gary pullar photography: Blog en-us (C) gary pullar photography (gary pullar photography) Tue, 22 Jun 2021 22:53:00 GMT Tue, 22 Jun 2021 22:53:00 GMT gary pullar photography: Blog 90 120 Moran Contemporary Photo Prize Two images selected as semi-finalists in the Moran 2016 Contemporary Photographic Competition Barber shopBarber shop New Year's EveNew Year's Eve

]]> (gary pullar photography) Sat, 26 Nov 2016 06:58:39 GMT
Travel Photographer of the Year, Finalist Images - Street Culture I was shortlisted in two categories in the Travel Photographer of the Year Awards. One was for a portfolio of images in black and white, in the Street Culture Category. At the time of shortlisting, candidates were asked not to identify their images, until final judging had been completed.  The images shortlisted are listed here. The other category in which I was shortlisted, and ultimately awarded a Special Mention for, was the colour image of the Doms at Varanasi, reproduced below in this blog.



Doms and Shrouds, Varanasi, 2015Doms and Shrouds, Varanasi, 2015OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

]]> (gary pullar photography) Photographer Tavel Year of the Sun, 14 Feb 2016 02:59:16 GMT
Travel Photographer of the Year, Best Single Image People and Places - Special Mention My image  of the Doms and Varanasi will be part of the TPOY  Exhibition at the Museum of London Docklands,  The exhibition will run from Friday, July 22nd to Saturday, September 10th 2016. 
Travel Photographer of the Year, Single Image, People and PlacesSingle Image Category Winner Does of Varanasi

]]> (gary pullar photography) Photographer Travel Varanasi Year of the Sun, 14 Feb 2016 02:03:21 GMT
International Travel Photographer of the Year 2015 Finalist 9b190104-237c-4dfd-a5ff-ae65a00fe7d09b190104-237c-4dfd-a5ff-ae65a00fe7d0

Finalist in two categories:

New Talent: Street Culture Portfolio of five images

Faces, People, Encounters - Best Single Image in a Portfolio

Final judging concludes Mid December 2015.


]]> (gary pullar photography) 2015 Photographer TPOY Travel Year of the Thu, 19 Nov 2015 23:10:18 GMT
2015 Epson International Pano Awards - Gold, Silver & Bronze awards - Finalist Built Environment One Gold, one silver and 4 Bronze Awards awarded.

Photos were entered into the Open and Amateur categories for the Built Environment.

Top 2% of entries awarded Gold.

Next 10% awarded Silver

Next 33% awarded Bronze

4345 entries in total, from 60 countries and 1055 photographers.

Finalist in the Amateur Built Environment Category

2015-Epson-Pano-Awards-Gold-Social-682015-Epson-Pano-Awards-Gold-Social-68 2015-Epson-Pano-Awards-Bronze-Social-3102015-Epson-Pano-Awards-Bronze-Social-310 2015-Epson-Pano-Awards-Silver-Social-4982015-Epson-Pano-Awards-Silver-Social-498 2015-Epson-Pano-Awards-Bronze-Social-9182015-Epson-Pano-Awards-Bronze-Social-918 2015-Epson-Pano-Awards-Bronze-Social-552015-Epson-Pano-Awards-Bronze-Social-55 2015-Epson-Pano-Awards-Bronze-Social-6622015-Epson-Pano-Awards-Bronze-Social-662

]]> (gary pullar photography) 2015 Epson International Pano Awards Bronze Gold Silver Fri, 16 Oct 2015 02:59:55 GMT
The Big Picture reader travel photo competition winner announced, June 2015 OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Varanasi pulses with life, but it is also the place where Hindus prefer to die. Where the city meets the sacred Ganges River, is a line of ghats (steps) along which you can walk. Most of the ghats provide access to the river for bathing and for puja ceremonies, while a few are used exclusively as cremation. Holy men line the ghats (steps) and give blessings, and life's daily body and spiritual cleansing rituals are practised all day and night. You can hire a boat and guide and take a boat ride on the Ganges and watch the wonder of Varanasi, unfold, silently, before your eyes.  Photo: Gary Pullar

Selecting from the best of more than 2500 images received over the past six months, Sydney Morning Herald photo editor Mags King, The Age photo editor Leigh Henningham, editorial producer Kylie McLaughlin and Fairfax Media's Clique Photographers Association manager Louisa Kirby have chosen a winner.

