Last night I attended the opening of ‘Window to the Soul‘, a Tintype Portrait Exhibition by Tasmanian photographer Phillip England. A series of 36 tintype photographic portraits of Tasmanians in the Arts. Phillip is on a journey from being the kind of hardcore scientist one often sees on the TV furthering humanities knowledge of the universe, to being a full time artist!
“My photographs show you how I see the world.
My passion for art photography started in high school and has accompanied me through life. It has outlived a career in research science. My arts practice embraces film, digital and alternative photographic processes.” – From his website.
It shouldn’t be surprising, since the kind of focused intensity and ability to continue after inevitable failures is common to both figures. Maybe it’s his scientific background that allows him, with chemicals and metal, to capture something a little bit more than a moment?
I had the pleasure of sitting for a portrait with Phillip (though my face didn’t make it onto the wall, thank goodness) and the results were staggering. It’s an odd thing to bother saying, that a photograph looks like the subject, but in the case of the tintypes it’s more true than usual. In 99% of the portraits (there was one gentleman on the wall who looked interestingly different from himself), the subject not only looked like themselves, they felt like themselves. They really are something to see, and if you’re of a mind, you can book in with Phillip to have your own portraits done.
Before moving to the behind-the-scenes stuff that made the exhibition extra interesting, a moment should be taken to talk about Ryk Goddard. In the most theatrical opening of a Portrait Exhibition I’ve ever seen, Ryk performed a one-man show that saw the crowd oscillate between stock still confusion and relaxed chuckling. If you ever see his name on anything, no matter what it is or how outside your wheelhouse it might seem, I highly recommend you go. Nothing Ryk does is ever boring. As an aside, his portrait is part of the series on the wall, and it’s extremely engaging.
The background stuff might not be quite as cool from an audience perspective, but for fellow artists it’s extremely interesting. Phillip crowd funded the series and exhibition with a pozible campaign which was successful in it’s own right. The really cool bit was that the funds raised through pozible were matched by Arts Tasmania through their Crowbar incentive program. Unfortunately the program is not being offered in 2017, but Phillip would certainly say it was a success, so hopefully we’ll see something similar return in the future.
The Exhibition will be up in the Studio Gallery, level 2, Salamanca Arts Centre daily until June 28.