Life on the Margins

ThinkSpace Exhibition: From 24th June until 5th July 2019

Life on the Margins is a photographic exhibition that documents the precariousness of life in the vast, desolate landscapes of Namibia, and the effects of drought on an already arid land.

© 2019, By Antonia Mocatta. Photograph from ‘Life on the Margins’ Exhibition

Incorporating images captured on her recent overland tour through that country, Antonia Mocatta presents a glimpse into existence in its truly harsh environments. The images not only convey the splendour of the immense vistas, but a sense of foreboding that with the onset of climate change, scenes such as these may become all too familiar elsewhere in the world.  

© 2019, By Antonia Mocatta. Photograph from ‘Life on the Margins’ Exhibition

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Join us for our Meet the Photographer Event

Come along and meet Antonia as she details stories of her travels through Namibia and talks about her photography process.

Date: Friday 28th June

Time: 4pm – 5pm

Location: ThinkSpace

You can also visit the ‘Life on the Margins’ Exhibition at ThinkSpace from 24th June – 5th July 2019.

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The Library’s ThinkSpace 16:3 aspect digital wall – is a tool to enable creative teaching, learning and sharing in our technology-driven, creative play-space.

What would you use our digital wall for? We are looking for creative ways to use this technology in teaching, learning and sharing. If you have an idea, reach out to:admin.library@sydney.edu.au

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How to be as exam ready & least stressed as possible this semester

Feel like you have more to learn that brain capacity? Panicking over impending deadlines? Pressure and stress to pass & do well?

Exam time is tough, and at the Library, the hub of group assignments, 3am cramming & intense studying, we know all about it! So, together with the STAR team (Student Transition and Retention), we are here to help!

Here are some ways you can destress and study effectively for exams this semester:

Therapy Dogs

What better way to unwind than a soft, furry cuddle from one of our four-legged friends? Therapy dogs will be visiting Fisher, SciTech and The Quarter Libraries during our Exam Ready program so you can take a break and get your dose of puppy love. Visit our Facebook page for details.

Yoga and Meditation

Reduce your stress by taking some time out for you this exam period. Our free yoga and meditation sessions are designed to refresh your body and mind between study sessions, so you can stress less & focus more. Free fruit is also provided at the end of each session. Visit the Exam Ready page for more details.

Focus & Study

If you find it challenging to power through distractions and get things done, our Focus & Study sessions are for you. Using the Pomodoro technique, these sessions are all about short bursts of intense productivity. Come along with your study notes and walk away feeling accomplished.
Visit the Exam Ready page for more details.

Nap zone

Sleep = the secret power to retaining information. Drop by our Nap zones in Fisher and Health Sciences Libraries for a power nap to rejuvenate and up your productivity. Visit the Exam Ready page for more details.

Craft at ThinkSpace

Get creative, messy and give your brain a break with some craft at ThinkSpace. Drop by and get creative those creative skills in action- a zen way to clear a cluttered mind. Visit the Exam Ready page for more details.

The Library and the STAR team (Student Transition and Retention) have lots more activities happening this semester to help you get through exams. Visit the Library website for more information and for the full program.

A Photographer Flourishes and Blooms over Two Continents: Andrew Herman’s Exhibition using the new ThinkSpace digital wall

Photography by Andrew Herman

By Levi Sahin

Recently, the Library’s ThinkSpace installed a new 16:3 aspect digital video wall – a tool to enable creative teaching, learning and sharing in our technology-driven, creative play-space. Peer Learning Advisor Levi interviewed Andrew Herman, international student and freelance photographer at the University of Sydney, who is using the ThinkSpace video wall to display a selection of his work.

It was a warm and humidly sunny Sydney afternoon when I interviewed Andrew Herman about his work – and the journey that brought him to this point. I had known Andrew, in passing, for about two-and-a-half years. He was a regular user of ThinkSpace and was present from the moment it opened back in early 2016, before we had even had a hard launch for the space. 

