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DIGGING FOR GOLD: Nocturne Castlemaine+Chewton

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The memorial cairn celebrating the discovery of gold at this place in 1852

The memorial cairn celebrating the discovery of gold at this place in 1852

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For about a month now we have been house-sitting in Chewton in the midlands of Victoria – the locality includes Castlemaine and Bendigo with Daylesford and Ballarat just down the road.

The region is famous for gold that was discovered in 1851 – with three months 30,000 diggers were working the alluvial gold fields. While initially a tent city very quickly buildings for every purpose where built many of which still stand today – although, some could be considered barely standing… Just up the street is The Red Hill Hotel that was built in 1854, the Chewton Town Hall in 1858 and the local post office was first opened in 1857.

By the end of the 1800s underground mining and dredging became the preferred methods to extract the precious metal. Companies that could undertake the industrial, technical and financial backing required replaced the independent digger. Populations shrunk and the architectural legacy of the boom times remained.

We have been out doing some night photography work to extend our Nocturne project further. Our nocturne photographs follow our usual methodology although we have added in the Day/Night duo image concept explored in the recent Nocturne Armidale project.

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Castlemaine: Downes Road industrial scene

Castlemaine: Downes Road industrial scene

We have found that the Castlemaine and Chewton are thriving creative and cultural communities bolstered by artists, academics, writers and adventurers who have moved to this region. You can be surprised who lives around the corner…

 

Chewton Post Office

Chewton Post Office

The Chewton Community & Senior Citizens Centre. At the gate is an amazing life-sized sculpture of Alice Dennis by sculptor Richard Yates.

The Chewton Community & Senior Citizens Centre.
At the gate is an amazing life-sized sculpture of Alice Dennis by sculptor Richard Yates.

Pyrenees Highway and moon rise, Chewton

Pyrenees Highway and moon rise, Chewton

 

Elevation of the Old Castlemaine Jail...

Elevation of the Old Castlemaine Jail…

The 9.35pm to Melbourne leaves the Castlemaine Station...

The 9.35pm to Melbourne leaves the Castlemaine Station…

Castlemaine station detail... Poster says "When it's hot – Trains slow down". It was 41 degrees C max today - the train was running late. It was still 34 degrees when the train left the platform.

Castlemaine station detail… Poster says “When it’s hot – Trains slow down”. It was 41 degrees C max today – the train was running late. It was still 34 degrees when the train left the platform.

 

 

St Mary's Church with shadows

St Mary’s Church with shadows

TOTAL FIRE BAN TODAY - Chewton CFA, Mount Street.

TOTAL FIRE BAN TODAY – Chewton CFA, Mount Street.

You know when you hit the 50kph zone coming into Chewton when you pass the Shell servo ...

You know when you hit the 50kph zone coming into Chewton when you pass the Shell servo …

Just down the side of Mo's Antiques Chewton

Just down the side of Mo’s Antiques Chewton

Castlemaine Post Office – Telstra telephones... who uses them now...?

Castlemaine Post Office – Telstra telephones… who uses them now…?

The Old Castlemaine Jail...

The Old Castlemaine Jail…

Castlemaine Town Hall – lights all out 9.30pm.

Castlemaine Town Hall – lights all out 9.30pm.

Phone Box DUO at the Chewton Post Office

Phone Box DUO at the Chewton Post Office

You could almost write a novel about this Chewton scene...

You could almost write a novel about this Chewton scene…

PHOTO: Cooper+Spowart ©2017

Antique, antique shop Castlemaine

Castlemaine Midland Hotel just over the road from the station. The lights are out ---- Is anybody home...?

Castlemaine Midland Hotel just over the road from the station. The lights are out —- Is anybody home…?

The Chewton Town Hall...

