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Posts Tagged ‘re-photography


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Doug in the exhibition space PHOTO: Victoria Cooper


SAME SITES HINDSIGHT – Toowoomba Regional Art Gallery


For me rephotography is a way of re-viewing place and change through a comparative documentation using the perspectives of earlier photographers. I have always enjoyed the challenge to re-align the contemporary view with the past to see visual narratives of change either subtle or profound. At this time I discovered the work by Mark Klett and others published in their 1984 book Second View: The Rephotographic Survey Project. Their approach to the reimaging of the photographs of the American west by William Henry Jackson, Timothy O’Sullivan and others in the 1860s was methodical and scientific. Although I was informed by this seminal work as a record of social and historical change, in some of my work I also enjoyed questioning the notion of the original photographers as a kind of truth.


In the mid 1980s I rephotographed tourist postcard scenes in outback Australia and reimaged tourist camera photos placing them in the context of a wider-angled view. These projects were presented at the Araluen Art Gallery in Alice Springs in 1986 in the exhibition Tourists Facts, Acts, Rituals & Relics.

Other projects emerged including a commission from Di Baker, Director of the Toowoomba Regional Art Gallery to locate the subject matter of artworks from the Toowoomba Gallery’s collection and to re-image the subject by photography.

The artworks that were my source reference covered a range of approaches to the artist’s vision imbued with the appearance of the painting techniques that they employed. Working with Victoria we travelled around the region to find the matching locations and met with some success finding the exact location. On occasion however we were only able to create a general locational view.

I chose a 4×5 large format camera and a black and white film made by Polaroid. Called Type 55 the film gave a black and white print and also a negative that, after in-field processing could be printed in a conventional enlarger.

The 1996 the exhibition NEW SIGHTS – SAME SITES was opened at the Toowoomba Regional Art Gallery and installation of the selected artworks were paired with our photographic interpretation of the same scene.

Now 23 years later the Gallery has re-presented the work for reconsideration by a new generation of art gallery visitors.


Don Featherstone (L) Golden Tree (Corner of Kitchener and Herries Streets)1959 watercolour Spowart+Cooper (R) Corner of Kitchener and Herries Streets 1996 silver gelatin fibre print



The Gallery wall sheet for the Same Sites Hindsights exhibition states:

In 1996 photographer Doug Spowart assisted by Victoria Cooper undertook a project called New sight-Same sites which re-imaged Downs landscapes and other regional sites depicted in selected works from the Toowoomba Regional Art Gallery Toowoomba City Collection.

The project compared and contrasted the direct recording of a site using photography with the painter’s vision of the same location. One of the biggest challenges for Spowart in making these images was to replicate the painters’ viewpoints and, in some instances, even finding the locations proved problematic.

From the time of the initial recording to now, almost 25 years later, these photographs indicate constants and change. Time is transformational. In 1996, the Gallery challenged the photographer to identify these locations and in 2019 we challenge the viewer to explore Toowoomba and surrounds in response to these works.


The exhibition is on show from 14 September to November 3, 2019.


A selection from the subjects presented in the exhibition

C. G. S. Hirst  The New Court House 1879 watercolour and ink on paper

Spowart+Cooper  The Old Court House 1996 silver gelatin fibre print


Herb Carstens   Sunday Morning (Street scene Toowoomba) 1961 oil on comp board

Spowart+Cooper  Sunday morning 1996 silver gelatin fibre print


Brian Williams Near Drayton 1960 oil on comp board

Spowart+Cooper  Near Drayton 1996 silver gelatin fibre print


Ruby Spowart Clifford Gardens 1986 photograph Polaroid SX-70

Ruby Spowart Clifford Gardens 1986 photograph Polaroid SX-70

Spowart+Cooper  Clifford Gardens 1996 silver gelatin fibre print



TRAG Display





LINK: SEEING DOUBLE Toowoomba Regional Art Gallery 2001




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)

NE 38_.indd


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.



Regtta Hotel, Brisbane - rephotography DUO

Regatta Hotel, Brisbane – Rephotography DUO


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


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


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.





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



SUPPORT THIS PROJECT: Retake Melbourne App

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In the opening paragraph of a review of John Elliott’s rephotography exhibition The Last Show and Re-shoot that was published in Art Monthly (#240 June 2011) I made the following comment:

Part of the mystique bestowed upon photography is the notion that a photograph captures a moment of time that enables a viewer to reconnect with or gain insights into the subject portrayed. Since its inception photographers have utilised photography’s inherent connection with time and place by reimaging the original subject days, months and years after the originating photographic ‘moment’. One notable re-photography project began in the 1970s by Mark Klett and his team in the United States with the Second View: The Rephotographic Survey Project, and continues with the recent Third views, second sights: a rephotographic survey of the American West. These projects draw upon the concept that comparative images over time extend the narrative of the single image, and that the differences and similarities observed tell a larger story – that of time and change.

