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remembering John Cato « Previous | |Next »
August 2, 2013

The Ballarat International Foto Biennale13 will have a tribute show for John Cato. Cato forged his voice as a photographic artist in the early 1970s when photography was just starting to be taken seriously as an art form in Australia.

He was a pioneer in the field, and became an educator in art photography. It is an exhibition of work from 1971-1991 which honours John Cato's achievement as photographer and as teacher.

CatoJdoubleconcerto13.jpg John Cato, Double concerto #13, from the Double Concerto series 1985-91, Gelatin silver photograph John Cato ran a commercial studio in partnership with the photographer Athol Shmith and much of his early personal work was undertaken during holidays and spare time away from the studio. Eventually he abandoned being a commercial photographer in favour of a new career as an educator.

Cato was involved in the foundation years of the Photography Studies College in South Melbourne and a lecturer there, where I studied photography under him. He was a lecturer at Prahran College of Advanced Education, becoming Department Head in 1979 until he returned in 1991 by which time it was called Victoria College.

Cato's visual essays----(eg., Earth Song’ 1970-1971; ‘Essay I, Landscapes in a Figure 1971--1979; Essay II, Figures in a Landscape' 1978-83; 'Double Concerto: An Essay in Fiction’ 1984-1991)---developed the vocabulary of his own inner landscape while leaving the interpretation of this landscape open to the imagination of the viewer.

CatoJTreeabstract.jpg John Cato, Tree - a journey (no. 8), From the essay "Tree - a journey" (1972-1974).

These visual essays--the first in Australian photography?--- are a reflection of the psyche, not an exploration of light or form. Whilst I was at Photography Studies College I mostly ignored the spiritualist aspects of the landscape and concentrated on the forms.

| Posted by Gary Sauer-Thompson at 9:07 AM |