The Chewton Town Hall…

Castlemaine Presbyterian Church

Castlemaine Presbyterian Church

Opposite the Red Hill Hotel DUO

Opposite the Red Hill Hotel DUO

Under the veranda of the Red Hill Hotel

Under the veranda of the Red Hill Hotel

 

Cooper+Spowart – on the nocturne street, Chewton

Cooper+Spowart – on the nocturne street, Chewton

 

 

 

Written by Cooper+Spowart

February 14, 2017 at 5:24 pm

NOCTURNE ARMIDALE: a community photo project

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Sam Walkom's Imperial Hotel through the Post Office's arche

Sam Walkom’s Imperial Hotel rephotography DUO taken through the Post Office’s arches

 

NOCTURNE ARMIDALE: Capturing Armidale in a new light          

In our latest Nocturne project we worked with a group of photographers from the Armidale region to document the change of light from day to night. The special theme we developed for the Nocturne: Armidale project was to capture the town in both the early evening’s nocturnal light with a second photograph of the subject during daylight. This ‘re-photography’ approach resulted in a comparative pairs of images revealing the evocative nature of nocturne light and how it transforms everyday places.

 

The project began in mid-September when we conducted a workshop at the New England Region Art Museum (NERAM) in re-photography and nocturne light capture. This included practical shoots around Armidale from which images were then optimized and uploaded to Nocturne: Armidale project Facebook page to share with the wider community. Another aspect of the project was the digital processing and optimising of nocturne photographs. This was accomplished in a mentored section of the workshop with the participant’s images.

 

Doug presenting his workshop on file optimisation

Doug presenting his workshop on file optimisation

A group shot of some of the Nocturne Armidale participants

A group shot of some of the Nocturne Armidale participants PHOTO: Neil Burton

 

Les Davis from the National Trust Home Saumarez, provided project participants with a unique opportunity to photograph this magnificent historical homestead. Over two separate nights images were made to highlight the home’s colonial architecture.

It was suggested in our original proposal that the work produced could be at some later stage be exhibited. And during the workshop Greg from the New England Art Society Armidale Art Gallery came forward with the offer of an exhibition space in their gallery.

In the two months following the workshop we finalised the optimisation of 25 pieces from the workshop – most of them re-photography Duos, and printed them for the participants. Other print coordination took place with workshop participant Neil Burton who provided access to his wide-format printer for large images to be made. At the end of November we returned to Armidale with Neil and his partner Lindy Osbourne to hang the shows.

 

Hanging the Nocturne Armidale exhibition

Hanging the Nocturne Armidale exhibition

Part of the Nocturne Armidale exhibition at the Armidale Art Gallery

Part of the Nocturne Armidale exhibition at the Armidale Art Gallery

The project’s main exhibition was shown at the Armidale Art Gallery in Beardy Street and we presented a floortalk on December 3rd that was attended by around 25 visitors as well as most of the project’s participants. The exhibition of images from the Saumarez shoot-outs was officially opened by photographer and publisher Terry Cooke on December 2 and will remain on display at Saumarez until January 29th, 2017. A third exhibition of photographs included our images and works by Neil Burton will be on show in the Armidale Council Chambers until March 5, 2017.

 

With Terry Cooke, Les Davis and Neil Burton at the opening of the Saumarez show

With Terry Cooke, Les Davis and Neil Burton at the opening of the Saumarez show PHOTO: Lindy Osbourne

Vicky presenting a floortalk about the Nocturne show

Vicky presenting a floortalk about the Nocturne show

 

The Nocturne: Armidale exhibitions include photographs by Paul Bayne, Sue Burgess, Neil Burton, Victoria Cooper, Les Davis, Ross Jenkins, Jeni Mackenzie, Doug Spowart, Sam Walkom and Jim Walmsley.

Here is a selection of the Nocturne Armidale project images…

Click on image to open a gallery viewer for author and subject details.

 

 

Robert Heather, the Director of NERAM described us as a ‘nomadic photographic duo’ and acknowledged that we had, with our group of local photographers, had ‘braved cold, wet and windy conditions to create some beautiful and dramatic images of places which we all know well such as the old Courthouse, Saumarez Homestead, the cathedrals, hotels and railway station.”

 

The New England FOCUS Magazine published a story on our work and background to the Nocturne Armidale project – Download a PDF focus-nocturnearmidale-red (20Mb)

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The Nocturne: Armidale project was coordinated by the New England Regional Art Museum in partnership with the New England Art Society and supported by Saumarez Homestead and Armidale Regional Council.

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Regtta Hotel, Brisbane - rephotography DUO

Regatta Hotel, Brisbane – Rephotography DUO

ABOUT NOCTURNE PHOTOGRAPHY

Nocturne photography captures a time of day where the afterglow of sunset and the glow of streetlights can transform the everyday experience of place. In these photographs, street scenes and buildings that may be familiar in normal daylight take on the dramatic appearance of movie sets. Some photographs created at this time can require long camera exposures and therefore produce images that can capture blurred movement of people and car headlight trails. These images offer to the community a different perspective to their daily experience of place.

 

Nocturne Armidale Logo

Nocturne Armidale Logo

MORE ABOUT COOPER and SPOWART NOCTURNE PROJECTS

NOCTURNE: ARMIDALE, the project is part of continuing series, conducted by Victoria Cooper and Doug Spowart, across Eastern Australia including past events in Muswellbrook, Grafton, Bundaberg and Miles.

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.

 

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.

 

Examples of other Nocturne Projects and Facebook responses can be found at: <www.nocturnelink.com>

 

 

Cooper+Spowart shooting Nocturne

Cooper+Spowart shooting Nocturne

 

ABOUT  COOPER+SPOWART
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, 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 and on blogs and social media.

 

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Logo

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Copyright in all Nocturne Armidale project images is retained by the author – any use of these photographs must be approved by the copyright owner.

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COOPER+SPOWART NOCTURNES: International Year of Light

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IYL - Logo

IYL – Logo

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2015 is the INTERNATIONAL YEAR OF LIGHT – Our Nocturne projects celebrate light and this year at the Muswellbrook Regional Arts Centre we are showing a major exhibition entitled NOCTURNE MUSWELLBROOK: Revisited.

 

 

Nocturne Muswellbrook: Reflections on Light

 

As the sun goes down and the last light fades–cars pass by with commuters heading home for respite at the end of a days work or others just embarking on a nights work. Trucks move through the town with little thought for the places they pass through. People meet and have a conversation…. The street lights come on one by one up the street. The illuminated advertising signage lights the buildings along with the internal lights of the building.

This transition from daylight to night is rhythmical–a diurnal phenomenon–but one that is also pervaded with the uncanny or un-homely sense of place. At nocturne and into the night everyday places change, becoming mysterious as the shadows replace familiar surrounds. A sense of melancholy also grows with the passing of the day–a lament born from the relentlessness of change.

Yet these ephemeral moments can also be seductive and evocative, experiencing the aesthetics of the nocturne can inspire new imaginings of everyday places. The colour and chiaroscuro compositions of light and shadow replace the tired and indifferent prose of daily life. A magical narrative evolves from the personal memories of a shared living history in these laneways, streets, buildings and spaces.

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A selection of Nocturne Muswellbrook: Revisited images

A selection of Nocturne Muswellbrook: Revisited images

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COOPER+SPOWART NOCTURNE PROJECTS

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Cooper+Spowart Nocturne shadow

For many years we have engaged in nocturne projects. These have included artists in residency programs in the regional galleries of Muswellbrook, Grafton, Bundaberg and Miles as well as self-funded projects across east coast Australia. The Artist in Residence (AIR) projects are associated with a Facebook page to connect the community with the photographs and evoke stories about the places photographed.

A sample of community Facebook responses can be seen here:

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Nocturne AIR Projects include workshops, mentoring in photography, image enhancement, social media as well as photobook and zine making. Future Nocturne Projects are in the planning stage and we seek expressions of interest from communities looking to participating in a Nocturne light project.

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Participating community members from the Nocturne Miles Project

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A link to a collective of NOCTURNE PROJECTS can be found: HERE

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THE BACK STORY: Nocturne Muswellbrook

 

 

The Nocturne Muswellbrook Facebook page was launched in June 2013

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From 23rd June we began a 2week Artist in Residence in Muswellbrook. Our studio was a vacant shop in the Campbell’s Corner building fronting onto the main street, Bridge Street

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Our gallery and workspace

We set up our digital studio workspace to:

  • Master the nocturne photographs for the Facebook page
  • Print out the mastered images for a small display in the shop
  • Greet anyone that wanted to come by and share their story about Muswellbrook
  • Prepare for the evening’s shooting around the town

 

Photographing a coal train from the Bell Street bridge

Photographing a coal train from the Bell Street bridge

Each night and day, once the images were uploaded onto the Nocturne Muswellbrook page we invited everyone to tell their stories about each place photographed. We were excited to engage with the community and a deeper knowledge and experience of Muswellbrook through this process.

