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Walk down a Kensington laneway dwarfed by 1890s redbrick woolsheds, enter a stunning industrial-style gallery with exposed bricks and polished concrete, and be transported into the beautiful world of The Alps through a series of photographs by Tom Goldner, a Melbourne-based photographer and the founder of The Fox Darkroom & Gallery.

The 22 black-and-white photographs in Goldner’s show Passage feature the magnificent Mont Blanc region, spread across France, Italy and Switzerland. Goldner wanted to capture the ever-changing nature of the striking landscape, so he visited the region in both 2015 and 2016 to highlight just how much could change in only one year.

The breathtaking images were meticulously developed and printed by hand, a traditional technique that is a dying art. This method of printing and of shooting on medium format film creates multiple layers and unbelievable depth. There’s incredible clarity in even the most faraway elements, resulting in 3D-like detail. The ethereal images of huge mountain expanses and spectacular valleys and passes are juxtaposed with close ups of fascinating textural snow patterns and cloud-filled skies that give just a glimpse of the mountain peaks pushing through.

The different exposures Goldner uses produce extraordinary images, some of them have almost-black daytime skies that contrast with the white snow and jagged, untouched mountains. Seemingly minute hikers pop up every now and then, highlighting the enormous scale of the mountains. There’s lots of light within the images but they still have a moody and atmospheric quality, while the sepia tones in some photographs create a ghostly feel, as though they are from another era.

These powerful images capture landscapes threatened by climate change. It would be interesting to see if Goldner revisits the region and continues this captivating series.

See Passage at The Fox Darkroom & Gallery until Sunday, 21 May.

The Fox Darkroom & Gallery, 8 Elizabeth Street, via laneway, Kensington
Till Sunday, 21 May 2017


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