Congratulations to Gary Pullar for his winning image of Varanasi, in The Big Picture, a competition for amateur photographers. Pullar and a friend will travel to the Maldives for five nights, with return flights courtesy of Singapore Airlines and Singapore Airlines Holidays and the Sheraton Maldives Full Moon Resort & Spa.

A picture that captures the mystery and romance of India, a world that doesn't look to have changed over the centuries, is shown here in the face of the oarsman, the architecture and the river. It has perfect composition, soft, beautiful light and colour, with the bird being the icing on the cake. - Leigh Henningham.
This photo does not particularly depict a novel scene. Its narrative is not so much about the Ganges but about the man rowing the boat. Intentional or not, the composition is effective; the rich colours of the buildings on the banks of the Ganges - a biblical scene in itself - do not detract from the bird in flight hovering, drawing your eyes to the the man rowing the boat and to his facial expression. - Mags King
This image tells a story as a good photo should, a perfectly composed image with no shortage of muted colour and chaos, placing it firmly in Varanasi. Isolated in the foreground, the main point of focus is the subject's expressive face, and his gaze rests on the opposite side of the river to that we cannot see, and one can only assume it is the cause of the man's dark expression. - Kylie McLaughlin

]]> (gary pullar photography) 2015 Big Picture Winner smh Fri, 26 Jun 2015 05:49:38 GMT
Wabi Sabi Mon No Aware One of the challenges in writing about your own photography is to give expression in words to ideas that lie deep within you, which you perhaps do not understand yourself, but which find their way to the surface through the imagery you create.


But the act of writing, can contribute to the gestalt of image, and so, I have been searching for a literal idea which would help frame a series of photos I have been taking for a long time. These images cut across a range of subject genres, but all embrace a hard-to-nail-down concept, but one which I can feel is common to this series of images.


I have been taking photos of what I see as decaying beauty for as long as I can remember. The challenge with the razor sharp lens and unforgiving quality of digital technology is to go deeper than just the surface of what you are photographing, to access its soul.


Antiques develop a unique patina over time from the combined effects of ageing, the elements and the hand of man. This patina is a sensory experience, and what I am endeavouring to capture in the photograph of that object or scene, is something of its essence.


In looking for a word that could best describe that aesthetic, I came across the Japanese concepts of Mon no aware, which translates broadly into a description of the pathos of things, and wabi sabi,  broadly translating into wabi - subdued, austere beauty,  and sabi - rustic patina.


That these concepts are heavily embedded into Zen philosophy gives it even more impetus for me. In Zen philosophy, the emphasis is on the subjective nature of beauty- the idea that beauty is not a skin, but rather, something deeper.


And so, I have added a gallery to my web-page, which I have titled Wabi Sabi Mon No Aware…

]]> (gary pullar photography) Mon No Aware Wabi Sabi beauty in decay Sat, 16 May 2015 03:40:16 GMT
A Bend in the Road - Images of India OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

A trip to India was planned following my visit to China (Lenswork No #106 & B&W Magazine Portfolio Feature April 2104). It would enable me to finish documenting unique aspects of life of earth’s two largest and oldest civilizations.

My work on India covers day to day experiences in a number of Indian cities, most notably Old Delhi, and Varanasi. Old Delhi neatly sums up the image of teeming masses living harmoniously in India’s second largest city (pop. 16m+), whilst Varanasi reflects deeply Hindu custom, as one of the oldest cities in the World, and the holiest place for Indian Hindus.

Most of the images were taken over a period of 3-4 days, and most were taken within a couple of hours of each other as I walked the streets of Indian cities and the ghats (steps) of Varanasi, and observed the day to day and sometimes profound events unfolding before me.

What I discovered in Old Delhi in particular, was a place like no other I have visited, in terms of colour, energy and diversity. Delhi has been continuously occupied since the 6th century BC and the battles, scars and memories of it history are etched in bloodlines and buildings, whilst the ways of its people as they move through their day, have in many ways, probably not changed materially in centuries, despite the ubiquitousness of mobile phones and internet access amongst the unending processions of cows, camels, colourful saris, tuk tuks, and manual labourers of all persuasions.

