The item was added to your shopping cart.
David Tatnall is renowned for his luminous images of the Australian landscape. The State Library Victoria Picture Collection recently purchased 'Forest at Coast Range" and we have included David's fascinating account of the making of the image at the end of his Biography...just scroll down to enjoy reading it!
David Tatnall is renowned for his luminous images of the Australian landscape. His photographs have achieved iconic status as emblems of successful Australian nature conservation battles.
He is an authority on large format photography, as well as low-tech (pinhole) photography, exhibiting in both formats. He most commonly uses a 4x5 field camera or large format lensless pinhole cameras, hand-made from gleaned materials.
He has refined his darkroom technique over 40 years of practice and is known for the high quality of his hand-produced prints.
He has photographed landscapes in Australia, Nepal, India, Bolivia, Peru, Argentina, Vietnam, Cambodia and Antarctica. His work is held in the National Gallery of Victoria, the State Library of Victoria, the Monash Gallery of Art, the Australian Embassy Washington, USA, the Australia Consul-General Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam, and many regional galleries and private collections throughout Australia.
He has been awarded a Life Time Contribution Award by Parks Victoria, and an Honorary Life Membership of the Victorian National Parks Association for his lasting influence on nature conservation in Victoria through photography.
He conducts regular workshops in large format and pinhole photography, and is mentor to many photography students. He is also Artist In Residence to several secondary school campuses
Pinhole Camera Works
David Tatnall has embarked on an exploration of photography using the simplest form of photographic image making - the pinhole camera.
The‘mysterious beauty’of the pinhole photograph lies in the long exposure time, indefinite depth of field and a softness that creates a unique and special image.
Nothing more than a wooden box creates these beautiful almost ethereal images. A film holder at one end and a miniscule hole at the other, no viewfinder, batteries, click or buzz, no upgrades or updates, and no mega pixels. Exposure times are calculated using a cardboard dial.
The long exposure times often required for pinhole photography can bring a unique set of problems: cameras blown off cliffs, swamped by waves and monstered by Cape Barren Geese, but ignored by penguins.
Most are contact printed by directly placing the negative on light sensitive photographic paper and exposing to light. The print is therefore the same size as the negative.
2017 Time and Tide. Colour Factory Gallery. Fitzroy
2014 The Last Summer. 45 Downstairs Gallery. Melbourne
2013 Coastal Pinholes. Gold Street Studios & Gallery. Trentham East
2011 The Quiet Landscape. Gold Street Studios & Gallery. Trentham East
2010 Field of View. Point Light Gallery. Sydney
2010 The Natural Camera. Michaels Photographic Gallery. Melbourne
2009 Galada Tamboore – Merri Creek Gorge. Synergy Gallery. Northcote
2009 Pinhole. Michaels Alpha Gallery. Melbourne
2008 Melbourne: Pinhole. Warrnambool Art Gallery
2008 Transience. PhotoSpace. Collingwood
2007 Melbourne: Pinhole. Gallery @ City Library. Melbourne
2006 26under. RMIT University Ho Chi Minh City. Vietnam
2005 Seeing The Forest And The Trees. Monash Gallery of Art
2005 26under. Gallery @ City Library. Melbourne
2005 A Portrait of Trees. Warrnambool Art Gallery
2003 Seeing The Forest And The Trees. Castlemaine Art Gallery
2002 Portrait of Trees. Zetta Florence. Fitzroy
2002 Himalaya. Photographers’ Gallery. South Yarra
2000 Merri Creek. Northcote Library
2000 Himalaya. Warrnambool Art Gallery
1998 Uluru-Kakadu-Purnululu. Warrnambool Art Gallery
1997 Coast. Red Sage Café. Clifton Hill
1996 Northern & Central Australia. Tin Pot Café. North Fitzroy
1996 Snow Gums. Red Sage Café. Clifton Hill
1994 Projected Images. Tin Pot Café. North Fitzroy
