Victoria Cooper+Doug Spowart Blog


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Gallery-layout JULY 2-72

Speaking About Place gallery layout


Speaking About Place: the Nocturne Project

Victoria Cooper & Doug Spowart

Cam Robertson Gallery, Toowoomba Regional Art Gallery, 19 July – 17 August 2014



Our arts practice is informed by our ongoing and evolving connection with Place. Our Place-Projects are influenced by the context and the consequences of living within a constantly changing landscape. We work with a range of photographic concepts and techniques, from the camera obscura, through analogue processes to the digital forms of the medium. Our work is presented as visual narratives in artists’ books, photobooks, exhibition images and, more recently, blogs and social media.

Through our Nocturne documentary photography and Facebook social media projects, we have explored connections with Place in urban and regional communities throughout Queensland, New South Wales and Victoria. For us the phenomenon of nocturnal light transforms these everyday spaces. Buildings, busy street corners, quiet alleyways all become filled with the dramatic light of a movie scene. In 2013 and 2014 we were given the opportunity, through funded Artists-in-Residence (AIR) programmes, to undertake Nocturne projects in the regional communities of Muswellbrook, Grafton and Bundaberg.

In this exhibition we present a selection of images from three years of our Nocturne Projects. The work shown here adds to the recent Childers Art Gallery exhibition of this project, by the inclusion of social media elements. Therefore in this gallery we invite viewers to connect with the work in a forum outside the virtual space of Facebook. To enable this connection to take place we have created folios that contain transcripts of Facebook/Place/Storytelling from each of the three AIRs.


About the photographs

We photograph in the early evening nocturnal light, a time of day where the afterglow of sunset and the glow of streetlights transform the everyday experience of place for the viewer. Images created at this time require long camera exposures and therefore produce photographs that can capture blurred movement of people and vehicles. Another important aspect of the Nocturne aesthetic is the effect of colour and the juxtaposition of coloured lights in the different situations of ambient daylight, artificial lighting, car head and taillights.


Exhibition viewers reading Facebook responses

Exhibition viewers reading Facebook responses


More than photographs

The photographs in themselves have no intrinsic meaning – it is the viewer, with their experience and memory that brings life to the image. In this moment of connection they may recount a personal narrative or connect with the historical significance of the place. This collaboration between photograph and viewer is exciting and vibrant – expanding the potential for the documentary image to go beyond the vision of the photographer.

As the Nocturne project has evolved, we have discovered the importance of sharing place stories through images, words, in person and online. Through Speaking about Place we have extended the potential for this project to share the transformative nature of lived experience and everyday life in each community.

The Western Downs town of Miles is scheduled for a social media Nocturne project later this year.


CLICK HERE To download a PDF of some of the Facebook narratives Catalogue-Comments-interact-FP3


Community comments about the photographs on Facebook



The online Nocturne Projects can be accessed at http://nocturnelink.com


Link to The Toowoomba Chronicle online news story:


Chronicle Story-Nocturne-72


A selection of images from the opening and associated events


Toowoomba Chronicle photographer get a Nocturne reverse-photo with us - From The Chronicle Instagram feed

Toowoomba Chronicle photographer Kevin Farmer gets a Nocturne reverse-photo with us – From The Chronicle Instagram feed

Exhibition invitation featuring the Toowoomba Town Hall Xmas 2012

Exhibition invitation featuring the Toowoomba Town Hall Xmas 2012

The opening of 'Speaking About Place by Ashleigh Campbell

The opening of ‘Speaking About Place by Ashleigh Campbell

Some attendees at the opening

Some attendees at the opening

Maureen Trainor and Kevin visit the show

Maureen Trainor and Kevin Scattergood visit the show

Jess Martin's 'Nocturne Cup Cakes...

Jess Martin’s Nocturne Cup Cakes…




Visit http://nocturnelink.com to connect with our Nocturne Projects






Installation photos and documentation of the artworks and text  ©Doug Spowart

Instagram photo and news story © The Toowoomba Chronicle and Kevin Farmer


Creative Commons-by-nc-nd.eu

My photographs and words are licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.





2 Responses

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  1. Fantastic work Doug and Vicky, a wonderful project and an awesome way to engage the community. Loved the PDF where you shared the FB comments. Cheers Sue

    Getaway Images

    July 29, 2014 at 5:08 pm

  2. Wow….great exhibition and of course amazing images Doug & Vicky. Very special for each community to see their built environment in new light. Congratulations….cheers Cher

    Cher Breeze

    November 17, 2014 at 9:08 am

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