Back then, ThinkSpace was a tiny infant. It was hampered and restricted, limited and bumbling in its movement. Still learning to walk. Still learning to crawl. We had leased it in agreement with the Student Centre, who had stipulated that they would hold court in the space at the beginning of each semester, which meant that we would have to vacate premises like vagabond squatters, packed and herded off to the outer realms of SciTech Library.  

At the time, ThinkSpace still looked like an off-shoot of SciTech Library – a spare space for study with a series of computers for students to access and a somewhat random, and extremely temperamental, 3D Printer that made it very clear that it would be working on its own terms. Soon, a wayward Carvey joined the ranks (and almost set fire to the space… literally not figuratively). Near the resident PC’s were two iMac computers, and these were what Andrew used in the space. He had been working on photography at the time and was experiencing difficulty with PC’s around campus because they simply did not have the processing power required to adequately support the full Adobe Suite.

Fast-forward to the present day, when ThinkSpace has blossomed and bloomed into quite literally everything that it was envisioned to be – cue here a background refrain of Mariah Carey’s “Vision of Love” cascading over the scenery. ThinkSpace is effectively zoned with spaces demarcated for 3D Printing, Virtual Reality, a Design Hub of iMac computers, and a 1-Button Recording Studio. Life is good. I sit with Andrew at one of the iMac computers, sunlight streaming in through the windows behind him and casting light on the frantic movements of someone enjoying some virtual reality. Andrew’s demeanour is calm and relaxed in contrast. He tells me about what first drew him into ThinkSpace, detailing that the space was always well spread-out, with lots of students – but that it never felt cramped. He affectionately tells me that the space is unique and that the equipment it offers can’t be found anywhere else on campus. He says that because the space is so full of energy and is busy with workshops as well as consultations, he has learnt a lot about 3D Printing and some of the other tech the space offers, simply by being present. 

I ask him about his current projects and to tell me what he’s been working on, and so we start discussing his work in photography. 

“Well, I’ve done a lot of work for clubs and societies with USU. I’ve done grad photos, couples photography for people that met at uni – which is really cute, they’re so adorable – and I do a lot of photography of the architecture of USyd.”

Andrew Herman on location at a shoot

He counts these things on his fingers, as they stack up and it becomes apparent that the scope and history of his work is long and large. But when he mentions the architecture of USyd and the photography he’s been doing on it, his eyes light up, and I know we’re about to get into something special and significant.

“I take these shots – these perspective shots – from the point of view of people walking around. Usyd encompasses a long history of architectural styles that compliments its long history as a university, with spatterings of neo-gothic, brutalist, and many other styles of architecture ranging over decades. And these things are around us all the time, but the sad thing is that because we all get into a routine of walking from class-to-class, or from class to work, we become blind to all these amazing architectural landscapes around us and they fade away from our awareness.”

“So would you use the Adobe Suite – Photoshop in particular – to sort of bring these details out? Like, sharpen them up and bring them forward, sort of?” 

“Mmmm, not really. I don’t really tamper with or change the image or edit it in any way. I try to make sure I capture what I’m really looking at in the actual photography itself. So, I make sure I get the right angle and capture the essence of the moment in the picture. My aim is to try to have an image that is just so real and with resolutions so high, that you can almost feel like you could just step right into the frame.”

“If I can capture a moment, and show you the image without any context, and have you feel some sort of emotion in response to it – then I’ve done my job. And if the emotion you feel is something like what I was feeling, then even better.” 

“Ah, yes. So, you really like to let yourself sink into the moment and take your time in it. That’s really quite fantastic, and you know, I feel like I’m starting to get a sense of what these images might be like, and I’m quite excited by the sound of them!” 

“Yes, and I really only use Photoshop and editing tools to compliment what I’ve captured – not to change it or edit it. The main thing I like using it for is exporting my work into a variety of formats.

My work has been featured in large billboard-size images around campus, and if it wasn’t for the Photoshop tech in ThinkSpace, I couldn’t have my images displayed at that size – at that high a resolution. Which is really exciting! I didn’t have these things available at my old university, so it’s amazing to have it here and it’s really opened up my range of possibilities.” 

“Ah! Where was your old university? Was it in the States?”

