Shannon is Dying … Good Weekend …

Very pleased to see my image grace the cover of ‘Good Weekend’ magazine today … would be nicer if my portrait of terminal cancer patient Shannon Turner led to a story with, perhaps, a better ending.

Shannon Turner is dying … but is also part of something remarkable and ground breaking.
She is one of 35 patients to take part in Australia’s first approved clinical trial of potent
psychedelic drug therapy. 

Inside the magazine journalist Kate Cole-Adams tells at length a wonderful fascinating story about the therapeutic use of hallucinogenic drugs by Shannon and 34 terminally ill others involved in a pioneering treatment.

Kate’s story is a ‘must read’ …

In 2018 Shannon was diagnosed with breast cancer. In 2020 she was told that the cancer had metastasised into her left lung and she was given just a year to live.

At this point I’ll let ‘Good Weekend’ tell more in this ‘preview’ by editor Katrina Strickland on Instagram this morning …

“I’ve never much liked the idea of getting high. Call me a wowser – perhaps control freak is more accurate! – but the notion of losing control of my mind and actions has never held much appeal. Each to their own, I guess.⁠

That said, if I were facing imminent death due to terminal illness, I could see the appeal of getting high, in a safe setting, in a bid to unlock deeper levels of understanding and acceptance. This is what 35 patients signed up to do in a trailblazing clinical trial at St Vincent’s Hospital Melbourne that tested the use of psilocybin in terminally ill patients.⁠

⁠Their insights into the process are fascinating; so, too, the observation that Australia was lagging behind other major research nations in investigating the therapeutic use of psychedelics before this. Now it’s leapfrogged to the front of the pack, with hospitals and clinicians around the globe eagerly awaiting the results. ⁠

⁠Terminally ill patients, no doubt, will also want to hear how effective psilocybin is.⁠”

Kate’s words … spread over four pages inside the magazine accompanied by more pictures … are far too good a read to ignore … and can be found here at … https://www.smh.com.au/national/shannon-is-terminally-ill-in-a-trailblazing-trial-she-took-a-white-pill-20240129-p5f0v1.html … (sadly requiring a subscription). If you can, may I suggest sourcing a ‘hard copy’ of todays The Sydney Morning Herald or The Age, to read the magazine and view the pics all in the better old fashioned way … ‘in print’.

My subject Shannon was an absolute delight … and the work tells a remarkable story with the greatest of respect … Thanks Shannon, Thanks Katrina, Thanks Kate … gratified to be just a small part of it …

Image © Brian Cassey

The Wet ‘n’ Windy Visit of Cyclone ‘Jasper’ …

… it’s raining heavily as I pen this … it is the ‘wet’ season after all … but nothing like the utterly torrential rains that Cyclone Jasper brought to Cairns and the far north in mid December.

Although the actual cyclone was somewhat lower on the scale as cyclones go … the rains that followed in Jasper’s wake were the most intense seen up here in many decades.

Breaking most of the very long standing rainfall records, metres high flooding and massive landslides caused absolute havoc … and as usual it’s my sometimes challenging job to cover the happenings photographically. As a freelance this gets a little complicated as the phone runs a little hot from calls from news publications and the ‘wires’ (news agencies).

Over the course of Jasper’s journey across the Coral Sea, it’s approach and crossing of the far north coast and it’s impact and aftermath thereafter … I found myself working for all of AAP (Australian Associated Press), AFP (Agence France Presse), NCA Newswire … and News Ltd. The images I made over the initial couple of weeks of turmoil were syndicated and published around the planet … some turning up in places and publications that I had no idea existed.

Jaspers effect on far north Queensland was massive. The Cairns northern beach suburbs of Holloways, Machans and Yorkeys Knob were inundated with metres of flood water … many residents escaping to their rooftops and eventual chopper rescue. Indigenous townships further north were so badly flooded that entire communities were evacuated. At least one was swept to their death. Metres of rain eroded mountains and caused numerous massive landslides that crushed buildings, covered main roads and changed the landscape … and that’s just part of the story.

Here’s links to just over a handful of the many publications where my work turned up over the cyclone event … The Arkansas Democrat Daily – USA, The Peninsula – Qatar, The Hindustan Times – India, The New Straits Times – Malaysia, RNZ – New Zealand, France 24, International – The News – Pakistan, Kuwait Times … and The Augusta-Margaret River Mail – WA Australia. They were scores more around the planet.

There’s a selection of my Jasper images (so far) below and here are short details of each for context … from top … as follows … 1. The Sanders family watch Jasper roll in across the Coral Sea at Holloways Beach … 2. Linda Applbee sits on the saturated contents stripped from their flooded Holloways Beach home … 3. Two Pictures on the wall … Steven and Caroline Cheng survey the flooding in their house of 38 years at Holloways Beach … 4. Evacuated residents leave the flooded Barron River bridge Cairns to return to their Holloways beach home … 5. Evacuated residents reunite with rescued family members at the Barron River Bridge Cairns … 6. (left) A discharged patient awaits outside the Emergency Department of Cairns Hospital behind a line of sand bags … (right) Tree surgeon Brice Stienstra removes a felled tree from Muddies Playground on the Cairns Esplanade … 7. (left) Rattled … Inundated ‘Rattle ‘n’ Hum’ bar on the Esplanade at Palm Cove as Jasper closes in … (right) 11 year old Cairns resident Jaxon Andrews tends to a cyclone battered and drenched white cockatoo … 8. (left) Ergon electrician Justin Pitts prepares to fix a power line victim of Jasper … (right) Motorists traverse flooded Cairns streets during torrential rains … 9. A massive tree snapped by Jasper on the Cairns Esplanade.

The first image of the waves at Holloways Beach turned up full TV screen whilst watching CNN … and the fourth image, made at the Barron River bridge in Cairns, was one of 23 images selected in the ‘Australia’s Best Agency Photography for 2023’ collection published by The Guardian. Nice …

Covering Jasper certainly wasn’t uneventful … my favourite lens became a victim of saturation … and I managed to fracture a vertebrae in a fall … minor stuff … and I’ve a feeling Jasper’s story isn’t quite over yet …

Images © Brian Cassey, AAP, AFP, NCANewswire

“Yes” ? … “No” ? … Who Knows ? … A Week Full of “Voices” …

Last week  … manic !  Flight to Aurukun with indigenous leader Noel Pearson, another long day flying back to Aurukun and on to Pormpuraaw and Doomadgee Cape York Peninsula with Bob Katter … and in between following ‘Yes’ campaign director Dean Parkin all around Cairns. 

As the ‘Indigenous Voice to Parliament’ referendum draws ever closer, campaigning is in full swing … and there has been regular arrivals of ‘campaigners’ from ‘down south’ flocking to the Far North (and more turning up later on this week.)

