Trinity Bay Portraits Excel …

Once again … for the third year … delighted to be asked to judge the annual Trinity Bay High School “Photographic Portrait Prize”.

Once again I was mightily impressed by the work of these talented photography students under the tutelage of the dedicated Trinity Bay visual arts teaching staff. The standard of entries this year exceeded the already high standard of previous years (2017 here and 2016 here)… and that made the judging decision making that much harder.

Eventually, I decided on a Winner, second, third and four highly commended … plus a couple of mentions for the seperate ‘staff’ prize.

Grade 12 student Lit Thao … who has a hearing and communication impairment … won third prize in last years Portrait Prize. There is no doubt that his visual communication skills are extraordinary. This year his image “Angry Man” stared out from amongst the other sixty odd works on the exhibition walls .. and dragged you in. I had little hesitation in awarding his work the winner of the Nikon D3400 DSLR prize sponsored by Garricks Camera House in Cairns.

Not far behind was the Mona Lisa-esque work of grade 11 student Kimberley Burns entitled “Portrait of Ruby”. In both these images the eyes of the subject seem to follow the viewer around the room.

Third place went to a more abstract, creative, but nonetheless intriguing work  … “Portrait of Livio” … by Greta Beluffi. Greta is also a grade 11 student.

Out of the four Highly Commended works I selected … Vika Latu’s “Nostalgia in August”, Madison Robinson’s “Truth Behind the Smile”, Laura Saavedra’s “In the South” and Elise Mcatamney’s “Untiled”… one deserves an extra special mention. Elise (her work is bottom below) is just a grade 7 student. Remarkably three works different from my selection tied for the “Peoples Choice” award.

If you are a Cairns resident and interested in our talented budding photo artists try and get along to the Photographic Prize  exhibition at Trinity Bay High School.

Below … from top … Winner – “Angry Man” by Lit Thao, Second – “Portrait of Ruby” by Kimberley Burns, Third – “Portrait of Livio” by Greta Beluffi, Highly Commended (1 of 4) – “Untitled” by Elise Macatamney (grade 7). Works © the individual artists.


2018 Trinity Bay High School "Photographic Portrait Prize" - image by Lit Tao - judged by Brian Cassey

2018 Trinity Bay High School "Photographic Portrait Prize" - image by Kimberly Burns - judged by Brian Cassey

2018 Trinity Bay High School "Photographic Portrait Prize" - image by Greta Beluffi - judged by Brian Cassey

Honorary Canadian at Para Pan Pacific Games …

Born in England, live in Australia … so have never thought I would be considered ‘Canadian’.

However, I found myself part of the wonderful Canadian paralympic swim team last week … in the role of team photographer … at the 2018 Pan Pacific Para Games over five days in Cairns. I was presented … and wore … the tee shirt emblazoned with a large red maple leaf to prove it.

The Canadian team is full of charming characters and great competitors and it was a delight to watch and photograph their combined efforts against teams from the United States, Japan, India, Brazil, Costa Rica, Singapore, New Zealand and Australia. The Canadians collected forty medals, twenty four personal best times … and one World record to Aurelie Rivard in the 400 metre freestyle S10 …  over the championships.

It was an uplifting, sobering and emotional few days … and brilliant to be involved with so many true athletes and watch the wonderful camaraderie between nations and competitors.

Arguably, however, the most emotionally charged images I made were quick grabs … whilst the Canadians were not swimming … of Japanese swimmers Tomotaro Nakamura and Takayuki Suzuki.

I had just finished photographing Aurelie Rivard win another medal when I noticed Nakamura mount the starting block for his 50 metre freestyle final … and look skyward as if to steel himself as the light bathed him. Just made a couple of frames before the moment was over. The image of Suzuki was made at the moment he lost contact with his starting block during his heat swim.

Below, © Brian Cassey, are the images of Nakamura (top), Suzuki (middle) … and Canadian Aurelie Rivard during her World record swim (bottom).


Pan Pacific Para Games - Tomotaro Nakamura - image by Brian Cassey

Pan Pacific Para Games - Takayuki Suzuki - image by Brian Cassey

Pan Pacific Para Games - Aurelie Rivard - World record 400 metre freestyle - image by Brian Cassey

“Countdown” … Sunday at Six …

Great Evening and excellent exhibition … “Sunday at Six” … which obviously opened last ‘Saturday at Six’ … with two of my personal works (sort of) and I didn’t have to a do a thing except enjoy !!

My input to the “Sunday at Six” exhibition that celebrates the iconic pop music TV show ‘Countdown’ from decades ago, was to provide two images to Cairns artist ‘Regular’ Rick Beresford who transformed both into meaningful exhibition works in his own enigmatic style.