“Yea, it was in North Arizona and it was nestled in, like, a mountain and forest region. Like – you know Narnia? Have you ever read Narnia, or seen the first movie?” 

“Oh yes. Oh my God, I think I know where you’re going with this, and I love it.” 

“Yea! You know when they first come out of the wardrobe and into the snowy forest area?” 

I whimpered affectionately at the memory and made a mental note to indulge in some escapism by re-watching the movie later on in my evening. “Ye-es!” 

“Well, yea, it’s basically like that in winter. Just absolutely beautiful. And so I started doing photography then as a way of – as an outlet – alongside studying because I was studying so much! Like, 18-hour days. And so, to keep myself balanced, I would go on long hikes and take pictures of the landscape as I went, and that’s where my love of photography was born. See, I didn’t go to school for photography or anything like that. A lot of my friends have, and their approach is completely different. They tend to snap their cameras and try to get a bunch of images that they can edit later – and the editing is where their art is. But for me, it’s more important to try to get it in the moment. The editing is just to put finishing touches on and to export into different formats. So my love and practice for photography started at home, and then grew here – in ThinkSpace.” 

A selection of Andrew Herman’s photography work on exhibition at ThinkSpace

“That’s amazing. And so, which directions do you think your love and practice will grow in the future?” 

“At the moment I’m really heading towards videography and video work. I love photography and still images, but there is only so much you can capture there. I want more. I want more emotion and feeling, and I feel that with video you can capture movement and therefore more emotion. I can do what I aim to do with my photography – which is to make you feel a certain way, without giving you context – but through movement captured in a format that can be exported to other formats and resolutions. And that’s why the video wall really interests me. I’m really interested in seeing how my videography can be ported over to it and displayed.” 

“And your approach to your videography – is it the same as your approach to your photography? Are you ‘creating the magic’, so to speak, in editing?” 

“Oh, I’m still trying to capture as much as possible – as a closely as possible – in the moment of filming. But I’m still learning how to do that with video. I’m still at the stage where I’m concentrating on getting the technical aspect right, so because that pulls a lot of my focus, I can’t really be fully in the moment yet and keep an eye on making sure the tech is going right. I was like that with photography at first, and then when I got comfortable with the technical side of it, I was able to relax into the moment more. I’m working towards that with video, so the artistry is there in both aspects – in the filming and the editing. But editing video is a lot harder than editing photography, so there’s a challenge there too.

But I really want to have something up and ready so I can play around with the video wall because ThinkSpace really is an amazing and unique space, and it’s a gateway to other possibilities. I mean, a lot of the challenges I’ve faced in my work have been overcome by combining multiple skills-sets, and I think that sort of open and multi-skilled approach is something that ThinkSpace really represents. I feel like it used to be – in previous generations – that people developed really niche skills-sets and specialised in those, whereas now, it’s more about the sharing of knowledge. That is basically what ThinkSpace does and what it facilitates. I mean, look at me – my interest and area is photography, but I know a bit about 3D Printing now and VR, and I’m branching out into videography. It’s enabled a lot of growth!” 

“That’s amazing to hear, Andrew, because that was part of the original vision. I remember whenever I’d answer the top question people used to ask me in the early days – which was ‘what is ThinkSpace?’ – I used to say that it’s a space that promotes cross-disciplinary conversations through the use of creative tech. So to hear that it’s kind of allowed that for you is like – boom! Mission accomplished, for us.” 

We have a bit of a laugh here and I notice Andrew’s expression change slightly. Then he pulls out his phone. Must’ve had a buzz – possibly someone else vying for his time. 

“Ah, ok, so I just have one more question to ask you.” 

Checking his phone, he says “Sure! I’ve just got to message this person back – it’s a photography job that I need to run along to – but fire the question at me real quick.” 

“What is your current, and most favourite, project?” 

He looks up at me, smiles, and puts his phone away, clapping the cover shut over it with energy and enthusiasm before answering the question. 