Pearson’s visit to Aurukun and Parkin’s in Cairns were covered for ‘The Australian’ (including a nice page 1) … and Katter in an epic three destination Cape York flights saga, was for Bob’s campaign.

These TEN images have been chosen from across the hundreds I made over a hectic week … and they are also featured (arguably better) on my Instagram account and may be found here … https://www.instagram.com/p/Cx94Gy6vP4C/

  1. Bubblegum Discovery – Aurukun with Katter
  2. Bob Katter plants an ‘illegal’ potato in Doomadgee
  3. Young child explores the cenotaph in Aurukun – with Katter
  4. Dawn Koondumbin (75) reads up on the ‘Voice’ – in Aurukun with Pearson
  5. Bob Katter checks vegetable & fruit prices in the Doomadgee shop
  6. Phyllis Yunkaporta with Sophera Kerindun – in Aurukun with Pearson
  7. Deserted swim pool in Pormpuraaw – with Katter (left)
  8. Noel Pearson meets Bertha Yunkaporta (91) – in Aurukun (right)
  9. ‘Yes’ campaign Director Dean Parkin in Cairns (left)
  10. Bob Katter flies back from Aurukun, Pormpuraaw and Doomadgee (right)

Poses the question … what am I going to do after the referendum 🙂 ? !

Images © Brian Cassey

8th Year … Trinity Bay High Student Portrait Prize …

This past week I once again had the delightful task of judging the works of Trinity Bay High School students in their annual Photographic Portrait Prize … and presenting the awards for the eighth year in a row.

Yearly, I’ve been amazed by the quality of photographic portraiture produced by the students … some barely in their teens. Looking back on my pictorial skills when their age, I would have been way down the bottom of class.

Having said that, this year when faced with over sixty quality portraits lining the Visual Arts walls, I was even more stunned. The collective students had really excelled and produced a ‘best ever’ portraiture exhibition.

Selecting the three winners was a daunting and lengthy task. In the end the overall winner boiled down to an almost impossible choice between two great portraits … neither of which would look out of place published in National Geographic magazine. Ultimately the self portrait ‘Window of Soul’ (top) by David-Paul Onakoy got the winning nod over ‘It Takes a Village to Raise a Child’ (second from top) made by his mate David Mashengo … but only just !! The Congolese student pair both produced wonderfully constructed portraits that told a story. David-Paul took home the winners prize of a DSLR camera courtesy of sponsors Garricks Camera House.

Interestingly and in contrast to the previous couple of years … this years three winners all showed strong eye contact in their portraits, with the beautifully executed and literally eye-catching work by Sienna Stuart-Bennet of her friend Shakira, ‘Vision’, making up the top prized trio.

I could have easily awarded a dozen or so ‘Honourable Mentions’ but had to limit the decision to just three, coincidently all black and white portraits. The works of … Jade Gubb (titled ‘Dystopian Gremlin’ – great attitude and angle of view) … Noecocha Cowley (‘Mary’ – striking use of shadow) … and Mattie-Leigh Hanson (‘Seashore’ – beautifully constructed and composed), prevailed. Virgil Gill won the top prize amongst the school staff section for the work ‘Sunshine’ … whilst ‘Sweet 16’ by student Shirley Vue (bottom image) was chosen by popular vote as ‘Peoples Choice’.

Much praise must go to the dedicated Visual Arts teaching staff at the school who are fostering and moulding this amazing young photographic talent.

You can view all the TBHS students winning works from the past seven years by clicking here… 2022202120202019201820172016

See you all next year for number nine …

Images © The Student Artists … from top … David-Paul Onakoy, David Mashengo, Sienna Stuart-Bennet, Jade Gubb, Noecocha Cowley & Mattie-Leigh Hanson, Shirley Vue

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

Judging School Students Portraiture at TBHS …

The years fly by … it seems almost yesterday that I was asked for the first time to judge the work of Trinity Bay High Schools photography class students. It was actually seven years ago in 2016 … and the students whose work was displayed in that years exhibition will now be well into their twenties.

This year I once again had the distinct pleasure of being asked to judge the schools annual photographic portrait prize … for the seventh year in a row.

Last week that judging took place followed by the announcement of winners and presentations …

There were a whole host of great portraits adorning the walls of the schools gallery that could have made it into the winners circle including (but not only) works by Axil Austin, Marie Johnson, Naomi Rubambo, Patrick Munguyiko and Prince Mashengo.

A very challenging decision this year … but after circling the gallery works on the wall many times …  with several breaks for rumination … i came up with these results (images below, counter clockwise from top) … Winner – ‘Bridezilla’ by Ali Talty , Second Place – ‘Mutesi’ by Angelique Iradukanda, Third Place – ‘Muslim Girl’ by Samita Khadka and Highly Commended – ‘The Deadly Clown’ by Mamta Bista. At bottom below is the work that was voted Peoples Choice by visitors to the exhibition … ‘Island Eyes’ by Peiwa Wamala  … and personally I’m glad they did :-).

Ali’s Winning work ‘Bridezilla’ was unmissable on the wall … a highly detailed image from a great quality file. It’s one of those images that you can’t stop looking around and searching for little details and making your own ‘interpretations’. (Still not one hundred percent about the title tho’ 😉 ). For her excellent wining work Ali was presented with a DSLR camera courtesy of sponsor Garricks Camera House, Cairns by teacher Ian Whittaker.

Angelique’s Second Place ‘Mutesi’ is a nicely put together classy, sophisticated work … nice interesting pose by the subject, displaying her to best effect.

An excellent quality image file and the use of great quality of the light and careful pose and composition used in Samita’s ‘Muslim Girl’ made it an exceptional work and a well deserved Third.

Some may feel that the selection of Mamta’s ‘The Deadly Clown’ may have been a ‘controversial’ decision. My take is that the almost abstract work is totally unmissable and unforgettable … some viewers remarked it was ‘very scary’. Great … if an image evokes emotion I’m all for it. I’ve seen the body of work that Mamta selected this image from … and it’s great creative work that deserved recognition.

The Trinity Bay teachers excelled this year with more entries in the ‘Staff Award’ than previous years … and my selection for best staff entry was a clever black and white work ‘Infinite Gambit’ by Kelly Nottle.

Over the years I’ve been constantly amazed by the work that these grade 12, 11 and younger students produce … and the work that that the teachers of the Visual Arts Faculty … this year Luke Madsen, Caroline Mudge and Clair Lloyd … nurture their students to produce.

Can’t wait for my eighth TBHS Photographic Portrait Prize next year …

You can find the previous winning images from the last six years of the TBHS portrait prize here …20212020, 2019, 2018, 2017, 2016.

