May 29, 2012

Foto Freo Ten Years On - story out now

While the professional arena redraws its boundaries in the digital age, festivals like Foto Freo, held biennially in Fremantle, Perth (Western Australia) may take on even greater importance in communicating photojournalism's place to, and in, the new world.

Foto Freo has evolved to become one of the most respected festivals of its kind attracting exhibitions by photographers the ilk of Magnum Photos' Martin Parr and Raghu Rai, as well as affording lesser known photographers the opportunity to gain a wider audience, share ideas and make new contacts.

But Foto Freo isn't just about exhibitions, it is about celebrating photography and the bringing together of creative hearts and minds willing to share their passion and knowledge. It is where you will see Francois Hebel, director of Les Recontres d'Arles on his knees helping Antoine D'Agata (a former president of Magnum Photos) hanging his pictures on the wall late into the night. And it is where aspiring photographers can talk in depth with international luminaries.

My article 'Foto Freo Ten Years On' features interviews with the founders of the festival and traces its evolution from projections in local parks and exhibitions in cafes, to this year's ambitious program that involved multiple exhibitions, workshops and seminars, as well as some great social events.

'Foto Freo Ten Years On' is in the May issue of Pro Photo magazine on sale now.

Above: Antoine D'Agata gives a floor talk at Foto Freo  

May 24, 2012

Maggie Diaz at the Digital Show

In addition to the photographers who will be at the show on the FujiFilm stand talking about the FujiFilm FinePix X100 (please see my earlier post), photographer Maggie Diaz will also be attending this Sunday afternoon. You can meet with her at the Ballarat International Foto Biennale stand.

A number of Maggie's photographs have recently been hung at the National Gallery of Australia in the Contemporary Australian Gallery alongside the likes of Bracks, Dickerson, Blackman and Hestor. And the National Library has ordered a selection of large prints for a coming exhibition. This is long overdue and welcomed recognition for one of our creative treasures (she may have been born in New York, but Australia has been her home for more than 50 years and we are claiming her as our own). To read my profile story on Maggie please visit Reality Illusion or pick up a copy of the April issue of Pro Photo magazine.

For information on the Digital Show please click here

(C) Maggie Diaz

May 18, 2012

Meet the Photographers at the Digital Show

At next week's Digital Show in Melbourne (the rebadged, again, PMA Show) Fujifilm will have a number of award-winning and groundbreaking photographers on hand for visitors to speak with about their work and using FujiFilm's X Series cameras. This is a fantastic opportunity to meet some of Australia’s most respected documentary as well as landscape and portrait photographers.

International photojournalists Michael Coyne and Jack Picone will be there along with “Conversations with the Mob” author and photographer Megan Lewis. Landscape photographer Christian Fletcher and wedding and portrait photographers Samm Blake and Dan O’Day, will also be available for a chat. As a journalist I know how hard it is to pin down photographers so don’t miss out on this rare occasion. Each photographer will be around for four hours on both days of the show. Visit the FujiFilm X Series Stand for details.

Melbourne Exhibition & Convention Centre
25-27 May

Above: Megan Lewis "Conversations with the Mob" (c) 
Below: Michael Coyne Iran (c)

May 11, 2012

Michael Coyne to open exhibition this weekend in Melbourne

Michael Coyne, one of Australia's most respected photojournalists, and one of the most interesting, and generous, people I've had the good fortune to interview, will open Jason Blake's photography exhibition, "Destination Journey", this Sunday (13 May) at Photonet Gallery in Fairfield (Melbourne) 4pm-6pm. 

To read my article on Michael Coyne please visit Reality Illusion

May 08, 2012

7 Exhibitions Open at Sydney TAFE - Head On Photo Festival

Last night the photographic community of Sydney turned out for the opening of 7 exhibitions at The Muse Building at Sydney TAFE.