 

An early FB Cover

An early FB Cover

 

Many people that visited the page were once residents of Muswellbrook but now live in other parts of Australia and some were international expats. The number of ‘Page LIKES’ grew quickly – today the number stands @ 620. There was a pride and a melancholy for this once rural town. Some stories were full of humour and the irony of the Aussie yarn. While others shared poignant moments of their lives from the memories evoked by the photographs.

 

Video projection on MRAC wall

Video projection on MRAC wall

We also created a Youtube video that was uploaded and premiered at our artists talk held in the Muswellbrook Regional Arts Centre on the July 5. In evening we projected our images as a visual performance on the outside of the Gallery for public viewing and to extend the experience of the nocturne project.

Even though our 2 weeks in residence had come to an end on July 6, we still continued to connect with the Facebook page: uploading images and connecting them with the community’s stories.

 

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Exhibition invite

 

Vicky arranging the hang copy

Vicky arranging the hang

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The MRAC exhibition space

 

In 2015 we came back to show an exhibition of the work on the walls of the Gallery. The Sunday after the opening we presented a workshop for participants wanted to upskill or engage with how we captured and mastered these nocturnal images.

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Workshop at the MRAC

 

Now the works are on the wall for all to come and see… and we are inviting anyone who visits to write down their story and place on the wall next to the image. The gallery is now a physical “Facebook page”. We look forward to seeing your written stories on the walls of the gallery.

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2013: with Silvana & Roger-MRAC AIR Coordinator ….. 2015 with Elissa, Jade and MRAC Director Brad…………………..

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Printing with ILFORD Galerie GOLD SILK papers

Printing with ILFORD Galerie GOLD SILK papers

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We want to express our thanks to the MRAC Team, Roger Skinner, ILFORD papers and Maud Gallery.

 

 

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NOCTURNE BUNDABERG: A new community Facebook project

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THE BUNDABERG COMMUNITY NOCTURNE

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Nocturne Bundaberg Facebook Page

Nocturne Bundaberg Facebook Page

LINK TO FACEBOOK ‘Bundaberg Nocturne’

 

Cooper+Spowart in Bundaberg

Cooper+Spowart in Bundaberg

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In our past Nocturne Artist in Residency projects in Grafton and Muswellbrook we were the photographers selecting and documenting place in the nocturnal light and then uploading the images of Facebook for community to see and comment. As part of the Queensland Festival of Photography 5 we were approached to undertake an Artist in Residency in the central Queensland’s Wide-Bay Burnett region. Centred on Bundaberg, Childers and local coastal towns, the project included an exhibition of our Nocturne works and a Facebook documentary project. On this occasion we decided to connect with local photographers to collaborate with us in the documentary project.

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With Tudie Leigo BRAG Exhibitions Officer

With Tudie Leigo BRAG Exhibitions Officer

With Creative Region's  Shelley Pisani

Talking about the project with Creative Region’s Shelley Pisani

With Ray Peek

With Ray Peek

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As a preliminary to the project we visited Bundaberg in early January and began initial documentary work. In the 1980s Doug had a significant connection with amateur photographers from the camera club movement in Bundaberg. For some time he had contact with the region’s photo guru Ray Peek so a visit to the hero of the Bundaberg’s photography scene was a necessity. So too was a connection with Shelley Pisani from Creative Regions and key people from the Bundaberg Regional Galleries including exhibitions Officer Trudie Leigo. The Facebook site was established, initial images were uploaded and ‘Page Likes’ attracted.

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On our return in April we met with the group of Bundy photographers that applied to work with us through a formal Expressions of Interest process. A special Nocturne photography introductory workshop was conducted at which techniques and workflows were discussed and demonstrated. Of particular concern were issues to do with personal safety and security. Then the photographers were set loose to shoot subjects of personal interest, optimise them and upload to the Nocturne Bundaberg Region Facebook page. Within a few days the Facebook page had 180 ‘Likes’, numerous comments, shares and 3,500 views. Via an online group photographer participants were provided with support, feedback and mentoring to enhance their photoimaging skills. Although many are accomplished photographers, we were happy to work with those that required assistance or to review work when requested.