Images © the students … (top four – counter clockwise from top) … ‘Bridezilla’ by Ali Talty, ‘Mutesi’ by Angelique Iradukanda, ‘Muslim Girl’ by Samita Khadka and ‘The Deadly Clown’ by Mamta Bista … (bottom) … ‘Island Eyes’ by Peiwa Wamala

Trinity Bay High School Portrait Prize 2022 - winner by Ali Talty - judge Brian Cassey

Trinity Bay High School Portrait Prize 2022 - 3rd and 2nd Place - Muslim Girl Samita Khadka_ Mutesi by Angelique - judge Brian Cassey

Trinity Bay High School Portrait Prize - Honourable - The Deadly Clown by Mamta Bista - judge Brian Cassey

Trinity Bay High School Portrait Prize - People's Choice - Island Eyes - Peiwa Wamala

 

Tim Page … 25 May 1944 to 24 August 2022 …

Tim … a LEGEND in the REAL sense of the word …

Born in Tunbridge Wells in Kent UK (not far from where I was ‘brung up’ some years later), Tim went on to become one of the most adventurous, successful and colourful conflict photojournalists on the planet.

Yesterday was his last day on that planet …

I’ve been fortunate to not only have been aware and in awe of Tim’s work since the late ’60’s but to have met and chatted with Tim on many occasions over the decades. Not enough occasions … but somewhat privileged nevertheless …

One of my fondest memories of the irrepressible Tim was on ‘Table 55’ at the 2016 Walkley Awards in Brisbane. What must have been the best and most enjoyable table of the evening consisted of eventual ‘Gold Walkley’ winner and younger photojournalist legend Andrew Quilty (and his delightful mum Ann), photography journalist Alison Steven-Taylor, fellow photojournalist Michael Amendolia, little ol’ me … and Tim escorting his lovely partner Marianne Harris. The best way to spend any eve … and a great way to celebrate my little win in the Nikon Walkley Portrait Prize.

In the pics below the two ‘Legends’ Tim and Andrew ‘chew the cud’ following Andrew’s big win (second image from top) … and (third from top) Tim watches the announcement of my Nikon Walkley Portrait Award  with Marianne.

It was whilst nattering at table 55 that Tim broached the idea of a ‘print swap’. He fancied a signed copy of my winning portrait of “Abdullatif – Beaten Refugee”.

Bloody ‘ell … I was distinctly honoured and more than happy to oblige !

As sometimes happens all went a little quiet on the issue … until a couple of YEARS later when this turned up in the mail (top below) … a signed print …

“Ambush of 173rd Airborne – Iron Triangle – 1965”

Tim made this image very early on in his stella career whilst covering a Vietcong ambush of the US 173rd in South Vietnam. His work from this action saw his first publication in ‘Life’ magazine. Several of Tim’s images of this ambush aftermath are infamous and all over the net … but I’ve found no evidence of this particular frame elsewhere (please correct me if I’m wrong.)

It will be treasured … 

Here’s how Tim described his work covering the ambush …

“It was Larry Burrows who had to teach me how to load my first Leica M3; I got it as a perk having just had this image (nb – a similar image at the scene but including helicopters) run as a vertical double truck in a 5-page spread in LIFE in the fall of ’65.

At the same time that Hello Dolly opened at Nha Trang airbase, a company of 173rd Airborne had walked into an ambush in Viet Cong base zone, known as the Iron Triangle. The sign had read “American who read this die.”

A class of prime youth shredded in seconds.

The dust-offs started coming within 30 minutes. I got a ride back to Ton San Nhut and was downtown in Room 401 of the Caravelle in another 30. Mostly, I remember carrying a badly wounded grunt whose leg came off and he almost bled out.”

(Notes … ‘dust-off’ was the lingo (and call sign) for casualty evacuation by helicopter … the Caravelle was the hotel in central Saigon where the media invariably stayed (and is still there.)

Tim also personally signed my copy of his book ‘Requiem’ … the brilliant volume he collated containing the work of the photographers and journalists killed during the Vietnamese wars against the Japanese, French and Americans. ‘Requiem’ became a must see traveling photographic exhibition that traversed the planet. Fittingly and luckily I took in the exhibition when it was presented in Vietnam’s War Remnants Museum in Ho Chi Minh City in 2014.

The last image below was made when Tim visited Cairns TEN years ago to talk at the launch of the Degrees South Collection volume “WAR” … along with two other photojournalist members of Degrees South, David Dare Parker and Michael Coyne. Tim, David and Michael each signed my cherished copy … over one or two beers 😉

Tim survived injuries in action four times. The first in Chu Lai September 1965 when he was struck by shrapnel in the legs and stomach; the second during Buddhist riots in Da Nang in 1966 when he sustained more shrapnel wounds to the head, back, and arms … and the third in August 1966 in the South China sea, when he was on board a coast guard cutter mistakenly strafed by the US Air Force which left Tim adrift at sea badly wounded. Lastly, in April 1969 Tim jumped out of a helicopter to help load wounded soldiers just as a sergeant stepped on a nearby mine, sending a 2-inch piece of shrapnel into Tim’s head. Tim’s multiple injuries led his colleagues in the field to joke that he would never make it to the age of 23.

Tim made it to yesterday aged 78 …. 

NB. For All interested … have found the entire series of “Frankie’s House” made in 1992 (all four episodes at around the two hundred minute mark) … a TV series based (pretty loosely) on the early photojournalism career of Tim in Vietnam. Can be found on YouTube at … https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLMqda4uF4-_4Azl9H-Xy5ES0NrHnbB5bd .)  Apparently Tim wasn’t a fan …

Images © Tim Page & Brian Cassey

Ambush of 173rd Airborne Iron Triangle 1965 - Image by Tim Page ... Brian Cassey Blog

Photojpurnalists Tim Page and Andrew Quilty at Table 55, Walkley Awards 2016 - Image by Brian Cassey

Photojpurnalist Tim Page at Table 55, Walkley Awards 2016 - with Nikon Walkley Portrait Prize winning image "Abdullatif - Beaten Asylum Seeker" by Brian Cassey

War Photojournalist Tim Page at Cairns launch of 'WAR - Degrees South' at The Tanks, Cairns - image by Brian Cassey

‘Ruby’ … Her Story … Her images …

Thanks to the brilliant explosive but so so sad comprehensive three part story penned by journalist Kristin Shorten, I’ve in the past few days had an exceptional run in The Australian three editions in a row with several different portraits of ‘Ruby’ … a startlingly brave but severely damaged  twenty one year old indigenous mother from the remote Northern Territory community of Yuendumu.

