OUR PATRON: GORDON UNDY
You can see some of Gordon's stunning work at the bottom of this page as well as in our Photo Galleries.
Gordon Undy is one of Australia’s best known landscape photographers, he has had around 20 solo exhibitions, 26 group exhibitions, 9 portfolio exhibitions and published two books of his work in the Australian Landscape plus four Artist’s books of special places within Australia.
Gordon Undy works with photography and now also oil painting to express his love of the landscape and the medium itself.
His wife Lyndell and he opened point light gallery and school of photography in 1996 to fill a perceived gap in education concerning traditional photography and it's methods, supporting this by exhibiting the work of masters from around the world who were both friends and teachers. Gordon continues with photography as the Patron of PPP and has steadily worked to increase his competence with watercolour and oils since having more time to indulge his love of painting.
And now, some delightful insights in Gordon's own words:
I was born on 9th July 1945 in Cairns, Qld. I went to university in Brisbane and worked in Canberra first up. Nobody is allowed to go to Queensland at the moment because I was born there - I think?
My first camera was an Ensign 6x9 (really 21/4 x 31/4 inches then) that my father had used during WWII. I didn’t use it much as a camera but…:
Aged about 11 I took it apart to make my first enlarger (A wooden structure I made). Dad raved about it for a few days - I think he was happy but never quite sure.
Then my uncle gave me my first legitimate camera, a Kodak 3A folding pocket Brownie which would just fit in a greatcoat pocket but took these 31/4“ x 51/4” pictures on a roll of Kodak 122 film. It was a delightful camera and I developed a love of contact printing onto Kodak Velox paper. I also taught myself to etch out wrinkles with a razor blade because my favourite subjects were my Grandmother’s friends - beautiful sharp shots with all wrinkles. The earliest form of photoshop.
I used to develop film by the old method of see-sawing it through a tray of developer on top of the wood stove in our stove recess - Grandma used to cook on and in the stove so I had to wait until it cooled a little then put 2” planks across it to stop the developer heating up too much. I think it was a poor solution because over development was often in evidence - but what did I know?
Then I received from my girlfriend (when I was 18) a gift of a Lightomatic Beauty 35mm camera and used it for many years. I was 25 and married to Lyndell (not the same girlfriend) when I bought a brand new Nikon F Photomic with a 1.4 lens. Very exciting indeed and it cost 182 pounds then. By that time I had a developing tank and an old Durst enlarger.
It was only when I found in 1968 that I was having trouble bringing together the split image in the viewfinder while focusing on our daughter Fiona moving fast in the backyard that I realised I needed a faster focusing method - so I traded the Nikon on a second hand Leica M2 at Merry’s photographics in Kings Cross. That did the trick.
I was, however, a bit pi…. off when after walking out of Merry’s place I realised that I had left my Weston Master V exposure meter in the old bag that i had handed over with the Nikon - I went back literally five minutes later and asked if I could retrieve it and he said ‘No, that was part of the deal’. He had never even looked in the bag. @$(&@!(*% was what I said.
I was living in Canberra at the time and from 1969 a regular member of the Leica club of Canberra. For the next ten years I pursued a new career with IBM and it was not until 1983 when I had been working for myself for a couple of years that I felt I needed to have a hard look at my results.
Disappointed with them I chatted with Ed Slater (THE CSIRO Antarctic photographer at that time) in the club and he advised, given the nature of what I wanted to do, that I should get a 4x5 camera - thus begun my never ending relationship with larger formats.
When I had enough of the corporate world in 1991 I decided photography was my focus from that point. I spent three years working on darkroom skills, went to Rockport Maine to study with George Tice and Paul Caponigro and others and then Lyndell and I started point light in December 1996. We started it as a gallery and school of photography and rented darkroom space for the next eighteen years.
Now I spend most of my time painting in oils, using the Leica M Monochrome for photography. Lightroom is my most used software because I don't enhance things through photoshop.
* You can either click on the arrows on the main image, on any thumbnail to see photo in the page
or on the top photograph to see it enlarged: