Dredging photography secrets from centuries past

Jonathan Dredge’s Day Flying Moth. (Supplied)

By Luke Voogt

A Newcomb photographer taking his craft back into the depths of time has joined three very different artists to celebrate their shared love of nature.

Kalimna, now showing at The Hue and Cry Collective, combines Jonathan Dredge’s fine art photography with Chris de Hoog’s abstract painting, Mark Trinham’s striking illustrations and Jessi Rebel’s emerging Indigenous art.

“All the artists are inspired by nature – that’s the connecting point with the artworks,” Dredge said.

“We all work in different mediums but we’re all inspired by the natural world.”

The 34-year-old’s photography is a mysterious mix of metal plates, silver nitrate and other chemicals, revealing details and textures beyond the spectrum of natural light.

“You get this magical mystical view on the world of nature that you don’t get with the naked eye,” he said.

“You get luminous qualities broader than the spectrum of visible light. It’s kind of hard to say in words – that’s why I use photography.”

Metal plate photography dates back to the mid-1800s before the invention of film.

A social worker by day, Dredge studied fine art photography at RMIT a decade ago, and his love of “really organic processes” led him to learn the archaic form of photography from an expert in Melbourne.

“The last few years I’ve really started delving a lot deeper into it,” he said.

His work, shot in a studio, reveals sea dragons, moths and even bushes in stunning detail.

“You get happy accidents that look beautiful,” he said.

“It’s a place where you can be grounded and get back to your deeper self.”

Dredge enlisted his fellow artists and curated their work for his new exhibition, Kalimna, which he named after an Otways waterfall.

“I thought it would be great to bring together totally different mediums but with the same connection,” he said.

Like Dredge, Rebel and de Hoog have studios at The Hue and Cry Collective in central Geelong.

“I know Chris and Jessi personally and I’m a big fan of their work,” he said.

Jessi Rebel is a Wiradjuri artist, living on Wadawurrung country.

“She’s one of our region’s most exciting emerging artists – her rich contemporary artworks flow with her connection to country, the land and the sea,” Dredge said.

De Hoog, on the other hand, creates vibrant abstract paintings saturated with moving hues and inspired by memories and impressions of nature.

“He finds inspiration in his hometown of Geelong and it’s beautiful surrounds,” Dredge said.

Torquay multi-disciplinary artist Mark Trinham is best-known for his sculptures, particularly public works.

But his passion for conservation also inspired him to create Landcare collector cards and a series of other striking illustrations.

“He had those works already and was happy to show them, so I was happy to have him,” Dredge said.

“His illustration work is incredibly detailed and beautiful.”

Kalimna is open at Hue and Cry Collective until August 21.

Details: hueandcry.com.au/exhibitions