Over three front pages over three days and several more inside, Kristin tells in graphic horrific and ultimately the saddest detail, the story of ‘Ruby’ (not her real name), her multiple rapes at the hands of her father, the violence that is endemic in her NT community … and the aftermath of that violence as she fled to the relative safety of Cairns. For ‘Ruby’ that was indeed ‘relative’ as she found herself in jail and separated from her one year old son.

‘Ruby’ … who not surprisingly has difficulty trusting anyone … was charming to portray and, eventually, to talk to.

An aspiring artist, ‘Ruby’ uses her art to forget her brutal past. Sincerely hope her art thrives and the story of her future with her son is much brighter.

Huge thanks and a pleasure to be a part of Kristin’s fabulous work on this story that had to be told.

Here are my personal favourite portraits of ‘Ruby’ (from top) and grabs of The Aus page 1 and some of the other pages with my pics. Kristin’s comprehensive harrowing stories and more of my images can be found online … with a subscription … at …

https://www.theaustralian.com.au/nation/indigenous/out-of-yuendumu-how-violence-seeps-through-generations/news-story/5d28ff3aa44699c9e89d884019a2a594

https://www.theaustralian.com.au/nation/indigenous/rubys-story-i-didnt-want-dad-jailed-but-i-was-scared-he-would-kill-me/news-story/303ce27b48c7278aabc971833f822ed7

https://www.theaustralian.com.au/nation/indigenous/father-free-to-unleash-four-month-reign-of-terror/news-story/060ca1e3716cf7642d0fef3382b3e39a

https://www.theaustralian.com.au/nation/indigenous/rubys-story-i-want-to-go-back-home-but-i-dont-feel-safe-there/news-story/242e3968f716b96a55b9ac4186ee1a2a

https://www.theaustralian.com.au/nation/rubys-art-thrives-in-her-baby-sons-shine/news-story/6537c9e30ed8251156cf66e38181b600

https://www.theaustralian.com.au/nation/in-the-clamour-for-an-indigenous-voice-true-suffering-is-being-drowned-out/news-story/0b6fd8710fc0410a9a377fa8364f3824

Images © Brian Cassey

Ruby from Yuenemudu - story by Kristin Shorten, images by Brian Cassey

Ruby from Yuenemudu - story by Kristin Shorten, images by Brian Cassey

Ruby from Yuenemudu - story by Kristin Shorten, images by Brian Cassey

Ruby from Yuenemudu - story by Kristin Shorten, images by Brian Cassey

Ruby from Yuenemudu - story by Kristin Shorten, images by Brian Cassey - The Australian

Ruby from Yuenemudu - story by Kristin Shorten, images by Brian Cassey - The Australian

Ruby from Yuenemudu - story by Kristin Shorten, images by Brian Cassey - The Australian

 

 

Q&A & Radio … APL2 Exhibition Launch and Nikon Walkley Win …

Last couple of months have been eventful with the launch and five week run of my latest exhibition ‘A Photographer’s Life – Part Two’ at the Court House Gallery Cairns and a timely corresponding announcement of a win in this years Nikon Walkley Portrait Prize.

Grateful that the combined events seemed to attract a far bit of media attention … and struggled through radio interviews about the work and win with Kier Shorey at ABC Far North, Sarah Speller at Cairns FM 89.1, John MacKenzie at 4CA … (and another that won’t air till next month).

All touched on the work in the exhibition … a little on the Walkley … and the background stories to the images.

First up was Kia Shorey on drive time ABC … (not really at my best in a studio at 7am) … play here (below) if you have seven minutes of the will and patience 😉

The 4CA chat with veteran talk show host John MacKenzie was fairly short … but very useful and straight to the point as is John’s way.

Cairns FM 89.1 host Sarah Speller‘s little natter went a little longer at just on five minutes … and it can be played here …

However, by far the longest interview wasn’t for airing on the radio but was an integral part of the opening eve event of the ‘A Photographer’s Life – Part Two’ exhibition at the heritage listed Court House Gallery. Over a hundred folks witnessed ABC Radio’s talented senior presenter Fiona Sewell host an over forty minute Q&A ‘grilling’ (read interview) in the spacious Court Room of the gallery, where we talked in detail about eight projected images chosen from the thirty seven works that made up the exhibition. Here is all forty three minutes worth …

Thanks all in radio land for supplying the audio files … and Thank You for listening 🙂

‘Deadly Threads’ Comes To Cairns …

Whilst my personal exhibition “A Photographer’s Life – Part Two” has sadly finished it’s five week season at the Court House Gallery Cairns, I’m very gratified to still have (large) work ‘next door’ at the Cairns Art Gallery as an integral part of ‘Deadly Threads’.

Early this year, at the request of the State Library of Queensland, I produced a series of images in a Cairns pop up studio of a fascinating variety of prominent northern Australian Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders wearing a creative colourful showcase of indigenous singlets, shirts, polos and jerseys.

The resulting SLQ exhibition “Deadly Threads” explores the significance of these apparel pieces as symbols of identity, celebration and unity. They have been developed to protest, commemorate special occasions and historical events and tell stories of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander history and cultures.

The exhibition drew crowds in Brisbane during an extended season at the State Library of Queensland from March to October … liberally sprinkled with massive prints of my work amongst the 190 shirts displayed. (I was fortunate to get down to Brisbane to see the exhibition on it’s very last day !)

The exhibition came ‘home’ to Cairns this month at the historic (formerly Public Curators Building) Cairns Art Gallery, with an opening eve on the 2nd of December. Very pleasingly my work again plays a prominent part … (although the actual shirts are still the real ‘stars’ of the show). Two of my works massively adorn the portico outside the gallery to alert passersby to the exhibition inside … images of South Sea Islander resident of Gimuy (Cairns), Franklin Mye (right – below) … and Conrad (CJ) Ahwang, Muluyligal-Zeandth R\Kes man also residing in Gimuy (left – below).

Inside a further half a dozen images adorned the walls … with the pick being another massive image of ‘CJ’ (pics below) unmissably greeting everyone as they entered the exhibition room.

This really is a fine exhibition … the shirts … especially those produced on Mer (Murray) Island to document Eddie Mabo and his work … are fascinating. I’m proud to be a part of it. The exhibition runs till the 23rd January and entry is free … don’t miss it !

