Thursday, February 4, 2010

Masters of Flash

In a celebration of photography, street press and Australian music culture, acclaimed photographers Cybele Maliowski and Daniel Boud are bringing a sampling of their work to the Mart Gallery with an exhibition called Covers. The exhibition will showcase 25 magazine covers Maliowski and Boud have notched up over five years in the businesses - including some for the magazine you're holding in your hands right now.

“We have a plethora of artists.” Malinowski says,.“Although we have shot some international acts for covers, we’ve decided to just focus on the Australian musicians, cause we’re such patriots!” In which case you can expect to see the likes of Ladyhawke, the Presets, INXS, Ben Lee, Philadelphia Grand Jury and Blue Juice on display at the couple's first show.

“...And it may be our last,” Malioswki laughs.

“We couldn’t agree on actually doing a project together so we ended up just showing the works we’d already released,” Boud jokes.

“Look we are competitive," Malinowski continues, "I really do think over the years that’s what’s really pushed me and Dan. He’ll do a great job on a shoot and I’ve got to up the ante the next time and visa versa. In choosing the images, I’ve noted what Dan’s put in the exhibition and made sure that…mine are better!”

Lively competition aside, the exhibition also highlights the changing nature of music photography in the digital age. With his award winning blog Boud frankly admits. “If it wasn’t for the Internet, I wouldn’t have this career as a photographer."

"I’ve been able to showcase my work online and become a better photographer by shooting for my website, and it’s given me a platform to move into traditional media.” “[Yet] because so many people get their music news through the Internet now, print publications are dwindling. Music magazines are really suffering and so they often don’t have much money to commission original shoots and so it’s a shame to see a lot of magazines just run stock standard promo shots on covers.”

Malinowski agrees, “[The Internet has] kind of devalued us, particularly with live music. There’s 20 photographers in the pit, they’re all taking shots and those images are up online straightaway and before, when perhaps someone would have had to commission you to shoot, now they can basically just go and download the shots for free.”

However the flipside of digital technology is the malleability of the medium. With Photoshop the lingua franca of this generation of photographers, Malinowski concedes they have the advantage.

“Dan and I got into photography when digital was really taking off. It’s easier for us, Photoshop and Lightroom, they’re second nature to us.”

“The beautiful thing with a digital photograph is that it’s a raw image and you can just apply whatever you want onto that… you can really just change the entire feel of a photo with just a few clicks, it is kind of amazing.”

Bringing these skills to next generation is also part of the exhibition, with proceeds being donated to Oasis, a youth support network for homeless teens and young adults. Malinowski points out that start up costs for photography are prohibitive to some and so in partnership with Oasis, she hopes to, “give them a chance to take photos themselves, and [their] incredible world that I would encourage them to document.”

Covers is a photographic call to arms in more ways than one.

“I’d really like all the music press in Australia to think about commissioning shoots for covers,” Boud says. “We want more original photography for the magazine covers.

“Hopefully [the photographer is] creating an iconic image, that when people think of a band, they think of your photograph. That’s the special thing about music photography.”

What? Covers

Where & When: Mart Gallery, Thursday 4 - Saturday 20 February

Edited versions of this interview were published in Interval (Street Press Australia) magazines.

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