Aurukun Artist Keith Wikmunea …

… had the very distinct privilege and pleasure to travel to Aurukun on Cape York Peninsula recently to portray indigenous artist Keith Wikmunea. He then was soon to be announced the winner of the $100,000 Telstra Indigenous Art Award, the top prize at the National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Awards (NATSIAA) in Darwin. Images of Keith and his work were required to spread around Australia’s media in conjunction with the story of his win.

I spent a thoroughly enjoyable couple of days with Keith and Wik & Kugu Aurukun Arts Centre Manager Gabe Waterman as our winner worked on sculpting a ‘camp dog’ in the arts centre workshop … and out and about at various locations around the indigenous township. Keith was patient and a delight.

His $100,000 sculptured milkwood winning work – entitled “Ku’, Theewith & Kalampang: The White Cockatoo, Galah and the Wandering Dog” – was inspired by his ancestors, says Keith. He has already spent his prize money on a boat and a car for his family.

My images of Keith appeared in The Australian, The Sydney Morning Herald and many other print and web publications around Australia … and will also grace Sydney railway stations to spread the word about his win, his talent and the Telstra award.

Below are some of my favourite images of Keith in Aurukun and a mock up of the Telstra promotional banner work soon to be seen in Sydney stations.

Images © Brian Cassey

“People From the Place of Many Waters” Lands in Paris …

Nice to receive the news recently that this set of portraits made in a little pop up studio during a workshop I hosted in the indigenous community of Kowanyama Cape York Peninsula late last year … “People From The Place of Many Waters” … was awarded an ‘Honorable Mention’ in ‘Portraiture – Series’ at this years prestigious “Le Prix De La Photographie De Paris” (Paris Photo Prize … PX3).

Many Thanks to the wonderful people of Kowanyama, Cape York Peninsula … the “People From The Place of Many Waters” . In particular my selection of subjects below from the hundreds of portraits made … David “Crow” Kitchener (top) – James “Doon Doon” Josiah Junior, Jyson Yam & Sneeklaw Possum (second from top) – Evelyn Birchley & Her Red Dress – Nazarie Birchley with Herbert Major-Birchley – Neville Henry – Zacchias Daniel – Arnold Possum – Charmaine Lawrence and Ruban Gibo … and all the many others who I portrayed during the program and workshop … and Tania Major who facilitated the visit for the RISE arts program.

In addition, another of my images … “100 Years & 3 Weeks – Alf Neal OAM” (yeah that one again – see other posts) … was also selected for an ‘Honorable Mention’ in the same PX3 awards, portraiture singles category … a nice welcome double 😉 !

Images © Brian Cassey

A Few New ‘Award Updates’ …

A few nice recognitions over the past few weeks … 🙂

Firstly … so nice to once again be selected as a Finalist in the Perth Centre for Photography’s ‘IRIS’ portrait awards …  a biennial award that my work has now been selected for the third time in a row. The actual finalist works chosen this time are still a necessary secret … but all will be revealed when the exhibition of finalist and winners works opens at PCP’s Perth gallery on September 1st. Fortunately I will be in Perth at that time en route back from the UK.

PCP describes the ‘IRIS’ awards so … “The IRIS Award celebrates excellence in portraiture photography, revealing portraits that are unique, original and conceptually stimulating. IRIS has been running for 18 years, with the inaugural exhibition held back in 2003”.

I missed seeing my last finalist work on the ‘IRIS” exhibition wall in 2021“Tears for George Floyd … 8 Minutes and 46 Seconds” …  due to the Covid-19 pandemic … so I’m looking forward to being there for this one.

Arguably the one of the nicest surprises was the news that my portrait of the now sadly departed 100 year old Alf ‘Popeye’ Neal OAM entitled “100 Years & 3 Weeks” was selected in the ‘Best 25’ of the Dohdo International photography magazines “Portrait – Best Photographers of 2023” collection. The pic of Alf is now nicely included in the large format hard cover year book “Portrait” (see top image below) and will also be exhibited in an online ‘Best 25’ collection for the next year. 

(The same image of Alf was earlier this year also selected as the Winner of the ‘People’ category of the 19th International Pollux Awards.)

In the 16th International Color Awards announced recently my works were selected as ‘Honourable Mentions’ in both the ‘Portrait’ category (with image “Covid Vax & Ice Cream”) and the ‘Children of the World’ category (with image “Veronica – Where Home Brew Kills”) … whilst my image “Scooter” also made the finalist cut in ‘Portrait’. See the trio of images below. All three have been acknowledged in previous awards.

Lastly in ‘new’ award dispatches … “Covid Vax & Ice Cream” again resonated when it was selected as a finalist in the ‘People’ category of the 2023 ‘ReFocus Colour Awards‘.

A pleasant few weeks … 🙂

Images © Brian Cassey

Albert … the Last of the Trochus Divers … and CIAF …

Now 83 years old Albert ‘Boyo’ Ware began his career as a trochus diver deckhand at the age of fifteen. He is now one of just a handful of Torres Strait and Aboriginal survivors of the trochus and pearl shell industry that dominated the farm northern Australian economy in the 1950’s and 1960’s.

Initially working trochus from small boats with a crew of four Albert eventually progressed to diving for pearl shell from larger lugger boats after the bottom fell out of the trochus market.

Albert still calls St Pauls on Moa Island in the Torres Strait ‘home ‘ despite his post seafaring exploits as a Cape York stockman and stints working on the railways and roads of far north Queensland.

A prolific story teller, Albert can bend your ears for hours with great humour and enthusiasm. One highlight of our conversations was this tale of the time he rode a whale. Diving for pearl shell at the southern end of the Great Barrier Reef near Gladstone they came across a twelve metre hump back whale stranded in a lagoon. The whale has doing circles around the lagoon so Albert and his mate jumped in, hung onto the whale tail and went for a spin. (The whale was fine and escaped to freedom when the tide rose.)

I met Albert at the opening of “Lugger Bort” … a Cairns Indigenous Art Fair event at The Tanks Arts Centre in Cairns. The brilliant exhibition curated by Nerelle Nicol focuses on “the working life of the Aboriginal, Torres Strait and South Sea Islanders who worked the pearling, Beche-de-mer and trochus industries living on luggers in Far North Queensland” was a ‘must see’ but sadly ended yesterday, Sunday.

A pleasure to listen to Albert tell his stories and to make his portrait … and … as he told me … “The journey is still on”.

