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Night Falls

Article: Night Falls

Adelaide photographer Mark Kimber has always been interested in the night. Things at night are not as fixed in time and place, he says.

They seem to hover between the past and the present.

At the moment, nights of the past and present are merging in Kimber's life.

He has just returned from New York and a three-day project creating large-scale photographs of simulated night scenes.

Meanwhile, an exhibition at Greenaway Art Gallery features small-scale photos of Adelaide landscapes at night taken by Kimber as a student 20 years ago.

The 25cm-square pictures were taken in suburbs Kimber knew as a child such as Seacliff, Port Noarlunga and Glenelg. 

These were photographs I took around the time I graduated from the SA School of Art and they were places I went to as a child. he says. "When I look at them now there's an interesting connection with my later work."

In New York, Kimber worked with a large-scale camera that takes 20 in by 24in Polaroids.

It was invented by Polaroid technicians about 30 years ago to copy artworks and paintings.

These days, Polaroid owns three of the cameras in studios in New York, San Francisco and Prague.

The studios are available to artists and have been used by people such as pop icon Andy Warhol and film-maker Tim Burton.

A Polaroid 20/24 camera costs $61,000 and the pictures are $100 a frame. It costs $2000 a day to use the studio.

Kimber travelled to New York on a grant from ArtSA to continue an idea he was working on using life-like male dolls.

Kimber photographed the dolls with miniature surfboards and skateboards under a spotlight un a series he is calling Night Falls.

The figures look as though they are standing under a street light at night, and it is hard to tell whether they are real people or not, Kimber says.

The whole body of work is about masculinity being a construct you can participate in but if you look at it closely it's not what it seems to be, he says. Kimber is hoping to show his large-scale Polaroids in Adelaide, interstate and overseas.

Meanwhile, he is working on a series of smaller pictures to show at the Melbourne Art Fair in October, and his work will be featured in shows in Tasmania and on the Gold Coast later this year.

Australian poet Les Murray has chosen some Kimber images to illustrate his next book of poems. Next year, Kimber will have work in the biennial Photo Espagne photographic festival in Spain.

With the enormous growth in popularity of photography, things also have stepped up in his job as photography studio head at the University of SA.

Louise Nunn
The Advertiser Tuesday, August 20, 2002

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