‘Deadly Threads’ at State Library of Queensland …

Nice bonus travelling to Brisbane last weekend for The Clarions … when I accidentally came across my portrait work (massively printed) at the State Library of Queensland’s ‘Deadly Threads’ exhibition . 

Was of the believe that It had already closed and I’d missed it … but an impromptu walk through SLQ and there was the big sign  (accompanied by one of my large images) … ‘Deadly Threads – Where Did You Get That Shirt?’ … enter.

‘Deadly Threads’ is a showcase of singlets, shirts, polos and jerseys (over a 190) created by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples from across Queensland. It explores the significance of these 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.

My part was to produce portraits of significant indigenous personalities wearing a range of these shirts for display around the exhibit and for promotional purposes. Around a dozen of my large portraits adorned the exhibition printed (in one case) up to a massive near four metres. I made the pics back in Cairns earlier this year in a little home made pop-up studio.

What I didn’t yet know was, that the day I stumbled into the exhibition last Sunday was it’s LAST day. When I returned next day with camera in hand to record the work, the staff were in the process of taking the exhibition down (hence the limited pics here 🙂 ).

The best news is that the ‘Deadly Threads’ exhibition is coming to Cairns very soon (you heard it first here) and will be open at the Cairns Regional Gallery in November/December. 

Here’s links to the State Library of Queensland’s ‘Deadly Threads’ … https://www.slq.qld.gov.au/deadlythreads … and … https://www.slq.qld.gov.au/whats-on/deadly-threads-where-did-you-get-shirt

It will be well worth catching when it opens at the Cairns Art Gallery where my large portraits will again feature.

Images © Brian Cassey

'Deadly Threads' at State Library of Queensland, Brisbane - Mural Photographic Prints by Brian Cassey

'Deadly Threads' at State Library of Queensland, Brisbane - Mural Photographic Prints by Brian Cassey

'Deadly Threads' at State Library of Queensland, Brisbane - Mural Photographic Prints by Brian Cassey

'Deadly Threads' at State Library of Queensland, Brisbane - Mural Photographic Prints by Brian Cassey




The Real Bali … and Arthur Fleischmann …

A real pleasure to spend some time in a beautiful barely untouched part of Bali, far away (well, about an hour and a half) from ‘tourist central’.

The Sidemen Valley adjacent to the village of the same name in East Bali is akin to stepping back several decades to earlier times when Bali was an unmarred spiritual paradise. Rice paddies are liberally strewn through the lush fertile valley dominated at the end by views of dramatic volcanic Gunung Agung. It’s bloody gorgeous …

I recently became aware of the impressive Balinese 1930’s photography work of Slovak born photographer/sculptor Arthur Fleischmann. Whilst at Sidemen I made this atmospheric image … “Homage to Arthur Fleischmann – Diah” (top below) … as a tribute and an attempt to echo Fleischmann’s Balinese work of that era.

Fleischmann arrived in Bali by boat in 1937 and set about documenting Balinese life. In particular he turned his camera to what he saw as the everyday heroics of Balinese women in agrarian life and at harvest … “their labour under the heat of a searing sun celebrated and immortalised”. Three of Arthurs many images can be found bottom below.

His Balinese photography collection is best found in the large book “Bali in the 1930’s” (if you can find it!)

The outbreak of WWII led to his departure from Bali to a new life in Sydney where he become a member of Australia’s Merioola artist commune. In 1949 he left for London where he lived the rest of his life till his death in 1990 at the age of 94. His last sculptural work … “Tribute to the Discovery of DNA” … stands in the NSW State Library, Sydney.

I am very grateful for the help of loverly local talent Diah Antari, my driver Suyasa and the rest of the so helpful staff at the beautiful Wapa di Ume hotel in the Sidemen Valley … so very much appreciated !

(The other real bonus being in Bali again … the chance to once again stay at my very ‘favouritist’ hotel … the sublime Tandjung Sari at Sanur. Owned by the Wawo-Runtu family since it’s beginnings in 1962, Tandjung Sari is a peaceful oasis on the Sanur waterfront … a place that fosters Balinese arts and lifestyle above all else. Once a haven for rock stars and royalty it has matured with grace over the decades. Nothing much has changed … and nor does it need to … since my first of many visits over twenty years ago.)

