Victoria Cooper+Doug Spowart Blog

Archive for February 2012

Graduation Event for SQIT Photoimaging Students

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Lindsay Collier, Alison Ahlhaus, Shanea Rossiter and Doug Spowart PHOTO: Hardy Ahlhaus

Southern Queensland Institute of TAFE’s  Photoimaging students attended a graduation event at the Hume Ridge Centre in Toowoomba on Saturday 25 of February. Prize winners at the event are pictured with teachers Alison Ahlhaus and Doug Spowart. Lindsey Collier (left) was awarded the SQIT Diploma Photoimaging Student of the Year. Shanea Rossiter was awarded the Bob Walker ‘Focus’ Memorial Trophy for recognition of excellence in study and the community. Jess Martin (not pictured) was the recipient of the Syd Owen Certificate IV Photoimaging Student of the Year Award.

Eight students graduated from the Diploma of Photoimaging and a further fourteen graduated from the Certificate IV in Photoimaging. Congratulations to all graduating students and their families and friends…

SEE: Toowoomba Chronicle Newspaper story “Students hard work pays off”    27/2/2012

Written by Cooper+Spowart

February 26, 2012 at 9:55 am

AIPP Student Event @ SQIT

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Sue Lewis, as part of her AIPP Education Liaison attended SQIT and made a presentation to photoimaging students about the professional photography industry and the peak industry body – the Australian Institute of Professional Photography. The presentation, on the 22 February, consisted of print displays, AIPP books, PowerPoint and video show. Sue was assisted by AIPP Queensland Divisional councillor Tony Holden.

Sue Lewis presents an AIPP talk at SQIT

Sue spoke of the AIPP’s history, structure, services and events. The Canon AIPP Australian Professional Photography Awards in Melbourne and the Nikon AIPP Event in the Hunter Valley were featured as ‘must attend’ events in the coming year. Sue also discussed her own photo history as a SQIT photography student 10 years ago and how she networked and connected with the APP Awards firstly working as a ‘helper’ behind the scenes. She is still behind the scenes however now she is a major manager of the national event.

Sue Lewis @ lecturn – presents an AIPP talk at SQIT

The response by SQIT students to Sue’s presentation was significant – 8 students signed up for AIPP Student membership on the day – joining many other SQIT students who are AIPP Student members. In appreciation of Sues efforts over the years and her support for students across the nation she was presented with a bouquet of flowers by teacher Rachel Susa.

What is amazing is Sue’s enthusiasm for professional photography and how the AIPP helped her along the way. She called it networking, networking, networking, and having fun with, and through, photography. Something I’m very familiar with – I joined the AIPP as a student nearly 40 years ago – still a member and having fun with photography.

Thank you Sue, and, the AIPP…

Sue Lewis with Rachel Susa @ SQIT

Written by Cooper+Spowart

February 26, 2012 at 9:24 am

Feb 11: STORM LASHES Toowoomba – Blackout most of the evening

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When the clouds get dark in Toowoomba these days we check the Bureau of Meteorology’s website to see what’s in store … Last year’s floods have made us sensitive to potential disasters. Today we checked BOM at 6.00pm as a storm appeared to be coming in from the west …

BOM Website 6.00.41sec 11-02-2012

Within a half an hour a severe thunderstorm hit Toowoomba and caused a power blackout lasting 3.5 hours. Just as well the MACs were charged …

Doug and Victoria caught out after storm blacks out electricity

ALLORA SHOW: Bush Poets and passionate people

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Telling living stories: Bush Poets and passionate people


Beyond the football and cricket ground there is a great Australian tradition of the agricultural show. In Allora recently we had the privilege to spend some time with a regional show – a show that had been running since 134 years. Doug judged the photography section and then we spent some time with the people and the exhibits that made the show an interesting and engaging event. These were passionate people busily supporting this local community event.

There were displays showcasing with their creative pastime pursuits and community projects. The local schools had creative displays; there were the hobbyist awards for hand made objects and Leggo sculptures. Also in the big shed were the usual competitions for the best cakes, scones, dampers and my favorite – the fancily iced arrowroot biscuit, the heaviest pumpkin and the best Dahlia and the woodwork and quilts displays.

