Oscar Wilde has bestowed wisdom on many a creative, but for Melbourne-based photographer Kate Ballis one particular vignette rings true. ‘Mere colour, unspoiled by meaning, and unallied with definite form, can speak to the soul in a thousand different ways,’ she quotes the famed poet, in promotion of her new series.
Spectrums of The Galapagos is the result of a trip to the Pacific Ocean archipelago, where there was just so much to comprehend and capture. Surrounded by strange animals, other-worldly geology… and the tourist boats, Kate strolled in the footsteps of Charles Darwin, exploring one of the only places on Earth to have evolved in a vacuum.
As she ingested fact after awe-inspiring fact, the photographer found herself searching for what the Galapagos Islands actually felt like. ‘One of the strangest things about being human is that our wonderful ability to entangle things with meaning also makes it hard to feel,’ she highlights. And so, Kate made a conscious effort to immerse herself in raw sensations. She no longer looked to text-book history but the abstraction, emotion and energy of pure colour, from ‘refractions of light on the water’ to ‘the belting sun against the rocks’.
Eight large-scale art photographs have been captured using a digital SLR with a host of external filters, throwing prismatic rainbows when moved against the light. On her eight-day journey, Kate shot more than 12,000 photos through holographic acetate, prisms, 90s cokin filters, and ND filters for long exposures (or a combo of all!). ‘ The term “filter” has become synonymous with digital reinterpretation of data and algorithms whereas, in my series, they are used in the traditional sense to manipulate the light before it enters the camera,’ she details. ‘Just as the 80s photographers used to smear Vaseline on the end of the lens to create a “beauty” effect!’
This series can be viewed at Jardan’s Melbourne store later this week, with limited-edition custom-framed prints also available to purchase through Jardan stores or online.
Spectrums of the Galapagos by Kate Ballis
March 28th to April 21st
Opening, Thursday, March 28th, 6-8pm
522 Church Street