Image © Brian Cassey

The Funeral and Interment of Alf Neal OAM …

Honoured to be accepted by the Kuku Djungan clan and the Neal family to document the funeral and interment ‘on country’ of the legendary highly respected aboriginal elder, bush lawyer and former cane cutter Alf Neal OAM.

Alf passed away with dignity in late May at the age of 100 … after a legendary life devoted to the betterment of Australia’s indigenous peoples.

Alf “Popeye” Neal was born in 1922 on his beloved country at Ngarrabullgan west of Cairns, Alf was moved to the indigenous community of Yarrabah at the age of two. His earliest memories were of learning aboriginal lore – and white man law.

In the 60’s Alf was a major member of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Advancement League which fought a decade long campaign to have Indigenous peoples recognised in the Constitution and counted in the census of 1967.

In 2019 he was awarded the ‘Medal of the Order of Australia’ for ‘Service to the Aboriginal community, particularly the 1967 Referendum Campaign’.

I’ve portrayed Alf many times over the years … and like to think I’m a Neal family friend. I’ll sure miss the quiet impressive gentleman … and so will Australia’s ATSI community at large.

His funeral was at St Alban’s Church in Yarrabah … where it appeared half the community turned up. (top 2 images). His interment followed the next day on his beautiful Ngarrabullgan traditional country and attended by his extended Djungan clan, Neal family and invited guests (bottom 3). These are just a handful of the many I made over the two days of proceedings.

More images from these two ’sorry’ days may be found on my IG page here … https://www.instagram.com/p/CuTovFYLHGH/  … and on my FB page here … https://www.facebook.com/brian.cassey1…  whilst previous posts with more on Alf’s life and my portraits etc may be found here … https://www.briancasseyphotographer.com/blog/2023/05/will-miss-you-alf-100/ … & … https://www.briancasseyphotographer.com/blog/publications/2023/04/alf-at-a-hundred-and-the-sunday-mail/… & … https://www.briancasseyphotographer.com/blog/images/2022/10/one-hundred-years-three-weeks/

Vale Alf … now forever ‘on country’.

Images © Brian Cassey

My ‘Stills’ in Brilliant Stan Doco “The Cape” …

So gratified to be a part of the documentary film “The Cape” recently released on Stan.

The doco tells in stark graphic detail the events surrounding the disappearance of Queensland fisherman Bevin Simmonds and his ten year old son Brad whilst checking shark nets off the west coast of Cape York Peninsula in 2003 … and the subsequent investigations, eventual murder charges and 2005 trial of rival fisher Michael Gater (who was having an affair with Bevin’s wife Cathy) and Gater’s mother Joan.

‘The Cape’ story was an original concept of friend and former journalist colleague Peter Michael … and  also features a disturbing but fascinating number of gritty Cape character interviewees who knew the Gator, Simmonds and Ward families … alongside some wonderfully shot scenes of Cape York, the Gulf and the Great Barrier Reef.

Produced by veteran war correspondent Michael Ware and former news magazine exec Justine A Rosenthal, ‘The Cape’ is evocatively filmed and beautifully put together … and also contains over thirty of my images of the stories main protagonists, used to great effect full screen. All of my images were made during the two week Supreme Court trial in Cairns and portray murder accused pair Michael Gater and his mother Joan Gater, Bevin and Brad’s wife and mother Cathy …  and many other members of the Gater and Ward clan’s who attended the proceedings.

Just the ‘looks’ in the photographs I made there still send chills …

The show … available to Stan subscribers here … has received rave reviews. (For those not Stan subscribed the ‘trailer’ is here.)

Entertainment website MamaMia writes, “The new Stan Original Documentary Revealed: The Cape is one of the most gripping and emotionally charged documentaries of the year“. TV Blackbox put it this way … “The Cape” is the story of rival fishing families who built empires amongst the twisted mangroves in Far North Queensland. The isolation, an all-consuming sexual obsession and a series of small choices leads to a suspected double murder of Brad and Bevin Simmonds. Emmy® Award-nominated filmmakers, Michael Ware and Justine A. Rosenthal take us on a journey into Australia’s Deep North and the human psyche to uncover what we’re capable of when our humanity is stripped bare in this fascinating portrayal of an insular and isolated community.”

The Daily Mail also published this nice piece on the producers and the tribulations of making the film in the run up to it’s release.

Below is (top) the Stan doco promo … followed by just four of my thirty odd ‘stills’ © that were used in the film … from top … accused murderer Michael Gater pensive during the 2005 two week trial, his mother and fellow accused Joan Gater, Bevin Simmonds wife and Michael Gater’s lover Cathy Simmonds … and Michael Gater outside court with a grin following his acquittal.

It was a distinct pleasure to work with ‘The Cape’ team … they were a pleasure … Thanks All!

(NB … I also appear in TV footage at the Supreme Court trial in Cairns making images of the Gaters … and looking rather ‘scruffy’ doing it … if you are game … watch around the 69th, 70th minute mark!)

Images © Brian Cassey … Documentary ‘The Cape’ © Stan & various entities

@stanaustralia @woodenhorse.tv #TheCapeOnStan #StanOriginals #RevealedOnStan @fremantle @screenaustralia @screennsw @thepostlounge

George at the Bus Stop …

Amazing who you may meet walking past a bus stop.

I was doing exactly that on Friday lunch time when I walked past the stop in central Cairns and spotted a fine looking gentleman. Said ‘Hi’ … we exchanged pleasantries and I asked ‘George’ how far away his bus was … the board said eight minutes … and if I may make a quick portrait. George was fine with that so I raced back to my car a block away to grab a decent camera. We were chatting whilst I made a few frames and it turns out that George is, in fact … Dr George Skeene OAM and a Yirrganydji Elder !

Of course, the bus arrived early and George told me his info is on the web … and off he went. Our interaction lasted a very pleasant six or seven minutes …

Fascinating to find Dr George on the web and learn the details of his stellar career.  George grew up in Aboriginal reserves in Cairns and has made it his life’s work to document his Yirrganydji cultural heritage. 

He has traced and catalogued Yirrganydji artefacts that were spirited to Germany in the early 1900’s, written a book “Two Cultures” about the Cairns aboriginal camps, arranged for the return and reburial in Cairns of the remains of a Yirrganydji woman held at the Queensland Museum … and that’s just a start (much more ‘on the web’).

George was awarded an Honorary Doctor of Letters at James Cook University in 2013 and the Medal of the Order of Australia (OAM) in 2016.

