Friends of RUSSH gathered together at China Heights on the March 5, 2020, to celebrate photographer and director Mclean Stephenson and the launch of his new book, Extracts Vol. 2 15-19.
One of Australia's most well respected and innovative image makers, Stephenson consolidated hundreds of images into a book, celebrating the moving and the beautiful. Stephenson's artistic practise involves his own self-made developers, burns and wax to make the method of development as significant as the subject and situation of his work.
Stephenson's work is filled with experimentation, chaos and the ever-present physical nature of shooting on film. The depth and austerity of his landscape photography, set against the intimacy and poignancy of his nudes, demonstrate the breadth of his art.
China Heights was filled with many of Stephenson's friends, family and subjects, including Alex Cameron and Jack Ladder, alongside some of Sydney's best writers, photographers and artists. Guests drank wine from P&V Merchants, and scotch from Allt-a-Bhainne, as Jack Sargeant (iconic writer of underground film) read from his introduction to Stephenson's book. With work of this calibre, it is no wonder that the book almost sold out within the first hour.
Says Mclean Stephenson of the project: "My photographic practice is largely a solitary effort. Hours spent in my studio mixing chemicals and test printing. Long drives to the places I want to photograph. So when the room packed out with people, many of whom I don't know, and they started buying my book, I was pleasantly surprised. Surprised that there is a community of people around me who care about my work. A community I was largely unaware of. As well as surprised, I am honoured. Honoured by the people who bought my book, by the people at RUSSH who volunteered to help, and by the people at the gallery who let me use their beautiful space.