Whilst Delhi pulses with life, Varanasi is where Hindus prefer to die. Where the city meets the sacred Ganges River, is a line of ghats (steps) along which you can walk.

 Most of the ghats provide access to the river for bathing and for puja ceremonies, while a few are used exclusively for cremation.

Holy men line the ghats and give blessings, and life’s daily body and spiritual cleansing rituals are practised all day and night. Most of the Varansi images were taken in the vicinity of the famous Dashashwamedh and Manikarnika Ghats.

At Dashashwamedh Ghat a group of priests daily perform at the "Agni Pooja" (Worship to Fire) wherein a dedication is made to Lord Shiva, River Ganges, Surya (Sun), Agni (Fire), and the whole universe.

Manikarnika Ghat is the main cremation Ghat of Varanasi and is one of the oldest and most sacred sites along the river. According to the Hindu mythology, being burned here provides an instant gateway to liberation from the cycle of births and rebirths.

Lying at the center of the five tirthas, Manikarnika Ghat symbolizes both creation and destruction. At Manikarnika Ghat, the mortal remains are consigned to flames with the prayers that the souls rest in eternal peace.

]]> (gary pullar photography) Delhi Ganges India OLd cremation ghat hindu manikarnika puja Mon, 09 Mar 2015 05:08:05 GMT
Interview with Richard Pitnick for B&W Magazine Spotlight Feature Issue 85  

It should come as no surprise that as a native Australian, the ocean has had an enormous influence on the life and art of Gary Pullar. As both an avid surfer and photographer, the ocean informs all aspects of Pullar’s being.

“I have lived most of my life within minutes of the ocean, and my interest in photographing the coast is a natural extension of what is an essential part of me,” explains Pullar,  whose series of dramatic coastal seascapes pay testament to what the artist himself describes as a, “...deeply-felt passion for the sea.”

“Through my photography I am trying to capture the mystery, sensuality, power and unfettered purity of the ocean and to connect through these images with the sea at a deeper emotional level,” Pullar elaborates.

When not taking photos, Pullar spends much of his free time surfing, an activity the artist likens to his experiences when photographing on the coast.

“For me, surfing and photography share many similarities. They both consume me, and both allow me to connect emotionally with the ocean in an almost visceral way.”

All except two of Pullar’s images were taken on the northern beaches in Sydney, about a half hour from his home located next to the Sydney Harbour Bridge and with a view opposite the famed Opera House, no small source of inspiration for the artist.

“It is a beautiful place with a high degree of visual intensity and energy, which enriches me every day,” says Pullar.

Although at first glance his pictures appear to have been taken at night, in fact most of Pullar’s photographs were taken at mid-day, working with neutral density filters. Pullar employs extensive localized burning and dodging and post-processing of his images for refined control of the contrast in the skies.

“I have always been enamoured of the inky blacks in the photos of the f64 Group, and this is often my starting off point in developing an image,” explains Pullar of the aesthetic focus of his images.

Pullar’s interest in black and white photography spans close to four decades, and in that time, the artist’s technique and vision have expanded and evolved from 35mm street work to his current interest in classic large-format landscape photography.

 “I started out as a boy with a box brownie and a $5 developing kit that my mum gave me for my birthday, and can still remember the excitement of producing my first contact print in a darkened bedroom,” recalls Pullar, whose desire for the ultimate in print and image quality led the artist to embrace large-format photography.

“I was never completely satisfied with the quality of the photos from 35mm, and as my interest and knowledge grew and I moved to 4x5, my focus and study turned to large format, landscape images in the West Coast f64 tradition which brought a whole new series of challenges at every step of the process,” Pullar explains.

Pullar attributes his training as an architect as a key component in developing his photographic skills and technique.

“Architecture has obvious parallels with photography in terms of a strong focus on composition, and sculpting with light, “ says Pullar. “Because my architectural training also involved extensive study of the fine arts, photography became a natural extension of my aesthetic and expressive professional interest.”

Pullar recently self-published a book of photos on Point Lonsdale, a beautiful coastal town in southern Australia where the artist  grew up, and is currently planning several exhibitions for later this year. He is also busy compiling photos for a future book of black and white work on his country’s northern beaches.