I certainly don’t encourage or allow anyone to tamper with my images … but Regular Rick is the one exception. We previously (last year) collaborated on another exhibition … ‘The Cassey Remixes’ … where Rick reconfigured several of my images that were then hung on the walls of the Flying Monkey Gallery.

This time the exhibition was at the Crate59 Gallery in Cairns … and comprised not only our two collaborative works but many other pieces by Rick and fellow artists Kylie Burke, Andrea Huelin, Olivia Azzopardi and Pam Kurabs. Each work on the walls referenced a 1970’s or 1980’s pop recording that was doubtless featured on “Countdown”. Our ‘Rick and Brian’ pieces … entitled “Making Plans for Nigel” … top image below … and “Indestructible (Not So Small Anymore)” … bottom image below …  respectively referred to songs by XTC (Making Plans for Nigel) and Spandau Ballet (Gold). The original photos were portraits I made of Stuart Snyder at his home in the indigenous township of Mona Mona and Mai Thai boxer Bianca Cook during a Cairns competition. They may be found in their earlier rendition on my pages here and here.

The eve included a tasty live music section, some great nostalgic 70’s and 80’s tunes and some interpretive dancing.

In all a whole lot of bloody good fun with great people … and some ‘art’ …

Images © Brian Cassey and Rick Beresford


Countdown - Sunday at Six - Crate59 Cairns - artworks by Brian Cassey and Rick Beresford

Countdown - Sunday at Six - Crate59 Cairns - artworks by Brian Cassey and Rick Beresford


Six weeks and the Commonwealth Games …

The Commonwealth Games is now well and truly over … the stories of triumph and endeavour (and a little controversy) slowly fading into history.

Personally, ‘GC 2018’ meant six weeks of photographic employment … five weeks around the country with the Commonwealth Games ‘Queen’s Baton Relay’ … and a further week covering the fourteen Commonwealth Games basketball events in Cairns for Australian Associated Press (AAP) including the visit of … ahem … ‘basketball fan’ HRH Prince Charley.

All very rewarding … and a satisfactory little ‘earner’..

The rest of this post was penned on my return from the ‘Queen’s Baton Relay’ stint back in January … but has been held over till now to satisfy any contractual requirements.

“Just back from a manic, chockers but fantastically rewarding full month criss-crossing Australia with the Commonwealth Games Queens Baton Relay … Thanks to team mate colleagues Jeremy Sutton-Hibbert and Colin McPherson (they are Scottish but I won’t hold that against them) … and the GOLDOC crew.

Commencing on the 23rd December and running (almost literally) to the tail end of January, I travelled, in order, to Brisbane, the Gold Coast, Melbourne, Hobart, Perth, Canberra, Sydney, Brisbane, Stradroke Island, Gold Coast, Townsville, Palm Island, Gold Coast, Springbrook, Uluru, Melbourne, Warrnambool, the Great Ocean Road … and Adelaide. We took in Australia’s top sporting events … the Boxing Day ‘Ashes’ test match in Melbourne, the finish of the Sydney to Hobart Yacht race (including Taste of Tasmania) in Hobart, the Perth Cup (horses) and Hopman Cup (tennis) in Western Australia, ‘A League’ football Sydney FC V Newcastle at Allianz Stadium, the Sydney ‘Ashes’ test match at the SCG, the Brisbane International tennis (with Rod Laver, Roy Emerson et al), the Magic Millions beach horse run on the Gold Coast, the National Sports Museum at the MCG and the Tour Downunder cycle races in Adelaide … and climbed each of the Sydney Harbour Bridge (with Ian Thorpe), the Q1 building (322 metres) at Surfers Paradise and the roof of the Adelaide Oval. We also took the Queens’s Baton to Uluru, Palm Island, the Twelve Apostle’s and Springbrook National Park.

I met and worked with some wonderful people … athletes, baton bearers, the relay team members and myriads of people who showed great interest in “The Baton” … whilst catching up with many photographer colleagues at distant parts of the country. I also made the odd photograph or two … ”

Below are just three of those … made at Uluru, at Surfers Paradise (Magic Millions) and at the peak of the Sydney Harbour Bridge …

Images © Brian Cassey and GOLDOC


Queen's Baton Relay 2018 - Uluru - Brian Cassey GOLDOC

Queen's Baton Relay 2018 - Magic Millions Beach Run Surfers Paradise - Brian Cassey & GOLDOC

Queen's Baton Relay 2018 - Sydney Harbour Bridge - Ian Thorpe - Brian Cassey & GOLDOC


Guns & Basketball … PNG & Cairns …

What a difference a week makes …

Chalk ‘n’ Cheese …

One week I’m in Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea, shooting (if you’ll excuse the term) images of camouflaged ‘Special Services’ police heavily armed with automatic weapons … and the next week I’m banging away at fourteen Commonwealth Games basketball games and the heir to the British throne. That’s why I’m thoroughly rapt with the job I’m privileged to do.