In a truly fantastic exhibition space, images by award-winning Australian photojournalists Stephen Dupont and Michael Coyne, featured alongside those of Pablo Bartholomew (India), Valeriy Klamm and the Siberian blog project Birthmark on the Map (Russia), Mike Bowers, FujiFilm's 10x10 Project which includes works from this year's Head On Portrait Prize Winner (Critic's Choice) Louise Whelan as well as works by TAFE students and graduates.

This opening capped off, for me, four fantastic days viewing works from all over the world, talking to photographers spanning all genres and catching up with colleagues and friends. Festivals like Head On, Foto Freo and Ballarat's International Foto Biennale bring together such diversity and allow the Australian photographic community access to global views and cultural shifts in photography. The more I see the more I learn. There is incredible talent, range and commitment out there. If nothing else, attending festivals such as this inspire and energise. The medium may be shifting in terms of technology and outlets for work, but there is no lack of creativity and imagination. Food for the soul.
Head On runs until 3 June.

(C) Pablo Bartholomew

May 07, 2012

Conversations with the Mob - Artsite Gallery Camperdown

Last night I attended the opening of Megan Lewis' exhibition, 'Conversations with the Mob', which was opened by Ray Martin.

Megan spent more than two and a half years living with the Martu Aboriginal community in Rudall River National Park in Western Australia near Marble Bar, documenting their lives. This area of Australia has one of the harshest climates, with temperatures soaring past 50 degrees Celsius in summer. It is literally in the middle of nowhere. Dry, hot, sparse and foreign for us city dwellers. 

The trust and friendship she developed with the 'mob' has resulted in an extraordinary body of work including the book 'Conversations with the Mob', a book that on first glance may be thought of as a coffee table photography book. But it is so much more. This book delivers powerful insights into the Aboriginal culture and the Martu people with honesty, compassion and humor and will help to bridge the gap of understanding that still exists in Australia today between its indigenous peoples and the western culture. This project has given the Martu people a mirror at which to look at themselves also and make better decisions for a healthier, happier future, something all human beings aspire to. Megan has become so invested in this community that she has gone beyond the role of photojournalist, to work with the community to improve the health of the children as well.

In her book Megan talks about how she almost lost her resolve to continue with the project just three months in, the flies, the heat of the desert, the cultural divide overwhelming. In the end she decided the only way to live with the Martu was to forget her western ways and embrace the desert life. She threw in her full time job, left behind worldly possessions (other than her camera gear) and threw herself into desert life. This largely self-funded project clearly became a personal journey and the resulting works are rich with emotion.

Megan's exhibition, which is part of the Head On Photo Festival,  is on until 20 May at Artsite Gallery, 155-157 Salisbury Road, Camperdown.

May 06, 2012

David Alan Harvey releases new book

David Alan Harvey, Magnum photographer and publisher of Burn magazine launched his new photo-novella yesterday at Bondi Pavilion as part of the Head On Photo Festival. The novella shot in Rio and titled '(based on a real story)' is yet another innovative approach to photo books. Harvey calls this a 'real' book, published and distributed in hard copy, 3D, analogue and interactive!

Bound only with a string the book comprises a series of A3 double sided photographs that have been folded together one image melding with the next to create new images. It's a clever concept. The book comes with a 'map' of images so the viewer can mix and match to create new stories and then put it back together as it was intended. Harvey and his son filmmaker Bryan Harvey have put this publication together and it is packaged in its own lightweight box, which Harvey told me doubles as packaging for shipping.

At the launch yesterday the book sold out. At $100 (AUD) it's a great buy. You can buy it online from

Cover of (based on a true story) 
(C) David Alan Harvey

The launch was held in the space where the Burn exhibition is currently showing at the Bondi Pavilion. This is definitely one exhibition worth seeing. The new Burn magazine is also available and features a spread by Paolo Pellegrin amongst others.

I'll be interviewing Harvey in the coming weeks for a feature profile.

May 05, 2012

Four photographers were named in the Head On Portrait prize last night in Sydney at the Festival's opening at Customs House. The three joint portrait prize winners are:

Chris Budgeon
Tracey Nearmy
David Manley

The Critic's Choice, chosen by Robert McFarlane, was a photograph by Louise Whelan (see winners below). 