“The area that I work in is often quite small, and what I like to do is find an area that presents possibilities, and then over a period of weeks, make return visits to photograph, each time discovering something new as I work to deconstruct the landscape,” explains Pullar of his current project.

“Through my images I am seeking to make an aesthetic and emotional connection with the viewer, by portraying something in a compelling and arresting way that they may be very familiar with but never really see. Executed well, fine photography has the ability to elevate the commonplace and the banal to something that extends our understanding of ourselves and our world.”

]]> (gary pullar photography) Mon, 09 Mar 2015 05:03:19 GMT
2010 Better Photography Awards

Better Photography Awards - Silver and BronzeTwo seascape images were awarded Silver and Bronze in the 2010 Better Photography Awards

]]> (gary pullar photography) Award Better Magazine Photography Silver Mon, 02 Mar 2015 05:05:52 GMT
2014 International Loupe Awards

]]> (gary pullar photography) Award Awards Bronze Gold International Loupe Silver Thu, 26 Feb 2015 00:19:51 GMT
2012 International Loupe Awards

]]> (gary pullar photography) Award Awards Bronze Finalist Gold International Loupe Portrait Shanghai Silver Yangshou Thu, 26 Feb 2015 00:16:49 GMT
2011 International Loupe Awards

]]> (gary pullar photography) 2011 Award Awards Bronze International Loupe Thu, 26 Feb 2015 00:15:27 GMT
ArtsHub News Article on B&W Spotlight Feature

Sydney’s northern beaches and local photographer feature in US Photographic Magazine

US Photographic Magazine B&W features a photo of Turrimetta Beach on the cover of the August Special Edition.

The photo by local photographer, Gary Pullar, of Kirribilli, was one of over 8000 submitted annually to the magazine for publication.

The cover precedes an article and further images by Pullar in the September issue of the Magazine, which features images of the pool at Curl Curl and an article on the artist.

The magazine is sold in over 30 countries around the World.

Pullar, who photographs the beaches’ at their most transient moments, seeking to capture the energy and mystery of the sea, caught the interest of the Magazine’s editors earlier this year.

Pullar, says in the interview for the magazine: “I have lived most of my life within minutes of the ocean, and my interest in photographing the coast is a natural extension of what is an essential part of me,”  


“Through my photography I am trying to capture the mystery, sensuality, power and unfettered purity of the ocean, and to connect through these images with the sea at a deeper emotional level,”


“Through my images I am seeking to make an aesthetic and emotional connection with the viewer, by portraying something in a compelling and arresting way that they may be very familiar with but never really see. Executed well, fine photography has the ability to elevate the commonplace and the banal to something that extends our understanding of ourselves and our world.”


Pullar is planning exhibitions for later this year, has self published a limited edition book of photos of his former home at Point Lonsdale in Victoria, and has his images available through his website:


]]> (gary pullar photography) Wed, 25 Feb 2015 06:52:15 GMT
B&W Magazine Interview - Old China

One camera, two lenses, seven cities, fourteen days, three thousand images, six thousand miles—this is Gary Pullar’s 2012 photographic expedition to China condensed into cold numbers. Seen as a thrilling, soul-stirring experience, the intense outpouring of creative and physical energy provided the “raw material” for his most recent portfolio, the superbly realized Old China, from which seven images are reproduced here.


Pullar, an  Australian who lives on a small peninsula of land at the northern end of Sydney’s Harbour Bridge, began his love affair with photography as a young boy when his mother gave him a brownie and a developing kit. It proved to be the starting point for an artistic journey that is now going on its fourth decade. 


Pullar has no formal training in camera and darkroom techniques. His skills were honed in a self-directed study of the works of Edward and Brett Weston and other masters of their generation. “I have always been enamored by the inky blacks in the photographs and beautiful tonality of the work of the f64 Group,” Pullar says. He also credits his education as an architect for the fine-tuning his artistic senses. “Architecture has obvious parallels with photography in terms of a strong focus on composition and sculpting with light,” Pullar says.


In the early days, he concentrated on street photography, shooting with 35mm cameras. Later, he expanded to large-format landscape work. The digital era brought new challenges and opportunities. His current methodology calls for selecting lenses that optimize the possibilities in the environment he plans to explore (for the Old China portfolio he chose to compliment his Olympus E5 with two SHG constant aperture zoom lenses, a 35-100 and a 14-35mm. .


