Victoria Cooper+Doug Spowart Blog

Posts Tagged ‘Foto Frenzy

NICOLA POOLE’s ‘Lost Girls’ @ Gallery Frenzy, Brisbane

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Image from Nicola Poole's 'Lost Girls' exhibition

Lost Girls by Nicola Poole @ Gallery Frenzy, Brisbane.

Image from Nicola Poole's 'Lost Girls' exhibition

Image from Nicola Poole’s Lost Girls exhibition


Excerpts from my opening address:

Doug Spowart opens Nicola Poole's 'Lost Girls' exhibition

Doug Spowart opens Nicola Poole’s ‘Lost Girls’ exhibition

This morning on checking my Facebook news feed, there was a message from Darren Jew, of Brisbane’s Foto Frenzy Photography Centre, in which he described the ‘Oh My God’ moment at the age of 12, that inspired his life in photography. That moment was watching a black and white print develop in a tray in a darkroom. I was reminded of my same experience. From other posts there seemed to be quite a few others who were also seduced by the darkroom’s red safelight and its mysterious stinky chemicals.

I posted back to Darren posing the question: ‘how many 12 year olds are out there making digi images today and missing out on that OMG darkroom moment?’ Later, during a conversation with my partner Victoria, we made the interesting observation that in the old darkroom days we ‘MADE’ photographs in every sense of the word. Film was handled in darkness and loaded into tanks–chemicals added, agitation, water washes, hanging up to dry–negatives placed in the enlarger carrier, paper touched and slid into the easel, exposed to light, paper slipped into chemicals, trays rocked… etc. Photography was something that extended well after the shutter was fired. It took time and trouble for an image or two to emerge–made–from the process.

We thought that today with digital photography we just TAKE images–with rapidity and ease. Just click, add a filter effect or two and share. And we may take many, many images. In contemporary image taking the picture has a very transient and superficial value. Quickly taken and distributed they are even consumed faster on social media and quickly lost from view–particularly if you have lots of friends who post with the rapidity of a machine-gun. What is missing today is the time spent with an image realising it as a physical object. Digital imaging is like visual ‘fast food’. We, as consumers, end up fat, lazy and with pixelated indigestion.

What excites me about Nicola Poole’s Lost Girls exhibition is that Nicola has assembled a collection of cohesive thematic image work and formed it into a physical and tangible MADE thing. Over the last week at Foto Frenzy I have witnessed her making this show. Photographs handled, selected and compared, prints emerging line by line from the printer, matted/mounted/framed, placed in the gallery space shuffled–moved, re-ordered and hung. I know that selecting, preparing and presenting work in an exhibition is complex and demanding. The artist embeds their energy and time in it and we the viewers are rewarded in proportion to the care and effort expended in its making.

I congratulate Nicola Poole and applaud her energy, enthusiasm and vision. As a younger girl herself, it is appropriate that she should make photographs the comment on her own experiences and on her generation. As we engage with these photographs questions might emerge: are the subjects looking into memories of the past, or are they facing an uncertain future? These images evoke a sense of, or a time of, waiting–a kind of anxiety or anticipation for something or someone. As viewers we may ponder and be drawn into the narrative.

As to the Lost Girls–What I do know is that in the making of this exhibition, somehow they have all been ‘FOUND’.

And, as Nicola’s first solo exhibition, it is indeed my please to formally announce it open …

Dr Doug Spowart

Nicola Poole and Me

Nicola Poole and Me

Image from Nicola Poole's 'Lost Girls' exhibition

Image from Nicola Poole’s Lost Girls exhibition


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FRENZIED A.I.R. ‘PoPuP’ Exhibition @ Brisbane’s GALLERY FRENZY

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We are now in Brisbane participating in an Artist in Residence @ Foto Frenzy in Coorparoo.

On Wednesday evening we presented an artist’s talk about our previous residencies and our approach to ‘Place Projects’. The event was attended by around 40 photographers, artists and students.

The exhibition will be on show on Easter Monday April 1st and Tuesday 2nd of April – We will be in attendance at the gallery between 11.00 am and 4.00 pm on those days.

GALLERY FRENZY is in the Foto Frenzy Photography Centre

Unit 3/429 Old Cleveland Rd, Coorparoo QLD 4151

We are also presenting a series of workshops @ Foto Frenzy–for details visit the website WWW.WOTWEDO.COM.

FRENzied A.I.R. Poster

FRENzied A.I.R. Poster

Ian Poole, a Director of Foto Frenzy, opens the exhibition.

Vicky talking about her work

Vicky talking about her work

Selfie with Ian Poole

Selfie with Ian Poole



The exhibition features a selection of Camera Obscura works, Projections, cyanotypes and artists’ book and photobook works.

CarCamera concertina book

CarCamera concertina book



The 'Hitting the Skids' flipbook

The ‘Hitting the Skids’ flipbook



'A cyanotype by Doug Spowart 'Wooli Beach Junk'

‘A cyanotype by Doug Spowart ‘Wooli Beach Junk’

Projection - Myall Park Botanic Gardens.jp

Projection – Myall Park Botanic Gardens


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LAUNCH: WOTWEDO.COM – the Cooper+Spowart workshops

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For over 30 years Doug Spowart and 20 years for Victoria Cooper, have participated in training for creatives including artists and photographers. The pair has lectured in art and photography at TAFE colleges, universities, workshops, conferences and seminars for students, amateurs and professionals alike. Now, during April, May and June, through WOTWEDO.COM @ Brisbane’s Foto Frenzy, they offer a range of specialised & bespoke training and consultation services.

Victoria Cooper and Doug Spowart

Both Doug and Victoria are Masters of Photography and Honourary Fellows of the Australian Institute of Professional Photography (AIPP). Throughout most of the 1990s Doug was the Chairperson of the AIPP Professional Photography Awards. In the mid 2000s both Vicky and Doug were involved as AIPP representatives in writing national photography TAFE level curriculum for Certificate and Diploma of Photography programs. In the last 10 years Victoria and Doug have engaged in part-time university study in photography and the world of artists books and art.

in 2013 Doug and Victoria are taking a sabbatical from TAFE teaching to pursue post-doctoral research and to re-engage with their arts practice. These workshops are part of their ‘Leap of Faith’ initiative that was introduced in their earlier blog post.

Do review their WOTWEDO workshop program and see WOT-THEY-CAN-DO for YOU!





Is your photography becoming formulaic (predictable) and more about digital technology and post-production than about the hands-on experience of taking photographs? Do you want to investigate possibilities of making a personal style beyond Instagram, Lomography and Hipstamatic filters?

This series is crammed full of projects and ideas that will present you with challenges, weird stuff, things you’ve heard about but never had the chance to try, and things that require a rush of the creative thought juices. Use this workshop to reconnect with your love of photography.

Dates (Tentative) 6 Sessions: Monday, April 15, 22, 29 and May 6, 13 & 20, 2013.




By now everyone has made a photobook and in many ways current technology makes it easy to make one. But a photobook can be so much more – it can be a hand-made artwork or a super-slick prestige trade styled publication.

The Looking Good in Print: Photobook introductory session and workshop series will connect participants with concepts and techniques on how to personalize and create photo-stories in the form of the bespoke self-published photobook.

The range of options for making photobooks will be discussed and samples of hand-made, inkjet printed and hand-bound artists’ books, print-on-demand books will be available for viewing.

Dates (Tentative) 5 Sessions: Wednesday, April 10, 24, and May 1, 8 & 15, 2013.




When you Google yourself, or your business, what kind of response do you get? Is your online presence a bit thin or based on content from Facebook, a website maybe, and a few social mentions?

This introductory session and workshop series is designed to help you to start developing an integrated online presence. It will illustrate how an integrated approach to using platforms like Linkedin, WordPress Blogs, YouTube and Behance Folios can create a ‘wall’ of search engine locatable, quality references and social media mentions as to who you are and what you do.

Dates (Tentative) 5 Sessions: Tuesday, May 21, 28, and June 4, 11 & 25, 2013.



VISIT <www.wotwedo.com> for further details and bookings or contact Doug and Victoria by email info@cooperandspowart.com.au

Bookings through:





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Dr Doug opens the FOTO FRENZY Photographic Centre in Brisbane

The much awaited reopening of the expanded FOTO FRENZY Photographic Centre in Coorparoo took place on Friday, January 18, 2013. Attended by a crowd of around 100 well-wishers the event heralded a new beginning for dilettantes of a wide range of photography interests including:

  • photography workshops
  • photographic gallery
  • fine art printing, mounting and framing
  • photographic darkroom hire
  • studio hire
  • one-on-one consultations
Mark photographs the Foto Frenzy Team  PHOTO: Victoria Cooper

Mark photographs the Foto Frenzy Team PHOTO: Victoria Cooper

The FOTO FRENZY space is shared with BRISBANE CAMERA HIRE, specialist in providing a range of photographic gear and unusual accessories.

