Painting with Light

About Painting with Light

In 2011, I met local photographer and blogger Gary Sauer-Thompson, and a field trip with him, on 1 August 2012, resulted in me preparing a little photographic essay on the salt pans of Dry Creek (The Path to Salt is available from One of those images, printed large, won the Photography section prize in the 2019 Caring for the Planet exhibition’s Solar Art Prize.

Gary and I determined over the following years to do a series of books on local art photography, the first being Abstract Photography, which focused on poetics in contemporary practice and the experimental aspects of photographic output of post-war creatives in Adelaide. We worked around what the Art Gallery of South Australia had done with A Century in Focus, and sparked off an exhibition on abstract photography mounted by the Gallery at Monash University in Melbourne. I subsequently sold several images at the Abstract Photography exhibition that coincided with the launch of the book, at the Centre for Creative Photography in Marleston, in 2016. A follow-up project on Adelaide art photographers of the late 20th century was much larger, and longer in gestation, but finally was launched in April 2020.

These publishing projects intruded on my capacity to pursue photography as much as I would have liked, but it led to me realising I needed to better organise and cull my copious material of over 100,000 images and provide some kind of selection for any future exhibition projects or for posterity, as I found age and health concerns catching up with me. I had lost a few months of images here and there in computer and drive failures but the Covid-19 pandemic and lockdown provided an opportunity to reassess and archive; to discover a number of overlooked files; and to re-edit some images.

The result is Painting with Light, the first in a series of volumes that I offer as an extension of my activity as a mostly abstract painter, which I have pursued since my mid-teens. The book is being produced through blurb, where I have done a number of projects, especially hardback editions of out-of-print books in my series Modern Art in South Australia. Volume One has concentrated on urban and suburban images, mostly, and the selection process has worked around series, or showing a small sample from series, as well as taking into consideration images that work together for layout spreads. There are 82 pages, and around 90 images. I decided to include a revised excerpt from my thesis on post-WW2 abstract painting in Australia, to show my background and experience, and my overarching interests in painting that are reflected in my photography. As I made the initial selection I realised I would need to do further volumes in this series, dealing with different kinds of images (such as more landscape orientated work).

Painting with Light—vol. 1 is available as a hardback as well as downloadable PDF.

I am also working on a book project of a field trip from 2016.

Adam Dutkiewicz, November 2020