The story in PNG … with words by excellent ‘News’ journalist Charles Miranda … was based on gun running into Australia’s closest neighbour in the lead up to the visits of the World’s leaders (including Trump and Putin) to the APEC conference in Port Moresby in November. The story and pics got a great run in many News Ltd mastheads around the country including The Daily Telegraph, the Courier Mail, The West Australian … and more that I haven’t yet seen.

Back in Cairns in time for the XXI Commonwealth Games and the mens and womens Preliminary and Qualifying Finals basketball games with teams from India, Jamaica, Malaysia, Nigeria, New Zealand, Canada, England, Scotland … and Australia. (Sadly … the one game featuring England was disastrous if you hailed from across ‘The Ditch’ … they were duly thrashed by the Cannacks.)

Basketball, played in a perfectly lit but sterile indoor environment, is generally formulaic to shoot … but I did spend a few valuable minutes attempting something a little different during a couple of games … including an image I was a little pleased with (middle pic below) made during the Australian win over Nigeria. A slow shutter speed combined with a bit of vertical panning …

Prince Charles also made an appearance at the basketball and, as the ‘Pool’ photographer, my images of Charley were made available to all of Getty Images, the European Press Photo Agency (EPA) and my ’employer’ Australian Associated Press (AAP). Security, protocol, time restraints and bully tactics by broadcast media meant that good images were a challenge … but I did produce what I thought a nice comprehensive set.

So … a rewarding couple of weeks work … and variety is certainly the ‘spice of life’.

Below … one of my images of PNG ‘Special Services’ officers … and just one of the published ‘News’ feature pages (The Daily Telegraph) … pics from my Commonwealth Games basketball coverage (Australia V Nigeria and Scotland V Nigeria) and the visit of Prince Charles.

Images © Brian Cassey, News Ltd and AAP

Papua New Guinea 'Special Services' police - image by Brian Cassey

Papua New Guinea 'Special Services' police - The Daily Telegraph - by Brian Cassey

Australia's Angus Brandt (left) and Nigeria's Prince Orizu contest during the Men's Preliminary Round Pool A Basketball between Australia and Nigeria at the XXI Commonwealth Games Cairns, Australia. Image by Brian Cassey

Nigeria's Musa Usman goes up to shoot as Scotland's Alasdair Fraser tries to block during the Men's Qualifying Finals basketball game between Scotland and Nigeria at the XXI Commonwealth Games in Cairns - image by Brian Cassey

Britain's Prince Charles (with former Australian and WNBA basketball player Lauren Jackson to his right) during the India V New Zealand women's basketball game at the Commonwealth Games, Cairns - image by Brian Cassey



One Closes … Another Soon to Open …

Today … Tuesday 30th January … was the last day at The Tanks, Cairns for my “A Photographer’s Life – Part One exhibition … tomorrow is the day the works come off the walls and the cameras and photographic hardware get packed away (somewhere!). Thanks to all for the wonderful feedback …

Coincidentally, I spent today preparing the image files for my next exhibition soon to open at The Fox Gallery in Melbourne.

Thanks to ‘Fox’ gallery owner Tom Goldner … my work from inside the Manus Island asylum seeker detention centre in Papua New Guinea following it’s closure by the Australian government with over six hundred refugees still desperately ensconced therein … will be unleashed on a Melbourne audience from the 24th February. “Inside Manus Detention Centre” will consist of seventeen images documenting the plight of those from the Middle East, Africa and Asia who have faced years long incarceration at the will of the Australian government … with still no future on the horizon.

The images in question were made on assignment for News Corp with journalist Rory Callinan. We had been on Manus for less than a day when we found ourselves on a small local boat headed for Australia’s ‘closed’ Lombrum detention centre … a trip made by several refugees and local boatman to smuggle foods and medicines into the camp. Our time ‘inside’ was brief but long enough to show the desperate situation inside the camp where there was no food, water, medication, power or services. Weeks later all six hundred odd were forcibly removed.

Whilst I’m at the ‘Fox’ I will also be presenting a two hour talk and slide show (on Saturday the 24th) based on my “A Photographer’s Life” work … and you can secure a spot by visiting here … .

Below I’ve posted a couple of images from “Inside Manus Detention Centre” which runs at ‘The Fox Gallery” Kensington, Melbourne from grand opening eve on 23rd February (to which you are invited) till 4th March.

Images © Brian Cassey.

