Hamish Campbell is a Sydney photographer who has now been based in Tokyo, Japan for more than six years.
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 photography and enjoys the technical process as much as the creative.
At his core, Hamish has always been an analogue photographer, using film and scanning for hi-resolution prints, and more recently developed a specialisation in ultra-high resolution landscape images using panoramic stitching, a process which results in fine art digitally printed photographs as large as five metres.
His commercial photographic work, including recent work for National Geographic in Japan, using high-end drone photography, informs and influences his fine art work.
For his current project, Aogashima - life among the twin calderas, Hamish has returned to film and darkroom printing techniques to achieve complete control of every stage and nuance of the final exhibited image: from the careful composition within the camera view-finder before the shutter click, through careful timing of the chemical processing the film and finally developing the image on to paper in the darkroom.
Unlike digital photography, the silver gelatin photographic process relies entirely on the artist´s hands-on approach at every stage of the development of the final image and the skill of the photographer without reliance on secondary technical assistance; a secondary input that ultimately can adjust, even subtly, the final image outcome.
In all my work, before this project (Aogashima) and since, my focus is on isolation. I visit landscapes of extreme remoteness, such as the Shetland or Faroe Islands, as well as residential and industrial ruins around Japan.
As an Australian living in Japan, I am isolated geographically, culturally and socially. I will never be fully naturalised into this culture. To many people, (the concept) that one might never be able to feel completely at home is a disturbing thought.
Yet somehow, I find comfort in these feelings. Imperfection is like a security blanket.
Knowing that I am a part of this society outside a defined role allows me the freedom and clarity to exist on my own terms. Similarly, visiting windswept cliff sides or sites long abandoned, instills in me a feeling of peace through acceptance of finality.
When you look through the layers of dirt and decay... and see the signs of nature calmly reclaiming what once was its own, there is a sense not of loss, but of coming home.
Artsite Galleries | 165 Salisbury Road Camperdown NSW 2050 | 02 80959678
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