The Foto Frenzy team includes Brisbane photo identities Ian Poole, Cam Attree, Tony Holden and Darren Jew. All four are photographers and have specialist areas of activity from photography as art, to location and underwater photography, nude and glamour photography and photography as personal expression. Darren Jew is well known in photo workshop circles for the ‘Faces and Places’ workshop that he established with Jim McKitrick in the late 1980s.

The Foto Frenzy Team l-r Darren Jew, Tony Holden, Cam Attreee, Ian Poole and Susan BCH  PHOTO: Victoria Cooper

The team l-r Darren Jew, Tony Holden, Cam Attreee, Ian Poole and Susan BCH PHOTO: Victoria Cooper

The Foto Frenzy team have been together for twelve months in a modest facility just a short distance away from the new home. Now with the larger facility and the linkup with Susan & Jacob and Brisbane Camera Hire new and amazing opportunities for the business and the clients that they service are available.

Doug Spowart opens Foto Frenzy  PHOTO: Victoria Cooper

Doug Spowart opens Foto Frenzy PHOTO: Victoria Cooper

As someone with a history in photography that connects with most of the Foto Frenzy team, as well as being a former Director of the photo gallery and workshopImagery Gallery, (that operated in Brisbane from 1980-1995), I was asked to open the new Foto Frenzy Photographic Centre. Some of my comments in the opening speech were…

 The other day I was made aware of a TIME magazine article in which the claim was made that 10% of all the photographs ever made in the over 170 year history of photography were made in 2012!! This statement is evidence that with digital photography, including the now ubiquitous mobile phone, means that anyone can take photographs—But does that mean that everyone IS a photographer? My opinion is no—Because there is something special in the blood of the photographer that enables them, or demands of them, that just seeing and snapping isn’t enough.

True photographers want to ‘craft’ and create images that are about significant visual communication. Sometimes powerful, sometimes sublime, sometimes nonsensical or humorous and sometimes, perhaps even bland and boring. We know of these kinds of photographs because they tell us about beauty in the world, of atrocity, of feast, famine and of love and the human condition. These images inspire us and drive us, perhaps even spur us on to be better photographers ourselves—and this is where we encounter the need for networking, training, nurturing support, guidance and technology support. This is where the Foto Frenzy suite of services will link with our lives.

I congratulate the Foto Frenzy team and Brisbane Camera Hire for their vision, entrepreneurship and financial commitment in establishing this photographic centre. And what I see are the great opportunities for those of us interested in being a part of what photography is, and where it is goingto have a place that will be a hub, or should I say, a frenzied hive of activity.

It is with great pleasure that I declare the Foto Frenzy centre open…. 

Ian Poole in his thank you advised the attendees that Cooper and Spowart were to be, in a couple of months, the Foto Frenzy’s first Artists in Residence.

SPECIAL NOTE: We will be conducting a range of workshops @ Foto Frenzy over the following months. The topics of our workshops and consultations will include aspects of our PhD research into photobooks, creative photography practice, narrative and story telling in the photo sequence and aspects of social media, in particular Linkedin, Blogs and YouTube. We will also be available for one-on-one project/concept development.

To let us know you would like to be advised of the workshops when they become available  

Contact us <Greatdivide@a1.com.au>

Foto Frenzy @ Corparoo, cnr Old Cleveland & Bennets Rds  PHOTO: Doug Spowart

Foto Frenzy @ Corparoo, cnr Old Cleveland & Bennets Rds PHOTO: Doug Spowart

The The Foto Frenzy Gallery PHOTO: Victoria Cooper

The Foto Frenzy Gallery PHOTO: Victoria Cooper

Doug Spowart and Victoria Cooper in the Foto Frenzy Photobooth

Doug Spowart and Victoria Cooper in the Foto Frenzy Photobooth

Foto Frenzy opening shadows  PHOTO: Doug Spowart

Foto Frenzy opening shadows PHOTO: Doug Spowart

Cheers Doug and Victoria

IAN POOLE: AIPP On the Lounge

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Ian Poole addressing the audience @ Photo Frenzy

Ian Poole is well placed to have an opinion about fine art photography and collecting photographs. He has been a major player in professional photography in Brisbane for nearly 40 years and is a respected AIPP judge with yearly invitations to also judge the New Zealand Institute of Professional Photography awards. Despite his professional photography connection he has been a part of a sector of the Queensland photographic art scene that extends from the early 1980s with Imagery Gallery, later with the Photographer’s Gallery and more recently with the Queensland Centre for Photography. He has completed a Graduate Diploma in Visual Arts from the Queensland College of Art and has been awarded an Australia Council residency in Tokyo. Adding to this he has curated photographic exhibitions in Japan (of Queensland photographers) and exhibitions in Australia (of local and Japanese photographers).

