Article from The Grafotn Daily Examiner22 Nov 2016       
Br: Adam Hourigan


Surreal surrounds captured in book

JOHN Ibbotson says he wrote his new photographic book with a certain amount of whimsy, but he had permission from one of his subjects.

PHOTO: ADAM HOURIGAN BEACH LOVERS: John Ibbotson of Gulmarrad with his dog looks over his backyard ‘studio’, where he shot some of the images for his latest book.

“One of the girls who appears early in the book are family friends for eons, and her mother said to her ‘What do you think of John?’,” he said.

“Ibbo’s funny, but a little bit crazy,” she replied.

“I’d like it on my tombstone,” Mr Ibbotson laughed.

“So I dedicated it to her because she’s given me the permission to write something like this.”

His book Sea, Sand and Birds is 248 pages of photos found and created in the local area, with most shot on Brooms Head beach.

“Every day I would walk the dogs on Brooms Head road, and one day I went along the beach,” he said.


“The next time I tried to walk along the road, they said no, it was up the beach, so that’s where we go now. “And every day for the last few years we’ve gone on the beach with the dogs and the camera.”

The extensive book, which took five years and more than 25,000 images to create, not only contains record of the Brooms Head surroundings, and Mr Ibbotson’s “studio” in his Gulmarrad backyard, but what he calls “imaginised images”, using patterns and shapes to create abstract art

“Brooms Head beach is quite interesting because you have the beach on one side and the lagoon on the other, so the beach is actually convex and the water runs down the sides and creates little gullies,” he said.


“So that gives you lots of little indentations in the sand, and then you go into Photoshop and put blue into them, and it looks like the water flowing down through Arnhem Land.


“They are like landscapes within landscapes.”

The book explores these artistic ideas, with close-ups of bubbles surrounded by frames of beach sand trapped in waves, or composited images showing the flight of a bird over the water.


The book is available locally from The Book Warehouse in Yamba and the Brooms Head shop, and through Mr Ibbotson’s website,


To coincide with the book, the artist will exhibit some works from the book at the Old Kirk at Yamba Museum.

      The opening night will be held on December 9 at 6pm, and the exhibition will run until January 29.



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