"Inside Manus Detention Centre" - The Fox Gallery Melbourne - by Brian Cassey

"Inside Manus Detention Centre" - The Fox Gallery Melbourne - by Brian Cassey

ABC Radio Far North … “A Photographer’s Life – Part One” Interview

On the morning that my exhibition “A Photographer’s Life – Part One” opened in Cairns at The Tanks Arts Centre, I was interviewed by ABC Radio Far North breakfast presenter Kier Shorey. An affable geezer, the interview was a bit of fun and touched on the exhibition, my work and history with a camera etc. it runs for nearly thirteen minutes …


“A Photographer’s Life – Part One” at The Tanks …

It has been an absolute pleasure to bring my “A Photographer’s Life – Part One” exhibition back to Cairns. More than half the featured works were made in the Cairns or north Queensland region (the remainder from various parts of the planet).

The work was originally collated as a ‘featured exhibition’ in the 2017 Head On Photo Festival earlier this year and was hosted by the Moran Foundation at the heritage listed Juniper Hall in Paddington, Sydney. The exhibition was selected by eminent photography journalist Alison Stieven-Taylor as one of the top five exhibitions in the festival  (from a total of 147).

When I approached The Tanks curator Chris Stannard with the idea of showing the work in Cairns he didn’t hesitate … and he and his team has worked a miracle to get it up and launched before the years end. I owe Chris and his team … Ulys, Lou, Ivan and the team … a massive vote of ‘Thanks’. Indeed … the exhibition has been ‘tweaked’ since Sydney and, in all honesty, looks significantly better than it did in the gracious surrounds of historic Juniper Hall.

In particular, the camera hardware referred to in the exhibition is featured more prominently at The Tanks … and there also a few ‘kit’ additions. Thanks to a donation by fellow photographer David Hancock, the exhibit now includes the first ever usable digital photojournalist camera from the 90’s … the then massively expensive Kodak Nikon AP NC2000 … and a long forgotten United Press International ‘wire’ drum photo transmitter from the 70’s to the 80’s. These sit alongside a collection of my very used and battered Nikon kits … and examples of my earliest cameras from the very first plastic VP Twin way back when I was a pre teen.

There are also two large TV screens continuously showing five of my video features including the multi award winning “Eyes – the Soul of a Photograph”.

Exhibition opening eve last Friday was wonderful … and I’d like to thank the many who arrived and made it such a great night. TA !

“A Photographer’s Life – Part One” is showing at The Tanks Arts Centre, Cairns till January 30th 2018 … with a short break for Xmas festivities between 23rd December to January 2nd.

Finally … on the day of the exhibition opening I was interviewed on ABC Radio Far North by affable breakfast presenter Kier Shorey … about the exhibition, work and life … and, if you fancy, the near thirteen minute audio is below.



Images at The Tanks © Brian Cassey

"A Photographer's Life - Part One" - The Tanks, Cairns by Brian Cassey

"A Photographer's Life - Part One" - The Tanks, Cairns by Brian Cassey

"A Photographer's Life - Part One" - The Tanks, Cairns by Brian Cassey


Two Up at QMMA’s …

The results of this years Queensland Multi Media Awards – the 22nd annual since their first in 1995 – were announced this week in a much quieter fashion than normal. The awards recognise those in the media, PR and advertising industries for their exceptional works. There have been many memorable, sometimes quite insane and legendary, presentation nights of celebration for award winners over the last couple of decades.

Sadly, QMMA funds for the first time this year did not run to the usual spectacular presentation dinner at a ritzy hotel.

So  … without the usual fanfare, fine foods and a few drinks … this years winners have just been announced quietly by email.

The email contained the good news that my image “The Skin I’m In – II” of Carol Mayer … has added to it’s growing tally (previously, amongst others, finalist in the National Photographic Portrait Prize) … by taking out both the ‘Best Editorial Photograph’ and ‘Best Photographic Image’ photography award categories. Huge ‘Thanks’ yet again to my wonderful subject Carol …

The QMMA’s … steered by the tireless Anita Plos … have been a great part of the media landscape in Queensland for a long long time … and provided many memorable evenings whilst recognising the best in the business. Fingers crossed that next year … the 23rd annual … the QMMA’s are back on track with the gala presentation night format.

“The Skin I’m In – II” © Brian Cassey

QMMA Queensland Multi Media Awards 2017 - Winner - Best Editorial Photograph - Best Photographic Image - "The Skin I'm In - II" - by Brian Cassey



Tanks Exhibition … From 8th December …

The Tanks Arts Centre (Cairns) November/December program of events is hot off the press … and has brought home the reality that the time for my next exhibition is getting close.

“A Photographer’s Life – Part One” will be opening in Cairns on December 8th … and running to the 23rd December (closed for Xmas and New Year) and open again from 2nd to the 30th January.

Very much a retrospective (and in a way introspective) journey through my love affair with the camera and the photographic image from the very first day I clicked a shutter … and continuing on through the decades. It contains many images made in Cairns and tropical north Queensland … and many more from around the planet. Much of the camera and photographic ‘hardware’ from across the decades will also accompany the show. Below is the promotional page from just published ‘The Tanks’ events program.

