Victoria Cooper+Doug Spowart Blog

Archive for November 2012


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The 2012 SQIT Photoimaging Graduation event took place on November 26 in the college theatre. Around 80 family, friends and local photography identities attended the two-hour event. The Graduation is a student project overseen by teacher Rachel Susa and her first year students and is a mix of celebration, reflection and fun. Each year a guest speaker provides an insight into the photographic industry – this year David Seeto addressed the audience with his life experiences in photography. His early film-based work with complex sets, large format film and tricky lighting situations made the students thankful for the ability they have to use digital techniques and Adobe Photoshop to assemble images now – easily. David discussed his documentary work over many years  with outback legend R. M. Williams.

The SQIT Photoimaging Graduation 2012

David Seeto presents the keynote address

At the Graduation event the SQIT Photoimaging Awards are announced. This year’s Syd Owen Graduating Student of the Year is Abby Dennien. Her award recognises the significant contribution made by Syd Owen Senior in the formation of the Institute of Australian Photography (now the AIPP) in the 1960s and his support of professional photography in this country. As part of her award Abby has the opportunity to gain extra experience as a part-time employee of Owen Studios for the next 6 months The Photobook of the year was awarded to Christine Ivanov for a book about night travel along local highways.

Raymond Keyworth from Owens Studios with Abby Dennien and Doug   PHOTO: Alison Ahlhaus

The Graduating students take the stage at the end of the night and a celebration poster is unveiled which features a portrait of the students and teachers. Then it’s all over — until next year!

Certificate IV in Photoimaging Graduation Group  PHOTO: Alison Ahlhaus

The 2012 Student Board

The 2012 Student Board

Written by Cooper+Spowart

November 30, 2012 at 8:18 pm


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The assessment team with teacher Alison (left) and student Aidan (seated)

As the end of the teaching/learning year draws to a close the annual assessment day for student folios draws near. This year 5 Brisbane photographers joined with local professional identity Syd Owen to provide this important industry connection with the Southern Queensland Institute of TAFE’s Photoimaging department’s students. The team was (left-right) Alison Ahlhaus, Syd Owen, Andy Cross, Mark Schoeman, AIPP Queensland President Jan Ramsay, Cam Attree and Ian Poole.

The assessment team looking @ work

This year assessment consisted mainly of final folios from the Certificate IV in Photoimaging (CUV40403) and a Diploma of Photoimaging folio. The folio submission consists of 16-20 high quality 20×30.5 images from work made throughout the year as course work. Students also present a photobook for assessment. The photobook represents a major component for holistic assessment of a broad range of professional practice from image-making, optimisation and online output through print-on-demand book service providers. Importantly the photobook project necessitates the development of a conceptual body of work which the student melds into a personal narrative.

Ian providing student Aidan with some feedback

These photographs of the event provide some representation of assessment day activities. The Photoimaging Team, Alison Ahlhaus, Rachel Susa and myself greatly appreciate the special connection that this industry liaison provides for the college, the students and the ability it provides for our student work to be moderated against contemporary industry standards in photoimaging.

Cam, Jan and Ian looking @ a student photobook

Jan and Doug towards the end of the busy day  PHOTO: Mark Schoeman

OUR BOOK in the show ‘Lessons in History Vol. II – Democracy’ grahame galleries

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The Cooper+Spowart book Art is always the best policy, is included in the grahame galleries exhibition Lesson in History Vol. II – Democracy curated by Noreen Grahame. The book is a tounge-in-cheek commentary on democracy and the artist and is published as part of the Centre for Regional Arts Practice – Artists Survey books. The artist’s statement for the work is as follows …


Cover: Art is always the best policy



Recent democratic debate in Australian politics has been apprehended by special interest lobby groups. It is now time for artists to stand up and be vocal to capture their share of the political scene.

This policy booklet presents the Regional Artists for Government Election (R.A.G.E.) campaign and its political demands. The R.A.G.E. policies at first seem flippant and glib, however, as we have experienced in contemporary politics, the absurd can, with the right ‘spin’ and ‘media cycle’, become plausible – in fact, even highly appealing to the voters, leading to positive opinion polls and success at the ballot box.

SUPPORT R.A.G.E. – Join the Art Revolution Today.

The edition of the book is 25 with 5 artist’s proofs. Copies of the book can be purchased from grahame galleries for $25 + packaging and post.

A video performance of the book is available here …



WHAT HAPPENS in a Brisbane storm black-out!!

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At a dinner attended by Queensland artists’ book people last Saturday in Brisbane a giant thunder storm caused a black-out. Now any self respecting ‘bookie’ would probably have a mini-book reading light or two on their person, but this was not the case. Out came the candles – and in their yellow light we were pushed closer together by the darkness …

As we chortled on about books, democracy, bureaucracy, and greater world issues the piercing shafts of lightning, the accompanying crash of thunder and the sound of driving rain on the roof brought us closer to a time before books, were human beings nestled-in around a flicking fire and told stories by animated gestures and spoken language.

