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The Isolation Diaries v44 Header

While Melbourne is out of lockdown once more, we know other states are in the midst of something more serious. So, take a break from the news and enjoy the July volume of the Isolation Diaries, our monthly update of all the good things that keep us motivated, bring us joy, and help us unwind. In each installment for 2021, Clear connects with friends, colleagues, and peers to explore their views of the world. This month, we are talking with photographer Albert Comper.

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After missing out on our artsy pilgrimage to Mona due to June’s edition of COVID lockdowns, we’ve been reading up on where to buy affordable art while simultaneously studying the geometry of Gehry's latest gallery. We’ve also sipped dark rosé with our solar-powered artificial friends. It’s been a month of multi-tasking.

Legs shaved—check. Lycra on—check. Bidons ready—check. We are set for the most insane day in the mountains as the Tour doubles down on Mont Ventoux. Not your thing? We get that a lot. Well, instead, relish in the post-apocalyptic USA landscapes of Netflix’s Sweet Tooth. Or, dial in your order for McMillions—would you like lies with that?

If your eyes are glazed over from too much television, the Queen Vic Markets has a festival full of glazed treats to match—doughnuts! Or rather, close your eyes and listen to some local tunes—Melbourne must be the musical center of the world after all. Our own Haitus Kiayote has released their third album, Mood Variant. An apt title, as it is genre-fluid, and it’s alright! Mix with Sylvan Esso’s ‘Kick Jump Twist!, and voilà—a playlist that makes us feel not too bad about staying on the mainland.

And would if we could visit the Gallery of New South Wales and Hilma af Klint, The Secret Paintings exhibition—A remarkable story of power told through colour and scale. Breathtaking, even through our screens.

The Isolation Diaries v44 Interview

Albert Comper is a Melbourne-based photographer now testing the waters in motion. Recently, he photographed our beautiful heads for a long-awaited update to Clear staff portraits (coming soon). If you are ever lucky enough to shoot with Albert, you'll find his energy on set is warmer than the bright studio lights.

The travel industry has been stalled by the pandemic. If you could freely travel the world where would you go?
I have a daydream, for when I am snowed under with work and there is just weeks of early mornings and late nights in front of me, to travel either to Port-aux-Francais, French Southern and Antarctic Lands or the Pitcairn Islands or Reine, Norway. The first two are in the middle of nowhere (Indian and Pacific Oceans respectively), takes weeks to get there by boat and are about as remote as one can get—you know, to really get away from it all.

Reine in Norway is fascinating because, while it is on the other side of the globe, pre-pandemic you could book flights that would land you about an hour's drive away from this picturesque city—a total of about 36 hours travel time. Completely amazing. I have jumped on google maps and “driven” the route already.

How do you structure your typical working day?
I have two types: shoot days and post-production days. Basically the same, I get up between 4—5am—coffee, start work, exercise, rouse my children and make breakfast for everyone, empty my head and solve problems in the shower, rush into the studio constantly swearing and self-flagellating that I am running late. I work as hard as I can till about 6pm, rush home to help with the end-of-day madness with kids, and then try and do work till 10pm; rinse and repeat!

Share an experience, an occasion or a moment.
My young son occasionally gets up in the morning and crawls into my wife and I’s bed, and this morning, as I was working early, he had done this, fallen back asleep and was laughing in his sleep. Some of the most joyful laughing I have ever heard and the look on his face was that of complete and utter enjoyment. This is not the first time he has done this and I always love to wonder what he is dreaming about.

What are you reading and or watching at the moment?
I read news, current affairs and trade articles. Trade articles specifically to keep up on the technology of photography—I am fascinated with the science and technology of photography. I am watching a lot: Loki, The Expanse, Bob’s Burgers and have just finished What We Do In The Shadows. I must admit I don’t “watch” them 100%, I have them on as background “noise” when I work on post—often with music on at the same time. I have a current thing for vaporwave with some amazing Youtube videos accompanied by 80/90’s American TVC’s—I can’t get enough.

If you could own a piece of art by any artist what would it be?
I have never thought about this, great question. I love John Singer Sargent and find his work is a great source of inspiration. I vividly remember walking around the Met and turning a corner to be confronted by one of his paintings, I want to say the one of Madame X, and being completely awestruck by the artistry and size. However I am not sure I would want to own it… I might go somewhere towards a Turner or Picasso, or maybe a Rothko… or yet perhaps something in neon…

What project has you up late at night?
Outside of my photography work, which is taking me in new directions and continually evolving, I am turning my hand to motion as a little side hustle and taking the first steps in that direction. I am on the precipice of publishing a book of portraits based around denim jackets, that has been interrupted by the whole COVID thing, while starting the next portraiture project inspired by the wearing of masks (COVID) and Jane’s Addiction film clip for “Been Caught Stealing”. As well as that, there is a camera obscura project in the planning stages, and inbetween all of that, I am dreaming of getting some sleep.

What do you see to be the emerging trend of 2021?
As much as I try to expand my worldview, I am deeply involved in what I am doing which I know is very local. With that perspective in mind, one of the things the world learned last year was that online commerce is more important than ever, even for traditionally resistant/hesitant sectors. E-commerce was already big, it is about to get bigger and the way that the stores function will change to engage customers in ways we have never seen. In general; the trend is change.

Is there anything you have learned or will take away from Isolation?
It has reinforced the idea that there is no time like the present.

Related Project — Isolation Diaries, Volume 43