In retrospect it’s surprising that I hadn’t met George before last Friday … now so pleased I have 🙂

Image of Dr George Skeene OAM by © Brian Cassey

Meeting Dr George Skeene OAM at a bus stop in Cairns - image by Brian Cassey

India … Modi … Adani … the Gond … & The Washington Post …

… very gratified to be a part of a significant political and environmental story crafted and published yesterday by The Washington Post.

The story … by journalists Gerry Shih, Karishma Mehrotra and Anant Gupta and accompanied by two of my images from Chhattisgarh, India … is entitled “India Cracks Down on Critics of Coal”. The lengthy story documents how India’s Modi government is using state power to help Gutam Adani expand his coal operations in the country and silence the voices of NGO’s and other critics both Internationally and internally.

A large focus of the story is the destruction of the Hasdeo Arand forest in Chhattisgarh state central India by the expansion of open cut coal mines already operating or planned … with Adani a major player. It also documents the special relationship between Gutam Adani and India Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the impacts on any opposition to coal expansion.

In 2019 I wrote and illustrated a story on the impact of the destruction of the Hasdeo Arand, the effects on the Gond tribal people who have called it home for centuries and the plans for many more coal mines in the pristine forest area, home to elephants, jaguars and other wild life. The story was featured in The Guardian (main story and a photo gallery) and several other International publications including CNN, Italy’s ‘Corriere Della Sera’ newspaper, ‘Orion’ environmental magazine and more. The Washington Post story updates the situation in my original story and expands into how the Indian government is cracking down on any dissent, be it International NGO’s or Indian Nationals, as Adani and others carve up the profits from unbridled coal expansion.

It is a worrying, troublesome but important and fascinating read … highly recommended … and may be found here … https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/2023/06/05/india-coal-adani-modi-crackdown/  (no subscription required). My two supporting images from the Hasdeo Arand forest are shown below.

Images © Brian Cassey – publication The Washington Post

The Washington Post story on India crack down on critics of coal - Adani & the Gond - images by Brian Cassey
The Washington Post story on India crack down on critics of coal - Adani & the Gond - images by Brian Cassey

Will Miss You Alf … 100 …

It wasn’t unexpected but that didn’t make it any easier to take.

Just a few days ago I learnt the very, very sad news that Alf Neal OAM … the 100 year old Yarrabah indigenous elder and a driving force behind the 1967 referendum that resulted in Indigenous peoples historic recognition in Australia’s Constitution … died peacefully and with dignity surrounded by his family.

Just over six weeks ago I saw Alf … affectionally known as ‘Popeye’ … for the very last time. It was on the balcony of his seafront home opposite the site of the old ‘tree of knowledge’ in Yarrabah.

I had arranged for News journalist and friend Michael Madigan to meet and talk to Alf about his amazing life and the current ‘Indigenous Voice to Parliament’ campaign.
I had made images of Alf during the week late last year when he wracked up one hundred fascinating years and was feted with a centenary celebration in his indigenous community. Michael came up from Brisbane to put the words together to accompany Alf’s images. The story and pics ran in The Sunday Mail on April 23rd … a ‘hero’ shot on page 3 (“100 Years & 3 Weeks”) with a link to a large spread of words and more Alf pics from my archives on pages 20 and 21. If you can find it, Alf’s story (link here but needs a subscription) as penned by Michael is really epic.

I have known and photographed Alf for a couple of decades and it was sad to see him so bodily frail … but even so it was obvious that his brain was still sharp despite his difficulties in communication. Son Percy did an admirable job translating and relaying Alf’s thoughts for Michaels notes. At one stage when I was focused on Alf’s face from a distance he broke into a grin of recognition as he saw me … a magical moment for me personally.

Long an advocate and fighter for indigenous rights, Alf was born in the early 1920’s on his beloved country at Ngarrabullgan (Mount Mulligan) west of Cairns. Moved to the indigenous community of Yarrabah, he was baptised at the age of 2 and grew up in dormitories. His earliest memories were of learning white man law alongside the traditions of aboriginal lore.

Alf grew to be a prominent indigenous leader and a major driving force in the decades long fight for the 1967 referendumwhich resulted in Indigenous peoples historic recognition in Australia’s Constitution. For his efforts, in 2019 the former bush lawyer, cane cutter and baker was awarded the ‘Medal of the Order of Australia’ (OAM) for ‘Service to the Aboriginal community, particularly the 1967 Referendum Campaign’.

I’ve made images of Alf many times over the decades as he voiced his opinion on many issues relating to the lives of Australia’s aboriginal and islander population. Sadly that voice is now silent. A tragedy that he won’t be around to see (hopefully) a ‘Yes’ vote in the “Indigenous Voice to Parliament’ referendum later this year.

The family have given permission for this image to be used. My condolences to the Neal family, to Yarrabah and the aboriginal community in general. Alf was majestic and a delight and will be greatly missed.

Image – Alf on his balcony just a few weeks ago. © Brian Cassey.

Indigenous elder and statesman Alf Neal OAM dies at 100 - images by Brian Cassey

Alf at a Hundred … and The Sunday Mail …

I’ve had the pleasure of knowing and portraying now one hundred year old Alfie “Popeye” Neal OAM for a few decades … a gentleman with quiet determination and a mission to improve the plight of Australia’s indigenous residents.

Long an advocate and fighter for indigenous rights, Alf was born in the early 1920’s on his beloved country at Ngarrabullgan (Mount Mulligan) west of Cairns. Moved to the indigenous community of Yarrabah, he was baptised at the age of 2 and grew up in dormitories. His earliest memories were of learning white man law alongside the traditions of aboriginal lore.

In 2019 the former bush lawyer and cane cutter was awarded the ‘Medal of the Order of Australia’ (OAM) for ‘Service to the Aboriginal community, particularly the 1967 Referendum Campaign’. Alf was a leader in the decades long fight for the referendum which eventually resulted in Indigenous peoples historic recognition in Australia’s Constitution.

In light of the ongoing “Voices” campaign and upcoming referendum, I pitched an image of Alf and his three week old great great grandson …  “100 Years & 3 Weeks” … to the Sunday Mail … and big thanks to journalist Michael ‘Mad Dog’ Madigan for is great words and SM Pic Ed Jamie Hanson (in his last week on the paper after 30 odd years) for getting this story across the line and over three pages of last Sundays edition. 

The top pic is a very recent previously unpublished portrait of Alf that I made on his Yarrabah verandah …  image two (bottom left) is a page grab  of “100 Years & 3 Weeks” in the Sunday Mail … and image three (bottom right) is todays two page SM spread of Michael’s words on Alf’s colourful life and achievements with some more of my ‘Alf’ pics from across the years.