“I’m trying to put together a photography series I’ve been working on over the past 4 years. It’ll be 4 years of hi-resolution photography, with an environmental spin – so it focuses on the process of glacial melting and feeding into rivers and waterfalls, which is a very gradual process. The pictures have been taken in Colorado and New Zealand, which are similar high elevation environments. NZ has a large diversity of different environmental systems, but the ones I am comparing are of glacial and ice lake runoffs. However, similar to my shots of architecture around USyd, these have been taken from the perspective of someone walking, through parks and trails for example. There are also some aerial shots to provide a different perspective. So it’s basically landscape photography in natural areas, but in an environmentally-minded way. And I haven’t been able to put it all together and work towards displaying in a format like the video wall in ThinkSpace, until now.” 

“Wow. That sounds absolutely wonderful and fantastic, and I can’t wait to see it Andrew.” 

“Thanks Levi.” 

And this is where we exchanged our farewells as Andrew quickly needed to run off to his photography gig. No rest for the wicked, of course – 

And of course. That’s the price of popularity. I won’t ever hold it against him. And he is really great at what he does.  

And so he disappeared into the humid afternoon light, right behind the student who was still flailing about in enjoyment of virtual reality. I looked out through the sun-drenched windows and thought to myself “my gosh, ThinkSpace has come such a long way.”  

If you’d like to get in contact with Andrew Herman, or view some samples of his work, visit his website.

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Join us for the exhibition opening of ‘Nature of Design’ by Andrew Herman & the official opening of our new ThinkSpace video wall

Date: Wednesday 1st May

Time: 5pm – 7pm

Location: ThinkSpace

You can also visit the ‘Nature of Design’ Exhibition at ThinkSpace from 1st May – 10th May 2019.

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What would you use our digital video wall for? We are looking for creative ways to use this technology in teaching, learning and sharing. If you have an idea, reach out to: admin.library@sydney.edu.au

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Big [digital] Day Out

post it notes on whiteboard

HDRs – On Monday 29 October, join us for a day of expert knowledge sharing, discussions, and some inter-activity. Sessions will focus on the use of tools for productivity, organisation and research, and how we can use these things to create a helpful digital flow. The day will be run in 3 segments:

  • How to HDR: Wrangling your Digital Workflow
    Time: 1pm – 3pm
    To kick the day’s festivities off, this How to HDR session will focus on ways that you can control your digital workflow so that you can stay on top of it and have it serve you – not the other way around. Of course, there will be our famous pizza to conclude. We did mention festivities, didn’t we? It would be rude for us not to deliver.
  • How to Work with Research Data
    Time: 3pm – 4pm
    Not sure what tools to use to manage your research data? Not sure who to contact? Come along and meet with research data support staff from the Digital Curation and Data Team and the Research Data Consulting (Sydney Informatics Hub). Learn about data support services available across the University as well as platforms and tools to help you effectively manage your research data.
  • QuickBites: How to Avoid Digital Chaos
    Live streamed in ThinkSpace
    Time: 4:15pm – 4:45pm
    We’ll discuss the ability to manage data and evidence to formulate a critical argument, identifying evidence and secondary material that supports independent research projects, management and using large amounts of secondary material, and how to distinguish vital evidence from large amounts of primary sources.

To join us in Thinkspace for our Big [digital] Day Out click here to register.

If you’re at home that day and would like to register for the Quick Bites webinar from 4:15-4:45pm click here to register.

 

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Explore the Library this Info Day – Saturday 15 December

sydney university staff taking guided tour

Discover more about the Library & see what your future might look like as a University of Sydney student.

This Info Day, join us in a tour of Fisher Library, explore our spaces and learn about the fantastic facilities and support available to you as a student through your studies at University. Tours will run throughout the day.

Info Day is also the perfect opportunity to discover ThinkSpace – our technology-driven, creative play-space that provides you with the opportunity to collaborate, design and create interesting things using new technologies. Come in and and try our 3D printer, or experience the world of virtual reality with Oculus Go. Our friendly staff will be on hand to explain the technologies, answer questions and show you some of the other great features of our libraries.

Where: Fisher Library Foyer

When: Saturday 15 December, 10.00am – 2.00pm

virtual reality at ThinkSpace usyd