The China expedition had its origins in Pullar’s desire to explore first hand the visual treasures of the world’s oldest continuous civilization—with emphasis on “oldest.” While a tourist in today’s China may be seduced and overwhelmed by the modern look and lifestyle of its large cities, around the fringes of these 21st-century metropolises can still be found the manifestations of a way of life that has not changed in a thousand years. This is the China Pullar was looking for—the toil of everyday living reflected in the patinization that comes from age; and the human condition mirrored in the faces of the elderly, their expressions molded by generations of upheaval, war and cultural change.


One of Pullar’s most memorable experiences was a journey down the Li River in Southern China. Floating on a barge-like vessel, flowing with the current, he marveled at the same sights seen by the traders and adventurers of ancient times. Away from the river he traveled by air and by foot, making stops in Beijing, Xian, Guilin, Yangzhou, Hong Kong, Hangzhou and Shanghai. Pullar finds a fitting illustration of his experience in the Chinese saying, “To see 100 years of history, visit Shanghai; to see 1,000, visit Beijing; to see 2,000, visit Xian.” And he adds poignantly, “Having visited all three, I can only concur.”


Most of the images in the Old China portfolio were shot street style, using high shutter speeds and large apertures. A wrist strap kept the camera always at the ready. But the capture was only the beginning, the end came at home, starting with the examination of the digital negatives.

“First I strip the color and look at the tonality and contrast. Then I explore what the picture reveals to me. It’s a process of trial and error,” Pullar explains, commenting on his post-production method in a Lenswork interview. “Edward Weston, I feel, was one of the great romantic photographers. His pictures have a level of sensuality. This is what I’m looking for in my work. I like the moody, dark, film noir feeling. I’m really looking for how much emotion I can draw out of an image.”

 With his Old China portfolio, Pullar has revealed himself to be an exceptional visual storyteller and a virtuoso communicator of atmosphere—a master of the moody palette. 


]]> (gary pullar photography) B&W Magazine Spotlight Feature Wed, 25 Feb 2015 06:26:35 GMT
Lenswork interview with Brooks Jensen Interview with Brooks Jensen, Lenswork Editor

Editor’s note: In May 2013, Brooks Jensen spoke via Skype with Gary Pullar at his home in New South Wales, Australia. Unfortunately, the Skype connection was compromised and the audio unusable. Fortunately, some of it was audible enough to transcribe. Here is a portion of that conversation between Brooks and Gary.

Brooks Jensen

Gary, this is a fabulous body of work and I know precisely why it is so interesting to me, so that’s where I’d like to begin our conversation. They’re interesting because of something you said in your bio materials. You wrote: “Photography as a literal medium holds little interest for me.” Your role-as you see it as a photographer – is not simply to make pictures of what something looks like but to explore something else. When you went to China, what was it that you were thinking you were going to capture?

Gary Pullar

I did a bit of reading on China before I went, and I was struck by the enormity and age of the culture. Also, the fact that China has been in continuous war with either its neighbours or itself for a couple of thousand years. Here was a culture that still survives today. It survived Communisim, Maoism, and civil revolutions. It survived incursions by the Japanese, the French, the British, the Mongol hordes etc. I also read about some of the natural disasters, famines etc. Its still charging ahead. It can’t be stopped.

So I thought to myself, “I’m going to be passing people who are carrying with them five, six, seven or maybe eight decades of this incredible trauma and drama.” I experienced growing up in a very peaceful part of the world; these people will be carrying the scars of these traumas. I was fascinated with the idea of trying to understand what that would mean. I didn’t know how I was going to do it, and what I was going to see, o r how I was going to experience it, but that’s what I went looking for.


Well that explains the title, Old China. Part of what struck me about the title was what a fascinating pursuit that is. Keeping in mind of course, that we can only make a photograph now. You can’t photograph something that happened 20 years ago. So whatever you were looking to photograph you were on a search – you were on a hunt- for evidence that still existed, either in old people, old places, old buildings, old stores, old shops, old things. That meant you probably must have walked past the modern and the recent in order to hunt for this stuff, but yet you found it.