Images © Brian Cassey

 

'Deadly Threads' - exhibition of Indigenous shirts by State Library of Queensland at Cairns Art Gallery - still image work by Brian Cassey

'Deadly Threads' - exhibition of Indigenous shirts by State Library of Queensland at Cairns Art Gallery - still image work by Brian Cassey

'Deadly Threads' - exhibition of Indigenous shirts by State Library of Queensland at Cairns Art Gallery - still image work by Brian Cassey

'Deadly Threads' - exhibition of Indigenous shirts by State Library of Queensland at Cairns Art Gallery - still image work by Brian Cassey

'Deadly Threads' - exhibition of Indigenous shirts by State Library of Queensland at Cairns Art Gallery - still image work by Brian Cassey

‘A Photographer’s Life – Part Two’ at The Court House Gallery …

Now just over two weeks since the doors opened on my latest exhibition … ‘A Photographer’s Life – Part Two’ … and one week since a brilliant official opening eve event at the beautiful venue, the heritage listed Court House Gallery.

Following on from ‘A Photographer’s Life – Part One’ … exhibited at the Head On Photo Festival in Sydney and The Tanks Arts Centre in Cairns in 2017 … there was always going to be a ‘Part Two’.

Essentially a ‘Retrospective’, the ‘Part One’ exhibition featured work selected from my archives … negatives from long forgotten boxes and numerous disk drives … that charted the progression from my first roll of film as a pre-teen, through my first paid media work in London town as a teen and onto my career across the decades producing press work that was published around the planet..

‘Part Two’ is a fundamentally different exhibition of work. It contains a few images that didn’t quite make the space cut for ‘Part One’ – but most of the work is new and made from 2016 up until today. Whilst ‘Part One’ was almost exclusively ‘assigned’ media work the ‘Part Two’ images are much less so. The decline in media work and the lack of media opportunity and funding has meant that much of the new work was made independently, often self funded and sometimes just purely personally observational. The photographs emanated from India, China, Sri Lanka, the United States, Papua New Guinea, the UK … and around Australia, 

An integral part of the new exhibition is the ‘story behind the images’. Each work is accompanied by text explaining how the image came about and why. Many of them are quite personal. Feedback from exhibition visitors so far is that the ‘stories’ added a depth and dimension to the images. Gratifying 🙂

The opening eve event on November 5th was a thoroughly enjoyable big success. An individual exhibition opening record crowd of over a hundred and twenty five crammed ‘standing room only’ in the ‘Court Room’ to witness ABC Radio’s Fiona Sewell ‘grill’ me nicely about eight of the thirty seven exhibition images for about forty five minutes. Many Thanks for hosting the event Fiona.  Great to see friends and colleagues past and present .. many I hadn’t seen in years … turn up for the occasion. Thanks all …

Also launched at the event was the large format high definition limited edition collectors book ‘A Photographer’s Life – Part One & Part Two’ … containing … yes … all the images (85 in all over 88 pages) from both ‘Part One’ and ‘Part Two’. All those who order a copy during the exhibition period (till 11th December) with have their names and an acknowledgment printed in the book … and my scrawled as best I can signature too 😉 . Order at the Court House Gallery office or phone either Dayle on 07 40326621 or the office on 07 40326620.

Greatest respect and massive thanks to Curator Chris Stannard , Dayle Jordon, Megan O’Rourke and the rest of the council team who did a brilliant job hanging and presenting the exhibition. 

The exhibition continues until the 11th December Tuesdays to Saturdays 10am to 4pm … another four weeks to take it in. (If anyone would like a ‘personalised’ tour of the work I will be happy to try and do just that … just contact me.)

Below are images … (impossible in small pics to do justice to the exhibition, the work and the gallery) … of the works on the wall, the opening eve event and the book.

Images © Brian Cassey (4), Brendan Radke (2) & Stacey Carrick (1) (Many Thanks Brendan and Stacey)

 

'A Photographer's Life - Part Two' Exhibition at The Court House Gallery Cairns - by Brian Cassey

'A Photographer's Life - Part Two' Exhibition at The Court House Gallery Cairns - by Brian Cassey

'A Photographer's Life - Part Two' Exhibition at The Court House Gallery Cairns - by Brian Cassey

'A Photographer's Life - Part Two' Exhibition at The Court House Gallery Cairns - by Brian Cassey

'A Photographer's Life - Part Two' Exhibition at The Court House Gallery Cairns - by Brian Cassey

'A Photographer's Life - Part Two' Exhibition at The Court House Gallery Cairns - by Brian Cassey

'A Photographer's Life - Part Two' Exhibition at The Court House Gallery Cairns - by Brian Cassey

 

 

 

 

 

 

‘Tears’ At The Perth IRIS Awards …

The ‘IRIS’ awards exhibition … an International biennial art prize acknowledging outstanding contemporary portraiture … opened in Perth on Friday eve at the Perth Centre for Photography Gallery. So pleased to see my ‘Finalist’ selected image “Tears for George Floyd … 8 Minutes and 46 Seconds” (top below) make it’s ‘on the wall’ debut in the fantastic exhibition. (Image © Brian Cassey @brian_cassey)

The award prides itself for “selecting revealing portraits that are unique, original and conceptually stimulating”.

Normally I’d be there at the opening … but no way could I travel early to endure a costly 14 day quarantine on top of airfares etc etc. 

The exhibition works were in the main, indeed, unique in many ways … a great exhibition to be part of.

As I couldn’t attend (thanks to covid), loverly Perth based photographer Andrea Vose very, very kindly sent me pics from the opening eve (below) illustrating my work as it sat on the exhibition walls. Thank You heaps Andrea !!

Images below … “Tears for George Floyd … 8 Minutes and 46 Seconds” © Brian Cassey … Images at Perth Centre for Photography Gallery © Andrea Vose

IRIS Award - for Contemporary Photographic Portraiture, Perth - 'Finalist' - 'Tears for George Floyd ... 8 Minutes and 46 Seconds' by Brian Cassey

IRIS Award - for Contemporary Photographic Portraiture, Perth - 'Finalist' - 'Tears for George Floyd ... 8 Minutes and 46 Seconds' by Brian Cassey

IRIS Award - for Contemporary Photographic Portraiture, Perth - 'Finalist' - 'Tears for George Floyd ... 8 Minutes and 46 Seconds' by Brian Cassey

 

Aus Paralympians Off to Tokyo Olympics …

… a large chunk of the Australian Paralympic team left Cairns last night for Tokyo to compete in the Olympic Games… and I had the distinct pleasure of working with these great athletes on their last training sessions on Thursday. Thanks to Delly Carr who ‘dobed’ me in and Athletics Australia for the work.

These are just a small selection of ten of those many images made at these training sessions at Barlow Park, Cairns … the evening session especially challenging as the ‘light’ can only be described as atrocious !

I can’t stress how wonderfully down to earth and receptive these athletes are … many World Champions and previous Olympics Gold winners amongst them … despite circumstances which would floor most all of us. 