Image “Homage to Arthur Fleischmann – Diah” (top) © Brian Cassey, Images x 3 (bottom) © Arthur Fleischmann

"Homage to Arthur Fleischmann" - image © by Brian Cassey - made of Diah Antari in the Sidemen Valley East Bali

The work of Arthur Fleischmann in Bali 1930's - compilation by Brian Cassey

Portrait of Humanity …

… very, very, very pleased to learn that one of my lesser known images has been selected for the ‘Shortlist’ of the massive and prestigious “Portrait of Humanity” World Wide portrait photography project and exhibition … and will be published in the hard cover book collection of the same name.

The grand stated aim of “Portrait of Humanity” … a collaboration between Magnum Photos and 1854 Media (the publishers of the ‘British Journal of Photography’) … is to “create one of the greatest collaborative photography exhibitions in history”. The 200 short listed images from all around the planet were chosen for their “expressions of individuality, community and unity”.

Photographers were initially asked to document “the universal expressions of life … laughter, courage, moments of reflection, journeys to work, first hellos, last goodbyes, and everything in between.” Tens of thousands of submissions came from every corner of the globe.

In news released this week “Portraits of Humanity” said that “Together the winning and shortlisted images create a powerful and diverse Portrait of Humanity. Fifty photographs will tour the world as part as an exhibition and 200 images will be featured soon in a 322 page volume published by Hoxton Mini Press”. (My image graces page 272.)

(Sadly there was only one other Australian based photographer amongst the two hundred selected … indigenous photographer Wayne Quilliam with his image from the Tiwi Islands.)

The selection of my work … of Aurukun indigenous elders Silas and Rebecca Wolmby with their twin great grand children Shalona and Keola and entitled “Generations” … was a very pleasant surprise.

I’ve photographed Silas and Rebecca in Aurukun many times over the decades … they have always been wonderfully polite and obliging and they were a voice of sanity in their ‘unsettled’ remote Cape York community. Sadly Silas died recently and Shalona and Keola will be unlikely to grow up with a memory of their respected great grandfather.

As a ‘short lister’ I receive a copy of the “Portrait of Humanity” book filled with truly wonderful portraiture. If you wish to invest in this great collection you can do so here at the Hoxton Mini Press web site.

Image of Silas and Rebecca (top) ©Brian Cassey … and book publication (below … mine is on the left page 🙂 ) is ©1854 Media & Hoxton Mini Press

"Portraits of Humanity" - International Portrait Photography Project 2019 - Aurukun elders Silas and Rebecca Wolmby with their great grand children Shalona and Keola Wolmby - Image by Brian Cassey, Cairns
"Portraits of Humanity" - International Portrait Photography Project 2019 - Aurukun elders Silas and Rebecca Wolmby with their great grand children Shalona and Keola Wolmby - Image by Brian Cassey, Cairns

Ten Pages in ‘Australian Photography’ …

Don’t often get this sort of coverage so … many thanks to photography journalist Rob Ditessa and the Australian Photography magazine for the great ten page spread in the current April edition.

Rob managed a nice job putting a cohesive touch to the amazing amount of ‘waffle’ that I supplied at his request on the subject of my many years in the news media photographic industry that dates back to my teens.

In particular Rob was interested in the roles that picture agencies had in my progression from a very raw teen with a manual SLR covering British football to the muck and bullets coalface of the major international news stories such as the Boxing Day Asian Tsunami of 2004. (Sadly the pars mentioning my invaluable pic agency mentors such as AP’s Russ McPhedran were a ‘space’ casualty.)

The pages and images look great … with two double page spread photos and other pics amongst the text … and a ‘The Gear’ box detailing the kit I now use that should keep Kylie and Julie at Nikon Australia a little happy.

Sadly (perhaps not!) the text here will be unreadable … and if you have an inclination to read the story and text you’ll have to either subscribe or shell out for a print copy of the mag at your newsagents … (or send me a message and I’ll see what I can do 🙂 )

Images © Brian Cassey … Pages © Australian Photography

Why This Won the Trinity Bay School Portrait Prize …

Last week it was a pleasure to once again judge the works in the annual photographic portrait prize at Trinity Bay High School in Cairns.

This years exhibition totalled about sixty portraits from the students (and a handful of teachers). The overall standard of the entries appeared improved on last years crop. A significant achievement. It took a stroll several times around the exhibition walls before finally settling on this years First, Second, Third, a couple of  ‘commendations’ and a staff prize.

