Victoria Cooper+Doug Spowart Blog

Posts Tagged ‘Elise Searson


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LOUD & LUMINOUS – 100 Australian Women Photographers 

The backstory from the L&L Founders, Hilary Wardhaugh & Melissa Anderson

The Loud & Luminous mission is to recognise and celebrate the contribution of contemporary women in the photographic arts in Australia. We believe this project is unique and important in recognising the extensive cultural contribution women photographic artists and photographers have made in this country.

This project is designed to empower the girls and women of today and tomorrow to chase in their dreams. This will always be a timely project and one that hopes will help educate and inspire many women of all ages.

​The 2020 theme of ‘EQUALITY’ echoes the United Nations sustainable development goals of ‘gender equality’, and we very much look forward to seeing work that reflects that goal and our theme.


Late in 2019 a call went out to female photographers of any age throughout Australia to submit an image for consideration to be selected for the 3rd LOUD & LUMINOUS exhibition at Sydney’s CONTACT SHEET GALLERY and book. The photographers whose images were successful were:

L&L Selected photographers 2020

Loud & Luminous selected photographers 2020


Due to COVID-19 the exhibition at Contact Sheet Gallery has been postponed. However over the next 3 months they will post works on the gallery’s online blog. ‘CLICK’ HERE!


Once again we were excited that images by both Victoria and Ruby were successful…




Victoria Cooper: Portrait…..PHOTO:Doug Spowart

Victoria’s Artist’s Statement: All things have significance

All things have significance … sentient or not … organic or inorganic… a rich environment of diversity, differentiation and divergence.

The inspiration, like a ray of light through dark clouds, to create this image arises from the women that have, at great personal cost through leadership in research, writing and sheer passion, fought discrimination, voicelessness and political power structures to make a difference in the ongoing quest to create a sustainable and healthy planet. Among these women are: American Rachel Carson, Australian Mary E. White and Swedish schoolgirl Greta Thunberg.


All things have significance ….. PHOTO: Victoria Cooper





Ruby Spowart …. Photographer unkown

Ruby’s Artist’s Statement …. EQUALITY: Beauty in Aging

Some may say that only in youth there is beauty – as I witness in the unfolding of a fresh new orchid flower. But as I watched the flower each day, its beautiful strong colourful presence began to loose its vigour and the colours began to slowly fade. In the last stages of its life it turned a deep reddish tan almost gold.

Its youthful form no longer evident but now wrinkled and withered it has a different kind of elegance – an equality of beauty…


Ruby’s EQUALITY: Beauty in Aging




Hilary Wardhaugh & Melissa Anderson wish to acknowledge.

Hilary Wardhaugh + Mel Anderson

Hilary Wardhough + Melissa Anderson


In 2018 our wonderfully supportive sponsors included: Fujifilm Australia, Kayell Australia, Momento Pro, Victorian Women’s Trust, Creative Women’s Circle and Damian Caniglia Photography and Video. In 2019 we again secured Fujifilm Australia, Kayell Australia, Momento Pro, and Damian Caniglia Photography/Video. We also added Print2Metal and Amanda Summons (book designer) as sponsors.

In 2020 we added PPIB Photographers Insurance as a new sponsor. We were also very fortunate to have Paul McDonald at CONTACT SHEET Gallery as our Exhibition partner, too.

The 2019 and 2020 we held International Women’s Day Symposia in Canberra that were both sold out and received extremely well. We are also proud to say that the 2018 and 2019 Loud & Luminous books have been accepted into the National Library of Australia’s collection.

In 2020 we also saw the results of the stipend raised by the IWD 2019 ticket sales in a group exhibition with Suellen Cook, Tamara Whyte, Helga Salwe, Tricia King and Elise Searson at Photoaccess in Canberra.



The 2020 L&L book


(Order before 30 June 2020)





Both Victoria and Ruby have been selected in earlier LOUD & LUMINOUS exhibitions

Victoria Cooper (left) ………………………………………………………………………………Ruby Spowart (right)


IN 2019  – ‘Click’ link to see the post


Victoria Cooper  L&L entry 2018

In 2018  – ‘Click’ link to see the post





Looking forward to the next LOUD & LUMINOUS exhibition in 2021 …



Written by Cooper+Spowart

May 16, 2020 at 3:21 pm

Posted in Exhibitions, Speaking on Photography, Victoria Cooper

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NEW PHOTODOC SHOW Curated by Doug @ Maud Gallery

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In-situ - Frontispiece

In-situ – Frontispiece


IN SITU: New Photodocumentary Work


At the end of 2015 I was the external assessor for the Queensland College of Art Bachelor of Photography Documentary stream. The work that I encountered from their recently completed documentary photography projects was inspiring. The projects that they had engaged in employed an ‘embedded’ methodology. Each photographer created stories expressing concepts and ideas that I felt deserved a wider audience. As some of the projects crossed-over into the slippery areas of art and concept documentation I felt that presenting the work in this context would encourage comment and discourse.


