Lee: I thought a lot about what Leecee Carmichael (an artist and designer Ngugi / Quandamooka) talks about, that weaving is the act of joining two fibers together and rubbing them on our feet. This has been happening for centuries, more than 60,000 years. And this is the essence of everything we wear today.
Weaving is very simple, but also difficult, because it is difficult and repetitive and long. It may be like life – but then you can create this beautiful thing.
Hobson: Your practice is very much about traditional weaving techniques, and you do it through a very beautiful and contemporary context. Could you speak with us a little about how you got to this point?
Lee: In my last year studying fashion at RMIT, I took my grandmother back to the Torres Strait – she hasn’t been back in 57 years. I was very young, I was 21 years old, and I was like, “What’s going on here?”
Nana I asked: “What do you want to do about this?” And I realized I needed to make something up in response; the best way I know how to react to situations is through my creative practice. I created a collection named Intertwined, and I’m connected to Uncle Ken Thaiday.
Uncle Ken kept inviting me back to learn more. I’ll come and bring my grandmother, and they’ll have threads. Weaving with it is very organic. He’s not like, “I’m going to teach you this.” He just did, so I said, “Ooh, can I try it?”
Fashion was a way for me to understand my cultural identity and to be proud, because it was suppressed in my father’s education.
Hobson: The concept of re-engaging with culture and community is very important.
With a background of West African heritage, Ghana’s fashion scene is rich and culturally diverse. Located between Togo and Ivory Coast, this place gives off vital energy. It was once home to the famous Yaa Asantewaa, the queen mother of the Edweso tribe of Asante (Ashanti). As Ghana’s history continues to unfold, its pre-colonial past has woven its essence into the work of its modern artists. Today’s generation of designers is exploring the depths of the nation’s heritage, without underestimating its value. Through experimentation and by dedicating their traditions on the streets of Accra, young designers are bringing the colorful Ghanaian culture into sharp focus.
With Accra’s fashion week postponed due to Covid-19, Mercedes-Benz has worked with five next-generation designers and photographers. Carlos Idun-Tawia to showcase Ghana’s emerging talent and country’s tradition of sharing skills from one generation to the next through storytelling.
Chloe Asaam uses ideas and experimentation to create timeless pieces for women who want to stand out. “I am inspired by many things, but usually I draw from the women in my life – the matriarchs in my family and community,” she said. With an all-around spirit, this label designs neatly cut staples that exude comfort and hassle-free wearability.
On the topic of working as a creative in Ghana, Asaam thinks that “the dynamics of practicing as a fashion creative in Accra are both exciting and frustrating. From access to support, seeking materials, visibility, and earning a living… basically getting access to things that can help you develop your skills. My colleagues and I often discuss the possibilities. Things we can do if there aren’t many obstacles. But we found a way to be content with what we had. And I think there is beauty in it – it can work wonders with limitations. “
Men’s clothing label Atto Tetteh believes Africa has a story to tell. “Ghana is an extraordinary place where you find inspiration everywhere. The most thrilling aspect of being a creative in Ghana is the freedom to create and the immense inspiration throughout the country. “
Creating sharp sewing and bold color blocking, this label strives to provide quality clothing with cultural appeal. “Tradition plays an important role in the sense that it’s easy to get inspiration from our local fabrics and symbols, as well as our local colors.”
Founded as an accessory line in 2012, Larry Jay is a unisex Ghanaian ethical label that seeks to celebrate 70s culture with the goal of creating a timeless and unusual staple that represents both sexes. “I’m usually inspired by nature, various African cultures and arts,” said Jay. “However, my parents’ timeless fashion from the 1970s and the community environment I was born in and grew up in had a huge impact on my design aesthetic, which makes it unusual and timeless.”
As an adherent of Islam, designers are eager to reflect the concepts in garment. “My tradition is rooted in Islamic ideals and culture. I allow myself to be influenced by this and it is very much reflected in the clothes I make. “
The Hassan Alfaziz Iddriss brand, known as Hazza, is a gender-neutral contemporary uniform of clothing based in Ghana and inspired by heritage and culture. “As an ethical fashion brand, our clothing is made using environmentally friendly materials that are largely unavailable in the market and rare now.”
“The little that is available costs more so we have to improvise through using discarded materials and lots of DIY.” Founded in 2013, the brand has successfully overcome the financial opportunities stemming from the pandemic. “Our brand is taking a break to reset strategy. For us it will be a good time to launch our new collection, but we look forward to the show when we can all travel again. “
Gucci colleague and Naomi Campbell fan, designer Steve French always wears his clothes to tell stories and mark profound statements. “I think the most thrilling aspect of being a creative in Ghana is being able to produce amazing things with few resources. In addition, most of the advertising materials have deep ties to this very beautiful country, ”he said.