So when Poole offers commentary on aspects of the photographic art world of Brisbane and Queensland it should be something of an opportunity to connect with his extensive knowledge of the genre. Recently as part of the AIPP ‘On the Lounge’ lecture series Ian Poole presented to an assembled audience of around 40 a dissertation entitled, ‘Have you ever wanted to collect photographic art, or be collected as a photographic artist?’

Ian – getting his message across with passion

Ian Poole began his presentation by reviewing recent art auction records for photographic artworks including those by Adams, Sexton and Dupain. Thousands, hundreds of thousands and even millions will change hands for well-known and rare works. The recent phenomena of Nick Brandt’s African work,which had been shown only weeks earlier in Brisbane, attracted some discussion. Perhaps some in the audience felt a little inspired by the possibility that, if they could enter the fine art field, that there was recognition and the possibility for a significant income to be made.

Poole introduced his collection of images that were hung on the walls and laid out on tables before the audience and discussed their histories and stories. For him the concept of ‘provenance’ elevated the importance of each work. A small Dupain image of the interior of the National Gallery in Canberra made during its construction was linked to his encounter with the work in a Brisbane gallery where it was purchased for a few hundred dollars. His most exuberant discussion related to a Joachim Froese diptych acquired when he swapped it with Joachim for a 4×5 enlarger. An expanded provenance trail led to it being loaned back to Joachim so that it could be displayed a QUT exhibition of his work.

A long-term friendship with north Queensland photographer Glen O’Malley presented some interesting provenance stories. O’Malley is not fully recognised for the significance of his practice in Queensland – he could probably claim to have had the first ‘photographic art’ exhibition in this state in the mid 1970s. Poole presented to the audience an image from O’Malley made as part of the Queensland Art Gallery’s 1988 Journeys North commission. The 20×24” black and white photograph showed a scene in Poole’s home where the O’Malleys were having dinner. The image was part of the accepted images for the Journeys North show and was subsequently published. Somehow Poole’s own life had become art photography itself.

Another photography collaborator presented by Poole was John Elliott. Well known for his documentation of country and western music and its heroes and doyens including Slim Dusty, Chad Morgan and Jimmy Little, Elliott is an enigmatic character of the photography scene. Ian spoke of John’s most recent show Gifted Country at the Caboolture Regional Art Gallery and his photobook publishing ventures. A recent journey to Townsville that Poole had shared with another of Queensland’s enigmatic photographers, Maris Rusis, resulted in a body of work by Rusis that dealt with the décor of budget north Queensland motel rooms. These small and fine gelatin silver fibre B&W prints presented to the audience the fact that traditional values remain key to some workers who continue to practice analogue photography in a digital world.

Question time brought up some difficult truths – Why does the Queensland Art Gallery/GOMA not seem to be collecting photography generated within this state? Did they ever collect? Some discussion related to the archival needs for conservation framing and presentation.

As a conclusion to the presentation Poole spoke of the way in which he and his photography acquaintances swapped and shared their works, and how much of his collection was built around the generosity of fellow photographers and their desire to share. He held a bundle of his own gelatin silver images up before the audience and made an offer that ‘you can have one of my prints this evening – and send a print to me as a swap. Start your collection this evening …’

While Ian Poole began his presentation with a review of the overtly mercantile auction scene, it seemed that his passion about photography, photographs, friends, shared experiences and the meaningfulness of the provenance of the works, that these things could not be commodified. He spoke of his collection of photos, books and ephemera as being an entity that would be bequeathed to his daughter Nicola, also a photographer and present at the talk. Through the audience he directed to Nicola to ‘treasure and look after these things … they were important, valuable – not only as the stories they depicted through their image on the front-side of the print, but also of the back-story of their origin and collection.’

There is no doubt that Ian Poole’s passion for photography and his understanding of how it operates at a personal and cultural level is something that was shared and communicated on this evening. And those present will be inspired to develop a new appreciation of what photographs are and what they can say about the human condition.

Doug Spowart  May 20, 2012

Ian talking with OTL attendees at the end of his presentation

An unusual meeting – Face-to-Face with an early portrait of one’s self – circa 1982 found in Poole’s collection

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