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A briefing with the local photographers

A briefing with the local photographers

The local photographers

The local photographers

Some of the local photographers on a shoot out

Some of the local photographers on a shoot out

Project photographers working with us at Childers

Project photographers working with us at Childers

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On Saturday the 12th of April our exhibition ‘Speaking About Place’ was opened at CHARTS gallery in Childers and the Bundaberg Regional community was fully engaged in the project. Over the next few weeks the addition of new photographs will continue and the community will be invited to begin a new dialogue about the region. They will, through the Nocturne Bundaberg Region project, be ‘Speaking About Place’.

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"Speaking About Place' invitation

“Speaking About Place’ invitation

CHARTS Gallery installation

CHARTS Gallery installation

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The project will continue as a Facebook page and from this community resource may emerge exhibitions, books and other online opportunities. It is envisaged that many of the local photographers will make available images to the ‘Picture Bundaberg’ Archive, which is administered by the Bundaberg Regional Libraries.

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Talking about or project on air with Billy Healy at radio 4BU

Talking about or project on air with Billy Healy at radio 4BU

The Nocturne Bundaberg Region Media Release follows:

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Speaking About Place: The Nocturne Project

Speaking About Place – an exhibition of collected images from The Nocturne Projects from Muswellbrook to Grafton as well as images from the Bundaberg region. Nocturne Projects showcase a variety of photographs highlighting the beauty of the early evening and its nocturnal light. Speaking About Place will be on show at the Childers Art Space (CHARTS) on Saturday 12 April in conjunction with the Queensland Festival of Photography 5.

Toowoomba-based photographers Doug Spowart and Victoria Cooper work in the early evening’s nocturnal light, a time of day where the afterglow of sunset and the glow of streetlights transform the everyday experience of place into something magical. Photographs created at this time require long camera exposures and therefore produce images that can capture blurred movement of people and vehicles.

“An important aspect of the Nocturne aesthetic is the affect of colour in different light conditions: ambient daylight, artificial lighting, car head and tail light trails. These images create a sense of drama, something that you’d generally see in a setting for a movie scene. It’s a place where stories could be told or evoked” Mr Spowart explained.

Spowart and Cooper initially visited Bundaberg early January to commence stage one of their Artist in Residence at the Bundaberg Regional Gallery. As part of the Speaking About Place exhibition, Nocturne Project: Bundaberg Region has selected 21 photographers from across the region to work alongside Spowart and Cooper through April. Photographers will have the opportunity to gain invaluable nocturnal photography skills from two leading artists. After the initial capture the artists select and optimize images that are then posted on social media sites like Facebook. Selected images will also be digitally displayed during the Speaking About Place exhibition.

“If a picture is worth a thousand words, how do you gather the thousand words from a community by showing them pictures of where they live? We aim to extend the experience and ultimately perception of place in the Bundaberg region. These are just some of the questions we’ll be exploring with the local photographers” Ms Cooper said.

Speaking About Place will be officially opened by the artists Doug Spowart and Victoria Cooper on Saturday 12 April at 2:00pm at Childers Art Space (CHARTS).

The exhibition will be on show from 1 April to 25 May and more information can be found via www.brag-brc.org.au, www.nocturnelink.com, and the Nocturne: Bundaberg Region project page on Facebook: www.facebook.com/NocturneBundabergRegion

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A Queensland Festival of Photography 5 exhibition and project
QFP logo

QFP logo

BUNDABERG: A New Nocturne Community Project

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NOCTURNE BUNDABERG: Stage One of a new community project concept

Vicky and Doug go tropical (shirts anyway) in Bundaberg

Vicky and Doug go tropical (shirts anyway) in Bundaberg

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We’ve been in Bundaberg this week (January 5-12)doing preliminary work on a new concept in our nocturne work. Here is the overview of the project:

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In April 2014 Bundaberg Regional Galleries will be hosting an artist in residency program with artists Victoria Cooper and Doug Spowart. An exhibition of their Nocturne work including new images from this region will be on show at CHARTS Gallery at Childers during April in conjunction with the Queensland Festival of Photography 5. The artists will be also working on their next Nocturne photodocumentary project, entitled Nocturne Bundaberg Region. As with the previous Nocturne Muswellborook and Nocturne Grafton projects the photographs they make will be posted on the Nocturne Bundaberg Region Facebook page so that communities can connect with the project, and importantly, share their stories about each place.

