Combe, E 2016, Kemmerling, J 2016-17, Oglethorpe, J 2016-17, Stevenson, M 2016-17 & Van Alstyne, J 2016-17
Held at La Trobe University Annex Gallery
In late August 2016 I travelled to a rural Japan and attended Akita International University (AIU) as part of an exchange program.
Unlike Tokyo, this area feels very confined and almost cozy. The university itself is surrounded in forests and rice fields. There is a bus that takes you either to the mall or the train station. It’s a great place if you love nature but not so great if you prefer city life.
In this kind of environment, personal relationships become the most important part of everyday life. Half of the school comprises of exchange/international students whereas the other half are domestic students from various parts of Japan.
We are all enclosed in this AIU bubble, so it is impossible to avoid certain human interactions. Sometimes because of this, it felt like drama could thrive and friendships were formed/broken at a much faster rate.
Not long after settling here I became gradually more curious about the relationships. We came from all different cultural backgrounds, with different life purposes, and different areas of interest.
Somehow we could come together and provide diverse outlooks.
It was so dissimilar to my accustomed setting of art school; it gave me the opportunity to empathise with people who hadn’t undertaken the same kind of formal art education before. Likewise, they were also building interactions with those outside their respective discipline areas.
Due to the limited studio resources my art practice adapted to what was around me, and just happened to be film photography. Suddenly obtaining film was a lot easier and disposable cameras became so involved in my life.
Almost as a natural response I started to experiment with disposable cameras and their relation to lomo photography. Disassembling and putting them back together like mutants, using modified film, and generally breaking all the rules of formal photography that I could at the time.
Perhaps because of the close proximity, or maybe by pure chance, the people around me started to utilise disposables. Even people who had never used a film camera before became interested, whilst some were revisiting their past in a new way.
I’d like to present to you, our collection, which acts as a vague retelling of moments and memories for us. One time use in the title refers to the nickname often given to disposable cameras and the concept that these valuable memories can never be repeated.
Each photo has its own unique perspective and is like a strange out of context clue. Please try and piece together some of our story.
Every photo was taken on a disposable camera- collaboration project with Jess Oglethorpe (Japanese studies major, England), Joseph Van Alstyne (Japanese language major, America), Julia Kemmerling (Marketing major, Germany), Miranda Stevenson (Anthropology major, Canada), and myself; Edwina Combe (Fine Arts major, Australia).