Thanks Alf, son Percy, journo ‘Mad Dog’ and pic ed Jamie. (A very ‘special Thanks’ for Jamie for being ‘one of the best’ pic editors …  happy (chosen) redundancy and enjoy life outside the media, Jamie … Thanks for everything !).

Images © Brian Cassey, publication The Sunday Mail

Voices - Alf Neal OAM at 100 - "100 Years & 3 Weeks" - images by Brian Cassey - Yarrabah

A Tiny Dot In The Pacific Ocean …

50 year old Sydney masseuse Michelle Lee gently shipped her oars in Port Douglas  Wednesday April 5th 2023 to become the first woman to row solo across the Pacific Ocean … an epic feat that spanned 240 days.

Michelle left Ensenada Mexico in her row boat ‘The Australian Maid’ on August 8th 2022 with approximately 14000 kms ahead of her, much of it dodging numerous Cyclones (Hurricanes) and the unexpected. It was not only the weather that impacted her progress … she was shadowed by large sharks across the ocean (one decided to visit Michelle by jumping into the boat) … and currents and tides slowed her last run in to the Australian coast changing landfall from Cairns to Port Douglas.

She had previously defeated the lesser shorter challenge of rowing across the Atlantic in 68 days … a feat that led to her being named the 2019 National Geographic Adventurer of the Year.

I was contacted by the event media consultant Liz Inglis to help cover Michelle’s Australian arrival … and contacted AAP who gladly snapped up the opportunity. Below are just a tiny portion … five … of the large set of photographs I made of her arrival. More can be found on my Instagram feed (10 images) at https://www.instagram.com/p/CqtmLTBB7U3/ … and on my Facebook page (12 images) at … https://www.facebook.com/photo/?fbid=10160849699665984&set=pcb.10160849701405984.

My full set of 43 images may be found on the AAP website at … https://photos.aap.com.au/search/Michelle%20Lee%20port%20douglas

Amongst many other media, The Guardian run a nice story on Michelle’s journey and arrival accompanied by some of my pics here … https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2023/apr/05/bit-of-a-battle-michelle-lee-reaches-queensland-after-rowing-out-of-mexico-240-days-ago .

The images of Michelle’s landing in Aus have been syndicated widely around the planet over the last few days.

Images © AAP/Brian Cassey @australianassociatedpress

50 year old Sydney Masseuse becomes the first women to row solo across the Pacific ocean when she shipped oars at Port Douglas Queensland after her 240 day epic voyage - images by Brian Cassey for AAP.

50 year old Sydney Masseuse becomes the first women to row solo across the Pacific ocean when she shipped oars at Port Douglas Queensland after her 240 day epic voyage - images by Brian Cassey for AAP.

50 year old Sydney Masseuse becomes the first women to row solo across the Pacific ocean when she shipped oars at Port Douglas Queensland after her 240 day epic voyage - images by Brian Cassey for AAP.

50 year old Sydney Masseuse becomes the first women to row solo across the Pacific ocean when she shipped oars at Port Douglas Queensland after her 240 day epic voyage - images by Brian Cassey for AAP.

50 year old Sydney Masseuse becomes the first women to row solo across the Pacific ocean when she shipped oars at Port Douglas Queensland after her 240 day epic voyage - images by Brian Cassey for AAP.

“The Legend That Is George” …

Recently travelled to Green Island on the Great Barrier Reef with photographer colleague Emese Gyalog to meet and document, soon to be 93 year old croc legend George Craig.

To say George has lived a life is a massive understatement. Schooled in England but born in South America, George dived with epic Tarzan star Johnny Weissmuller in an aquatic show before stowing away on a ship at London’s docks to Jamaica where he picked bananas. Then he found himself in Darwin Australia defusing WWII bombs.

However, the travel that most impacted the direction of George’s life was to the Fly River in Papua New Guinea, where he set about croc hunting … later turning to croc ‘collecting’. George not only ‘collected’ crocs but also a massive trove of PNG artefacts unmatched almost anywhere.

In the 1970’s when he needed somewhere to put all these crocs and art he took over tourist venture Marineland Melanesia at Green Island on the Great Barrier Reef, where he lives and works to this day. George also brought a mate of his to Green Island from the NT … a now 5 5 metre “saltie” named “Cassius” … the largest croc in captivity on the planet. (See here Guinness Book of Records.)

You may read much more about George, his early croc hunting, collecting and PNG artefacts here … https://oceanicart.com/PROVENANCE/George-Craig/1

It was an absolute pleasure to photograph George on Green Island … on his favourite chair where he sometimes paints, amongst his amazing collections of probably priceless art … and with his massive mate “Cassius”.

The Courier Mail were delighted to see the work and ran it today Saturday on page three (with a pic pointer from page 1), with a story brilliantly constructed by journo, wordsmith and mate Michael Madigan.

I do like “Cassius” but I’m much fonder of the portraits I made of George in his happy place with his art works, one of which leads this little set below.

Thanks George , Cassius and Emese … had a great rewarding day !

Images © Brian Cassey, publication © The Courier Mail

"The Legend That Is George" - Images and story of former croc hunter George Craig antis croc Cassius - the World's largest croc in captivity - by Brian Cassey

"The Legend That Is George" - Images and story on former croc hunter George Craig antis croc Cassius - the World's largest croc in captivity - by Brian Cassey

"The Legend That Is George" - Images and story on former croc hunter George Craig antis croc Cassius - the World's largest croc in captivity - by Brian Cassey

“Alf” & “Potter” Win Pollux International Award …

… very welcome news  … TWO of my recent images combined to win the ‘People’ category of the “19th Pollux International Awards” … first time ‘recognitions’ for them both.

Always satisfying when ‘new’ pics get a bit of attention.

The images “100 Years & 3 Weeks – Alf” and “Do Not Resuscitate – Peter Potter” … below … are the two works that were jointly selected as the Winner of the ‘People’ category.

“100 Years & 3 Weeks” (bottom) features prominent Kuku Djungan elder and aboriginal and islander leader and activist Alf Neal and his three week old great great grandson Kailan Murgha at their Yarrabah home two days before the community celebration of Alf’s centenary.

Alf was a driving force in a decade long fight for the 1967 referendum which resulted in Indigenous peoples recognition in Australia’s Constitution. He was awarded ‘Medal of the Order of Australia’ (OAM) for ‘Service to the Aboriginal community’ in 2019.