For her SS16 collection, she impressed the world when it came to mental illness, which turned out to be something Naomi Campbell wore for the 50th anniversary issue of Essence. “Traditions cannot be changed because they are old, authentic, original and beautiful and we don’t change, we just add,” he recalled. “As a designer, I usually draw inspiration from my history, culture and music.”
The label is contemporary French and characterized by distinct abstract patterns and silhouettes.
Tcultural historian Margot Riley of the State Library New South Wales specializes in photography and fashion history, and has been a curator for over 20 years. He took the Australian Guardian through some of the oldest library images.
The earliest surviving portrait
How is it made? A daguerreotype made using copper plates, coated with a thin layer of silver which, after cleaning and polishing, is bathed in iodine vapor to create a light-sensitive surface. It is then placed in a camera and exposed to produce a latent image which is then developed with mercury vapor. This process produces a positive image with a smooth, mirror-like surface, which is sealed and stored in a protective container.
Backstory: This portrait is the earliest surviving photo taken in Australia. It was created by a settler entrepreneur, George Baron Goodman, who was the first commercial photographer to work in Australia. Goodman had trained in Paris with the artist and chemist Louis Daguerre, who had discovered the daguerreotype, which was to be the earliest viable form of commercial photography, in 1839. Goodman purchased a license to take photographs in the British colony and, upon arriving at Sydney in November 1842, founded his blue glass daguerreotype studio and immediately began capturing the “faithful miniature likeness” of prominent townspeople. This portrait depicts the former convict surgeon Dr. William Bland, being transported for dueling murder in 1813. Bland was pardoned in 1814 and became the first doctor to establish a private practice in the colony. He is also a member of parliament.
How old is this picture? Created between late 1844 and early 1845, that is175 years.
How much it costs? A ninth plate portrait like this one costs 21 shillings. That was the equivalent of one week’s wages for a laborer at that time. At that time, the price was said to be very moderate but it was still out of the reach of many.
How is it made? It is hand colored collodiotype on glass, also known as ambrotype, which despite having a positive image display is actually a negative thin glass converted into a positive image with the addition of a black backing to create an optical illusion.
Backstory: This portrait of a woman dressed in hand color is thought to have been created by US trained photographer Thomas Glaister, one of Australia’s most important early photographers, who founded the American Australian Portrait Gallery in Sydney in April 1855. A master of ambrotype portraiture, Glaister brought technical sophistication, size and US photographic style into its local work – both in the daguerreotype and collodion processes.
How old is this picture? Over 160 years old – circa 1857.
How much it costs? Cheap and quick to make, the ambrotype costs anywhere from half to a quarter of the price of the daguerreotype – around 10 shillings for a small standard size.
Sydney’s oldest surviving panorama
How is this made? This panorama consists of a series of 12 albumen photographs made by contact printing of wet plate glass negatives (i.e., collodion).
Backstory: After 1858, the daguerreotype was eclipsed by the production of albumen paper prints from wet collodion glass negatives.While this is not the first panoramic photo taken in Sydney, it is the oldest surviving example of a landscape of the developing city. This series of 11 photo prints that make up this pioneering panoramic view were taken from the Government House tower. Without access to a wide-angle lens, Swedish-born photographer turned photographer Olaf William Blackwood moved the camera through a carefully measured horizontal arc, completing a full 360-degree rotation in place to capture the scene before him. Taking these 11 consecutive, consecutive exposures, the photographer had to work quickly to ensure the wet plate emulsion didn’t dry out between shots. Within a week, the three meter long photo display was available for sale. Ambitious photographic products such as Blackwood panoramas are well suited to the growing market for local landscapes, and shots documenting the progress of the colony are also meant to be circulated to friends and family back home in Europe.
How old is the drawing? It was created in mid 1858.
How much it costs? An advertisement on 9 Jun 1858 listed the price as: “Twelve Beautiful Views of Sydney and beyond, photographed by Mr. W. Blackwood in 5 guineas [105 shillings]. “
How was the image created? This stereograph The streetcape is taken with a stereo view camera that results in a pair of nearly identical wet plate negative contacts printed to create two albumen prints placed side by side on a card holder that can be viewed simultaneously via an optical device known as a stereograph – facing the eye like binoculars – to create the illusion. three dimension.
Backstory: In 1858, Sydney photographer William Hetzer advertised “a novelty in pictorial art … a meticulous selection of 36 stereoscopic views of Sydney – its harbor, main buildings, streets and surrounding scenery”. Funded by subscription, the Hetzer stereoscope view is one of the earliest outdoor photographs taken in Sydney, and it is wider in scope than any other previously produced.
Hetzer, a German immigrant, had arrived in Sydney with his wife, Thekla, in 1850. The couple set up a photo studio at 15 Hunter Street. Hetzer offers a wide range of photographic products including new collodion-based positive / negative processes, such as ambrotype and albumen prints, and callotypes. Stereoscopic cameras (available from 1855) have revolutionized the speed of taking outdoor photos. Look at popular stereographs from the mid-1850s to the 1930s, both as a hobby for educational and entertainment purposes and as a travel souvenir. Their uniform size means people can put together a collection of reproduced views for sale by publishers.