Allora Show - Best Dahlia

In the main oval there were suitably attired young girls with their horses in the dressage event. With their plaited hair matched the plaited mane and tails of the horses they competed with serious attention to the requirements of the event for the judge.

Lindsay Ashcroft with landscape photo and poem (see below) Photo: Victoria Cooper

Lindsay Ashcroft poem

Lindsay Ashcroft, the bush poet, seasoned regional traveller, with his lyrical repartee made impromptu performances to our group of workers as Doug judged the photos. He passionately recited his poems of Australian sentiments that referred to iconic symbols like the poems of Banjo Patterson. Photographs taken by Lindsay or a graphic and artwork that inspired the words accompanied each poem, were available for purchase.

Baillie Boys Show Photo: Victoria Cooper

Beside Lindsay was a miniature show, a scale model carnival, with a painted background featuring Toowoomba buildings. A trio of enthusiasts, the Baillie Boys Shows, created this as a departure from the usual model trains display. They are now working on their next venture. You can see more of their work on their website, www.baillieboysshows.com , where they show the construction of various elements and display venue schedule.

Margaret Phelan and Chief Pavillion Steward Barrie Geitz

It was fun to spend time with these people, their passions and their stories.


Words and photos: Victoria Cooper

Written by Cooper+Spowart

February 11, 2012 at 2:18 am


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Most photographers and commentators of photography discuss endlessly the biggest and the ‘best’ photo competitions around the country. It would appear that competitions are considered a most important aspect of the genre. But photo competitions come in many forms, some of which come in under the radar. Recently I judged the Allora Show Society’s Section “P” Photography, and the experience connected me with the grass roots of the world of photo competitions.

At the Allora Show photography stands alongside a diverse collection of arts, crafts and skills from needlework, baking, woodworking and scrapbooking, to painting, big pumpkin growing and cut flowers. My task was to work through the submitted entries in the 27 categories and select the winners. But first, on Vicky’s and my arrival we took a moment to take tea with the stewards, Kate Gordon, Judy Acason and Margaret Phelan. The tea was made from hot water brought in a thermos by Judy and was accompanied by home-baked fruit slice and butter and mini-lamingtons. Conversations over tea discussed the pros and cons of organising and presenting photographic competitions. Whether we were talking about the event we were about to participate in, or the big capital city extravaganzas of the AIPP Professional Photography Awards, the concerns and issues are the same.

We began the judging of class 1 – First and Second prizes were awarded as well as appropriate Highly Commendeds. Then the next, and the next category – working our way through the adult sections to the Junior sections. I was taken by the nature of the community document that the photographs represented. The ‘quality’, if you can call it that, was uneven at times, but the purpose and the honesty of each image as an authentic representation of an experience encountered and recorded is no different to those of the major national competitions.

Allora Show Photography judging - Landscape Section

Subject matter included; flowers, pets, family portraits, bugs, birds, frogs, lots of sunsets, people doing stuff, pictorial landscapes, sporting moments and vignettes of rural life. And the number of categories enabled specialist areas a chance to have comparisons between similar works. An interesting category was one in which a set of images were required to tell a story.

In the end a Champion Photograph of the show was chosen and for me the task was at an end. Vicky and I wandered off to view equestrian events, other displays of competitive work and lunch. When we returned the volunteer steward team was hard at it hand annotating the 80 or so award cards that had been made. I felt that maybe I should have held back on some of the Highly Commendeds. Participating in this event was just as important to me as any other I have had the honour to judge.


Stewards; Judy, Margaret, Kate and judge Doug

Words: Doug      Photos: Vicky + Doug


AIPP QLD ‘Hair of the Dog’ Conference

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IMAGES ONLY AT THIS TIME – Texts to follow shortly!!

Yervant Zanazanian speaking @ the 2012 AIPP Hair of the dog


Matt Adams speaks at the 2012 AIPP Hair of the Dog

Matt Adams Paradigm ProjeX

Murray Fredericks with workshop group and time-lapse rig

Murray Fredericks with time lapse rig at AIPP Hair of the Dog 2012

Murray Fredericks  SALT Video GREENLAND Project Sydney New Years Fireworks

William Long at AIPP Hair of the Dog demonstarting the Hasselblad H camera and Phocus software

William Long

AIPP “Normally” Event, MSIT, Brisbane

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