All posts filed under: Interviews

Interstellar artefacts: Jason De Freitas’ analogue exposures of space

Images of the night sky often seems like the work of science fiction; implausible splashes of colour littered across the dark emptiness of space. It’s easy to forget that the tiny specs of light that make up these images depict planets, stars and asteroids, each weighing trillions of tonnes, each photon having travelled literal light years to finally pass through a camera’s lens and create the depictions of space that conjure curiosity and foster introspection. Astrophotographer Jason De Freitas has taken astrophotography one step further than most, combining his passion for space with a love of analogue photography to capture the night’s sky on film. Leaning heavily on his professional training as an engineer, since day one De Freitas’ practice has been almost solely driven by a pursuit of technical perfection as the astrological, meteorological and chemical variables at play in his images result in a need for meticulous planning and ruthless precision. But beneath the ones and zeros, De Freitas admits an underlying romanticism to his work: a want “to create physical artefacts that …

Photographing people “in their natural existence” with Banjo McLachlan

For the last seven year’s, much of Australia photographer Banjo McLachlan’s days have been spent on the streets of New York City. A far cry from the quiet coastal lifestyle of his home on Sydney’s Northern Beaches, McLachlan relocated to New York to launch his career as a professional paparazzo. But during his time in the United States, McLachlan also fiercely pursued a substantial body of personal work that culminated in his first book, Oasisamerica. With the Grand Canyon as its central geographical anchor, the work situates fill-flashed tourists against barren landscapes, rattlesnakes and pro-Trump signage in a whirlwind tour of American desert chaos. Between his personal work and his career photographic American celebrities, McLachlan easily points to the common denominator as “people in their natural existence”. And in doing so, also unearths many questions about the role of photography – by those photographing and those photographed. — — — How did you become a photographer? I grew up on the Northern Beaches of Sydney. When I was 16, I really hated school and was not connecting …

A conversation with Australian photojournalist Kate Geraghty

Images of war are often synonymous with death and rubble, the destruction of entire cities and the victimisation of many, leaving us feeling distant and helpless. While the collective history of conflict images has often seen these descriptions reiterated in visual tropes, photography also has the power to cut through the dust and detritus, with more transcendent images having an ability to relate to us the real human cost of conflict. Covering war, natural disasters, invasions, and gaining access to elusive world leaders, Australian photojournalist Kate Geraghty has bore witness to an array of the most important and defining stories of our age. From early in her career when deployed to cover the 2003 invasion of Iraq, the Lebanon war and Syria, to today, where she covered the 2019/20 devastating bushfire season and our battle to contain COVID-19 across hospital wards in Sydney. A long-serving staffer at the Sydney Morning Herald, Geraghty is an eight-time Walkley award winner, including the 2017 Walkley awards where she was recognised as both the Nikon-Walkley Press Photographer of the …

Notes from the front lines of Australia’s bushfire crisis

The 2019/2020 austral summer is arguably the worst season on record for bushfire-related destruction to Australia. Since the season began in October, some 1300 homes have been destroyed so far, with 160 fires still blazing in NSW alone at the time of writing. 23 people have died with 28 declared missing from fires which have ravaged 8.4 million hectares of native bushland and urban edges – an area larger than Scotland. The air quality index (AQI) around Sydney is 1612. AQIs over 300 are considered extremely hazardous. It’s feared over a billion animals have perished and natural habitats have been decimated. Thick smoke, ash and dust have travelled thousands of kilometres across the Tasman Sea, staining glaciers in New Zealand, with similar effects expected as far afield as the Antarctic continent. Although bushfires are common in Australia, due to a prolonged drought and climatic conditions fuelled by global warming, this year’s unprecedented season ignited earlier and with more intensity. In early January, the consistently-scrutinised Morrison government took to social media to declare that this state …

Navigating photojournalism’s changing landscape with Matt Abbott

Sometime in 2013, after attending a lecture on photography in downtown Dhaka, Bangladeshi photographer, artist and poet Shumon Ahmed approached me on a busy street corner with a proposition: ‘I have this camera,’ he said. ‘It belongs to an Australian photographer who lives in Sydney. In return for a copy of my new book, would you take it to him?’. Making the mistake of not asking what kind of camera it was, I obliged and was soon finding room for a Mamiya 7 and a substantial amount of glass in my carry-on. In Sydney a few days later, I texted the number that had been given to me on a greasy piece of paper and was soon met with a tall photographer named Matt who had come to collect his misplaced item. It wasn’t until a few years later when Australian photo collective Oculi announced several additions to their stalls that I saw Matt Abbott’s face again. Evidently, in the time that passed between those two encounters, the Sydney-based photojournalist had put that Mamiya 7 …

Corinne Noordenbos on her Australian workshop & photobook making

Fanatical photo book collector and Magnum photographer Martin Parr has often mentioned the almost unrivalled prowess of Holland at producing some of the best photo books in the history of the medium. But whilst much praise has been sung for a string of celebrated Dutch photographers over the last few decades, much less limelight has been given to the mentor that has overseen the production of many of their canonical works. For the first time, last May saw world renowned expert of photography and the photographic book Corinne Noordenbos hold a series of workshops and public lectures along Australia’s east coast. Awarded extensively for her work as an educator and mentor, Noordenbos has been a reference for many of the most renowned contemporary photographers including Rineke Dijkstra, Viviane Sassen, Rob Hornstra and Wassink Lundgren. While an expert in the field of conceptual documentary practice, Corinne is also a well established educator, lecturer and mentor and was Head of Photography at the Royal Academy of Art (KABK) in The Hague until April 2015. In 2014 she …

Ingvar Kenne, The Ball

Ingvar Kenne’s photographs have often represented a thorough exploration of identity and belonging. From his earliest works in his home country of Sweden, his highly acclaimed portrait monograph CITIZEN and a brief glimpse into the life of porn star Ron Jeremy in The Hedgehog and the Foxes, Kenne has focused extensively on both the everyday and the extreme periphery of social circles. But across his practice, Kenne has been unwavering in his approach to his subject matter. Namely: there is no approach. Throughout his several decades making portraits including those of such Australian icons as Reg Mombassa and Ben Mendelsohn, Kenne maintains the omission of any narrative connecting his chosen sitters “other than that they met me and my camera, applying the same parameters and taxonomic approach,” he says. Whether “a prime minister, a prostitute, famous actors, my wife, a priest and a nun, tribal dancers or a now dead friend”, Kenne’s choice of subject matter has been purely democratic across “one long random thread of encounters” in his life. So it was no surprise …

In Conversation with Lumina Collective

How did Lumina come about? Where did the idea stem from and how did it all look in terms of recruiting founding members, approaching potential candidates etc?  Morganna: Lumina was formed as a response to a gap in the Australian Documentary photographic community for a collective that challenged the traditional view of what documentary photography is. Although all our work is narrative based, most members work falls into more of an expanded documentary practice rather than the more traditional photojournalism. In approaching the members we took into account both the outstanding quality of their work and their ability to work on long term projects throughout their own careers.  Where was the name for collective derived from and why was this name chosen for the group?   Aletheia: The name ‘Lumina’ comes from the latin word meaning ‘Brilliant Light”. We thought it would be fitting in the context of photography (which of course means to draw with light) and also in the context of the group which is all about supporting each other’s photography and personal journeys, …