Tank 4 at Cairns Tanks Arts Centre is a fantastic venue and my sincere thanks is more than due to venue curator Chris Stannard and his team. This will be my second exhibit at Tank 4 following the “The Aak Puul Ngantam Stockman” in 2014.

“A Photographer’s Life – Part One” already enjoyed an ‘ugely successful month long showing during this years Head On Photo Festival in Sydney at the beautiful heritage listed Juniper Hall, Paddington.

You are invited on the 8th December … and more than welcome on that or any other day … so If you fancy … please whack the dates in your diary … will be great to see you there.

Image © Brian Cassey

"A Photographer's Life - Part One" - exhibition at The Tanks Arts Centre Cairns from December 8th 2017 - by Brian Cassey

Something Completely Different … ‘Blunt’ …

Tenth Anniversary ‘Blunt’ – ten years since Cairns artists Dominic Johns and Roland Nancarrow created “The Blunt Edge of Portraiture” in a light hearted nod to established portrait prizes … the Archibald and Moran Prizes.

Embraced by Cairns artists of many creative mediums, the invitational ‘Blunt’ has grown massively since inception. Each artist is challenged to create a portrait work that captures the essence of a fellow artist … and on Saturday eve nearly seventy portraits lined the walls of the homely Pink Phoenix Gallery for the tenth anniversary “Blunt of the Decade” celebration … and there is no celebration like a ‘Blunt’ celebration !

I was charged to create a work of young artist Fiona Price … who had her first exhibition ‘Eyes’ just a couple of years back (seems we have a fascination with eyes in common 🙂 ).

To match the unbridled creativity of Cairns artists I thought I’d better create something a little more ‘out of the box’ creatively than my usual work … and with the help of a very receptive Fiona put together my entry (below … full frame (top) and on the wall on Saturday at Pink Phoenix Gallery). Fiona gamely endured body paint and house paint … and the pain of paint in her eye. Thanks Fiona … !

This years big ‘Blunt’ winner was Jessica Roelofs for her portrait of fellow artist Suzi O’Malley.

Sadly … the ‘Blunt’ has outgrown the suburban Pink Phoenix Gallery … but 2017 might just possibly herald a new era of ‘Blunt’ at the wonderful and spacious Tanks Arts Centre. Bring it on …

UPDATE : Pleased to discover that my portrait (below) of Fiona has been selected in a “Best of Blunt” collection to be exhibitied at the ‘Flying Monkey Gallery’ in Sheridan Street Cairns from mid December through to January.

Images © Brian Cassey 2016

2016 Blunt Edge of Portraiture - 10th Anniversary - Portrait of Fiona Price by Brian Cassey


21st QMMA’s …

Enjoyed a great night last Saturday at the Cairns Reef Hotel Casino celebrating – with colleagues from the media and advertising industries –  the twenty first Queensland Multi Media Awards.

At the end of a very entertaining evening and after enjoying some great company and many laughs, I left lugging awards for ‘Best Editorial Photograph’ (Ravenshoe Blast Survivor) and ‘Best Photographic Image’ (Manus – Beaten Asylum Seeker).

I’m very grateful to the subjects of my images … former Ravenshoe cafe chef Noeleen Avenell who suffered massive burns and months of painful recovery (which continue to this day) … and young Iraqi asylum seeker Abdullatif who suffered detention on Manus Island at the whims of the Australian government. (As a footnote – Abdullatif, now just twenty one, was recently deported back to Iraq … and in past weeks I have managed to track him down to Turkey where he fled after finding Iraq ‘too dangerous’.)

Below are the two winning images … © Brian Cassey

Thanks to the 2016 QMMA organising committee … and ‘bring on’ the 22nd QMMA’s in 2017 … !


Winning Images - Queensland Multi Media Awards 2016 - 'Best Editorial Image' - "Ravenshoe Blast Survivor" - 'Best Photographic Image' - "Beaten Asylum Seeker" by Brian Cassey

Fostering Young Portrait Photographers …

I first clicked the shutter of a camera (two shillings and sixpence at Woolworths) at what would, in those good old days, have been considered a young age. The work produced was erratic and questionable … but I fluked the odd one or two that I was happy with.

This week I had the pleasure to be involved with scores of young photographers whose work at a similar age far outshines my earliest efforts. Along with fellow Cairns photographer Romy Bullerjahn, I was asked to judge and present prizes at the 2016 Trinity Bay High School Portrait Photography Prize.

I really didn’t know what to expect before walking into the schools gallery to select the winning portraits from about fifty entries … many of a quite startling quality. Picking winners was a difficult task for Romy and myself but we eventually settled on first, second, third and two highly commended (as well as two ‘staff’ prizes).

