Episode Date June 7, 2022
Featured Guest Danie Mellor
Featured Book "On Photography" by Susan Sontag

Episode Summary

Danie Mellor reading from Susan Sontag’s On Photography, and discussing the world through an artist’s gaze.

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A young woman stands, one hand on top of a chair, the other holding a bouquet of leaves. She stares directly into the lens of the camera; it’s not clear what she’s thinking. She’s wearing a long, dark dress with long sleeves and a white collar that covers her neck. It’s old-fashioned, colonial. A simple crucifix hangs from her neck. She’s an indigenous Australian –an aboriginal– and behind her is a lush landscape – it’s actually a tapestry of a landscape, and the picture is blue– the blue you might know if you’ve ever seen crockery with the willow pattern-spode china. This is a piece of art called A gaze still dark (a black portrait of intimacy), and the subject is Danie Mellor’s grandmother.

Danie Mellor created this piece of art. He’s a brilliant Australian artist whose work provokes questions about the intersection between colonial and contemporary in historic cultures. His work can be found in museums around the world, including The National Gallery of Canada, The British Museum, The National Museum of Scotland, and in Canberra’s own National Gallery of Australia, which is where I saw this painting and thought, ‘I need to speak to this person.

Danie reads from ‘On Photography’ by Susan Sontag. [reading begins at 13:51]

Hear us discuss:

  • The art and evolution of photography: “The photograph is a way of stopping the march of mortality.” [19:26]
  • Incorporating play into your work. [27:24]
  • Knowing when to stop what you’re doing, and work on something else: “There’s a degree of innovation in the way that ideas express themselves in material form.” [36:43]
  • “You have control over the quality of work you offer, but not over how it’s received.” [44:29]

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Danie Mellor | Website | Tolarno Galleries

Susan Sontag | On Photography

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Michael Bungay Stanier

Michael Bungay Stanier

I'm the author of five books that have collectively sold more than a million copies. I'm the founder of Box of Crayons, a learning and development company that helps organizations move from advice-driven to curiosity-led. I'm the host of the *2 Pages with MBS* podcast.

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