Well-known local architect and urban designer Jon Johannsen has a hidden (or not so hidden talent). He is an accomplished photographer. Jon’s work is currently part of an exhibition at Contact Sheet called Time & Space. Contact Sheet is a photographic gallery and teaching space, which supports emerging and established photographers by providing opportunities for them to develop their artistic practices and engage with new audiences.
The Time & Space exhibition sees four artists explore how time has affected the spaces around them in very distinct and different ways. As time progresses, the natural and man-made spaces surrounding us develop and change. From the ancient to the modern, the stories of change are innumerable.
As an architect and urban designer Jon has had an enduring interest in both urban and rural environments, and enjoyed finding and photographing subjects with quirky attributes, graphic qualities or showing a process of aging or change. Sites undergoing transition or decay such as the industrial relics of Glen Davis in the Capertee Valley west of the Blue Mountains, the now demolished railway goods buildings at Alexandria and the former Walter Burley Griffin designed incinerator at Pyrmont, all have a sense of desolation overlaid with a raw spatial abstract.
Contact Sheet is a gallery where people can view and buy photography at a range of price points. If you love black and white photography this is a must see exhibition.
We asked Jon a few questions about his passion for photography and the exhibition.
When and Why Did You Take Up Photography?
I took up photography 40 years ago. I always liked finding different ways to interpret or express my experiences, and black + white photography became a passion after seeing an exhibition of Ansel Adams work.
You’re a Busy Architect, How do you Find Time to Indulge in Your Passion?
Photography is just an extension of my profession. I have always carried a camera – and now just the iPhone except for special subjects.
What Is Your Favourite Subject Matter?
I mostly enjoy capturing the natural and physical built environments, but also enjoy spontaneous moments that can include a variety of subjects.
Why did this Exhibition Appeal to You?
The Contact Sheet Gallery is a small co-working and exhibitions space that is ideal for beginners as well as established photographers, and the subject of Time & Space was an ideal subject for these works. I have recently been digitising hundreds of B&W negatives and colour slides from thousands taken over the past 40 years and decided it was time to seek a wider audience for their appreciation. I am starting one of their mentor courses next year to further develop my work.
How Long Have You Lived in Lane Cove?
We moved to Lane Cove 12 years ago from inner city life of Darlinghurst.
Why do you Love Living in Lane Cove?
It is a great environment for family and community life, and some excellent bushland walks that also provide photographic subject material.
What is your Favourite Lane Cove Architecture Project ?
The Blackman Park Scout and Amenity Hall is my favourite project that had a difficult gestation and implementation. It is great to see it nestled into the edge of the playing fields and being used to the max by locals and visitors. I am also proud of some smaller work we did for Lane Cove Public School, being their COLA and covered walkways.
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