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Talking with Trudie Leigo - Exhibitions Officer @ Bundaberg Regional

Talking with Trudie Leigo – Exhibitions Officer @ Bundaberg Regional

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To extend the community’s connection with the project, Victoria and Doug will be working with a small group of photographers from across the Bundaberg Regional Council area to be contributors to the image-making part of the project. The participants will be selected using an EOI process that will be launched on the project’s Facebook page by the end of the month. Successful applicants will be advised in mid-March and they’ll attend a workshop in specialist aspects of nocturnal photography, image enhancement and the safety considerations for this work. After attending the workshop the local photographers will have an opportunity to add their images to the project’s Facebook page. Preferably, applicants should be 18 or over. Other community members may be invited to post images as well.

Any community member or person who has stories inspired by the photographs can post comments to the Facebook page..

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The Nocturne Bundaberg Region’s Facebook page images, as well as the community conversation derived from the project, may be incorporated in other outcomes including exhibitions or publications associated with the project. A selection of images may go into the Picture Bundaberg Archive.

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Nocturne Bundaberg Logo

Nocturne Bundaberg Logo

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All photographs © 2014 Cooper+Spowart  for the Nocturne Bundaberg community documentation project

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

http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/2.5/au/

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NOCTURNE GRAFTON PROJECT: Fieldwork Concludes

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Promotional Card

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We have just finished our artists-in-residence at the Grafton Regional Gallery. It was an amazing month and a wonderful opportunity to engage with the community and create art!

Artists in Residency programmes are an important opportunity to break out of the home/studio/teaching role routine to exchange or explore new ideas in a totally different environment.  We consider our time in these residencies as essential to our practice; it transforms how we work and brings fresh ideas into our work. Integral to our projects is the immersion in each place and connecting with community and local narratives of place. Our time in Grafton was a remarkable: the community, its everyday stories and the imposing presence of the Clarence River all contributed inspiration for our creative work.

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Doug photographing under the Pound Street viaduct

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Our project was to create images of local places that to us visually evoked a narrative.  The places were selected from our exploration of the town, researching local knowledge, and conversations with people we met.  We sought places that were best illuminated by nocturnal light (late afternoon and early evening light).  This light only lasts around 30 to 60 minutes, but its transformation of everyday places can be powerfully evocative. Our work in this time is intense and our awareness of the visual qualities of different spaces is deepened. The history and lived experience embedded in each place seems to ‘speak’ and we ‘listen’.

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A comparison - Nocturne and daylight of the same subject

A comparison – Nocturne and daylight of the same subject

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Facebook page

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After each shoot we return to our residence to reflect, select and optimize our visual reconnaissance of nocturnal Grafton to then upload and ‘share’ online through Facebook and a blog. Through this sharing of our work we connected with a community and their stories in each place. Personal and historical accounts of these places brought our images to life. For us, this is where the art that exists – between our initial inspiration and local lived experiences.

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The LINK Shoppingworld gallery

The LINK Shoppingworld gallery

A nocturne shoot-out with the Grafton Camera Club

A nocturne shoot-out with the Grafton Camera Club

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To extend the exchange that was integral to our project we also were involved in artists’ talks for schools, and other visitors to the Grafton Regional Gallery. We set up and attended two small displays of our ongoing work: one in the gallery and another in a vacant shop at the LINK arcade in the main shopping precinct. Doug and I had a very dear friend, Charlie Snook, who was a strong supporter and participant of the local camera club. So it was important for us to be able to connect with this enthusiastic group of photographers. We gave an evening talk, shared two of our nocturne shoots as photographic outings and judged their current assignment work. It was privilege to be invited to their 50th anniversary dinner held on the last weekend of our residency and a great way to finish our time in Grafton.

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The C.R.A.P.y artist book team

The C.R.A.P.y artist book team

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We organized an activity to involve local and regional artists as well as a Brisbane arts professional in a collaborative artists’ book project. Under the auspices of the Centre for Regional Arts Practice, an organization created and coodinated by us, we held an activity over the weekend of September 21and 22. This collaborative event produced 60 copies of the C.R.A.P. Artist’s Survey Number 15, the theme of this survey was ‘the regional arts worker as a nomad’. Copies were shared amongst the participants while some were then set aside for donation to major collections including: The Grafton Regional Gallery and the State Library of Queensland.

