'I found my voice'
Interview by Tom Livingstone
Artist: Aaron Barclay
Series Title: ‘albedo I’
Photography Courses completed: 12-Month Mentorship Program
When Aaron Barclay signed up to Contact Sheet’s 12-Month Mentorship Program, he already knew what his major project would be, but needed help bringing it to fruition.
Aaron had been exploring the history and proposed future of the M6 motorway road reserve, a project that has long been a work in progress with land initially set aside close to 70 years ago.
Albedo I looks at how the landscape of the proposed site has changed over the decades and how “its uses and treatment by the community which surrounds it reflect much about ourselves individually and collectively”.
“I signed up to Contact Sheet as I had been struggling to develop the project,” Aaron said.
“I had already taken a great deal of photographs and had some thoughts and ideas in progress but had not been able to progress past the initial stages myself.”
Aaron was interested in the project as a physical location but also from a sociological perspective, keen to explore how the treatment of this urban landscape might be able to be extrapolated to our treatment of more significant landscapes around Australia.
“I think landscape can reveal a great deal about us as a society. Its treatment reflects our own collective environmental and political attitudes and priorities,” he said.
Aaron says the final work achieved much of what he initially set out to do, and the albedo I photobook has a documentary element to it, although he believes he has only just scratched the surface.
He says he "found his voice" through the Contact Sheet Mentorship Program and was able to develop his ideas to a much higher level than he originally thought he could by himself.
“I got so much out of each session, it was fantastic to discuss my work with Aletheia Casey and there was one session with Cherie McNair, where she reviewed my work and asked me some tough questions,” he said.
“Once I found the answers to those questions myself it really helped me develop.
“My main personal development was to be able to consider myself an artist over a photographer and happily let go of the technical constraints in my work.
“Finding a happy medium between aesthetics, technique and emotion will be an ongoing journey but I am much happier with the current balance (after completing the program).”
To read Aaron's full interview, click here
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