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Drew Echberg · Treelines

Art

11th August, 2014
Lucy Feagins
Monday 11th August 2014

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Melbourne photographic artist Drew Echberg.

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'Treelines I' - 145 x 97 cm (165 x 116 framed), pigment inkjet print on cotton rag by Melbourne photographer Drew Echberg.

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'Treelines' pigment inkjet print on cotton rag by Melbourne photographer Drew Echberg.

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'Treelines III' - 70 x 46 cm (92 x 70 cm framed), pigment inkjet print on cotton rag by Drew Echberg.

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'Treelines' pigment inkjet print on cotton rag by Melbourne photographer Drew Echberg.

Photographic art is not something we tend to cover a lot around here, but when this series of spectacular shots for an upcoming exhibition by young Melbourne photographer Drew Echberg crossed our paths recently, we were compelled to share his work.

Drew completed a degree in photography at RMIT in 2007, majoring in documentary and photojournalism. He's been self employed as a freelance photographer since 2009, shooting a mix of landscape architecture, events, and corporate work, but his passion for travel has been the dominant influence in his work.  'I've always travelled a lot and that's when I shoot most of my personal work' he says. Having travelled extensively both within Australia and abroad, Drew has amassed a formidable archive of personal work, and working towards his very own solo exhibition has been on his mind for some time.  'I've been wanting to have a proper exhibition for ages... and this is the year I decided to bite the bullet!' he says.

For his first exhibition, Treelines at Tacit Contemporary Art in Abbotsford, Drew has created a series of photographs taken in various forest locations in the Dandenongs, The Otways, the Victorian alps, and even on a rubber plantation in Vietnam!  Using a deceptively low tech method of controlled camera movement, Drew creates these haunting semi-abstract images of the forest landscape.   'The series that I've made for this exhibition is completely different to anything I've done before' he says. 'I do a lot of bushwalking, so I get to spend plenty of time amongst the trees. I started mucking around with some long exposures and camera movement techniques, and over time developed a certain technique to produce this body of work' Drew explains. 'On my last few hikes I've barely taken any non-blurry photos'.

'A number of people have assumed that there is some digital trickery going on with the photos but it's really very straightforward' Drew admits. The technique, which Drew has now carefully honed, involves hand-holding the camera and carefully moving it during an exposure of up to 10 seconds. 'By moving the camera I aim to accentuate and simplify the tree trunks, creating strong vertical lines, and reducing the complex detail of the background to areas of colour, light and shade' Drew explains. The result is a soft, almost painterly rendering of these lush surrounds, and a surprisingly varied colour palette ranging from vivid tropical chartreuse to autumnal pink hues.

Having selected just 8 photographs from a shortlist of over 100 (!!), Drew is understandably a little nervous about his first solo show!   'Two of the photos in the exhibition are printed very big, about 1.5 metres by 1 metre' explains Drew. (The others are a more manageable 70cm wide).  'I've always loved big prints (when they're well done) and have wanted to make something big for ages' says Drew.  'I had a very hard time choosing all the images.  I don't think I'll know how successful they are until I see them hanging on the gallery wall. Fingers crossed...!'

I'm looking forward to seeing these prints in person later this week - what a truly exquisite gift one would make for someone special (and you know... Father's Day is just around the corner!).

Treelines by Drew Echberg
From 13th to 24th August 2014
Tacit Contemporary Art
312 Johnston St
Abbotsford, VIC

Opening this Wednesday 13th August from 6.30pm

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'Treelines II' - 70 x 46 cm (92 x 70 cm framed), pigment inkjet print on cotton rag by Drew Echberg.

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Melbourne photographic artist Drew Echberg in his natural habitat!

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