In these ten images we have (top to bottom… I wish space would allow me to post more) … Vanessa Low – long jump World record holder & Olympic Gold Medalist … James Turner – 800 metre World Record & Olympic Gold Medalist (left) – and Scott Reardon – 100 metre Gold Medalist (right) … Robyn Lambird – wheelchair racer … Samantha Schmidt – Discuss … Ari Gesini – long jump … Chad Perris – 100 & 200 metres … Vanessa Low – long jump World record holder & Olympic Gold Medalist … Even O’Hanlon – 100 metres (front)  – and Chad Perris – 100 & 200 metres (rear) … Sarah Edmiston – discuss … Robyn Lambird – wheelchair racer.

Wish all the team the greatest success … (as long as they don’t embarrass Great Britain 😉 )

Images © Brian Cassey, Athletics Australia 

Australian Paralympic team members - off the the Tokt=yo Olympics - images by Brian Cassey

Australian Paralympic team members - off the the Tokt=yo Olympics - images by Brian Cassey

Australian Paralympic team members - off the the Tokt=yo Olympics - images by Brian Cassey

Australian Paralympic team members - off the the Tokt=yo Olympics - images by Brian Cassey

Australian Paralympic team members - off the the Tokt=yo Olympics - images by Brian Cassey

Australian Paralympic team members - off the the Tokt=yo Olympics - images by Brian Cassey

Australian Paralympic team members - off the the Tokt=yo Olympics - images by Brian Cassey

Australian Paralympic team members - off the the Tokt=yo Olympics - images by Brian Cassey

Australian Paralympic team members - off the the Tokt=yo Olympics - images by Brian Cassey

Australian Paralympic team members - off the the Tokt=yo Olympics - images by Brian Cassey

 

 

Covid Lockdown in Cairns …

… seemed inevitable that it would happen sometime … and will likely happen again … a coronavirus pandemic lockdown in Cairns. Our tropical city has led a charmed life since last years initial lockdown in March and April … and we’ve watched as lockdowns have been instituted regularly around the rest of the country.

It took a mariner who had contracted the virus on an offshore ship before travelling back to Cairns and passing it on to a taxi driver to change all that and spark a (thankfully only) three day total lockdown.

These are just a few of the many images I made for Australian Associated Press (AAP) this week. More of my lockdown pics may be found on the AAP site here. (I also spent time covering the lockdown for News Ltd and you may have seen some of those in the local media.)

From top we have … 9 year old Lexie Barlow is tested by QML staff for covid-19 at a testing centre on the Cairns Esplanade … the Cairns Esplanade Lagoon empty and closed for the lockdown duration … masked indigenous children Isiah Bligh and Jakian Costello play in the rain during the Yarrabah lockdown … with occupancy down to seventeen percent a housekeeper patrols the empty corridors of the Cairns Hilton Hotel … Cairns residents queue for covid-19 testing at a QML test centre on the Esplanade … a girl exercises on the Cairns Esplanade during the lockdown.

Cairns has been fortunate since the pandemic began early in 2020 … and fingers crossed these are the last images of a local lockdown.

Images © Brian Cassey and AAP

Covid-19 Lockdown in Cairns - images by © Brian Cassey, AAP

Covid-19 Lockdown in Cairns - images by © Brian Cassey, AAP

Covid-19 Lockdown in Cairns - images by © Brian Cassey, AAP

Covid-19 Lockdown in Cairns - images by © Brian Cassey, AAP

Covid-19 Lockdown in Cairns - images by © Brian Cassey, AAP

Covid-19 Lockdown in Cairns - images by © Brian Cassey, AAP

Aussies Off To Tokyo Olympics …

A pleasure to have the opportunity to document … for Australian Associated Press (AAP) … the departure of just on half Australia’s Olympic squad as they left the country for the Tokyo Games at Cairns International Airport on Saturday. Sadly I wasn’t on the flight with them …

The QANTAS charter aircraft was chokers with about 280 face masked athletes and officials from the swimming, rowing, hockey, water polo, beach volleyball, table tennis, weightlifting and badminton teams on board. Amongst the masked throng was Australia’s ‘Madam Butterfly’ Gold medalist Susie O’Neill (fourth image below) … currently Deputy Chefs de Missions for the Tokyo Olympic Games.

Disturbingly, shortly after the aircraft lifted off from the Cairns runway the news dropped that an official had tested positive for COVID-19 at the Tokyo Olympics athletes’ village. A worrying development for the team.

Below are just over a handful of the pics I made of the athletes departure for the (2020 or 2021 ?) Tokyo Olympic Games … the complete set of 45 images may be found on the AAP site HERE.

Images © AAP/Brian Cassey

The Australian Olympic team departs Cairns for the Tokyo 2021 Games - Images by Brian Cassey for AAPThe Australian Olympic team departs Cairns for the Tokyo 2021 Games - Images by Brian Cassey for AAP

The Australian Olympic team departs Cairns for the Tokyo 2021 Games - Images by Brian Cassey for AAP

The Australian Olympic team departs Cairns for the Tokyo 2021 Games - Images by Brian Cassey for AAP

The Australian Olympic team departs Cairns for the Tokyo 2021 Games - Images by Brian Cassey for AAP The Australian Olympic team departs Cairns for the Tokyo 2021 Games - Images by Brian Cassey for AAP

The Australian Olympic team departs Cairns for the Tokyo 2021 Games - Images by Brian Cassey for AAP

International Portrait Photographer of the Year … Wow !

Chuffed … !  The results are just in for the inaugural ‘The International Portrait Photographer of the Year’ awards … and two of my images are represented.

‘Bonn Marie – Asking the Question’ (below) has been selected as the winner of Third Place – The Character Study … and, very nicely includes the award of some cash and … rare this days … a trophy to whack in the ‘office’. It will also be showcased TWICE in the accompanying book ‘The Top 101 International Portrait Photographs of the Year’ … firstly in the ‘winners’ section  and then in the ‘Top 101’ portraits section.

Also selected in the ‘Top 101’ section of the book is my portrait of Kate Yeoman … ‘Kate – Waiting For Her New Breasts II’ (also below) … a slightly different version of the original newspaper published image. This version has Kate with her eyes closed and I now feel it evokes more emotion than the earlier pic.