I found it almost everywhere to be honest.  I didn’t have to hunt that hard.

When it came to photographing people ,that was particularly challenging. When it came to photographing scenes, it was pretty straightforward. When I travelled down the Li River and took all those photos of the mountainscapes, I was on the top level of a traditional Chinese tourist boat.  I had the entire upper floor to myself and know I was on the same river that Marco Polo had travelled. The notion that I could sense the same things that had attracted him absolutely fascinated me.


The spirit of your photographs definitely comes through, but not just because of what you selected to point your camera at. You’ve chosen a particular palette for most of these that somehow emphasises that age. That gets back to the business about not a literal translation of what you or Marco Polo saw, but you’re doing an  emotional  translation. How did that dark palette come about?


I go very much back to what Ansel Adams said about the negative being the score and the print being the performance. I capture images that are technologically reproducible, given the technology. I basically capture the composition and moment in time. If I get those three things right – technically okay, the composition is right, and the content’s right – that’s all I want to do at the time. This goes to the heart of how a lot of these photos were taken. They weren’t artfully composed. Most of them were taken whilst I walked in the footsteps of my wife who very graciously and patiently travelled with me on this frenetic trip through China. I madly took photos – about 200 a day. I was taking photos almost like a sports photographer. I was literally trying to capture moments as they presented themselves to me. Its really all about what Henri-Cartier Besson calls “the decisive moment.”  I saw something, I wanted it, I grabbed it, and I was done. If I would have waited two seconds things would have fallen apart. I take photos on an emotional level. I see something, I get an emotional response, and I act.


So when you were capturing all these you weren’t necessarily thinking about this darkish palette. That happened when you got back home.?



And how did you discover that that’s the way you were going to stylise these images?


It was the same process. I started exploring the possibilities in my digital negatives. First of all, I love black and white work. So the first step was to strip the image of colour and look at what’s tonally in the picture. Assuming that I have the exposure right, the picture is sharp, and the composition is ok, than I start to explore what it will reveal to me. It’s often a process of trial and error. For every picture that I decide to use, there are ten or so examples where I have explored different paths. Then I have to decide which path I am going to take. Edward Weston, I feel, was one of the great romantic photographers. His pictures have a level of sensuality . That the kind of sensuousness that I am looking for in my palette. I like the moody, dark, film noir kind of feeling. I’m really looking for how much emotion I can draw out of the picture.


The dark nature of these images really struck home for me because when I was in China I saw this. It was one of the things that impressed me. Everywhere indoors in America, we crank up the lights; we’ve got fluorescent lights; the inside of a store is almost as bright as outside the store. But every time I went into any of these Chinese shops they were dark; they were lit with just one or two small bulbs, particularly the older shops which is where you were focusing you attention. And so these shop interiors look in your photographs, exactly like they felt when I was there.


Yes, one street in particular that I remember was in Shanghai. It was essentially a Chines flea market. It was just filled with old things, not really antiques, just old things. Because Shanghai has such an international history, there are a lot of western influences, and the shops along the street were filled with objects that were familiar, but had this foreign feel. I could have spent three or four hours just in this one small area, but we didn’t have the time. Nevertheless, I made some quick images and they are some of my favourites because of the wonderful sense of cross cultural influences.


China is a huge country. China has lots and lots of different regions, and it’s almost impossible to say anything about China because its almost a myth. – its an intellectual concept. So where I went in China may be entirely different from where you were, but my experiences in China with the people was simply fantastic.


What I was particularly interested in was candid photographs. What I tried to do when I was taking these photos was to capture the moment without the subject knowing it. As soon as someone knows that you’re going to take a photo of them, it changes the nature of the moment. The difference between them knowing and not knowing is measured in tenths of a second. There’s a subtle change in the facial reactions. I have always been particularly impressed with the portraits made by Paul Strand, because of their candid, genuine poses. That’s what I was trying to do in China.


Well, it’s a terrific body of work and I love that we’re looking through your eyes and your seeing something that no-one would probably see because of the way you are perceiving the world. Thanks so much for sending it in and allowing us to share it with Lenswork readers.


It’s enormously exciting and a privilege to be part of Lenswork.

]]> (gary pullar photography) Brooks Jensen interview lenswork Wed, 25 Feb 2015 06:23:47 GMT