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The Photographic Institution: Blender Gallery

Every city has its legends, be it in the form of people, images or spaces, and in Sydney, Blender Gallery is arguably one of them. Nestled in one of Paddington's very charming side streets, Blender has become something of a photographic institution since it opened nearly a decade ago. Naturally, the gallery has been taking part in this week's Paddington Alive festival to celebrate the suburb's innate creative energy, and as part of the festivities it will be hosting an exhibition featuring Ethan Russel's revealing photographs of the Rolling Stones from tonight through to October 5th. We spoke to the vision behind the space, Tali Udovich, about the gallery, how it's evolved and just why it suits Sydney so well.


1) Who founded Blender Gallery? Who are the current directors and what are their backgrounds?
Blender Gallery was founded in 2001 by Tali Udovich. Tali Udovich is the current Director and has a BA in Visual Communication with majors in Graphic Design & Multimedia.

2) What prompted the opening of Blender?
Originally Blender Gallery was opened as a new space dedicated to emerging photographic artists. At the time, there were not many galleries in Sydney that were dedicated purely to the medium of photography. It was a way for young photographers to get their work out into the public eye in the form of a professional exhibition.

3) Why Paddington?
Paddington is seen as a mecca for art and culture in Sydney’s eastern suburbs.
It was a perfect area for a young up and coming gallery situated amongst the larger players in the art world.

4) Tell us a little about the space. How was it designed? What was it inspired by? What kind of message was it intended to exude?
Blender Gallery provides an exhibition space in a unique terrace house. The space operates on a very intimate level that is essential to the flow of exhibitions. Blender Gallery is not a standard open planned white gallery space – like a home, the gallery works on creating a mood and a vibe which helps the viewer connect with the works on display.
Blender Gallery brings a young, fresh and exciting approach to the sale of investment pieces of photography. Over the last 4 years, Blender Gallery has begun to specialise in music photography.
We have a strong commitment to local, international, new and emerging music photographers as we believe in supporting their works in such a way that promotes the artist, and encourages new clients and collectors.



5) Why did Blender choose to focus on photography?
Originally Blender Gallery was opened as a new space dedicated to emerging photographic artists. At the time, there were not many galleries in Sydney that were dedicated purely to the medium of photography. It was a way for young photographers to get their work out into the public eye in the form of a professional exhibition.
The Elizabeth St terrace space – where Blender Gallery is located – is also the original gallery space of Stills Gallery – one of Sydney’s premier photographic spaces.
Photographers and photographic enthusiasts tend to gravitate to the space and it seemed fitting to showcase the same medium.

6) How does Blender support and mentor artists – particularly those who are emerging?
Blender Gallery works very closely with its artists in order to achieve the best possible results commercially and publicity wise. We help select works for exhibition, types of presentation, and work on promoting the photographer to a potential international level. Some of our music photographers have huge catalogues of work and need help sorting through these images to see what is best to showcase in an exhibition. We also do our best to promote our local Australian music photographers to the International galleries that we work with on a daily basis.

7) What does Blender look for in the photographers it exhibits?
Blender Gallery is open to so many different photographic forms but tends to look for analogue-based work. When it comes to music photography we are looking for something unique and individual – many of the international photographers’ works are very famous however have never been exhibited in Australia.
We try to bring out exhibitions that are unusual yet beautifully iconic.

8) After nearly a decade in operation, what are some of the most successful shows that have been held at Blender, and some of the most memorable moments on the job?
The very first pure music photography show that Blender Gallery exhibited was “A Wished For Song”, a portrait of Jeff Buckley by Merri Cyr. This is still one of our most successful shows to date – we were overwhelmed with Buckley fans that came from all over the country to see these wonderful photographs.
We were lucky enough to host “I’ll Be Watching You – Inside The Police 1980-83” by Andy Summers – guitarist extraordinaire from The Police and a down right great guy! Timing this exhibition with The Police Australian tour made it all the more exciting and Andy was happy to sign books and chat to his fans in Sydney.
Meeting Henry Diltz – Woodstock’s official photographer and one of the most prolific music photographers today – and being able to host his exhibition, California Dreaming was an absolute honour! His stories about the history behind many famous album covers (The Doors, Crosby Stills Nash, Joni Mitchell) were incredible.
Pattie Boyd, 1960s supermodel and former wife of George Harrison & Eric Clapton, was another photographer that we were honoured to be able to showcase at Blender Gallery. An amazing lady who saw style and music evolve around her.
(It was pretty exciting when her brother-in-law Mick Fleetwood popped into the gallery to see her show!)


9) How has Blender secured the reputation it has?
Blender Gallery has tried to find a unique niche in the Australian Art Market.
Specialising in fine art music photography and limited edition rock n roll prints offers the opportunity to view and purchase some of the most inspiring and iconic images of music and musicians photographed over the last fifty-plus years.
Working with both local and international music photographers and international galleries, Blender Gallery has become the major brand in fine art music photography in Sydney, Australia.
Blender Gallery is the official Australian representative of Rockarchive.com based in the UK and The Morrison Hotel Gallery of the USA.

10) Tell us a little about the shop – why did it open? What is the main premise behind it? What kind of goods do you guys stock?
Blender Gallery is home to the Just Shoot Lomography Shop - The Australian Lomography Embassy - dedicated to all forms of Lomography and analogue photography.
The Just Shoot Shop is truly devoted to providing an analogue space especially for Lomographic ventures and cultural treats! It is home to Lomography events, exhibitions and hosts workshops about analogue photography and Lomographic tools and tricks. It is also a meeting point for local Lomographers and globetrotters to swap films and share photos!
The store features everything from A to Z in Lomography's product line.

11) What notable events do you have coming up?
The next exhibition LET IT BLEED – The Rolling Stones 1969 U.S Tour – photographs by Ethan Russell is one of Blender Gallery’s feature exhibitions of the year. This is opening on tonight (August 26th) and will run until October 5th.
We are also lucky enough to be hosting the first exhibition of Australia’s premier music photographer Tony Mott throughout October 2010. This will be a huge retrospective showcasing the work that Tony has done in his career.

Tali Udovich


interview: Seema Duggal

1 comments:

August 27, 2010 at 2:19 PM barb said...

yeah I love this place ! Really good to develop lomo film and the owner is very nice :)

 
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