“Do Not Resuscitate – Peter Potter” (top) features prominent Master Potter … Peter “Potter” Thompson … in his Kuranda rainforest studio ‘Five Treasures’ where he produces his imaginative Asian/Taoist inspired clay works fired in wood-fired kilns. 

“Potter” is something of a miracle having survived three heart attacks over his decades long career producing works that have graced galleries far and wide. The tattoo over his pace maker enhanced heart and chest states ’N F Resuscitare’ (‘Do Not Resuscitate’) and his blood group … a testament to his longevity and Impeccably wry and dry sense of humour.

Was also excellent to see US mate, Washington Post shooter and Pulitzer Prize winner Michael Robinson Chavez get a mention in the ‘Documentary & Reportage’ category for his fantastic work in Ukraine.

The Pollux Awards have been awarding the best of the planets photographic works for near a couple of decades. 

Winners work will be exhibited, large scale, on the walls of the FotoNostrum Gallery in Barcelona, Spain in December later this year. (NB … I’ve had work exhibited in the Fotonostrum Gallery in Barcelona previously … back in 2021 with my portrait of Carol Mayer … “The Skin I’m In”. )

Pretty happy with that 🙂

Images © Brian Cassey

 

19th Pollux Awards - International - Winners - People - “100 Years & 3 Weeks - Alf” & “Do Not Resuscitate - Peter Potter” - images by Brian Cassey ©

19th Pollux Awards - International - Winners - People - “100 Years & 3 Weeks - Alf” & “Do Not Resuscitate - Peter Potter” - images by Brian Cassey ©

The Guardian … Vintage Nikon F2 … and Film ! …

… in good company in The Guardian today as they feature the 400TX Project presenting black & white film work produced on a 50 year old Nikon F2 passed around to some of (quote) … “Australia’s most prominent photographers” … including this geezer from Cairns.

The project was the brain child of Brisbane photographer Renato Repetto who transported the vintage 1970’s black Nikon F2 with a 55mm lens loaded, with just one 36 frame roll of Kodak Tri-X BW film, on numerous journeys criss crossing Australia and into the hands of current working photographers who gave it their best shot.

The Guardian story (a snippet below) can be found in full at https://www.theguardian.com/artanddesign/gallery/2023/mar/19/one-roll-of-film-what-a-test-the-400tx-project-in-pictures … and on abridged version on Insta at https://www.instagram.com/guardianaustralia/ … under the title ‘Back to Basics’.

The list of photographers featured is as impressive as the work … Dean Sewell, Tim Page (so sadly no longer with us), Paul Blackmore, Robert McFarlane, David Maurice Smith, Peter Solness, Michael Coyne, James Brickwood, Shehab Uddin, Jakub Fabijanski, Oli Sansom, Meg Hewitt, David Kelly … and yours truly .

My frame in the feature is “Too Busy To Die” … made in sparse light with the last frame of the thirty six on the  film roll … of accomplished musician Geoff Tozer. He had just told he was dying. He was diagnosed with bowel, bladder, bone and advanced spinal cancer. But, he told me, “I’m too busy to die.”

I cut my teeth on ‘manual everything’ film cameras like the Nikon F2 decades ago and used ‘zone focusing’, guessed exposures and well-timed single shutter releases in my early work. This project has brought into stark reality how spoilt we photographers are now with digital imaging and digital photo technology … and, to be honest, the process of shooting black and white film again scared me stiff !

(The two posts on the 400TX Project published when I originally made the “Too Busy To Die” work can be found here … https://www.briancasseyphotographer.com/blog/publications/2017/08/final-frame-nikon-f2-afp400tx/ … and here …  https://www.briancasseyphotographer.com/blog/2017/07/nikon-f2-roll-tri-x-36-pics/ … whilst a further post regarding 400TX and my work in an Australian Photography article can be found here … https://www.briancasseyphotographer.com/blog/travel/2018/03/spread-australian-photography-afp400tx/

Image “Too Busy To Die” (top) © Brian Cassey … Image “Sin & Stef in Bondi” (bottom) © Paul Blackmore, page “Back to Basics” © The Guardian

 

The Guardian - 400TX Project - Back to Basics - Image "Too Busy To Die" of Geoff Tower by Brian Cassey

 

The Guardian - story 400TX Project - Back to Basics - Image "Too Busy To Die" of Geoff Tower by Brian Cassey ©, second image © Paul Blackmore

415,000 Entries … 200+ countries … Sony World Photography …

Yes … you’ve likely seen this work before 🙂 (as recently as my last post here … sorry) … BUT … what IS new is that “Mother Africa – Aurora” has been selected (announced yesterday) in the ‘Shortlist’ of just fourteen images in the 2023 Sony World Photography Awards for ‘Portraiture’. When you consider that this years Sony World wide awards attracted approximately four hundred and fifteen thousand entries from over two hundred countries, you’ll maybe understand why I’m pretty ‘chuffed’ and grateful that I can now show it again here in this context !

The fourteen short listed Open works in ‘Portraiture’ emanated from photographers around the planet  …  Denmark, the Philippines, Slovakia, USA, Angola, New Zealand, Australia, Nigeria (2), Poland (2) and the UK (3) … (see complete list below). (You may notice that, unusually, Sony decided to put myself and my work in the UK column (place of birth) rather than the more common place of residence column (Aus) … very nice to be British again 😉 )

The Winners and short listed works from this years awards … arguably the Worlds largest and most prestigious … will be published as a collection in a hard cover book ‘Sony World Photography Awards 2023’, … whilst Winning and shortlisted images will be exhibited as part of the Sony World Photography Awards exhibition at beautiful Somerset House in my old home town London from April 14 – May 1, 2023. (Hope my UK family can make it 😉 ).

“Mother Africa” was also short listed this month in “Portrait of Humanity” … a planet wide award and collection of photographic portraiture by the “British Journal of Photography” … and has also received major attention in several other International and Australian awards.

(NB … SO grateful to my subject, delightful African American Australian based Aurora Coulter … Thanks again ‘Rora’ !)

Image © Brian Cassey

Sony World Photography Awards 2023 - "Mother Africa - Aurora" by Brian Cassey Shortlisted in Open Portraiture ©.
Sony World Photography Awards 2023 - "Mother Africa - Aurora" by Brian Cassey Shortlisted in Open Portraiture ©.

Vol.5 … Portrait of Humanity

Very pleased with the announcement last eve … “Mother Africa” selected in the prestigious International “Portrait of Humanity 2023” awards ‘Shortlist’.   (Have known for a little while that the work “Mother Africa” featuring Aurora Coulter (below) was ‘Shortlisted’ but was sworn to secrecy till yesterdays official ‘announcement.)