The work that I finally settled on as best in show was a multi layered portrait by grade 12 Shantelle Birch entitled “Self Hate” (top – below).  Not only is Shantelle’s work a complicated and quality portrait, but also comments on the role of portraiture in society itself. The strong title and intricate image evokes emotion, addresses a contemporary youth issue on personal image and self doubt … and the pressures to confirm to stereotypes that visually bombard youth everyday. For her very well deserved win she was thrilled to receive a Nikon D3400 DSLR courtesy of sponsor Garricks Camera House.

Fractionally behind in Second Place was “The Despondent Girl” (second from top – below) … a  well structured beautifully textured and composed portrait by Irin Phomraksa (also grade 12). Her work was anchored on the stare of the one visible eye amongst the seeming chaos of the windswept image.

Third was a classic and well constructed portrait – “Look Like Art” (bottom – below) by grade 11’s Lit Thai. Highly Commended awards went to untitled works by Etevise Taua and Lachlan Best (Lachlan’s clever and disturbing!), whilst the exhibition crowd voted Graziella Romunga’s work as ‘People’s Choice’. Staff prize went to a stand out entry – “Goodbye” by Anna Koetz Trowse.

Trinity Bay High School Visual Arts department teachers, including Sean Tooley and Ian Whittaker, should take a bow. Once again it was great to see, comment on and judge the wonderful photographic work of their talented students.

Images © the artists – Shantelle Birch, Irin Phomraksa and Lit Thai (2017)

Trinity Bay High School Photographic Portrait Prize - judged by Brian Cassey

Trinity Bay High School Photographic Portrait Prize - judged by Brian Cassey

Trinity Bay High School Photographic Portrait Prize - judged by Brian Cassey

BBC 5 Live Interview

Prior to the launch of my exhibition “A Photographer’s Life – Part One” at the 2017 Head On Photo Festival in Sydney, I was interviewed by my old mate BBC Australia correspondent Phil Mercer.

The BBC 5 Live interview, hosted by Phil and Rhod Sharp, became a rather lengthy affair and touched on my photographic work over the decades, the then pending exhibition in Sydney, various aspects of photography and photojournalism … and my life in the UK and Australia. It runs for near 22 minutes.

Everyday, Australia and the World …

Delighted to be invited to be part of the ‘Everyday’ phenomenon currently running riot on Instagram.

The story of ‘Everyday’ Instagram feeds began in 2012 when photographer Peter DiCampo and writer Austin Merrill founded @everydayafrica to showcase the best documentary images of the African Continent. It now has a following in excess of 113,000. Since then, many other accounts have been born including @everydayasia which has amassed more than 50,000 followers and, most recently, @everydayusa which grew to a similar number in just a matter of months.

This week I received an invitation to be part of  the new ‘Everyday Australia’  @everydayaustralia feed curated by current Nikon Walkley Press Photographer of the Year and all round consummate photojournalist and good guy Andrew Quilty. I didn’t have to think twice!

Andrew’s creation of @everydayaustralia makes it the sixth continent to be covered by the official ‘Everyday’ network. DiCampo and Merrill have both been very enthusiastic about the launch of @everydayaustralia, as has Teru Kuwayama – Facebook’s photo community manager – who made the account name available.

Since late 2014 all the various ‘Everyday’ feeds have been loosely connected under a Global umbrella feed “Everyday Everywhere” @everydayeverywhere which acts as a World wide “Best Of” window. The @everydayeverywhere feed on Instagram is controlled by a central curator who searches for recent hash tagged #everydayeverywhere images from the various ‘Everyday’ feeds and reposts at least one every day.

At the moment the contributing photographers to @everydayaustralia are Oculi collective members Andrew, Dean Sewell and Raphaela Rosella, WA based Michael Wilson … and myself. STOP PRESS – two more contributors have just been announced – Darwin’s Glenn Campbell (‘fotostrada’ collective) and Newcastle based Simone De Peak. Look out for their first @everdayaustralia posts.

Generally speaking, depicting daily life in Australia is ‘raison d’être’ for @everydayaustralia. Work is documentary in style but also not excluding portraits, news, events etc.

Please take the time to find some great mobile device photojournalism and daily life work on @everydayaustralia and @everydayeverywhere.

