Victoria Cooper+Doug Spowart Blog

NOCTURNE GRAFTON: A new Cooper+Spowart Residency begins

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The iconic Clarence Bridge


The min gallery in the LINK - Moving in - On ABC Radio

The mini gallery in the LINK Arcade – Moving in to GRG – And on ABC Radio with Jo Shoebridge



The Nocturne Grafton Project by COOPER+SPOWART: an Artist in Residence @ Grafton Regional Gallery throughout September 2013.

If a picture is worth a thousand words – how do you gather the 1,000 words from a community by showing them pictures of their town? Artists Victoria Cooper and Doug Spowart are exploring this question as they work as Artists in Residence at the Grafton Regional Gallery. Their residency project is entitled Nocturne Grafton and will consist initially of photographs of buildings and locations within the Grafton region.

The artists have made nocturne photographs in towns all over New South Wales and Victoria and the work has been featured in their Blogs and Facebook sites. In June and July this year they photographed and Facebooked the town of Muswellbrook and last year a large body of image work was created in the seaside community of Wooli.

Cooper and Spowart make their photographs at dusk using the afterglow of sunset and streetlights to create an unusual image of the locations. This ‘nocturne’ light often requires long shutter speeds allowing the blurred movement of people and vehicles to be recorded. They enjoy photographing the visual effect of colours in different light conditions: ambient daylight, artificial lighting, car head and tail light trails.  As artist Victoria comments, ‘in nocturne light there a sense of drama or a setting for a movie scene – a place where stories are told or evoked’.




__Walkers Marina Hotel_2141-72





Making the photographs is only the beginning of the project’s activity; the next part involves the collecting of stories. As Doug Spowart explains, ‘the photographs will be posted on social media sites including Facebook for members of the Grafton community to tell us their stories or experiences that connect with the places photographed’. Victoria Cooper adds, ‘we’ve extended the saying that everyone has a story in them to every place has a story’.




They are now calling upon the Grafton community and others with similar experiences of ‘place’ to share their stories of each place photographed including their everyday and meaningful experiences by connecting with the project’s Facebook and Blog sites. As part of the residency they will be displaying photographs in the studio space at the Grafton Regional Gallery, and there will be opportunities for interested Grafton people to call by and talk with them about the project and assist in the uploading of stories.

Cooper and Spowart will also be presenting a talk about their work at the Grafton District Camera Club on September 11th and also at the Gallery at a later date. The artists will be creating a limited edition book and the Nocturne Grafton Project will continue to be accessible online.

The Cooper and Spowart Residency began on September 1 and will extend through to September 30. The social media sites are ‘Nocturne Grafton’ on Facebook and www.nocturnegrafton.org. At the beginning of the project these sites will contain only preliminary information.

To see examples of work from earlier ‘Nocturne’ projects visit:

Nocturne: Muswellbrook – https://www.facebook.com/pages/Nocturne-Muswellbrook-Project/462047657214253

Nocturne: Wooli – http://wp.me/p1tT11-q1



Log on to FACEBOOK – ‘LIKE’ the page and ‘Click’ to receive Notifications and to show in your News Feed.



© 2013 Victoria Cooper and Doug Spowart for The Nocturne Grafton Project


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This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.




4 Responses

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  1. I am so enjoying this project. Where are you going next?

    jan ramsay

    September 11, 2013 at 1:39 pm

    • Maybe back to TAFE — 2nd week of October – The Leap of Faith has nearly ‘lept’ …
      Thanks for you comment about the Nocturne Grafton – it’s a lot of fun & hard work. Check out the Facebook Page and check in …

      Victoria Cooper Doug Spowart

      September 12, 2013 at 12:03 am

  2. Victoria and Doug. I am really impressed with your photographs of Grafton at dusk. Your very impressive skill at taking a very ordinary subject and creating a great photo from it by using super composition, creative evening light and long exposure has resulted in a wonderful collection. I hope that they will be archived for posterity. Peter Hunter OAM, ARPS, AFIAP

    Peter Hunter

    October 1, 2013 at 9:49 am

    • Hello Peter,
      It was great to catch up with you at the Grafton Camera Club’s Celebration last Saturday.

      Thank you for your comments about the nocturne photographs. There are about 80 images on the Facebook page and we estimate there have been around 40,000 views – most are from followers of the page although some were ‘pop ups’ via boosted posts.
      There are 100s of likes and comments where people have told stories about the photos we have uploaded – and that was the project’s objective. We will be preparing artworks and books from the material we have collected.
      Early on we made contact with the Clarence Valley Historical Society and will be depositing a collection of images with them as well as with the Grafton Regional Gallery.
      Thank you again for your comments and support of the project – we will need to catch up again, perhaps in Lismore in the future.
      Cheers Vicky + Doug

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