The story around 14 year old Matt Hastie’s selected winning portrait “Shades” is remarkable. Matt only picked up his first DSLR camera a month ago – a ‘loaner’ from the school inventory. Prior to that he had only made ‘phone’ pictures. His prize winning evocative image (below – top) was made during that first ever ‘proper photography assignment’.

Shell shocked and shy, Matt said he was ‘pretty happy’ to win and to be presented with the prize of his very own Canon DSLR courtesy of Garricks Camera House. He is now enthusiastic about his plan to choose Photo Imaging as an elective school subject from grade 10 … and maybe one day pursue a professional photography career.

Fractionally behind Matt’s work were images by students of a similar age or younger – Matilda Sail (2nd – year 7), Eden Cvetkovic, (3rd – year 11), Eliza Sail, (commended – Year 9) and Pagan Sutcliffe (commended – Year 11). Delon Clark took out the Peoples Choice Award.

When I was their age it was inconceivable for schools to teach photography. With the help of Trinity Bay Arts teachers Ian Whittaker, Sean Tooley and the Arts department staff and program, these young aspiring students have made great strides towards becoming the next generation of photographers and photographic artists.

Images – Top – Winner “Shades’ by Matthew Hastie © . Below – clockwise from top left – works by Matilda Sail © 2nd, Eden Cvetkovic © 3rd, Pagan Sutcliffe © HC, Eliza Sail © HC, Delon Clarke © Peoples Choice.

Trinity Bay High School Portrait Prize inner 2016 by Matthew Hastie - judge Brian Cassey

Trinity High School Portrait Prize 2016 place getters - judge Brian Cassey

Great Bit of the Barrier Reef …

Over the decades I’ve been fortunate to visit many Great Barrier Reef dive sites working on reef stories for various publications … but this one spot – the Fish Bowl at the Sno Dive Site at Opal Reef out from Port Douglas visited whilst working for the Courier Mail just before Christmas …  is really something else !

Just before my visit the BBC selected this very reef spot and spent two weeks here filming a documentary and searching for the ultimate reef footage and ‘money shot’.

In this pic made on a Nikon D4s in a Ewa Marine housing, Heather Baird – a 23 year old dive master from the reef boat Calypso – is swimming amongst an amazing variety of corals.

Lets hope the threats of global warming, coral bleaching, ocean acidity, fertiliser runoff … and the crown of thorns star fish … do not impact this beautiful irreplaceable environment.

(September 2016 Update – I returned to the Sno Dive Site. It appears that the vivid colours of the coral in this image from December 2015 MAY have been due to the coral being ‘under stress’ from sustained high water temperature … as the bleaching process began. Certainly, on my return to Sno there were no corals showing such intense colouration.)

Image © Brian Cassey 2015

Opal Reef - Great barrier Reef Australia

Blunt Edge of Portraiture …

They bill themselves as Cairns answer to the ‘Archibald Prize‘ … a bold but very tongue in cheek comparison.

The ‘Blunt Edge of Portraiture Awards’ were the brain child of Cairns locals Roland Nancarrow and Dominic Johns back in 2007 and they have been amassing street cred ever since. Unlike the famed Archibald’s the portraits are not restricted to just brush, palette, paint, crayon or ink …  and invited ‘Blunt’ artists may use any (or all) mediums available to create a ‘portrait’ including wet clay, film, mixed media, photography, metalwork, mosaic, poetry etc. One memorable past entry was constructed out of custard !

I have been invited (at the suggestion of fellow photographer Glen O’Malley) to be a part of this years ‘Not Quite Blunt Awards’  – along with twenty three other Blunt ‘Virgins’ or newcomers who will be competing for a spot in the next full scale ‘Blunt Edge’ awards in 2016. Each ‘Virgin’ is drawn out of the hat to make a portrait of one other of the twenty four and the works will form an exhibition and vie for awards announced on the eve of December 11th at Crate 59 Gallery in Cairns.

Indeed fortunate to have been tasked with making a portrait of the delightful performance artist Kloe Gee … whilst artist Maree has the unenviable task of having to make a likeness of me interesting ! The works will be judged by eminent artists from southern climes who are not familiar with the Cairns art scene.

All in all it sounds a load of fun … ‘Thanks’ for the Blunt invitation!

“Unexpected” at Flying Monkey …

Thanks to an invitation from curator Glen O’Malley I am one of the participants in a new Cairns exhibition – “Unexpected” – that opened to the public today Monday 10th August at the Flying Monkey Gallery and Cafe in Cairns. The collection – a combination of the work of ten photographers experienced and emerging – comprises 27 images across a very broad spectrum of photographic styles.

