Pilbara Project Exhibition opening at FORM Gallery

On February 10, the Pilbara Project launched its first exhibition “52 Weeks On: A Pilbara Project Exhibition” at the newly renovated FORM Gallery in Perth.  The exhibition also opened the following night at the Courthouse Gallery in Port Hedland, details shown on the previous blog post here.

Tony speaking along with the rest of the artists

The exhibition features new photography and film by renowned artists Les Walkling, Tony Hewitt, Christian Fletcher, Michael Fletcher and Peter Eastway.  It is curated by William L. Fox, Director of the Art + Environment at the Nevada Museum of Art.  More details on the exhibition can be found here.

Squeezing in to see Michael's film launch

Les talking with filmmaker Curtis Taylor

Hon Troy Buswell MLA opening the exhibition

The book launch for “The Pilbara Project: Field Notes and Photographs Collected over 2010” was also a great success, with the artists on hand for signing.

Photographs by Michelle Taylor


Before The Town Got Big Exhibition

I once again enjoyed an evening at the Court House Gallery surrounded by amazingly talented local artists.  The ‘buzz’ on the night was electric!

The volume of work for this exhibition is outstanding and the stories behind each piece captures the imagination and showcases our community’s history through the Artist’s eyes.

Above:  Anne Sibosado

Below:  Max GeorgeThe artists were only to happy to pose with their Art.

Below:  Maggie Green

The photo below depicts the Artist’s enthusiasm and willingness to share their stories with everyone.  Here Maggie Green describes the piece for the new owner. 

Thank you to all who made this evening possible and to the Artists for sharing so much of themselves.

6 Mile Sunset

We had a work collegue from Perth spend some time in Hedland recently. He is a keen photographer too, so we decided to take our cameras out and about late one afternoon. I managed to capture this shot while we explored 6 Mile.

Hedland sunset

Thought I’d head out and get a shot of the sunset from the foreshore of Port Hedland.  Wasn’t too bad a scene but the following evening, the sunset was a lot more spectacular, but of course I didn’t have my camera to capture that one!  Dont you hate that!

Low Tide at Sunrise in Port Hedland

Low Tide and Sunrise in Port Hedland

I took this one Tuesday morning before heading off to work. What a wonderful world we live in if we can wake up and experience sunrises like this everyday.

Dampier Salt

Here’s another couple of shots taken from the early morning shoot at Dampier Salt on Day 2 of the photography trip. Not exactly sure what Peter Eastway is up to, but Christian appears amused.

Tour of the Port

Day 1 of the photography trip with Christian and Michael Fletcher, Peter Eastway, Tony Hewitt and Les Walkling kicked off late in the arvo and involved a sunset boat cruise around Port Hedland harbour.  In the fading light, shooting conditions became pretty tough as the ISO’s were bumped right up and shutter speeds became slower, making sharp images hard to capture.

Cast of Characters (Belated Observations)

I wrote this a couple weeks ago, intending to post it, and just today realised that I neglected to do so.  As many of you know, a group of professional photographers and students traipsed through the Pilbara maniacally taking photos – some of which have been appearing on this blog the past couple weeks.

It has been very humbling traveling with the group of photographers including Peter Eastway, Les Walkling, Tony Hewitt, Christian Fletcher and filmmaker Michael Fletcher.  It allowed me to not only see through my own eyes, but also over the shoulder and through the viewfinder of these great imagemakers.  I am trying to decide if it is a comfort or discouragement that even they at times had difficulty capturing what lay before us in the Pilbara.

Christian Fletcher, the fearless leader, is well known to many in the Hedland community from his workshops and many trips to the area.  Knowing the area well, he brought together a superb group of photographers for this project.  While there was great camaraderie and banter between the artists, there was definitely friendly competition as well.  However, Christian was always there to make sure things didn’t become either too serious or silly.  Forever the teacher, he would talk his way through the photographing process, with the students hovering around picking up his knowledge.

Les Walkling, scientist and intellectual, saved his energy by avoiding frivolous banter.  But when he spoke, everyone listening dropped their jaw in either amazement or incomprehension.  A great teacher like Christian, he navigated the balance between technical prowess and conceptual thinking more than anyone else I have worked with, and was more than happy to share this knowledge. When he took a photo, he also became a photo, striking an epic figure in the landscape.

Tony Hewitt was the hardest for me to photograph.  Being primarily a portrait photographer, he would restlessly move in and out of the other people.  Unlike the landscape photographers who set up in a prime vantage point, he would look for the stories in the land as though he were taking a portrait.  A consummate mediator and generous of spirit, he always made sure the group was happy.  This is why he is one of the most sought-after photographers and public speakers in Western Australia.

Like Tony, Peter Eastway was also difficult for me to track.  He would immediately disappear when we reached a new location.  After a bit of searching, he could  be found in a prime location away from the others, discovering a sublime panorama or a gentle image of solitude in the vast horizon.  He  knew when he had a good picture, and didn’t waste his time if the light wasn’t perfect or the feeling wasn’t there.  These skills of discernment help make him one of Australia’s best photographers, as well as publisher of two of the most important Australian photography magazines.

Michael Fletcher, like most great filmmakers, studies how the scenery unfolds.  He can predict when something interesting is about to happen, and be at the perfect place to capture it.  Always watching, silently listening, he looks for the subtle moments or dramatic events that a single frame cannot interpret.  Working with manual focus, which is unique to many filmmakers, he is able to articulate the point between the vastness and intimacy of the landscape.

What reminded me I haven’t posted the above thoughts yet was that Mags from FORM just left for the Pilbara today with a new batch of professionals – two writers, a poet, a painter and another photographer.  I look forward to seeing and reading what they experience.  However, we will not forget the above mentioned photographers (and filmmaker), all of which promised to return to the Pilbara again soon.

Iron Clad

Where else would could you go and expect to find the winter Olympics on the TV, miners, construction workers, families, old timers, and a Scottish bar maid? If you guessed the Iron Clad Hotel in Marble Bar you would be right.

The Iron Clad, looks like it has seen many a year, and is frequented by all. The hamburgers were good and the drinks were cold, an important thing in the hottest town in Australia.

The Port of Big Ships

I know of nowhere else where you can watch the big ships go sliding past and only a few feet of water seperating you from them as they make the journey into the harbour …… Port Hedland is know as “The Port of Big Ships”

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