Rod Sainty Solo Exhibition - Head On Festival 2017
Official Opening: Wed 10 May 2017, 7:00PM - 9:00PM
Opening Hours: Monday - Friday: 12:00 pm-7:00 pm
Saturday - Sunday: 11:00 am-7:00 pm
Dates of Exhibition: 03 May - 16 May
In 2014 and 2015, Sydney-based photographer Rod Sainty travelled extensively throughout modern-day Iran to locate and photograph the iconic architecture and monuments of ancient Persia. From that survey comes an exhibition of prints in both black & white and colour, including a deluxe series of hand-crafted silver gelatin prints produced in collaboration with master darkroom specialist Chris Reid of Blanco Negro in Sydney. The prints are exquisite and must be seen in person to be appreciated.
One inspiration for the survey was the challenge to revisit sites photographed in the 1920s by the German archaeologist Ernst Herzfeld and in the early 1930s by the English traveller and author of The Road to Oxiana, Robert Byron. Following those pioneers, Rod used the classic tools of architectural photography – a large format view camera and sheet film - to photograph each subject at close range. Rod’s intention was to replicate, to the fullest extent possible, the sense of presence he felt while standing right there with each subject, up close, “feeling, as it were, its breath upon me”.
The starting point for the survey was Persepolis, the dynastic palace complex of the Achaemenid Empire (550–330 BC) in south-western Iran. From there, Rod journeyed to the architectural remnants of later dynasties scattered across the length and breadth of the country.
One example: In the north-west of Iran stands one of the country’s architectural jewels, the huge elevated domed tomb of Il-khan Oljaitu, a successor of Genghis Khan. Instead of tyranny, Oljaitu brought artisans and intellectuals to a windswept high plateau on the ancient silk route to found a new capital of learning and academic excellence. The third largest brick dome in the world, its engineering is said to have paved the way for the Taj Mahal.
To avoid the distortions of tilting and excessive convergence that afflict images of architecture made at close range with normal cameras, Rod used a technical camera offering extensive lens movements, large-format lenses with extra-large image circles, and 4x5 inch sheet film. Travelling with such equipment presented challenges. The lasting rewards, however, are undistorted, quietly elegant and richly detailed portraits of some of history’s most amazing architecture.
Few people have photographed these iconic sites in this way before and it is likely that few, if any, will do so again.