The artists involved are Kerry-Ann Collins, Jonas Ericson, Jennifer Frei, Michael Marzik, Sarah Jane, Glen O’MalleyKerry Trapnell, Ann Vardanega, Anthony Vardanega and myself. For several it is their first showing.

The official exhibition launch and social event is next Saturday 15th August 6pm at Flying Monkey 154 Sheridan Street, Cairns and veteran photographer Gary Herbert will be performing the opening honours.

Below I’ve posted just one of my exhibition works – “Margaret Puts the Kettle On” (a candid image of wonderful environmentalist Margaret Thorsborne) – and a couple of others from the show – “Don’t Cage Me In” (middle) by Anthony Vardanega  and “The Corny Tricks You Tried” (bottom) by Glen O’Malley.

The exhibition runs to 29th August … would be great to see you at Saturday’s opening or just drop in anytime to Flying Monkey for a coffee and browse.

Images © Brian Cassey, Anthony Vardanega and Glen O’Malley.




Footy …

Twas last Friday lunch time … and the pool and bar area at Gilligan’s Backpackers in Cairns was packed with bikini clad backpackers only outnumbered by numerous Australian Rules footy players on their traditional ‘end of season tour’.

My unenviable task was to make some images to accompany a story on the ‘end of season footy tourists’ for the Sunday Mail. Seemed like every half drunk (or more) backpacker/footy player either wanted to get involved in the pics or pass colourful judgement on the proceedings … but eventually all the usual formulaic pics were in the can.

As I was about to take my leave I grabbed this frame of travelling footy players around the bar – just as one decided to check out the ‘features’ of one of the available ‘talent’. The image was ‘filed’ with the others made at Gilligan’s … but I was later reminded by the SM ‘desk’ that they are a family newspaper …

image © Brian Cassey 2014



South Korea – ‘Monthly Photography’ …

How’s your Korean? I have absolutely no idea what the text says (which is a little disconcerting) but I must say I’m a little pleased with the six page spread of my images in the soon to hit the streets (in South Korea) edition of “Monthly Photography” – the oldest and most respected photography magazine in Korea.

The mag (established in 1966) was keen to showcase my work covering Cyclone Yasi from a couple of years ago in a special edition “Eyes of the World” featuring photographers and their work from around the planet (which surprises me immensely considering the mind blowing work that other photojournalists managed to make in the aftermath of the much more disastrous and more recent Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines).

Still – it’s a very nice compliment, it’s always good to see your work gain exposure (especially in countries where your work is not generally seen) …  and it is a nice simple layout.

Now … can anyone out there send me a translation please !?

Below are grabs of the six pages containing Korean text and my images … and also one of the “Eyes of the World” special edition magazine cover.

Images © Brian Cassey

레이아웃 1

레이아웃 1

레이아웃 1



Pecha Kucha? … What The Hell Is That … ?

“Pecha What ?”  That was the question I asked of ‘The Tanks Arts Centre’ curator Chris Stannard over a beer after the Degree South collective exhibition “PEACE” about a year ago.

Turns out that ‘Pecha Kucha’ – ‘the art of concise presentations’ – is a world wide phenomenon.

The idea is that you present and comment on twenty of your images in a slide show in front of a live audience … each slide changes automatically after twenty seconds. Quick bit of maths gives you a presentation time of six minutes and forty seconds. Apart from that there are no rules. Just entertain your audience with your pics and words.

Apparently the format was devised by a couple of architects in Tokyo in 2003 … and has now spread around the planet to over seven hundred and twenty cities in over a hundred countries. Now one of those 700 plus, Cairns showed it’s first Pecha Kucha at the wonderful ‘The Tanks’ venue in 2011. It has been steadily growing in popularity since.

Sounded a fair idea … so I lost my Pecha Kucha virginity last May with “The Dogs of Sai Kung” in Cairns volume #7.

Next Wednesday eve sees the first Tanks Cairns Pecha Kucha presentation for 2014 – Cairns volume #10 – and I am once again amongst the presenters – over a dozen for the night. I have selected images made in our closest neighbour Papua New Guinea and the subject is “The Impossible Ban on Betel Nut” selected from my “Betel Nut Ban in PNG” essay.

A Pecha Kucha evening is a great opportunity to network, catch up with friends, fellow artists and photographers, share a beer or three, promote your work and see the images of others – and The Tanks is a great venue.

Below is just one of the images from my presentation next Wednesday. The image shows betel nut (buai) traders with their produce at Eight Mile on the outskirts of Port Moresby following the ban on trade and sale. Come along from 6.30pm and see all the imaginative and creative work on show.

Image © Brian Cassey




Wet But Fine Exhibition Opening …

It was raining of course … it is the wet season after all. But that didn’t stop people turning up in droves to the launch of my “The Aak Puul Ngantam Stockman” exhibition at The Tanks Arts Centre in Cairns on Friday evening.

