… it started with a germ of an idea and took nigh on a year to come to fruition … but “Paper Tigers – an Anthology of Contemporary Australian Photojournalism” is now very much a reality as an exhibition and a book.
My initial idea of a print swap of work between Australia’s talented photojournalists morphed into something much grander after a long chat with Head On Photo Festival director Moshe Rosenzveig OAM.
Moshe enthusiastically grasped the implications of the project … the like of which he confessed had been close to his heart for some years. Our combined plan grew into a featured exhibition of the work of Australia’s media photographers at Paddington Town Hall during this years Head On Photo Festival, a book of the exhibition and an exhibition ‘event’ for photographers to meet, admire their work and swap prints.
So began the task of ‘mustering’ Australia’s talented photojournalists … an ‘interesting’ exercise to invite, confirm participation and collate the collection of work … one image from each. In the end we had to draw a line at sixty.
The list is exceedingly impressive … in alphabetical order … 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 McColl, Robert McFarlane, Simon O’Dwyer, Stephen Dupont, Sylvia Liber, Tim Page, Tobias Titz, Tracey Nearmy.
When it comes to media photographers Australia is, indeed, a ‘Lucky Country’.
Then … along came Covid-19 …
It has long amazed me how the tiny Head On team (currently Moshe, partner Anita Schwartz, Stephen, Anna and Paula) manage to put together the far reaching and monumental photo festival that it has become. It enjoys and includes contributions and entries from the best around the planet … and a World wide reputation. For a moment Coronavirus threatened all that …
However, Moshe was not fazed … and the massive work of converting the entire festival to an ‘online’ event began. That online event has now been underway for two weeks … and has been revolutionary in it’s presentation of exhibitions, artist talks, panel talks, photo related workshops, award announcements and more.
Paper Tigers has played a significant part in this Head On festival. The exhibition is available … all sixty works by sixty photojournalists … online (a simple registration required), the book ‘Paper Tigers’ (see my book image ‘Abdullatif’ top below) is now available for purchase on the website … and Head On hosted a fascinating online panel talk around the work and Australian photojournalism. It is planned to still show the physical exhibition of the complete work on the walls and host the photographers ‘do’ and print swap at Paddington Town Hall early in November (hopefully post Covid).
Below are just two of the sixty wonderful images that make up the ‘Paper Tigers’ collection. Dean Sewell’s ‘Bruce’ from 1999 and Nic Walker’s ‘Rite of Passage’ from 2014. The other 58 are just as impressive.
Amongst the massive amount of brilliant photography on line in this years festival I was also pleased to present my own little ‘featured’ exhibition. “Me Too ! Where the Boys Are … the Girls Are” showcases my work covering the MenX burlesque group during their tour to Cairns whilst being filmed for a Vice TV show. It shows the interaction between the guys who are performing and doing a job (without much in the way of clothing) and the young female audience who willingly participate. The exhibition may be found online on the Head On website (again with a simple registration) … and I did mange to stumble through an online ‘artist talk’ on the subject for those brave enough or with time to waste 🙂 . (NB – link to recorded ‘artist talks’ will be down the track.) Two of my images from the exhibition (which also should be physically on the wall in November) are below.
Lastly … was also pleased to see one of my most successful images … ‘Generations – Aurukun’ (yes … you’ve probably seen it before but it’s (bottom) below anyway 🙂 ) … selected as a semi-finalist in this festivals Portrait Prize. It’s also included in the Portrait Prize video here at the 1:18 mark.
The Head On Photo Festival 2020 has just a few days left to run. If you havn’t visited yet and you have any interest in photography at all I strongly suggest you visit and enjoy. Moshe, Anita, Anna, Stephen and Paula have done a remarkable job.
Images © … Brian Cassey & Head On (top), Dean Sewell, Nic Walker and Brian Cassey (bottom three).