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Is it you or me?
a portrait show

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Curator's Note

A photographic portrait is a picture of someone who knows they are being photographed, and what they do with this knowledge is as much a part of the photograph as what they are wearing or how they look. They are implicated in what’s happened, and they have a certain real power over the result.
Richard Avedon (degendered)

To make a portrait is a collaboration. How that collaboration plays out is rarely known to the viewer. This exhibition has three local artists who are making constructed, thought out portraits. Each of these communicates a narrative about the sitter. As curator I propose to you, the viewer, to consider who has influenced within this interplay between sitter and photographer. We should reflect and consider the context of the push/pull of a photographic sitting. In the final portrait how much is the photographer’s vision and influence and/or how much is sitter’s input? How much of the visual narrative is true to the sitter? How much is the photographer’s projection, understanding or premeditated views?

The Artists
Sameed Khan
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My photography has been focused on portrait taking almost exclusively for the last 7 years. I believe portraits can be very powerful for capturing and portraying human emotion. My images tend to be on the darker side as I like to use artificial lighting to help sculpt light and shadow into something that creates drama and evokes certain fears and feelings in the audience. I aim to create visually striking imagery that I hope can better capture people’s attention in the increasingly image saturated digital world that we find ourselves consumed by every day. My best images start off as a feeling or emotion I wanted to express. From there, the next step is gathering a crew and brainstorming how we could portray this emotion. By carefully constructing things like costumes, lighting, props, location and poses, we can create something truly special. This is the power and flexibility of constructed portraits; they provide us with unlimited potential to create art. It gives us the ability to connect with others and generate shared experiences that go beyond the final image created. All these images have their own stories behind them, including the laughs, adventures and troubles shared by those involved. The human connections made behind these images make them special to me. Like many artists, our art is our outlet and, in many ways, our coping mechanism for dealing with the struggles we encounter throughout our lives. Creating an image to express what is inside of us helps us to process and unpack what we’re dealing with and form it out into a scene in front of us. It is its own kind of therapy and can force us to confront our underlying fears and desires. Seeing the different work we create at different stages in our lives gives you an insight to the troubles we faced in those moments. I hope my work speaks to you and you can relate to the feelings invoked when viewing these images. text by Sameed

Sionainne Costello

Photography started quite organically for me. I began by taking photos of people in various settings, from capturing the vibrant energy of live performance dance to those candid moments on the street or during my travels. It was kind of like a visual diary of the world around me. As I continued, my self-taught skills improved, and I found myself able to bring to life not just what I saw, but also the ideas in my head and those of the people I was working with. Collaboration has been a big part of my journey. Sometimes it’s my initial spark of an idea, and other times it’s a collaborative effort and that’s what keeps it exciting and fresh. My approach is all about connection. I want the viewer to feel something when they see my work, to engage with the emotions and ideas within each image. I draw inspiration from the interplay between humanity and technology, the profound relationship we have with the world around us. That’s why you might find elements like the cosmos, landscapes and portraits in my pieces; they’re my way of inviting you into a conversation about our place in this vast universe. And let’s not forget the medium itself. I work with both photography and videography because each offers a unique way to convey a story or emotion. It’s all about experimenting with different techniques to create something truly engaging and thought-provoking. So, when you look at my work, I hope you feel that connection, that dialogue between the subject and yourself. It’s about sharing a piece of the human experience and the wonders of our world through the lens of my camera. text by Sionainne

Steven Xiao
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Steven grew up in the boom years of mainland of China where opportunities were available to those with talent and confidence. Many rose through the ranks quickly. To be considered a photographer means to have control over one’s equipment and be able to control light and do so with consistency as word of mouth travels fast. His photography is one about exploration. Exploring the world he lives in and the people about him as well as where his mind goes and images that are conjured up in dreams both night and day. His work explores many different genres, feels and styles. Each image is approached not to fit into a larger body of work but to express the ideas of that emotion and visual. His takes a longer period of observation to see the unique parameters of his visual thoughts. He has a varied collection of camera systems that allows him to explore these textures and emotions bringing a considered ‘feel’ to each, that is not possible with a limited system. text by the curator

in the director's space
Recent Acquisitions from the Stockrooms

The gallery wishes to bring you the best of contemporary work and allows photographers to view historic work and the greats of our shared history. Alongside this exhibition are seven works by well known artists making portraits. Whether it has a casualness like Bruce Weber or a scale or production like Gregory Crewdson.

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