The best photographs make us look at the familiar with fresh eyes. Here are four galleries, and four very different subjects, you can check out this week.
Fitzroy Narrows 1965 by Chris Lermanis (Colour Factory, Fitzroy)
When Chris Lermanis first visited Fitzroy in 1965, it was like a different world to him. Now, 50 years later, the photographs he took show us a forgotten side of the suburb. Slum-like dwellings were being torn down and replaced with council high-rises and gentrification had began. But when Lermanis got there, it was still raw and working class, and his journalistic, black-and-white photographs reflect a side of Melbourne we don’t often see these days.
David Bowie Heroes by Masayoshi Sukita (Mossgreen, Armadale)
Masayoshi Sukita first saw David Bowie on a gig poster in 1971, and he knew he had to photograph him. So he did. And he kept photographing him for more than 40 years, capturing him in mad early-‘70s outfits, Berlin-era leathers and the more subdued tones of recent years. Mossgreen’s exhibition covers their whole relationship in evocative poses, rare, intimate portraits and, perhaps most famously, the cover of Bowie’s seminal Heroes album.
From Here to Eternity by Sara Oscar (CCP, Fitzroy)
In the days of routine cinematic censorship, films had to allude to sexuality in the most oblique ways. The images on display in From Here to Eternity aren’t original – Sara Oscar’s shots are found frames from classical Hollywood cinema, paused at the moment of intimacy. A couple kiss passionately and the camera pans to a telephone off the hook, or a crashing wave, or a half-drunk glass of champagne. This is where Oscar’s focus lies. Taken out of context, they both point out the absurdity of the censorship and give a strange eroticism to inanimate objects. This week is your last chance to catch this show at CCP, which ends on June 28.
Nature/Revelation by various (Ian Potter Museum of Art, Parkville)
This show, launched as part of the Art+Climate=Change festival, incorporates more than just photography, but the whole thing hinges on the work of two very distinct photographers. Ansel Adams’ breathtaking black-and-white nature photographs, taken in various American national parks from the 1930s and the 1960s, have been credited with inspiring conservation movements across the world. In the next room is Berndnaut Smilde’s Nimbus series, in which the Dutch photographer artificially manipulates contained atmospheres to generate clouds indoors. The surreal effect reflects our desire to control nature.