How old is the drawing? This stereograph was part of a second series of Hetzer stereo views produced in circa 1859.
How much it costs? Hetzer’s first stereo display seriesadvertised on September 25, 1858: a complete set of 12 slides costs 35 shillings.
How are these images made? These tiny albumen photos are printed in direct contact of the wet plate glass negative, then cut to size and pasted onto the card.
Backstory: In the 1860’sThe public is tired of expensive caged images (daguerreotypes and ambrotypes) and wants something different and cheaper. The collodion wet plate process produces a glass negative which allows the production of multiple copy prints. Multi-lenses, or “multiplication” cameras introduced this decade, are capable of producing between two and 32 consecutive images and dramatically increase the number of photo prints that can be made from a single photographic plate and offered in the style of a photographic visiting card, or carte de visite. . Introduced to Sydney by William Blackwood in May 1859, the success of this cheap and reproducible paper photo coincided with the influx of new settlers and professional studio photographers following the discovery of gold in New South Wales and Victoria in the early 1850s and bolstered by new prosperity, the desire to post resemblance to “home”, and overseas interest in what’s going on in Australia. When friends and relatives started exchanging visiting cards, the first family albums appeared. Developed in the late 1850s, it soon became a common household item with most families owning at least one. When the Kartomania craze overtook the public’s thirst for celebrity images, it was seen royals and stage stars were kept alongside family portraits.
Henry William Burgin was probably NSW’s first native-born professional photographer and began taking photographs in the 1860s, at his watchmaker on Church Street, Parramatta. The surviving images reveal the simple props, posing techniques and advertising stamps used by the Burgin studio, which is located at the crossroads between the coast and the west moving people.
How old is this This visiting card set was created in the 1860’s.
How much does it cost? William Blackwood advertised the first “portrait on visiting card” on May 4, 1959 for 12 shillings for 12 cards, but prices varied greatly over time.
How was the image created? In the mid 1850s,the exposure time for daguerreotypes has been reduced to about 30 seconds but sudden movements of active children can still cause blurring. This image appears to have suffered from the effects of humidity and other environmental fluctuations, causing oxidation and smudging over time indicating that the casing was not tightly closed at the time it was built.
Backstory: This entire plate daguerreotype features George Walker Johnson, his wife Ann, and three of their 13 children: from left to right, George William, Elizabeth, and John Simpson. The Johnson family had traveled with their two oldest children overland to Kyneton, Victoria, the main supplier city for gold mining, where they had settled.
This photo is rare due to its size and the fact that it can be dated quite precisely. The photo appears to be taken in the summer – the short sleeves of the two boys’ dresses show a distinct brown stripe down their upper sleeves and the kids all wear socks instead of stockings. It can be dated very precisely, based on the ages of the children, between late 1854 and the death of little George Jr. on January 30, 1855. From its inception, photography has been a major attraction for its ability to accurately render faces. In the 19th century, an era of high mortality regardless of social level, photographs of children held a special appeal beyond the natural desire of parents to improve the image of their offspring for posterity. Over time, the meaning of these family portraits has shifted: from providing material evidence of prosperity, becoming images and lasting memories.
How old is the drawing? It was taken around 1855.
How much it costs? The cost of a quarter of a daguerreotype plate including the case had halved by the end of the 1850s to around 11 shillings.
How was the image created? This is a very rare colonial example calotype (salty print of paper negative) made by amateur / male photographer. Only a few Australian callotypes are known, but they can be identified by the matte surface of the paper, as opposed to the glossy surface of the albumen photo print. Introduced to Sydney by William Hetzer in 1850, the calotype appears to have disappeared by 1860.
Backstory: One of Australia’s earliest amateur photographers, surgeon and politician Joseph Docker lives on his estate, Thornthwaite, near Scone in the Hunter Valley district. He was an early fan of photography and was described as one of the colony’s most successful men. Later, his son, Ernest, noted that they began experimenting with the calotype process around 1850, when Ernest was eight years old.
How old is she? This image was taken around 1850.
How much it costs? Calotypes were advertised at 5 shillings.
For more than 40 years, Carla Sozzani, renowned Italian editor, publisher and collector, has compiled one of the most important photographic collections in the country. Sozzani is a key figure in fashion, art and design in Italy, and his archive includes works by Erwin Blumenfeld, Steven Mesiel and Peter Lindbergh.
Having grown up in rural Switzerland, photographer Luca Ellena hit, after moving to Berlin, with lots of goods littering the city streets. He decided to take a picture of every trolley he saw and three years later he has over 600 drawings, the best of which were collected in his first book, Shopping business.
‘The waste of resources when the trolley is thrown away,’ he said, ‘and the way most people don’t even see it is, to me, a representation of our time.’