East Side FM Interview … Photojournalism, ‘Paper Tigers’ & ‘Strippers’

As a news piece and as a promo for the 2020 “Works on the Wall’ section of the Head On Photo Festival, I had the pleasure of a lengthy ‘on air’ chat with East Side FM’s journalist Paul Neeson. It aired on the Sydney radio station on the Monday morning of the 9th November … the same time as my personal Head On exhibition “Me Too … Where The Boys Are … The Girls Are” (see the blog post and images here) opened to the public in Reservoir Gardens, Paddington.

Paul asked all the right questions … and the subjects discussed crossed photojournalism, portraiture, my work and my current exhibitions “Me Too … (etc)” … and “Paper Tigers” … the exhibition and book on the work of sixty Australian photojournalists that I co-curated with Head On’s Moshe Rosenzveig. “Paper Tigers” is on the walls of the new “Twenty Twenty Six Gallery” in Bondi until the 22nd of November.

The interview, which runs for a little over twenty one minutes, can be accessed here below.

Two Exhibitions in Sydney … (If Only I Could Get There !) …

Moshe Rosenzveig and the crew of the 2020 Head On Photo Festival performed miracles earlier on this year as Covid-19 tightened it’s grip on Australia and the planet. They transformed a massive ‘venue’ based photography festival into the World’s first ‘On Line’ photo festival in a matter of just a few short weeks … and opened on time in the first weeks of May. The ‘On Line’ awards, artist talks, photography workshops and panel talks were aired on screens to thousands watching and listening around the planet and across Australia. An amazing effort …

With gallery spaces ‘out of bounds’ due to Covid the more traditional (and aesthetically more pleasing) ‘photographs on walls’ exhibitions reluctantly had to be put on ‘hold’.

I had two involvements in this years Head On ‘On Line’ photo festival … a personal exhibition “Me Too … Where The Boys Are … The Girls Are” (a photo essay on the performance of male strippers and their female audience) … and the co-curation (with Moshe Rosenzveig) of a project close to the heart … “Paper Tigers” … a collection of the work by sixty of Australia’s finest photojournalists. Both received large views on-line.

Now six months later, as Covid cases thankfully take a massive dive, these two exhibitions and work by many others are showing physically ‘on the walls’ (and fences) in numerous galleries and at venues around Sydney. Brilliant … and astonishing work by Head On !

Very sadly … I can’t ‘B’ well get there ! My Queensland Premier has stood fast to her decision that the borders between the Sunshine State and Sydney will remain firmly shut till (extremely annoyingly) at least the first of December … just days after these exhibitions close. The way of the World in 2020 … but I’m still gutted …

My exhibition “Me Too … Where The Boys Are … The Girls Are” opened yesterday on the wall at the fabulously atmospheric venue of the Paddington Reservoir Gardens … and runs there alongside four other great exhibits until the 29th of November. Photographer colleague, mate and gentleman Michael Amendolia went out of his way to lessen the blow of not ‘being there’ by sending me a raft of images of my exhibition in place (below). Thanks Michael !

The “Paper Tigers” exhibition (and the launch of the “Paper Tigers” book) opens at the new ‘Twenty Twenty Six Gallery’ in Bondi tomorrow … with an official opening this Saturday afternoon. Many of my Sydney based colleagues will be attending (lucky them) … whilst us interstate contributors will have to be patient until further opportunities eventuate down the track.

There will be more on ‘Paper Tigers’ … how it came about, what it contains and why it is important … a little later when I receive some images from colleagues who get to attend the gallery …

In the meantime … Paul Neeson from Sydney radio station East Side FM and I had an ‘on air’ chat about my work and both these exhibitions and the Head On Photo Festival in general. It runs for just over twenty one minutes and can be listened to here below. There is also an online text story on “Me Too … Where The Boys Are … The Girls Are” here.


Damn that bloody virus !

Images © Brian Cassey (two pics from “Me Too … “Where The Boys Are … The Girls Are” and my “Paper Tigers” image “Abdullatif” … & … Michael Amendolia (top 2 General Exhibition pics)

Head On Photofestival 2020 - Paddington Reservoir Gardens - "Me Too - Where The Boys Are ... The Girls Are" - exhibition of work by Brian Cassey

Head On Photofestival 2020 - Paddington Reservoir Gardens - "Me Too - Where The Boys Are ... The Girls Are" - exhibition of work by Brian Cassey

Head On Photofestival 2020 - Paddington Reservoir Gardens - "Me Too - Where The Boys Are ... The Girls Are" - exhibition of work by Brian Cassey

Head On Photofestival 2020 - Paddington Reservoir Gardens - "Me Too - Where The Boys Are ... The Girls Are" - exhibition of work by Brian Cassey

Head On Photofestival 2020 - Twenty Twenty Six Gallery - Bondi - "Paper Tigers" - exhibition of work by 60 Australian photojournalists co-curated by Brian Cassey

Paper Tigers, Strippers … & Head On Photo Festival

… 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).



Head On - Paper Tigers - Book - photojournalism - 'Abdullatif' by Brian Cassey

Head On - Paper Tigers Book - 'The Block' - image by Dean Sewell - Oculi

Head On - Paper Tigers - Book - image by Nic Walker

Head On - 'Me Too - Where the Boys Are ... the Girls Are' - image and exhibition by Brian Cassey

Head On - 'Me Too - Where the Boys Are ... the Girls Are' - image and exhibition by Brian Cassey

Head On Portrait Prize - Semi-Finalist - 'Generations - Aurukun' - by Brian Cassey