a country that has continued to compel and fascinate me with its mystery, its beauty, its history and its quiet strength. I used a quote by František Kupka, (1871-1957), on my invitation for a number of reasons. Kupka was a Czech painter who was part of the late nineteenth century movement away from realism, towards abstraction. I admire his work and am inspired by his theoretical motivations which honour nature and the secular spirituality that nature offers to human life. Kupka used painting as a form of problem solving in response to scientific and philosophical questions of his time, producing art that delved in to the deepest recesses of the human consciousness. Additionally, his belief that water and shadows are true reminders of existence resonates with my own compulsion to record humans bathing and basking in both natural and man made environments.
To view Greta’s online folio, please visit http://www.gretaphotography.com