I am excited by rephotography projects and from the early 1980s I have undertaken many myself. Now I have encountered news of an exciting project in Melbourne that will make this specialised photographic activity available to anyone with a smart phone or imaging device . Entitled Retake Melbourne the project will do two significant things; firstly, it will create an APP where earlier photographs of Melbourne can be located and aligned for the contemporary photographer to image the exact same view; and secondly, the source images will be from the the Sate Library of Victoria’s extensive Mark Strizic photography collection.

The project is being ‘floated’ via Pozible crowd sourcing, and time is running out to ensure this project gets the support to make it happen. I would ask you to review the project details that follow – login to Pozible, and make a pledge to support this valid and innovative project.

Thanking You

Doug Spowart


Here are the details … From the POZIBLE Project page



Retake-Pozible Page


POZIBLE – Project Title: Retake Melbourne


We Melburnians jealously defend our city as the ‘most live-able’; a cultured grande dame with a creative dash, anti-establishment street art, a larrikin love of football and lots of delicious secrets. 

To participate in this project will be to illuminate and contrast her hidden past with her contemporary face.

Key to this is the mine of visual data in the State Library of Victoria’s collection, in particular immigrant Australian photographer Mark Strizic’s 5000 half-century-old negatives, colour transparencies and slides, acquired in 2007.


When associate Greg Neville saw this archive, he envisaged a repeat photography project based on Strizic’s images which would uncover the glorious Melbourne buildings of his childhood memories. 

We’d like to share this chance to retake Melbourne’s past. But re-photography is technically demanding. I realised that a mobile app would make the process accessible to everyone. 


Image: © Mark Strizic: Melbourne GPO, 1950s

Mobile App mockup: © Strizic image overlay enables user to compose their own version accurately

A finished ‘re-photograph’ accurately duplicating Strizic photograph angle of view

By tapping the ‘crowd’ we can include you in this project. Your images might become valuable records, as Strizic’s are now, to researchers in the still further future! They will compare your view with Mark’s to see how the city has changed. You can be in on the birth of Melbourne’s first comparative photographic research project.

But first we need the tech to do it; a photography app that contributors will be first to use!


Close associate of architects Robyn Boyd and David Saunders, Strizic’s love of architecture and his European eye provoked his condemnation of the ugliness he saw invading Australian city-scapes during the 1960s when architecture of the Gold Rush era coexisted with, and was being demolished for, Modernist curtain-glass high-rise office buildings.

LHS Image: © Mark Strizic: Russell Street Melbourne, 1950s

RHS image: Greg Neville: Russell Street Melbourne, 2013

Image: © Mark Strizic: Melbourne Museum and State Library, 1950s


By contributing to the development of our crowd-funded app, you will create the means to contribute accurate repeat photography of the locations of Strizic’s thirty-to-fifty year-old images of architecture, street-scenes and pedestrians, and to uncover the layers of history.

Historical and Creative results

Re-photography is studied and recognised for its value for historical, scientific, geographic, geologic and social science research; this use of crowd sourced material will be innovative.

Rather than being slavish copies of old photos, yours will be interpretations of Strizic’s originals which will build a picture of how a city has changed, and is in turn transforming us. There is a creative dimension in the ratio of interpretation to replication each contributor will employ in this process, that will add to value of their artefact. Their resultant contribution may be incorporated in the SLV online collection for comparison, by these and future researchers, with Strizic’s original.

The Mobile App: 

With this app, members of the public can find locations photographed by Strizic on a map, orient their device’s camera closely to the angle, orientation and framing that he used using a transparent overlay of his image, downloaded from the SLV online collection, over their screen image.

This app will simplify the repeat photography exercise and enable you to produce a comparative image which will match or contrast existing conditions and features with those in his original image.

Contribute to our shared archive:

The State Library of Victoria‘s huge archive opens up a rich resource for Victorians online; now that everyone can access it; they can also interact with it. This crowd-sourced project will give the archive more exposure and contribute new resources.

Provide a resource for future research:

The Strizic archive forms a reference for participants who will be asked to repeat the making of the images in the same location. In doing so they will record a contemporary street scene peopled with pedestrians who may regard, occupy and use the city of Melbourne in very different ways now.


Increase your own knowledge of Melbourne and Photography:

Part of the durable, interactive and updatable project outcomes is that participants will make a substantial contribution, they in turn will benefit from the exercise of finding the locations in coming to understand at first hand the operation of the forces of change on the city, the influences of crowd behaviour on the city, and its power to change us and our societal interactions. You too can become a ‘re-photographer’!

  1. What will your contribution do?

Level of funding sought: $6,000 – $10,000

A huge volume of photographic contributions will be required to enable worthwhile comparison of the old and new images to show how Melbourne’s buildings and streets have shaped, and are shaped by, its populace and its society. Achieving the necessary quantity and accuracy will require $6,000 base funding for the development and distribution of a mobile-device app.


$6000 will pay for six months of the developer’s time in building the app.

Researcher Dr James McArdle, will contribute $12,000 in-kind support; for research into the State Library collection and mapping of locations of Strizic images for GPS locator in the app.


*Reaching $10,000:

will enable us to map significantly more locations and to pinpoint the date/time of capture for more Strizic photographs as a guide to the re-photographers.

Twitter: JamesmMcArdle




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