Now in it’s 5th ‘edition’ and organised by the venerable highly respected British Journal of Photography 1854 … Portrait of Humanity has fast become one of the most select, yet largest, collections of contemporary portrait photography on the planet. 

“Mother Africa” will be amongst the other short listed works published in the “Portrait of Humanity 2023” hard cover book published by Hoxton Mini Press.

I was also stoked to be ’shortlisted’ in the first, second and fourth editions of POH over past years. First and second edition winning portraits … “Aurukun – Generations”, “Ramnami” and “The Skin I’m In” were exhibited ‘in space’ above the planet by Portrait of Humanity in a very creative exercise. Last year’s selected work in edition four was “Covid Vax & Ice Cream “ … a portrait of Leanna Bulmer after her Covid vaccination at Yarrabah. 

Many Thanks once again must go to my talented and delightful subject Aurora … making the picture was an emotional moment in our friend Marc’s ‘studio shed’ and Aurora really made it ‘work’.

The image is certainly racking up a nice little ‘collection’ 🙂 … check out previous recognitions for “Mother Africa” on my ‘Awards’ page at … www.briancasseyphotographer.com/awards .

 Image © Brian Cassey @brian_cassey @bjp1854 @portrait_of_humanity @1854_PoH @The British Journal of Photography

"Portrait of Humanity 2023" - Shortlisted and published in Portrait of Humanity 2023 by Hoxton Mini Press - "Mother Africa - Aurora" - Image by Brian Cassey

Kowanyama Portraits …

Every now and then a job turns up that’s … well … a little different. December saw one of those.

Former ‘Young Australian of the Year’ (2007) Tania Major contacted me and asked if I may like to host ‘portrait sessions’ and a workshop in her home township of Kowanyama on western Cape York just before Christmas. The idea … part of the RISE Arts Program … was to raise awareness of the possibilities of photographic portraiture in the indigenous community and provide any residents who ‘sat’ (or stood, leant or lay) with a timely portrait before Christmas. Nice idea …

So … I traveled to Kowanyama, set up a makeshift studio in the Kowanyama Arts & Culture Centre … and spent four days meeting and photographing the fabulous characters who arrived almost constantly. Elderly, young, very young and not so young …

It was not only great fun but also a truly positive and rewarding event.

The seven portraits I’ve selected here below are just a tiny proportion of the over three hundred I made during the program.

Thanks Tania ( @tanmajor ) … and to the Kowanyama residents for their wonderful hospitality and humour at what was a difficult time for the community (which I won’t go into here.)

Portraits left to right from top …

David “Crow” Kitchener … Evelyn Birchley & Her Red Dress … and … James “Doon Doon” Josiah Junior, Jyson Yam & Sneeklaw Possum … Zacchias Daniel … and … Neville Henry … Arnold Possum … and … Nazarie Birchley with Herbert Major-Birchley.

Images © Brian Cassey

 

Indigenous Portraits froid Kowanyama Workshop - December 2022 by Brian Cassey

 

 

Marilyn Monroe, Playboy Magazine … & Bonn …

… VERY much a departure from what I normally do … and for that matter … what I’ve ever done.

I admit … this image I produced may look somewhat ‘familiar’ to many of a certain ‘vintage’. However, I can assure you that it is brand new. The ‘polar opposite’ of photojournalism, documentary, reportage etc, it does, indeed, tell a timely story I wanted to tell.

The year 2022 marked the 60th anniversary of the death of arguably the planet’s greatest ever sex symbol … movie star and blonde bombshell Marilyn Monroe. She died at just 36 …

There were many thousands of photographs made of Marilyn (Norma Jeane) during her stellar but far too short career as an actress, model, sometimes singer … and undeniable centre of massive unrelenting attention.

What I aimed to portray in this work was a recreation of ‘Marilyn’ in the vintage style of the days of the mid last century when she captivated audiences around the World … and in Cairns character and model Bonn Marie I knew I had just the person to make that happen. (Bonn had previously featured in one of my works that gained a fair bit of International attention.)

In particular … this image I made of Bonn (below) mirrors one of the works of US photographer Tom Kelley who had the enviable task of shooting Marilyn’s infamous ‘red velvet’ set in 1949 before her acting career took off (when she had red hair pre the ‘blond bombshell’ era). Strangely Tom’s image didn’t receive lavish attention until Hugh Hefner selected it for the first centrefold in the first ever edition of Playboy Magazine in 1953 !

I still can’t get over the fantastic job that Bonn (aided by the mastery of make up artist Sue Kim) did in morphing into Marilyn’s character and look … the resemblance is chilling. Despite the fact that I didn’t attempt to copy the original pose in Tom’s work directly … the similarities in body shape, pose, style, expression and more are obvious. Bonn created a damn fine Marilyn …

A couple of little interesting asides about the original Kelley image. Originally … pre Playboy … Marilyn faced right to left in the frame. Hefner decided to reverse it in the magazine centrefold … and that’s the way I made the ‘tribute’ image with Bonn. As well as making Hefner’s new magazine a massive success, Kelley’s image … an image of tastefulness and sophistication … became truly historic, played a key role in shaping 20th century history, led to a redefinition of female sexuality in America and spawned a sexual revolution.

This is the first time ever I’ve ‘remade’ an earlier image by another photographer … and I’m damn sure it will also be the last … but I do hope you enjoy the resulting work, Bonn’s amazing ‘Marilyn’ portrayal and the rationale behind retelling a pivotal and timely part of the Monroe story.

This “Marilyn” – Bonn large framed work (below) is currently pride of place on the wall in the exhibition “Red Hot” (and available for sale) at the Kite Gallery in Cairns. The exhibition of great works runs until 16th January 2023 and is well worth checking out.

Image © Brian Cassey … with subject Bonn Marie and hair, makeup Sue Kim … (with Thanks and acknowledgement to photographer Tom Kelley)

Tribute to Marilyn Monroe sixty years after her untimely death in 1962 .... Image by Brian Cassey © (with Bonn Marie) based on the 1949 'Red sheet' work by photographer Tom Kelley which became Marilyn's and Playboy Magazines first ever cenrefold. in the magazine's first edition in 1953.

Tokyo … and “Mother Africa” …

…  nice timing and Merry Xmas …

Early in the hours of Christmas Eve an email dropped in with the nice news that my image “Mother Africa” had been selected again … this time for a “Bronze” award in the ’22 Tokyo International Foto Awards (TIFA) Fine Art category.