‘The Top 101 International Portrait Photographs of the Year’ book will be available in hard cover and as an ebook in the very near future. Will post a link …

Both portraits (or very similar in Kate’s case) have featured in other earlier International and Australian award selections. Check ’em out on my ‘awards’ page here …

Here’s just a few of the other International sites that are featuring this award and my portrait of Bonn Marie …

https://www.diyphotography.net/this-touching-and-trippy-portrait-wins-the-international-portrait-photographer-of-the-year-2021/

https://www.digitalcameraworld.com/au/news/stunning-and-evocative-images-celefutbrated-in-new-global-portrait-photo-contest 

https://www.dpreview.com/news/9899566132/slideshow-winners-of-the-international-portrait-photographer-of-the-year-awards

https://www.oceanroadmagazine.com.au/winners-of-the-international-portrait-photographer-of-the-year-2021/

Images © Brian Cassey

International Portrait Photographer of the Year - 3rd Place - "Bon Marie - Asking The Question" - The Character Study - by Brian Cassey

International Portrait Photographer of the Year - "Kate - Waiting For Her New Breasts" - The Top 101 Portrait Photographs of the Year 2021 - by Brian Cassey

‘International Color Awards’ … X Four …

Great to see four of my images recognised in the 14th Edition of the ‘International Color Awards’ announced recently.

Three times ‘Honorable Mentions’ in … (from top) … ‘Photojournalism’ for “8 Minutes and 46 Seconds” … ‘Children of the World’ for “The Kids Of Ali Curung” …  and ‘Portrait’ for “Kate – Waiting For Her New Breasts”. The image “Bonn Marie – Asking The Question” (bottom) had to settle for Finalist Nominee in ‘Fine Art’.

It was the first accolades for the first two pics … “8 Minutes and 46 Seconds” – during a ‘Black Lives Matter’ protest in Cairns, US citizen Hermela Bealfan sheds tears as she lies prostrate on the ground for the 8 minutes and 46 seconds that it took police officer Derek Chauvin to kill George Floyd by kneeling on his neck in Minneapolis … and “The Kids of Ali Curung” – a kids welcome to the remote Northern Territory indigenous township of Ali Curung.

The portraits of ‘Kate’ and ‘Bonn’ are better known as they have been mentioned several times in earlier awards … see the ‘Award’ page listings here … https://www.briancasseyphotographer.com/awards/

Gotta be happy with that …

Images © Brian Cassey

14th International Color Awards - Honorable Mention - Photojournalism - "8 Minutes and 46 Seconds" by Brian Cassey

14th International Color Awards - Honorable Mention - Children of the World - "The Kids of Ali Curung" by Brian Cassey

14th International Color Awards - Honorable Mention - Portrait - "Kate - Waiting For Her New Breasts" by Brian Cassey

14th International Color Awards - Finalist Nominee - Fine Art - "Bonn Marie - Asking the Question" by Brian Cassey

Covid-19 & Cairns … Economy in Freefall …

Reliant for a large part on the regular influx of now non-existent International tourists, the year long pandemic has seen Cairns suffering economically disproportionately compared with other parts of Australia.

As the Australian Government initiated JobKeeper support scheme comes to an end this month, Cairns immediate future looks bleak despite a Federal attempt at assistance via subsidised airfares and loans.

It isn’t a ‘pretty’ story for my long term home town … the current situation is dire …  but it did mean a nice gig for the Sydney Morning Herald, The Age and Brisbane Times.

Many of my images made last week were used to illustrate the effects and hardships of the current desperate financial situation in Cairns and district as a result of the total loss of International tourism.

A pic gallery of thirteen of my images ran online (the SMH link is here … https://www.smh.com.au/…/cairns-tourism-on-the-ropes…) … whilst the main story variously in print and online (by Brisbane Times journalist Matt Dennien) was accompanied by more of my pics … herehttps://www.smh.com.au/national/queensland/trouble-in-paradise-covid-leaves-a-cloud-hanging-over-the-tropics-20210312-p57a3g

It seems it is going to be a long, long time till Cairns recovers from the body blow caused by the loss of International tourists during the current pandemic and Matt’s story is well worth a read.

Below are just a few of my images the former Fairfax (now ‘Nine’) publications used … from top … a lone swimmer at the Cairns Esplanade Lagoon once crowded with International and Australian tourists … owner of Traveller Oasis backpackers Gabriel Thallon cleans his pool as lone International ‘guest’ Rina Yamauchi takes the sun … the locked and deserted Cairns International Terminal at Cairns Airport … crew of Passions of Paradise reef vessel Phoebe and Kirsty wash the boat down after a day on the GBR with few paying customers … and one of numerous closed businesses in Cairns CBD

Images © Brian Cassey

Covid-19 and the Pandemic in Cairns, Australia ... images by Brian Cassey
Covid-19 and the Pandemic in Cairns, Australia ... images by Brian Cassey
Covid-19 and the Pandemic in Cairns, Australia ... images by Brian Cassey
Covid-19 and the Pandemic in Cairns, Australia ... images by Brian Cassey
Covid-19 and the Pandemic in Cairns, Australia ... images by Brian Cassey

The Good News … but … The Saddest News Of All …

I confess … it’s hard to write this one … (but please read on … )

Two women … one young and vibrant … the other a little older but with an immense strength … two very different stories. 

The link … apart from a little similarity of pose etc … is that both have just been announced as Winners of Bronze Awards in the Budapest International Foto Awards (BIFA – Hungary). images ©Brian Cassey

The saddest and must unfair news is that Carol (“The Skin I’m In” – first pic) died last weekend at the end of a far too short life full of tragedy, pain and many triumphs of will  … on the very day these awards were announced. Carol was severely burnt in a house fire as a young mum. Her family was told she would not survive. Following a year of coma, countless skin grafts and care … survive she did. She made the most of it … 

She dedicated the years since the accident to spreading the message to other burns survivors that there is still much to live for and celebrate. Carol’s rationale in allowing me to make personal images of her showing the extent of the burns to her body was part of that ideal. The work … and the positive reaction to the work … gave Carol added confidence to engage in speaking engagements that provided hope to many.

My images of Carol turned up in numerous awards, news articles and TV programs … and there are links to many on my blog pages. Amongst them are … “They Did It … Pics In Space X 3” which tells of Carol’s image (and two others of mine) being sent and projected in ‘Space’ and the resulting feature on the TV program “The Project” .  More on the subject here at “Pics in Space’ … Out of This World with ‘Portrait of Humanity” .  (The projection of Carol’s pic in ‘space’ and transmitted across the Universe … now seems very fitting.) There are many more and Carol’s images have been a regular occurrence on my ‘Awards Page’.

I spent more time talking to Carol than actually photographing her … she was my friend … myself and the community will sorely miss but never forget her.

… and then we have Bonn Marie … young, vibrant and all red hair, freckles and an innate curiosity with the World. She’s fun, deep and intelligent … and a joy to work with. Couldn’t help but name the second image “Bonn – Asking the Question”.

Somewhat strange that these two pics were recognised together with Bronze Awards … Carol’s in People Portrait and Bonn’s in Fine Art Portrait.