It was brilliant to see so many friends, colleagues, fellow photographers (many of whom I don’t catch up with often enough!), new acquaintances and faces from years long past, brave the elements to attend, share stories and down the odd drink.
Many Thanks must also go to charismatic indigenous leader Bruce Martin who took time out from his manic schedule to open the exhibition.

The Tanks exhibition space is expansive, full of character, versatile … and  wonderful. In addition The Tanks crew of curator Chris Stannard, Olivia, Gio, Belinda and Lisa – have done a wonderful job of curating, hanging and letting the world know about my work.

Spread around the huge space are my thirty two images – fourteen large portraits of the Aak Puul Ngantam crew each on their own floating wall and eighteen prints of the APN mustering operation. It all looks fantastic.

The images in the exhibition were made at the Cape York Peninsula mustering operation whilst working on a story for ‘The Australian’ … and have since, gratifyingly, received some critical acclaim and awards.

If you did miss the opening night ‘launch’ the exhibition will run till March 2nd in tank 4 of The Tanks Arts complex Cairns.

Below are three images of the exhibit at The Tanks – the top two show the character of the space with some of my prints in place, whilst the third is from the opening night celebrations.

ABC Radio was just one of several media outlets to publicise the exhibition and opening eve and you can listen to Fiona Sewell’s great work in interviewing yours truly on the ‘Play’ page of my web site – or alternatively here below …


Images © Brian Cassey – Audio courtesy ABC Far North ©

The Tanks APN Exhibition

The Tanks APN Exhibition



Exhibition at ‘The Tanks’ …

Less than two weeks to the launch of my “The Aak Puul Ngantam Stockman” exhibition of images at a great venue – ‘The Tanks’ in Cairns.

Curator Chris Stannard and The Tanks crew are now putting together the exhibit which consists of the large ‘stockman’ portraits, smaller collected prints of the APN Cape York mustering operation, video, audio and a slide show of images.

The large portraits of the APN crew – taken of every member at the bush camp as they returned from an exhausting muster – will each be hung on their own individual ‘wall’ arranged around the interior of one of the massive WWII fuel tanks . Will look sensational I’m sure.

The driving force behind the indigenous APN Cape York operation – Bruce Martin – has confirmed his attendance at the opening eve event … and hopefully more members of the crew.

You too are also more than welcome on the opening eve – Friday February 7th from 6pm – and your invitation can be found here.

Below is The Tanks promotional poster for the event. The exhibition will run from opening eve February 7th till March 2nd.

Stockman Image of Dominic Ngakyunkwokka © Brian Cassey


QMMA’s …

A very enjoyable and bitter sweet evening last Saturday at the QMMA’s  – the “2013 Queensland Multi Media Awards” – which honours the work of members of the media and advertising community from (almost) all of the State of Queensland.

I was fortunate indeed to come away from the evening at Pullman Reef Casino Hotel with two wins (in “Best Sports Photograph” and “Best Editorial Image/Photograph”) – but the highlight was the posthumous induction into the inaugural  “Hall of Fame” of my old mate and advertising legend Bob Hale. Son and friend Ben Hale made a touching acceptance speech … and the memories – and drinks – flowed. Great to share the evening with fine friends and colleagues … and thanks for the hard working event organising committee, judges and sponsors.

All the results from the evening can be found here at (Click on ‘Photography’ etc …)

Below are my selected successful images – “A Win At Last – On Siren” (Best Sports Photograph) and “Stockman” (Best Editorial Image/Photograph). Three of my other images also made the finalist cut in “Best News Photograph” and “Best Photographic Image”.

Images © Brian Cassey

WinAtLastOnSirenBlog copy

StockmanBlog copy


Ironman …

‘Ironman’ … my new pic essay of images made during the gruelling Cairns Ironman event a couple of weeks ago … has been posted to “Latest Stories” on the web site of my photojournalist collective ‘fotostrada’.

This was the inaugural Cairns Iron Man – an internationally recognised event that attracted the very best triathletes from around the Globe to compete in the tropics over a 3.8 kilometre swim, a gruelling 180 km bike ride and a double marathon run of 42.2km.

The fastest competitor finished in an astonishing 8 hours 15mins (Australian David Dellow) … whilst the slower and less talented competitors were out on the course for over 16 and a half hours !

For those only half fit there was also the 70.3 Ironman event which was only half the distance – a mere 1.9k swim, 90k bike ride and just the one full marathon run ! In all over two thousand souls participated in both events which took place in superb Cairns winter weather amidst the magical scenery of Cairns to Port Douglas.

It has cemented it’s place as an annual World class event.

Below I’ve posted just three of the twenty images that make up the essay. The complete essay can be found on the ‘fotostrada’ web site here.

When time permits it will also be added to my personal web site.

© images by Brian Cassey