Brisbane book arts dinner black-out

GRAHAME GALLERIES: Lessons in History Vol. II – Democracy

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In an otherwise drought of artists’ book activity in Brisbane the opening of the much awaited exhibition at grahame galleries Lessons in History Vol. II – Democracy provided a welcome spike in calendar. In one brief afternoon there was the opportunity to be swept up in a deluge of books and book people. This is a the democratic camera view of the event …

A catalogue is available for viewing at the gallery’s website HERE. A print catalogue featuring each book is available from the gallery as well.

grahame galleries panorama


Noreen Grahame and the catalogue


Jan Davis and her book Democracy Counts


Monica Oppen and her book Dare to VOTE!


Anne Kirker and Ron McBurnie discussing books


Stephen Spurrier and his book Canaries for Democracy


Looking @ Glen Skien’s Atlas 1


Heather Matthew and her book Occupy



Discussing Democracy books



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Simon Gleeson: ‘Peru Embraced’ Poster

Simon Gleeson studied photography with me a few years ago in Toowoomba. His world travels have taken him to some remarkable places but his current love affair is with Peru. An exhibition fund-raiser recently opened at the Metro Gallery in Toowoomba. Simon presented a selection of large colour and black & white images presented on canvas mounts.

Simon Gleeson portrait by Doug Spowart

Plaza De Armas by Simon Gleeson

Condor by Simon Gleeson

At the opening the works were auctioned generating around $4,000 for an amazing lady Lyndal Maxwell who cares for and adopts Peruvian children. Simon’s message is presented here …

A story in the Toowoomba Chronicle newspaper is available HERE

Congratulations Simon…

Written by Cooper+Spowart

November 22, 2012 at 7:09 pm

THE RANGE: Comments about the C.R.A.P. event

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The RANGE Festival Director Ashley Bunter and Arts Council Toowoomba President Jennifer Wright (Summers) comment on the Centre for Regional Arts Practice event at the GRID. SEE earlier post on the event HERE.

Jennifer Wright (Summers) and Ashleigh Bunter

FROM ASHLEIGH BUNTER: The event was a novel, performative/responsive format that drew together a diverse range of respected panelists of varied opinions. It was wonderful to see the room full of many esteemed artists, educators, writers and the general public. Through the provocations read from several issues of Doug Spowart and Victoria Cooper’s (The Centre for Regional Arts Practice) series of artists books the panelists and audience mused what it is to be a regional artist and ultimately whether where one lives affects ones arts practice.
It is lovely thing, perhaps semi-unique to regional centres, that young and old, creatives, bureaucrats and the general public from all walks can sit together and sustain formal, thought provoking discussion.
I loved listening to Jennifer Wright (Summers) link her book ‘The Regional Artist and Mining’ to the work of Glenn Albrecht who I heard speak recently at the Regional Arts Australian National Conference about the ways that environmental concerns impact people mentally. He provided a language to describe the phenomena which Jennifer shared and employed.
The audience and panelists will now pose new questions for ‘The Regional Artist and The Artist Run Space.’
After all the discussion, I left feeling positive that I feel such a strong connection to my hometown and the engaged people around me but also that with the freedom afforded by travel and the internet, we are all more than just where we live.
Thanks Ashleigh.
A COMMENT FROM JENNIFER WRIGHT (SUMMERS): A belated response to Jack’s statement that since so many people have lost jobs in manufacturing in Toowoomba, mining offers the best option for employment of these people.
Mining jobs are temporary and have negative impacts with binge drinking, lack of affordable housing for any nearby community.Why can’t we continue to make Toowoomba a centre of creativity, art and culture? Arts Council Toowoomba’s mission statement has always been to create a vibrant and creative centre for the arts.
At the Regional Arts Australia Conference in Golwa Federal Minister Simon Crean detailed how collaborative creative projects and partnerships had renewed regional cities including Newcastle and Townsville.Mark Robinson from Arts Council UK talked about making adaptive resilience real. When industries declined, regional UK communities remained creatively productive and adapted with integrity to changing circumstances with lasting benefit for the community.
The Edinburgh Festival, now 21 years old is part of Edinburgh’s strength and creates formal and informal social capital and feeds the community.

Transformations have started here and I hope we can ride the momentum of the RANGE festival. Festivals become part of the environment, attracting the touring dollar.
We can support a growing ecology and develop critical discussion in the region if we stick together, continue to adapt, gain confidence but not wreck the community,
if we remain open, dynamic and creative we position ourselves behind a creative industry that has longevity stands to benefit the community in a long term sustainable way.

Jennifer Wright (Summers)

Thanks Jennifer
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