Below are my first couple of contributions to @everydayaustralia
… a click on them will take you to the feed to see the stories behind these two images and more from the other contributors. My personal Instagram feed is @brian_cassey.

Instagram iPhone images © Brian Cassey




Curating ‘The Genesis Project’ …

In just two weeks I will officially lose my ‘curatorial virginity’ when “The Genesis Project” – a feature and headlining exhibition event of the ‘2014 Head On Photo Festival’ – opens on May 20th at the ‘M Contemporary Gallery’ in Woollahra Sydney.

‘Genesis’ is the result of the germ of an idea, persistence and a lot of hard work … and the faith of ‘Head On’ director Moshe Rosenzveig.

The concept of the exhibit is to examine ‘at what point do photographers become photographers’ ?

What were the catalysts that transformed a child, teen, young adult into a potential devoted pro photographer. The moments when through creating an image they realised “this is what I want to do – become a photographer and make photographs – to capture life’s moments”.
I have asked renowned photographers from a range of photographic disciplines to delve back into their individual photography archives from childhood and onwards – and rediscover some of their first photographs taken on their first, sometimes primitive, cameras – images from their first rolls of colour – their first pics on an SLR – their first published photograph – and the moments that moved or excited them.
To tell the stories of those formative creative moments that helped mould them into the experienced passionate photographers that they have now become.

We have assembled fabulous unseen images and previously untold stories from our photographers who share their insights into their compelling work from their earlier days experimenting with or developing as a photographer and the pivotal moments in their careers.

Here is our impressive list of contributing photographers – Ben Lowy, Roger Ballen, Murray Fredericks, Chris Rainier, David Dare Parker, Fiona Wolf, Jackie Ranken, Katrin Koenning, Martine Perret, Sam Harris, Glenn Campbell, Jon Lewis, Peter Eastway, Craig Golding, John Donegan, Peter Solness, Phil Hillyard, Moshe Rosenzveig … and then there’s me too …

I thank them all.

All are more than welcome to attend the opening eve of a very different and engaging photographic exhibition, Tuesday May 20th from 6.30pm at ‘M Contemporary Gallery’, E37 Ocean Street, Woollahra, Sydney.

You may bag yourself a real photographic collectors item.

Below is one of my two personal ‘seminal’ images  – made many many  decades ago in Portugal on the first roll of colour transparency film I ever shot – that will be one of the works on sale at “The Genesis Project”. The image has been scanned directly from the original faded, mouldy and dusty Agfa slide. To see the full story behind behind it and the similar works of our contributing photographers please come to the exhibition that will run from opening night May 20th till June 8th.

Image © 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 http://www.queenslandmultimediaawards.com/winners-2013 (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


“Better Pictures” Mag

Nice interview spread in the current “Better Pictures” magazine – a 3 page feature on photojournalism and I entitled “Inside Story”.

The articles tells of the challenges of photojournalism in this day and age (from my humble perspective) – and a little about my history in photography and the kit I use.

Good to see my images of Hong Kong Cage Homes, Carol Mayer’s portrait, the Fiji coup and the Holi Festival in Rajasthan used … but not fussed about the text and blocks encroaching on the images look!

Although “Better Pictures” is mainly a publication for enthusiasts any little bit of profile building never goes astray!

Below are images of the three pages of the magazine … images © Brian Cassey




Revamped Web Site ‘Live’ … !

If you are reading this then my new totally revamped web site is now LIVE!

Although the overall feel and look of the new site  is reminiscent of the older one it is actually a complete rewrite and you will notice huge improvements. The images have all been reworked and resized and now display much larger whilst automatically adjusting to fit the size of the viewing screen. So … if you have a large monitor the images will show nice’n’BIG!

In addition – site navigation has been much improved, new previously unseen photo essays and images have been added, the awards page has been updated … and there is now a brand new additional page -‘Play’- which features slide shows and multi media content.

A very patient and understanding Karl Sandoval from Julian Communication was responsible for the great work on the revamp … and he can now relax and stop dreading my continuous flood of emails!

All in all the new revamped site should greatly improve the viewing experience. If you find any bugs or glitches … or have any comments at all on the new site … please leave a comment here or email me at … Thanks!

Below is a screen shot of the new main page showing the improved navigation to the various photographic portfolios and images etc.

© Image Brian Cassey