So pleased that this work has gained attention. To be accurate the making of this image (in a friends little basic shed studio) engendered a lot of emotion … and tears.  My subject, the delightful currently Australia based  African American Aurora Coulter,  knew the ‘look’ that would make the photograph ‘work’ at depicting the historical … (and still current when you take into consideration the death of black man George Floyd and others at the hands of police officers etc) … treatment of her forebears in the US. Aurora dug into the depths of past memories and experiences for this image … and for that I’m so grateful. Her emotion made it ‘work’.

“Mother Africa” has been selected previously in other awards since it was made in January earlier this (nearly over) year … the International Portrait Photographer of the Year, The Pollux Awards, the International Photography Awards (IPA), Budapest International Foto Awards (BIFA), Moscow International Foto Awards (MIFA), the Percival Portrait Prize … and … another arguably more prestigious prize that I am not at liberty yet to tell anyone about 🙂

Once again Aurora … the very biggest Thanks … !

Image © Brian Cassey

Tokyo International Foto Awards (TIFA) 2022 - WINNER - Bronze Award - Fine Art - image by Brian Cassey

Mentioned in Dispatches from Budapest …

… Nice … 4 X Honourable Mentions in the 2022 Budapest International Foto Awards (BIFA) announced yesterday.

You’ve likely seen the work before on this blog, social media or elsewhere … but always nice to receive a little more kudos. So … here they are …

1. “Veronica – Where Home Brew Kills” – People/Children – Five year old Veronica Barnes on Mornington Island in far northern Australia. Her remote indigenous community is suffering the ravages of a dangerous ‘Home Brew’ alcohol epidemic. Veronica is growing up in a community where community members – including children – are dying from alcohol related issues and severe diabetes.
2. “Scooter- Paralympian” – Editorial/Sport – Swim Paralympian Grant “Scooter” Patterson has diastrophic dysplasia, a joint fusion disability connected to dwarfism. He was catapulted to cult hero status around the planet when he won silver and bronze swim medals at the 2020 Tokyo Paralympics. His nickname comes from his constant form of transport – a three wheel scooter.
3. “Mother Africa” – People/Culture – As a black Colorado born African American, Aurora Coulter is acutely aware of her heritage, the treatment of her coloured predecessors and forebears in the United States – and also the history of Australia’s indigenous population since supposed ‘settlement’.
4. “Covid Vax & Ice Cream” – People/Portrait – After receiving her first Pfizer Covid-19 vaccination in her remote Yarrabah far north Australia home, 67 year old aboriginal Leanne Bulmer sits with her ‘reward’ – a free ice cream from the ice cream van that was arranged to follow the on foot ‘door to door’ doctors and medical teams through the indigenous community.

Taking some of the gloss off the BIFA announcement was the insane decision by both IG and FB to ‘remove’ the tasteful and respectful ‘news’ image of Veronica citing their ‘community standards’ and impose a ‘ban’ … whilst they constantly bombard social media with unsolicited overtly sexually blatant images of females displaying their various ‘bits’. Go figure …

You may check out where all four of these images have previously gained attention on my ‘Awards’ page here.

Also a special mention and a brilliant result for Cairns colleague and friend Emese Gyalog who won a ‘Bronze’ award and also 4 x Honourable Mentions … (and who just happens to be in Budapest right now.)

Big Thanks to my subjects … Veronica, Grant ‘Scooter’ Patterson, Aurora Coulter and Leanne Bulmer.

Images © Brian Cassey

Budapest International Foto Awards (BIFA 2022 - Honourable Mention X 4 - "Veronica - Where Home Brew Kills", "Scooter", "Mother Africa" & "Covid Vax & Ice Cream" - by Brian Cassey

 

Head On Photo Festival … Exhibitions and Talks … Brilliant

There is so much I could say about this years Head On Photo Festival in Sydney. Could almost write a book about it …

Sadly, don’t have enough space to tell all about this years exhibitions, artists talks, panel talks, awards and other photographer events that made this years, soon to conclude, festival so special … but I will try.

This years annual extravaganza was based around the beautiful newly remodelled Bondi Pavilion opposite the World famous beach … and in the stunning surrounds at the Reservoir Gardens in Paddington. The work of 500-plus photographers was displayed in 107 exhibitions across the two major venues and further afield.

Work from my “A Photographer’s Life – Part Two” collection … first exhibited in full last year at The Court House Gallery in Cairns  … was selected as a ‘featured’ exhibition in Reservoir Gardens. Re-titled “(Selections From) A Photographer’s Life – Part Two” the work on the picturesque wall was edited down to twelve works (from the original 38) by Head On’s Moshe Rosenzveig and team (see top two images below).

Out of the nine other exhibitions also displayed in Reservoir Gardens four were my firm festival favourites … the works of two photojournalists, Giles Clarke from the USA (“Yemen: Conflict & Chaos”) and Mouneb Taim from Syria (“War Notes”), Judith Nangala Crispin’s magnificent and startling photographic creations using wild animals “Dangerous Stars” … and the haunting, disturbing, brave yet occasionally amusing work by breast cancer survivor Lisa Murray and her five-year-old son Griffin entitled “Through My Child’s Eyes”. Brilliant visual treats all …

Out of the many, many exhibitions lining the entire length of Bondi Beach I was most drawn to two that displayed a great visual sense of humour during Covid lockdown … Andrew Rovenko’s fabulous “The Rocketgirl Chronicles” and my old once Cairns mate Jake Nowakowski and his brilliant “Superheroes in Lockdown” set.

Please do take some time to click on the links to see these great exhibitions. Sadly the Reservoir Gardens exhibitions closed at the weekend but the Bondi works will be on display until December 4th.

I was also asked to do some ‘nattering’ at the Festival … in particular an artist talk regarding my “A Photographer’s Life – Part Two” work … and a panel talk on the challenges of photojournalism, and how photojournalists gain trust from and access to their subject entitled “Insiders & Outsiders”. The above mentioned photojournalists Giles Clarke and Mouneb Taim were my co-panelists in a talk moderated by photography journalist Alison Steven-Taylor.