1992 Portrait of Merri Creek. Arts Victoria. Melbourne
1988 The Alps & East Gippsland. Wilderness Society Gallery. Melbourne
1986 Coventry Gallery. South Melbourne
1982 The Grampians. Kodak Gallery. Melbourne
2017 Photokina 2017. Cologne. Germany
2017 For Love of the Dark. Colour Factory Gallery. Fitzroy
2017 Group Chemistry. Colour Factory Gallery. Fitzroy
2016 Southern Exposure. Blanco Negro. Sydney
2015 Dark & Kooky. Strange Neighbour. Fitzroy
2015 Earth Matters. Monash Gallery of Art
2015 The Printers’ Print. Blanco Negro. Sydney
2014 Khem. Strange Neighbour. Fitzroy
2014 Wildcards: Bill Henson Shuffles the Deck. Monash Gallery of Art
2012 Northern Exposure 2012. 236 Palomino. Northcote
2012 A Shared Vision. ARB Gallery. Albert Park
2011 The Gathering 2011. Michaels Photographic Gallery. Melbourne
2011 Northern Exposure 2011. 236 Palomino. Northcote
2011 Natural Forests. Cyclone Gallery. South Melbourne
2011 Diversity III. Michaels Photographic Gallery. Melbourne
2010 The Gathering 2009. Michaels Photographic Gallery. Melbourne
2009 National Pinhole. Escuela Nacional de Fotografia. Buenos Aires. Argentina
2009 Senza Lenti. Archivio Contemporaneo Stampa D’Arte Fotografica. Florence. Italy
2009 The Gathering 2008. Michaels Alpha Gallery. Melbourne
2009 Senza Lenti. Atelier Foto Paolo Aldi. Rovereto. Italy
2008 Preserving The Past, Enriching The Future. Ballart Art Gallery
2008 Australia Pinhole. Parliament House Canberra. Vivid Festival
2008 Photo/Not Photo. University of Canberra. Vivid Festival
2008 Preserving The Past, Enriching The Future. National Gallery of Victoria
2008 Art, Craft & Science of Photography. Falkner Gallery. Castlemaine
2008 Celebrating Pinhole Photography. PhotoSpace. Collingwood
2007 Bowness Prize 2007. Monash Gallery of Art
2007 The Gathering 2007. PhotoSpace. Collingwood
2006 The Body Show. Brunswick Street Gallery. Fitzroy
2003 Mamunya. Buda Historic Home. Castlemaine
2003 Summer Salon. Centre for Contemporary Photography. Fitzroy
2002 Summer Salon. Centre for Contemporary Photography. Fitzroy
2000 Ararat Revisited. Ararat Art Gallery
2000 Summer Salon. Centre for Contemporary Photography. Fitzroy
1999 Mamunya. Castlemaine Market Building
1999 Ararat In Focus. Ararat Art Gallery
1998 Unique South. Old Treasury Gallery. Melbourne
1998 Summer Salon. Centre for Contemporary Photography. Fitzroy
1995 Location, Landscape and Lies. Monash Gallery of Art
1994 Little Big Picture Show. Centre for Contemporary Photography. Fitzroy
1994 A For Art. A For Art Space. North Melbourne
1994 Summer Salon. Centre for Contemporary Photography. Fitzroy
1993 Little Big Picture Show. Centre for Contemporary Photography. Fitzroy
1993 Pleasure and Profit. The Exhibitions Gallery. Wangaratta
1992 Parks In Focus. Daimaru Gallery. Melbourne
1992 Sites of the Imagination. National Gallery of Victoria
1991 Alpine Huts. The Station Resort. Jindabyne
1990 Wild Eyed. Friends of the Earth Gallery. Fitzroy
1988 Thousand Mile Stare. Australian Centre for Contemporary Art
1982 Year of the Tree. Castlemaine State Festival
1978 Victoria’s National Parks. Garden State Festival. Melbourne
1977 Australia’s Wilderness. Blaxland Gallery. Sydney
Photographs in public collections:
2019 State Library Victoria Pictures Collection
2008 Australian Embassy Washington. USA
2007 Australian Consul-General Ho Chi Minh City. Vietnam
2005 City of Melbourne
2002 City of Melbourne
2001 Warrnambool Art Gallery
2000 Rural City of Ararat
1998 City of Yarra
1998 Ararat Art Gallery
1998 Warrnambool Art Gallery
1996 Surf Coast Shire
1995 Monash Gallery of Art
1994 Shire of Yarra Ranges
1994 State Library of Victoria
1993 State Library of Victoria
1992 National Gallery of Victoria
1991 State Library of Victoria
1988 Australian Heritage Commission
1981 National Gallery of Victoria
David Tatnall's account of the making of 'Forest at Coast Range'
