All posts filed under: Stories

Six photojournalists look back on the year that was 2020

While much of the globe still grapples with the on-going impact of Coronavirus in 2021, just recently marked one year from which the pandemic took its most vice-like grip on the human world. At that same time, Australia had only just emerged from one of its most violent and devastating bushfire seasons on record. And shortly after, what seemed like the depths of socioeconomic impact in the United States as caused by the pandemic were only further deepened by a spate of police brutality that fanned the flames of intrenched racial injustice. From any angle, it is certain that future history books will all concur in their gaze back upon 2020 as perhaps the most turbulent year of modern times. A year remembered mainly for the virus that tested human resilience and fortitude but was also both bookended and punctuated by demonstrations of the very same species’ unprecedented ability for environmental destruction and political upheaval. Illustrating such history books will be the photographs made during these last 18 months, produced through the lenses of photojournalists …

2020 Ilford CCP Salon opens for entries

Following an extensive physical closure during Melbourne’s Coronavirus lock-downs, the Center for Contemporary Photography has re-opened to the public and re-launched their annual Ilford Salon — Australia’s largest photo-media competition and exhibition. In 2019, the salon drew entries from over 450 artists across the country — a response seen regularly to the contest as it offers entrants guaranteed exposure at one of Australia’s most well-regarded institutions for photography. Additionally, the Salon boasts an esteemed judging panel awarding 34 prize categories worth over $16,000. Following the impact of Coronavirus, for the first time in its history, the Salon will this year be viewable both physically and online — an amendment to operations that the CCP says is certainly a change but also reflective of the increased importance of access to photography in a post-COVID world. “The medium of photography is omnipresent, we take and share images more than ever before and its impact on how we process and interpret visual language within the world is undeniable,” says CCP curator Jack Willet. “Salon is the chance for …

The photograph that saved the Franklin River

Could you vote for a Party that will destroy this? This was the question that confronted Australians on March 2nd, 1983, as they opened their morning broadsheets to a full-page, colour image of Peter Dombrovskis’ photo of the Franklin River, Morning Mist, Rock Island Bend.  The river was facing complete destruction by the Franklin Dam (or Gordon-below-Franklin Dam) project proposed by the Tasmanian Hydro-Electric Commission, backed by both the State and Federal governments of the day.  The dam, however, was never to be constructed.  The 1983 Federal election campaign was in full swing as the conservative government led by Malcolm Fraser was being challenged by Labour’s charismatic leader, Bob Hawke, who had publicly declared his support for saving the Franklin. Founder of the Australian Greens Party and spearhead of the Franklin Campaign, Bob Brown, remembers the election fervour of the time. “The campaign as ever was still being run on economics and tax cuts and spending on all sorts of things,” Bob tells the APJ. “And in the middle of all that was this Franklin Campaign …

“Why Take Pictures?” opens at the Centre for Contemporary Photography

A new exhibition at the Centre for Contemporary Photography opening this week considers a burning question across photographic discourse: Why Take Pictures? The exhibition, which opens this Friday, June 14th “returns to one of the fundamental questions in photography, to consider our desire-drive and obsession with taking photographs, the apparatus of the camera and diverse approaches of looking through, or at, the lens” says the CCP. Featuring work by Alan Constable, Michelle Tran, Lyndal Irons, Glenn Sloggett and David Wadelton and curated by Madé Spencer-Castle Why Take Pictures? crosses boundaries between documentary, commercial, political and highly personal modes of communication to present a broad cross-section of varied approaches to the photographic method. “Whether documenting social environments in states of change, examining the discarded or overlooked, prying at the strange behaviour of humans; or through examining the obsession with the camera itself, the artists in Why Take Pictures? are driven to continue to take photographs, like an itch that can’t be scratched,” says the exhibition’s synopsis. And Spencer-Castle’s curation has cast a wide net, indeed. At …

Gilbertson & Knight bring VII’s education program to Melbourne

Prestigious photo agency VII have announced a workshop to take place in Melbourne in November of 2019 with Australian Ashley Gilbertson and VII co-founder Gary Knight at the helm. With a class size of 16 students to the two mentors and a cost of US$3000 per place, the six-day workshop will commence in St Kilda on November 10th with the six intensive days of shooting and editing to come to a close on November 15th. As detailed on VII’s website, the workshop is aimed at all levels from amateurs through to professionals and will encourage students “to rethink your approach to photography; to embrace new ideas and think outside of the box.”. As Gilbertson details, this approach comes off the back of a rapidly changing landscape of photojournalism and a mantra held at VII that effective storytelling is most often the result of finding an innovative angle from which to approach an issue. “Practicing photography through what’s been done isn’t that difficult – copying a story, elements of it, even light and toning. It’s safe …

Paul Blackmore’s ‘Heat’ kicks off Head On 2019

Sydney-based photojournalist Paul Blackmore’s exhibition Heat has kicked off the 2019 Head On photo festival to a very warm reception at Bondi Pavilion. Blackmore’s work – the product of four consecutive summers photographing around Sydney’s beaches examines Australian coastal culture and vernacular with the resultant body of work being highly praised by some of the country’s foremost street and documentary photographers. Building on a tradition of ocean-focused work in Sydney established by Max Dupain, Jonny Lewis and Trent Parke, Heat, as Blackmore explains, was the result of “wanting to look at the kinetic theatre that goes on around city beaches. Where Australian culture shows off.” As a ritualistic swimmer himself, Blackmore says that the work partly came about from his own constant proximity to the ocean, initially making observations on the rocks at Clovelly but over time moving closer towards the ocean and eventually immersing his Leica XU in the surf. “I’ve always thought of getting in the water as a sort of circular baptism; you know, you get in there, you reconnect with yourself …

The Moran Prize photo that was almost lost in the post

The themes present in Trent Mitchell’s Moran Contemporary Photographic Prize-winning photograph of 2015 resonated with huge swaths of the Australian populace. At the time, the debate over sharks in this country and how best we deal with them after a string of attacks during the previous summer was raging. Adding to the ever-lengthening list of environmental issues serving to divide the major political parties, the issue was debated furiously and at length. Which, ironically, only served to somehow heighten the sense of tranquility and humour in Mitchell’s image of a boy surrounded by giant plastic sharks at a museum on Queensland’s Coast. As part of his on-going body of work Australia Seriously, the image employs a sense of humour in line with the series’ overarching proclivity for Australian absurdities but perhaps also hints at the hyperbolic nature of arguments employed by advocates of shark extermination. While surrounded by a trio of lipsticked, grasping sets of jaws, the boy remains perfectly distracted by his phone. In 2015, the image was an astute observation and well deserving …

Aussie Street adds Matt Stuart to lineup of international guests for 2019

Emerging Australian street photography festival, Aussie Street have announced the addition of world-renowned British street photographer and Magnum nominee Matt Stuart to their lineup of international guests for 2019. The festival, which will take place from the 19th to the 22nd of September in Sydney will see competitions, workshops, exhibitions and events aimed at bringing “Australian Street photography to the world’s stage by connecting local and international street photography communities” with Stuart slated to host a workshop as well as take a seat on the festival’s judging panel. In recent years, Stuart has cemented his place among the world’s best street photographers transporting the attentive vision of classic New York practitioners like Meyerowitz and Winogrand to the alleys and promenades of his home in London — much of which was curated into his first and widely celebrated photo book (now in its second print run), All That Life Can Afford. The APJ caught up with Stuart for a brief chat and to hear what exactly he’s hoping to achieve during his whirlwind tour of Sydney …