Arguably the most satisfying festival event for me personally was the (re)opening of “Paper Tigers” … an exhibition of the work of sixty of Australia’s best photojournalists curated my myself and Moshe Rosenzveig. The culmination of nearly a year of cajoling and collecting the work of the best of Aussie based media PJ’s, the original exhibition of the sixty collected works was slap bang in the middle of Covid lockdowns and border closures. I and many others of the our contributors … even those in NSW … obviously couldn’t attend. Moshe and the Head On crew made good on their promise of ‘Launch Two’ at the fabulous Delmar Gallery in Ashfield just two weekends ago … and our “Paper Tigers” contributors could at last travel from around the country to celebrate the works on the walls and the accompanying “Paper Tigers” book (see images three and four below).

For those interested … here are the contributors to “Paper Tigers” … a totally talented bunch who withstood my constant nagging … Thanks …

Alex Coppel, Andrew Chapman, Angela Wylie, Ashley Crowther, Barbara McGrady, Ben Bohane, Brendan Beirne, Brian Cassey, Chris Hopkins, Craig Golding, Craig Greenhill, Darrian Traynor, Dave Tacon, David Dare Parker, David Gray, Dean Lewins, Dean Sewell, Delly Carr, Eddie Safarik, Edwina Pickles, Gerrit Fokkema, Glenn Campbell, Glenn Lockitch, Grant Wells, Helga Salwe, Ilana Rose, Jaime Murcia, Jake Nowakowski, Janie Barrett, Jessica Hromas, John Donegan, John French, Justin McManus, Louise Kennerley, Luis Ascui, Mark Crusty Baker, Martine Perret, Max Mason Hubers, Meredith O’Shea, Merv Bishop, Michael Amendolia, Michael Coyne, Moshe Rosenzveig, Nic Walker, Nick Moir, Nicola Bailey, Noel Butcher, Paul Blackmore, Penny Stephens, Peter Solness, Richard Wainwright, Rick Stevens, Rob Maccoll, Robert McFarlane, Simon O’Dwyer, Stephen Dupont, Sylvia Liber, Tim Page, Tobias Titz and Tracey Nearmy.

Many Thanks to the Head On crew of Moshe, Anita, Stephen, India, Georgia and Talia for putting on a truly awesome festival.

Finally … two further things … happy to report that my image “Scooter” (Paralympian Grant Patterson) was selected as semi-finalist in the Head On Portrait Prize (image below) … and that in a very, very, VERY rare occurrence fellow photographer lovely Iceland based Serena Dzenis managed to con me into being the subject (hate that) of a damn photograph at my Reservoir Gardens exhibition (bottom below). No idea how she managed that …

Images © Brian Cassey (top five) & Serena Dzenis (bottom)

Head On Photo Festival 2022 - "(Selections From) A Photographer's Life - Part Two" - by Brian Cassey - at the Reservoir Gardens Paddington Sydney

Head On Photo Festival 2022 - "(Selections From) A Photographer's Life - Part Two" - by Brian Cassey - at the Reservoir Gardens Paddington Sydney

Head On Photo Festival 2022 - "Paper Tigers" exhibition of Australian photojournalism - Curated by Brian Cassey and Moshe Rosenzveig - at Delmar Gallery Ashfield Sydney

Head On Photo Festival 2022 - "Paper Tigers" exhibition of Australian photojournalism - Curated by Brian Cassey and Moshe Rosenzveig - at Delmar Gallery Ashfield Sydney

"Scooter" - Semi-Finalist in the Head On Portrait Prize 2022 - image by Brian Cassey

Brian Cassey at his Head vOn Photo Festival exhibition "(Selection From) - A Photographer's Life - Part Two" at Reservoir Garden Paddington Sydney - image by Serena Dzenis

“One Hundred Years & Three Weeks” …

I’ve had the pleasure of photographing Kuku Djungan elder Alfred Neal OAM on many occasions over the years.

Last week his one hundredth birthday was marked by a community celebratory event in the indigenous community of Yarrabah in far north Queensland.

Alf was born in the early 1920’s on his beloved country at Ngarrabullgan (Mount Mulligan) 100 kilometres west of Cairns. He was removed to the Yarrabah township near Cairns, baptised at the age of 2 and grew up in dormitories. His earliest memories were of learning white man law alongside the centuries long traditions of aboriginal lore. Alf sees his Aboriginal culture as the driving force and ‘best thing’ in his life.

The former bush lawyer and cane cutter, affectionately known by his family as “Popeye”, has long served as an advocate for indigenous rights. In 2019 Alf was awarded ‘Medal of the Order of Australia’ (OAM) for ‘Service to the Aboriginal community, particularly to the 1967 Referendum Campaign’. Alf was a member of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Advancement League and successfully waged a decade long fight for the referendum which resulted in Indigenous peoples recognition in Australia’s Constitution.

As late as April this year Alf was holding court with ‘Voice From The Heart’ campaign indigenous luminaries at the launch of the ‘Yarrabah Statement’ in the township … a commitment to see a constitutional enshrinement of a First Nations Voice.

With the help of his son Percy and family I made this image of Alf and his three week old great great grandson Kailan Murgha at their Yarrabah home two days before the community celebration of Alf’s centenary.

Image © Brian Cassey

'One Hundred Years & Three Weeks' ... Alf Neal OAM marks his hundredth year with great great grandson Kailan in Yarrabah ... image by Brian Cassey

“Do Not Resuscitate” … Peter Potter …

I’ve known the skills of Kuranda master ceramicist Peter “Potter” Thompson for some time … but up until a couple of weeks ago had never met him. I did try and arrange a portrait session with Peter a couple of years back but at the time he politely demurred.

Peter has been building his rainforest studio practice for 50 years and is amongst Australia’s most accomplished practitioners of wood-fired pottery, his cutting edge work gracing major galleries far and wide.

His workshop ‘Five Treasures’ is where he creates and fires his Orient inspired creations in expansive high temperature kilns fired by locally collected timber, following Taoist principles. His passion for each and every piece is obvious.

Peter’s outwardly quiet demeanour belies a no nonsense approach to both his work and his life … and he portrays an impeccably wry sense of humour.

The harshness of his work environment has impacted his health … and Peter has survived three heart attacks over the last twenty years. In true Peter style the tattoo above his heart (and pacemaker) means ‘Do Not Resuscitate’. Chemical emissions from the kiln firings have also impacted his lung capacity.

A couple of weeks ago I was introduced to Peter by Ian Whittaker who has authored a book on his life and work. Peter showed me around his studio home, workshop and kilns as he earnestly talked about his magic pottery … and his upcoming hospital stay for yet another major operation.

Peter allowed me to make a series of portraits … and this one (below) I believe most accurately shows his complex character and environment as his life as a potter encircles him.

Thank You Peter … good luck with the latest operation.

Image © Brian Cassey