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In this exhibition we present a selection of images from three years of our Nocturne Projects. This work was also part of an exhibition of the same name, Speaking About Place, which was shown in Childers Art Gallery during our artists-in-residency (AIR).
In this show we have included work made in Toowoomba during Xmas 2012, selected images from the three major community AIRs, and other small regional town documentations. You will find more images, project reports and links from the Muswellbrook[i], Grafton[ii] and Bundaberg[iii] AIRS, and the other documentations on this Nocturne Link Blog,
Our process is to document places and spaces in each of the commissioned project towns that, for us, both characterized and had a strong resonance of place. We then upload the images on a dedicated Facebook page to invite the community to ‘speak’ about their places we had captured. The Nocturne Muswellbrook Facebook community connection became a benchmark for the next two AIRs: Grafton and Bundaberg Region.
During our time in Muswellbrook and Grafton we found that the community embraced the medium of Facebook for engaging in conversations and telling their stories. Through their comments each place photographed became rich with the layered experiences of everyday life over time.
For the Bundaberg region in January this year we decided to build upon the informal outreach programmes with interested community members that we had implemented in the earlier AIRs. In addition to our usual nocturne documentation of place, we worked with the Bundaberg Regional Galleries staff and called for expressions of interest to enthusiast and professional photographers of the community.
Working alongside us on the second visit, we ran a workshop and a held a couple of shoot-outs and each photographer could upload their images. Discussion with other members of the group was via the Facebook site: bundy photographers. All images were given taglines and uploaded onto a display screen in the Childers exhibition venue for Speaking about Place as well as onto the Nocturne Bundaberg Region Facebook page.
The Nocturne Bundaberg Region project was a more visual interaction with the community; where there were more photographs exchanged rather than stories. Although we discovered a lively Facebook page, you know you are in Childers when you remember…., where we received some great stories in response to a couple of our Childers images posted on their site.
Our next commissioned project will be in a western Queensland town and is different again, as we intend to be responsive to all aspects of this evolving community. In each of these projects we have created a framework of documentary photography that is our response to the visual nature, and the contemporary and historical experience of each place. But for us the transformative aspect of the project is the community stories of everyday lived experience that is assigned to the photographs and ultimately animates each place. Ordinary and familiar places come alive with the rich and deep human experience and imagining – Speaking About Place …
[i] Funded by a AIR administered by the Muswellbrook Regional Art Gallery
[ii] Funded by a AIR administered by the Grafton Art Gallery
[iii] Part of the Queensland Centre of Photography’s Queensland Festival of Photography 5
ALL IMAGES © Victoria Cooper and Doug Spowart