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The Daily Examiner newspaper coverage

The Daily Examiner newspaper coverage

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We were excited by the considerable support of and interest in our project from Grafton’s newspaper, The Daily Examiner, publishing separate stories, a front-page photograph and a weekend feature.  Support also came from Senator Ursula Stephens shared the page and added ‘Grafton is the great Jacaranda city on the NSW north coast and the Nocturne Project is a wonderful example of celebrating local landmarks and building community identity. Love it!’ – was also an unexpected acknowledgement of our project. We visited the Grafton Historical Society and found a treasure of knowledge and information together with a willingness to assist in our research.

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The Roundabout Clocktower from Weiley's Hotel balcony

The Roundabout Clocktower from Weiley’s Hotel balcony

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Some information on the Facebook component of the project: www.facebook.com/nocturnegrafton

During the month of September the project had 410 page ‘Likes’ and achieved a total viral reach of around 65,000 people. 65% of the Nocturne Grafton fan base were women (the Facebook average is 46%). The main engaged age group were women 25-34 years @ 17% of the total (the FB Average is 12%). The most popular post was the Clocktower roundabout from Weiley’s Balcony, which attracted 4,500 views and 274 likes, 37 comments and 44 shares (some of the reach was boosted). Interpretation of Facebook analytics is an interesting task and one that we will be reviewing over the next few weeks.  We will maintain the Facebook page as a place for continued conversation.

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Jude McBean, Vicky, Cher Breeze & Doug

Jude McBean, Vicky, Cher Breeze & Doug

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At all times during our residency an energetic and professional team, Jude McBean GRG Director, Cher Breeze, Avron Thompson and many dedicated volunteers at the Grafton Art Gallery provided valuable assistance, advice and stories. With the vision and support of the Gallery the residency was for us a transforming experience and our time at Grafton Art Gallery was highly productive.

And a BIG thank you to all our Facebook Friends who supported the project by their ‘Likes’, ‘Comments’ and ‘Shares’.

The final visual outcome for the project will be in the form of the continued online presence, artists/photo books and exhibition of image work. These artworks will reflect on the collaboration between our photographs, the social media project and the Grafton community.

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Going home on the last night of the residency…

 

Some comments from our Facebook friends at the conclusion of the project:

Peter Hunter OAM, ARPS, AFIAP: 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.

Marlene Szepsy: I have really enjoyed your way of sharing and bringing art to the community. A great artists in residence project. Thank you.

Louise Kirby: You have been wonderful AIR’s and I am so glad you came and shared your beautiful photography, your skills and your enthusiasm …

Adam Hourigan: pleasure meeting you guys. The photos make Facebook a much brighter place

Vanessa Collins: thanks for the way you have shown our beautiful town, can’t wait for the exhibition and the book

Stephanie Haines: Thank you for the beautiful photos… they made us all look at our town in a new way.

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

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NOCTURNE GRAFTON: A new Cooper+Spowart Residency begins

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The iconic Clarence Bridge

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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

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TELLING STORIES ABOUT PLACES

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’.

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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’.

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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

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TO SUPPORT THE PROJECT:

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

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

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UPDATE: Nocturne Muswellbrook

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Intersection of Sydney & Haydon Streets

Intersection of Sydney & Haydon Streets

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We’ve been busy in the Nocturne Muswellbrook project – Here is an update …

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A NEWSPAPER STORY

Chronicle News story: 28 June 2013

Chronicle News story: 28 June 2013

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Our Gallery

The Nocturne Gallery in SHop 8 Campbell's Corner

The Nocturne Gallery in SHop 8 Campbell’s Corner

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An ABC Radio interview

Mike Pritchard from ABC Radio interview

Mike Pritchard from ABC Radio interview

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A presentation to the local Camera Club

Muswellbrook & District Camera Club

Muswellbrook & District Camera Club

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Working in the rain – nearly every night lately …

St Alban's Anglican Church

St Alban’s Anglican Church

St James' Catholic Church

St James’ Catholic Church

56 Bridge Street

56 Bridge Street

Southern end of the Subway

Southern end of the Subway

Corner Sydney St and Maitland Road

Corner Sydney Street and Maitland Road

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SEE MORE IMAGES AND TO ALSO MAKE A PERSONAL COMMENT ON THE POSTS about your experience of ‘PLACE’ or stories evoked by the subjects we have photographed:

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FACEBOOK

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

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The Blog: www.nocturnemuswellbrook.org

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Comment Now …

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To Follow us on FACEBOOK ‘Tick’ GET NOTIFICATIONS and ALL UPDATES

FB-Like+Notifications-info

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

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ARTIST IN RESIDENCE: Muswellbrook Nocturne

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Nocturne Muswellbrook

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Victoria Cooper and Doug Spowart

Victoria Cooper and Doug Spowart

 

For those of you who have been following our nocturne work over the last twelve months at WOOLI and in XMAS STREET we are now working on a new project in the Hunter Region of New South Wales. We are Artists in Residence at the Muswellbrook Regional Arts Centre and are now making nocturne photographs at dusk using the afterglow of sunset and streetlights documenting the town of Muswellbrook.

Nocturne light creates a sense of drama or a setting for a movie scene – a place where stories can be evoked and told. In this work we explore of the idiosyncratic nature of the architecture and street scenes of country and regional towns. The prosaic nature of these towns, when photographed in the dusk light, becomes part of a found aesthetic–a site-specific sculpture of light, colour and form. But there is also a visual narrative, isolated and exhumed by this light, one that has evolved from the activity of everyday life—yet the familiarity rendered it invisible.

Making the photographs is only the beginning of the project’s activity; the next part involves making a space for the telling of stories. Therefore the photographs are being posted on social media sites, a blog and Facebook to attract comments.

We now call upon the Muswellbrook community to share their stories of each place including their everyday and meaningful experiences by connecting with the project’s Blog and Facebook sites. We also invite other participants to comment if the photographic subject invokes the recollection of an experience or story.

The Blog: www.nocturnemuswellbrook.org

and Facebook

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

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Doug+Vicky moving in to the Artists in Residence Studio

Doug+Vicky moving in to the Artists in Residence Studio

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The Residence Studio

The Residence Studio

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Comment Now …

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To Follow us on FACEBOOK ‘Tick’ GET NOTIFICATIONS and ALL UPDATES

FB-Like+Notifications-info

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

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XMAS STREET NOCTURNE: A new site project

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On the road and in the street

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In past years after a day’s travelling doing fieldwork we usually aim for an overnight stay in a country town to rest for the night before attacking the road again.  On arrival in the town we drive down the main street to inspect the available/affordable accommodation options. By nightfall we are usually ensconced in the motel room: organising our day’s imaging, catching up with emails, dinner and so on. The next day we move on . . .

This year during our summer field trip, motivated by the results of our recent Wooli Nocturne Project, we decided to document at twilight an aspect of each town where we stayed. This meant arriving early so that we could walk down the main street before sunset. Our objective was to survey the site-specific arrangement of town’s Xmas display, (whether present or absent), and identify features that at dusk would also be artificially illuminated. Returning later we would shoot under the deep blue/magenta skies of the early evening and the night lights.

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In this work we are not alone, as photographers across the history of the art have used this montage of artificial and natural light effects to document urban environments. The development of this work has been influenced over time by a sustained interest in artists like Edward Hopper and Jeffrey Smart, and the photographers Eugène Atget, Brassaï, William Eggleston, Joel Meyerowitz, Gregory Crewdson and Brian Brake. More recently in Australia, artists and photographers notably Bill Henson and Mark Kimber have also explored aspects of this genre.

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Recognising that the inherent nature of this transient light evokes the uncanny, an unseen presence or the interstitial filmic moment captured as a still is fundamental to our project. In this work the documentary photograph is not just a record of the idiosyncratic nature of each town’s main street and its Xmas light show as in these lighting conditions everyday objects are transformed from their daytime function. The prosaic nature of these towns, when photographed in the dusk light, becomes part of a found aesthetic: a site-specific monument to nocturnal light; a visual narrative of light, colour and form.

Xmas Street Nocturne: A site-specific project by Victoria Cooper + Doug Spowart

5 January 2013

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Towns and cities imaged:

  • Albury
  • Bright
  • Coonabarabran
  • Cowra
  • Narrabri
  • Narrandera
  • Toowoomba

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