Images © Brian Cassey

Budapest International Foto Awards (BIFA) 2020 - Bronze Award - People Portraits - "The Skin I'm In" by Brian Cassey

Budapest International Foto Awards (BIFA) 2020 - Bronze Award - Fine Art Portraits - "Bonn - Asking The Question" by Brian Cassey

 

‘Black Lives Matter’ … Cairns …

Eight minutes and 46 seconds … a length of time that will reverberate down history. George Floyd was killed by a police officer kneeling with all his weight on his neck for 8:46. Floyds death at the hands of this Minneapolis police officer sparked massive  protests and demonstrations across America and around the World. The ‘Black Lives Matter’ and the ‘I Can’t Breath’ movement exploded across the divide of races and boundaries.

The movements brought the spotlight in Australia not only to Floyds death and the mounting death toll of African Americans at the hands of the US police … but also to the hideous numbers of Australian indigenous ‘deaths in custody’ … four hundred and thirty two since 1991.

On a Global scale last Sunday’s Cairns protest, against aboriginal deaths in custody and to show solidarity with the George Floyd protestors in the US, wasn’t Globally significant. However, to the people of Cairns … from all races and walks of life … it was worth risking Covid-19 to have their numerous voices heard.

The event in the centre of Cairns was all of … emotional, vociferous, passionate, meaningful and imperative. It was a pleasure to document despite the fact that I would rather it wasn’t necessary.

Below are a small selection of the images I made at the protest … a lot more may be found on my Instagram feed at … https://www.instagram.com/brian_cassey/

and my Facebook page at … https://www.facebook.com/brian.cassey1

Images © Brian Cassey

'Black Lives Matter' Protest Cairns - George Floyd - Aboroiginal Deaths in Custody - images by Brian Cassey

'Black Lives Matter' Protest Cairns - George Floyd - Aboroiginal Deaths in Custody - images by Brian Cassey

'Black Lives Matter' Protest Cairns - George Floyd - Aboroiginal Deaths in Custody - images by Brian Cassey

'Black Lives Matter' Protest Cairns - George Floyd - Aboroiginal Deaths in Custody - images by Brian Cassey

'Black Lives Matter' Protest Cairns - George Floyd - Aboroiginal Deaths in Custody - images by Brian Cassey

Cairns School Climate Strike in South Korea …

Last Friday school children around the planet once again took to the streets in their millions to protest against their respective governments refusal to instigate meaningful plans to combat the effects of climate change … and save the only home we have from possible extinction.

The ‘Global Youth Strike for Climate Action’ was the second World wide youth strike this year … and numbers this time far out-numbered the earlier event in March. I covered both events in Cairns for the Everyday Climate Change Global Instagram feed ( @everydayclimatechange ) which now has around a hundred and forty thousand followers.

At a (well timed) event in the city of Seongnam in South Korea the day before last Friday’s youth marches, an exhibition officially opened on the same subject of climate change … and it features my images made at the March climate action protests by school students in Cairns.

I was invited to participate (the only oversees exhibitor) in the exhibition ‘Every Day for Tomorrow’ … ‘ 내일을 위한 매일 ‘ … by event organiser and artist Yoa Eunkyung K, alongside three other South Korean artists with a variety of works and messages.

Hoseob Yoon ( 윤호섭 ) is an environmental activist and creative designer … the most well known artist working on environmental issues in South Korea.

Jeeyoung Lee ( 이지영 ) is a visual artist dedicated to spreading the word on climate change to the children of South Korea.

Joo Yangseob is a graphic artist who produces posters on the subject of climate change and social injustice.

Exhibition co-ordinator Yoa ( 좋아은경 ) uses wire in creative ways to make statements in her artworks.

So … it was a distinct pleasure to be asked to participate alongside such talent … and help showcase the plight of our planet to South Koreans. According to Yoa the subject of climate change is not a big issue in South Korea so it is gratifying to think the my images of Cairns school children may make a difference. The event was also an opportunity to showcase the work of our talented bunch of @everydayclimatechange photographers.

Below is the poster (top and bottom) for the exhibition which runs until the 27th October at the majestic Pangyo Eco Center in Seongnam … and just two of my images (© Brian Cassey) which grace the gallery wall made at the March schools climate action rally in Cairns.

Oh yes … apparently … my name in Korean is … ‘ 브라이언 캐시 ‘ … it’s on the poster (top) ! (at least I hope that’s what it says !).

Winning Portraits By Trinity Bay HS Students …

Once again … for the fourth year … had the pleasure last week of judging the work of photography students at the Trinity Bay High School Cairns annual portrait photography prize.

This year the exhibition walls at the school were covered in around seventy works … significantly more than previous years … made by students from grades 7 through to 12. For the first time more than one major prize was on offer … an overall ‘Best in Show’ and Junior (grades 7 to 10) and Senior (grades 11 and 12) Winners prizes.

‘Best in Show’ was a ‘no brainer’ … Lou Vang’s brilliant and highly technical portrait “True Self” (top below) demanded your attention with a mesmerising stare which followed you around the room. Lou focused critically on the most important point of the image … the eyes. A portrait that would stand on it’s own anywhere. Lou was awarded a Nikon D3500 courtesy of Garricks Camera House.

The Junior and Senior prizes, however, were a lot harder to decide upon. Following a fair bit of agonising I settled on the Junior winner … Kelli Baker’s creative “Fragmented” (bottom below) just getting the nod over Holly Koch’s dark brooding “Arinar in Shadow” (second from top below). The Senior decision was just as difficult but eventually settled on Marcus Pedro’s “Time to Destroy” (right – third from top) over Kayla Allan’s “Kales” (left – third from top).

Two others received ‘Highly Commended’ awards … Georgia Willis for “Windswept” in the Juniors and Tarik Clarke for “Denied” in the Seniors. Visitors to the exhibition voted “Saturated Vibrance” by Chantelle as the ‘Peoples Choice’ winner.

Another great exhibition by photography students at Trinity Bay … and a testament to the quality of the arts and photography teaching staff of Dan, Jim, Nina, Ian et al. Refreshing to see this dedication to the photographic arts.

Links to previous years winners and works can be found here … 2018, 2017, 2016.

Images © the artists … Lou Vang, Holly Koch, Kayla Allan, Marcus Pedro and Kelli Baker.

Trinity Bay High School Photographic Portrait Prize - Winner - Mugshot by Lou Vang

Trinity Bay High School Photographic Portrait Prize - Arinar in Shadow by Holly Koch

Trinity Bay High School Photographic Portrait Prize - Images by Kayla Allan and Marcus Pedro

Trinity Bay High School Photographic Portrait Prize - Junior Winner - Fragmented by Kelli Baker