Doug in an assessment @ the Queensland College of Art PHOTO: Earle Bridger

Doug in an assessment @ the Queensland College of Art PHOTO: Earle Bridger


I sought support from Irena Prikryl, Director of Brisbane’s Maud Gallery, with my intention being to curate a show of selected works. Over a week I forwarded to Irena websites and links to the student’s works – each submission was met with a response – ‘these photos are awesome!’ Irena then offered an exhibition early in 2016. In discussions with students I found that one of them was interested in curating and gallery management – so an honorary internship was offered to Gillian Jones.


The rationale for exhibition is as follows:

Every photograph is a document. A photographic document may be about a friend’s smile, a family event, a dramatic storm cloud or a dent in a car door. But, what about those documentary images that tell us about the greater aspects of life in our times? These other photographs can encompass the tragedies of human suffering, of rituals and habits, of things that escape our casual view of the world and documents of hidden acts, a performances or a ‘happening’.

The documentary photographs in this exhibition are made by photographers not working as the casual iPhone snapshot ‘photographer’ of today, but rather individuals who embed themselves in human and natural environments to witness, to empathise and to document with a camera so a story can be shared.

The documentary photographers in this exhibition present their work as evidence of what they have seen, felt and been touched by. This work represents new photodocumentary practice and will place viewers in situ – surrounded by issues of contemporary life…


The exhibitors who accepted the invitation were:  

Follow the links to the Maud Gallery website to see the projects (NOTE: Some links may now be inactive)


Chris Bowes  for the work ‘Sweat

Richard Fraser  for the work ‘Pup play and beyond – exploring Brisbane’s BDSM subculture’

Gillian Jones for her work ‘Choice, Chance or Circumstance

Louis Lim  for his work ‘Waiting for Sunshine

David Mines for the work ‘Beautiful one day perfect the next?

Thomas Oliver for his work ‘Disconnection

Marc Pricop for the work ‘Our Place in The Valley

Elise Searson for her work ‘Karen’ Lyme disease sufferer

Cale Searston for his work ‘BLU


The show was opened by arts writer Louise Martin-Chew on March 9 who was to comment at the beginning of her address that:

I am not an expert on photo documentary: my interest is in art and artist stories. I’m interested in the way in which we may tell and share these stories most effectively, and it is the many narratives, often those that are hidden unless you are part of that experience, or sub culture, that is at the heart of this exhibition of new photography.


Louise Martin-Chew opens 'In Situ' PHOTOS: Irena Prikryl

Louise Martin-Chew opens ‘In Situ’ PHOTOS: Irena Prikryl


Well over 120 people attended the exhibition opening. A cash bar operated with the profits going to the Lyme Disease Association of Australia charity – associated with Elise Searson’s project’


Opening attendees

Opening attendees

Opening attendees

Opening attendees


Some views of the exhibition:


David Mines' 'Beautiful one day perfect the next?'

David Mines’ ‘Beautiful one day perfect the next?’

Elise Searson's 'Karen' Lyme disease

Elise Searson’s ‘Karen’ Lyme disease

Richard Fraser's 'Pup play and beyond'

Richard Fraser’s ‘Pup play and beyond’

Thomas Olivers' 'Disconnection'

Thomas Olivers’ ‘Disconnection’

Louis' 'Waiting for Sunshine'

Louis’ ‘Waiting for Sunshine’

Chris Bowes' 'Sweat'

Chris Bowes’ ‘Sweat’


Over the course of the exhibition each of the photographers presented a floortalk at the gallery. One contributor was Thomas Oliver, who is currently studying overseas in Toronto, Canada presented a Skype session in the gallery before his work.


Gillian Jones presenting her floortalk

Gillian Jones presenting her floortalk

Thomas Oliver giving his floortalk by Skype

Thomas Oliver giving his floortalk by Skype


The exhibition concluded on the 20th March with a dinner for the exhibitors and gallery members within the white walled empty space of the gallery.


The artists' dinner @ Maud Gallery

The artists’ dinner @ Maud Gallery


In my comments at the opening of the exhibition I stated that a documentary photograph does not exist until it is publically distributed. The exhibition, In Situ: New Photodocumentary Work, put this work and the stories it contains before an audience. Everyone seeing it may interpret this work differently; such is the nature of the photodocument. Perhaps the true value of photodocumentary work can be summed up in Louise martin-Chew’s closing statement:

The power of this collection of works by a very talented group is simply summed up I think: Art may not be able to save the world, but it has an unparalleled ability to help us understand the individuals that comprise a community, a country, a continent = the world. And that may be sufficient.

Thank you to Irena Prikryl and Maud Gallery, Gillian Jones, the contributing photographers and Louise Martin-Chew for a memorable and powerful photodocumentary exhibition of new works.


Dr Doug Spowart



Louise Martin-Chew’s opening address can be seen on her website: HERE


New-PhotoDoc Catalogue

New-PhotoDoc Catalogue

A catalogue of selected works from the show can be downloaded: NEW-DOC-CATALOGUE

Each of the photographer’s works can be seen on the Maud Gallery website under the participant’s names in the OUR ARTISTS menu – they can be purchased from the site as well.


Unless attributed otherwise all texts and photographs are ©2016 Doug Spowart
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