Hamish Campbell
Hamish Campbell -  Represented by Artsite Gallery Hamish Campbell -  Represented by Artsite Gallery

Hamish Campbell is a Sydney photographer currently based out of Tokyo, Japan.

Equally at home in the bustling city or in rural Japan's rice fields and mountains, shooting amongst the frogs, wild boars and monkeys, Campbell takes a careful, considered approach to shooting and enjoys the technical process as much as the creative.
He specialises in the production of ultra high resolution landscape images using panoramic stitching, a process which results in fine art prints as large as five metres.

Japan has many unusual legacies pre/post war and post industrial - these often isolated/un-inhabitable or just abandoned places are the subject of Hamish Campbell's Photography shown at Artsite Gallery.

I frequently hear that cameras “don’t do the place justice”. A place is not a space. It’s very easy to take a photo of a place. Capturing a space means capturing not simply what it looked like, but possibly what it sounded, smelt, and most importantly, felt like.
When I first enter a new and interesting space that I want to photograph, the first step is to explore it fully. It’s important not to touch the camera for a while, or you start thinking about the technicals of just pressing that button, and capturing the place. You cannot capture a space unless you carefully observe the elements that make it more than a place...
The elements which give you a sense of space are not necessarily contemporaneous. They are additive, like light. If you sit on a bench at a beach and observe a seagull fly by, then a ship pass in the distance, then a child falling over, all these elements combine to create a memory of the space in your mind, even if the individual events did not occur simultaneously...
What I aim to show in my photos is the true atmosphere of the space, the total sum of the parts of my memory, not an exact or specific fraction of a second. I want to show the whole timeline, not a slice of it.
By taking 50-100 images of the scene over the course of several hours, I am able to hone in on the important details as they happen. I then put all the pieces back together into a whole whose details build on one another to create a total memory of the space, bypassing the disconnect caused by the camera’s temporal limitations, and allowing me to “do justice” to my memory of the space...

Why I’m in Japan...?

I moved to Japan because I played too much Nintendo as a child...

I quickly realised in university that Japan was not the fantasy land my high school obsession with the culture had hyped it up to be. Fortunately, it was something far less superficial than that, and my interest in the culture gained much deeper roots... living in this country instills me with a feeling that I draw inspiration from...

In Japan, I feel like I exist in a separate, isolated stream to the general public... I am calmed by the feeling of being outside the general bustle that occurs on city streets. I have no yearning for being completely “accepted” and able to integrate into Japanese society.
From this position, I have a clear view of where I stand, and I don’t feel myself lost in a sea of people who are similar to me...
I know that I am alone, which means I know that I am different, which, for better or for worse, is an extremely comforting feeling to someone trying to find their own voice... pieces of themselves...

This isolation parallels Japan’s own cultural history. Self imposted isolation has led them to develop a very nuanced and rich culture which is above all unique. I don’t truly believe that what I do is completely unique, but living in Japan, I can sometimes fool myself into thinking that it is, which allows me to see and feel things I could never dig out of myself sitting at home in Sydney.

Hamish Campbell 2014

Awards: Hasselblad Innovation Sweden Photography Award 2013, Tokyo Japan and Sweden
Collections: Hamish‘s work has been acquired and commissioned for private collections in Australia, Japan and America, and is also hung in the I131 Isolation Treatment Unit of Liverpool Hospital NSW Australia.
Hamish Campbell's Solo Exhibition at Artsite Gallery May 2016

Hamish Campbell: The Taisho Photographer's House
Hidden atop a hill, deep in a bamboo grove in northern Japan lies a house full of history.

Japan is full of abandoned residences, but very few offer us quite the same glimpse into the lives of its former residents as this one. Constructed some time during the Taisho era (1912-1926) and abandoned in the late 70s or early 80s, several generations of family lived here (likely the Matsunobu family based on documents remaining on the property), and one of these people was a photographer.

I know this because tucked away on the second floor of the house behind a rotting door is a dark room, and littered amongst the debris resulting from years of nature's ingress were over 200 glass plate negatives.

These negatives afford us a rare glimpse into the life of the photographer, his friends and family. We see the house as its being constructed. We see a posed portrait from the photographer's wedding. We see local neighbours and school children. We see him reading a newspaper with a pet macaque perched on his shoulder.

Many of these photos were taken in and around the property itself, which is now half collapsed and increasingly consumed by the encroaching bamboo.

In this exhibition I present my own photography of this peaceful small parcel of land as it exists today, alongside images taken by the Taisho Photographer, as well as images attempting to bridge the gap between these two eras.

While some may find the images ghostly or confronting due to the level of decay, I find some comfort in knowing that a house which served for so many years as a bustling family nexus is now at rest amongst the quiet and peaceful natural surrounds, which are slowly and gently reclaiming it.

Hamish Campbell 2016

Exhibition was opened on Sunday 8th May, with guest speaker Patrick O'Carrigan, Urban Designer, Fellow of the Royal Australian Institute of Architects and Consultant to The Heritage Office of NSW

View Hamish Campbell 2016 Exhibition
Hamish Campbell's 2014 Solo Exhibition at Artsite Gallery

Hasselblad Video Collaboration - Ookunoshima with Hamish Campbell
Hasselblad Video Collaboration - Ookunoshima with Hamish Campbell

View Hamish Campbell 2014 Exhibition
Explore gigapan image of Hamish Campbells Ookunoshima Photograph Click on image to explore the Ookunoshima photograph in new window
Explore gigapan image of Hamish Campbells Hall Photograph Click on image to explore the photograph in new window
Explore gigapan image of Hamish Campbells Clinic Photograph Click on image to explore the photograph in new window
Explore gigapan image of Hamish Campbells Hall Photograph Click on image to explore the photograph in new window
Explore gigapan image of Hamish Campbells Hall Photograph Click on image to explore the photograph in new window
Solo Exhibitions:   

  The Taisho Photographer's House - Hamish Campbell, Artsite Gallery, Sydney



  Isolation - The Japan Photographs - Hamish Campbell, Artsite Gallery, Sydney

  Group Exhibitions: (Selected)   2017,16,15,14,13,12



  Collector's Choice, Artsite Galleries, Sydney, Australia

Swedish Innovations, National Museum of Emerging Science and Innovation (Miraikan), Tokyo, Japan

Drunken Lustre, Artsite Galleries, Sydney, Australia

Heritage Week, Rookwood Cemetery, Sydney, Australia

  Education:   Bachelor of Arts, Majoring in German, Japanese and Linguistics, University of Sydney.

Master of Arts – Cross Cultural Communication, University of Sydney.

  Innovation Sweden Photography Award, Tokyo Japan and Sweden

  Private Collections:     Australia, U.S.A., and Japan

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