Hundreds turned out for the Portrait Prize announcement last night filling the cavernous, multi-level Customs House. Head On has outgrown its original opening venue, Australian Centre of Photography (ACP) showing how much traction, and cache, this Festival has gained in a few short years - this year more than 200 shows are on exhibition at more than 100 venues over the month-long Festival.  With a Festival this big in a city the size of Sydney, for us out-of-towners it is not possible to get to everything of interest, but over this weekend I will be seeing, and reporting on, as much as possible. 

David Alan Harvey, Magnum Photos, officially opened the Festival and announced the winners, although the size of the gathering and the acoustics made it hard to hear what any of the speakers were saying despite amplification. Harvey will run workshops while he is in Sydney and there is a comprehensive seminar programme starting today at Bondi Pavilion. 

Festivals like Head On demonstrate how much talent, creativity, courage and ingenuity exists in photography today. There is clearly a deep love of, and for the medium. The discussion around technology no longer seems as important.

The winning photographs from top: Chris Budgeon, Tracey Nearmy, David Manley, Louise Whelan.

May 04, 2012

Head On Opens Tonight Sydney

Head On Festival opens tonight at Customs House. Magnum Photos' David Alan Harvey will officially open the festival at 7pm with the Head On Portrait Prize Winners announced at 8pm. Guests are flying in from around the country, and further afield, to attend. The rain has passed and Sydney is glittering in the autumn sun.

Also opening tonight at Customs House are two exhibitions:

Alexia Sinclair, Homage
Jagath Deerasekara, Manuwangku: Under a Nuclear Cloud

Customs House, 231 Alfred Street Sydney

For more information about Head On click here

May 02, 2012

May is National Photography Month

According to Nikon, May is National Photography Month...

Here are some items that may be of interest:

Head On Festival opens Friday in Sydney - for more details click here. If you are in Sydney the weekend seminar programme is definitely worth attending.

Photographers Mike Langford and Jackie Ranken have launched a new eBook on how to shoot creative landscape photography - details here 

T&G has published Paul Blackmore's At Water's Edge "exploring the relationship between humanity and its most vital natural resource" - check it out at T&G

And on a water theme, John Ogden has released Saltwater People of the Broken Bays, a book that "explores the incredible history and natural beauty of the coastline between North Head and Barrenjoey" in Sydney. Check it out at Cyclops Press

Editions Bessard, who published Max Pam's Ramadan in Yemen,  will release a limited edition book of Wang Qingsong's works, a 9 meter accordion style publication with a copper cover. More details to come...

May 01, 2012

Head On Festival Opens Friday 4th May Sydney

Head On Festival in Sydney opens this Friday, May 4 at Customs House (7- 9pm) with the Head On Portrait Prize winners announced at 8pm.

Judges of the 2012 Portrait Prize include photographer Tamara Dean, Monash Gallery Director Shaune Lakin, ABC broadcaster Robbie Buck and Head On curator Moshe Rosenzveig. The ‘Critic’s Prize’ will chosen by photographer and critic Robert McFarlane.

Seminars Presentations Workshops
This year’s Festival features hundreds of exhibitions spread across numerous spaces. There is also a highly regarded Seminar Programme featuring local and international speakers including Magnum Photos' David Alan Harvey and Multi Award winning photographers - Australians Stephen Dupont and Andrew Quilty and from India, Pablo Bartholomew. Plus there are leading curators, festival directors, bloggers and others on the programme. It's a very exciting line up and provides a rare opportunity to explore international themes.

To find out more about Head On and its extensive programme please click here

And please look out for my feature on this year's Festival in a coming issue of Pro Photo magazine.

Maggie Diaz feature now on website

'Pearls and Gloves'. This photograph was taken by Maggie Diaz in Chicago in the late 1950s. This image, and others, feature in my profile on Maggie which is the cover story for the May issue of Pro Photo, on sale now. You can read the story in PDF format on my website Reality & Illusion