I had the great pleasure of opening Steve Hartup's current exhibition 'Tolwong Road - a story of a fire' at X Gallery in Bungendore, NSW on Saturday 19 August.
I only met Steve about six months ago, and in that short time we have become good friends, often talking at length about the photographic practice. Steve is a true craftsman, and it shows not only in his photography but in his amazing house which he built entirely by himself in a small village in regional NSW.
I first met Steve back in February when he visited my Solomon Islands exhibition at The Photography Room. He went from print to print on the wall and then through the entire selection of matted works on the print table. After about 30 minutes he selected one and purchased the photograph. This is my first memory of Steve and it is one that says a lot about the man. Steve is calm, methodical, has an incredible eye for detail and is extremely considerate in his actions. These characteristics are are evident in his immaculately hand-printed, 5"x4" exhibition of photographs at X Gallery, which is on display until 9 October.
This series of images was made over 4 years in the mid 2000's after a severe fire near Sassafras (between Nerriga and Nowra) in southern NSW. Making over 20 trips to affected areas of Morton National Park, Steve produced a set of over 400 5"x4" black and white negatives, which he has edited into an exhibition of 40 (38 x 11"x14" and 2 x 16"x20") prints.
The exhibition is up for a month and a half, and the gallery also stocks incredible jewellry made by Xanthe, the gallery owner. If you are in Canberra, or even Sydney for that matter, make the trip to Bungendore to see some of the most luscious fibre based, gelatin silver photographs you will see for a while. The images are stunning and without wanting to talk money, they are ridiculously affordable, with a good few sales on the opening afternoon.