In early autumn 1986 I was camped at Frosty Hollow on the Errinundra Plateau in Victoria. The plateau and nearby Coast Range are around 1000 metres above sea level and are often fog and mist bound. But not this week. It was perfect weather for walking, not too hot, a slight cooling breeze. Clear blue sky. Too bright and sunny for making photographs. From my camp I ventured easterly along Coast Range Track to near Curley Creek. The forest here is dominated by Shining Gums – Eucalyptus nitens and the Errinundra Shining gum – Eucalyptus denticulate.These trees can grow up to 90 metres in height. The annual rainfall here is around 1.4 metres so even in a dry autumn the forest is pleasant and damp.
Sometimes things can happen when you least expect. Standing looking at a multi age stand of trees, I though to myself if the light was not so bright this would make a good photograph. Then the light changed. Being at around 1000 metres above sea level clouds often drift into the plateau. One did. The light remained bright but was now defuse and perfect for making an image. I set up my camera - a wooden folding 4x5 camera. I only carried one lens, a standard lens, giving the same point of viewas the human eye. Using a hand held exposure meter I calculated the camera settings. I was using colour transparency film, which has a very small tolerance, it’s either correctly exposed or it’s not; in photography terms, half a stop out and it’s no good. The cloud was moving, I could see it wasn’t going to stay perfect for too long. I made two exposures. The one illustrated here, and another, a vertical image. The light then changed back to bright and sunny. They were the only two images I made that day.
The rest of the day I enjoyed walking through the magnificent tall damp forest. Then back to Frosty Hollow. These forests were under threat of being clear felled logged and a Lands Conservation Council investigation was going on at the time, a process where public land was looked at by experts, the general public, and vested interests to come up with the best use of the land. More often than not commercial interests were placed above any thing else and land use decisions were often a shameful compromise. These old growth forests were far too important to be destroyed for profit by a few.
I had been making photographs of the East Gippsland forests for a number of years. Driving into places and setting up a base camp then venturing out into the track-less forest making photographs. It’s a slow and costly process using a large format camera. I tended to only make photographs when the light was as good as it could be. Walking and carrying the camera meant the bulky film holders – two sheets of film per holder – were kept to a small number. The day I set out and made this photograph I had six sheets of film. I came back to camp with four unexposed. Colour transparency film was at that time processed at a commercial laboratory. The process called E6 was best done in regulated conditions by technicians. If the exposure was correct the resulting image looked stunning. The movements of the 4x5 camera enable depth of field and perspective control, coupled with the clarity of the lens and brilliance of transparency film, makes these images stand alone in photography.
The photograph went to have a life of its own. It was published in the Wilderness Society calendar in 1987. Made into a poster that sold over 10,000 copies. It became the image that helped save these forests. The Errinundra Plateau and the Coast Range were legislated as national park by the Joan Kirner Australian Labour PartyGovernment on 15 July 1988, two years after the image was made. The surrounding forests were earmarked to be gutted by the loss-making timber industry; the compromise was in their favour. But, Errinundra National Parkhas become a tourism icon, generating money and jobs while preserving the old growth forests.
The photograph was made on a folding 4x5 field camera using the standard 150mm lens. No filters where used. The film was 64 ISO colour transparency film that was processed in standard E6 chemistry.
The chromogenic print is 76 x 100 cm.