Saturday, October 3, 2020


Photography | Brian Rope

Various Artists | The Journey Through
Photo Access | 17 September to 10 October 2020

Exciting. Absorbing. Exquisite. Quirky. Powerful. Just some of the responses I had when exploring this exhibition.

The Journey Through is a group exhibition featuring works created during Concept to Exhibition, an eight-month long PhotoAccess workshop led by Canberra photographer and artist Grace Costa. It features brand new work from Astrid Breuer, Alan Charlton, Michelle Crosbie, Shan Crosbie, Leanne Harrison, Tracy Hebden, Tessa Ivison, Ina Jalil, Thea McGrath, Linda Roche, and Michael Taylor.

Photo Access Director, Dr. Kirsten Wehner, says "Each artist is simultaneously exploring, confronting and also sharing their voice through photographic expression."

Alan Charlton, much of whose photography I am familiar with, has produced an outstanding new set of work going beyond what I have previously seen. Traveling the familiar highway between Canberra and Goulburn, he has explored scenes that we may or may not have noticed. Fourteen inkjet prints surround a substantial long concertina book, filling one of the longest walls of the gallery.

Alone, 2020, inkjet print, 33cm x 48.3cm © Alan Charlton

By contrast, another participant with whose imagery I am familiar is exhibiting just one work. It is substantial - a 76cm by 76cm print. This powerful portrait of Michael Taylor is on the small end wall of the gallery confronting visitors as they explore the space.


Self, 2020, 76cm x 76cm ©Michael Taylor

Ina Jalil also has contributed a self-portrait, but she is displaying three versions of herself exploring the different identities to which she feels expected to conform - cultural expectations, corporate persona, and photographer. This is another strong work.


This Is Me, 2020, 170cm x 85mm © Ina Jalil

Thea McGrath’s contribution is a wonderful series of cyanotypes with hand stitching using silk thread, sharing some intimate detail of her broken maternal lines as she seeks to heal old wounds. Each work is displayed in delightful hung frames and the overall display of her eight works is another gem in this fine exhibition.


Reclaim, 2020, cyanotype and silk thread, 15cm x 21cm ©Thea McGrath

Astrid Breuer offers an “immersive audio-visual experience”, wanting visitors to feel the rejuvenating powers of the Jerrabomberra Wetlands and leave feeling calm. She has achieved her aim with a short video comprising still and moving images of beautiful Jerrabomberra Wetlands.

Still from audio-visual © Astrid Breuer

Shan Crosbie offers a contribution that is at once whimsical, delightful, and educational. Images of 55 eggs laid by six hens in July have been transferred onto handmade paper - from egg cartons. They are displayed in one group, alongside seven separate chicken images with titles such as Allosaurus and Bambiraptor.

 Bambiraptor, 2020, phototransfer on handmade egg carton paper, 105 x 148mm
© Shan Crosbie

Leanne Harrison contributes six large inkjet prints featuring juxtaposed blurred images with more recognisable forms; unified they draw us in through a strong sense of movement.


Tracey Hebden focusses on her personal embracing of what she describes as the connection between the Sacred Feminine and Self. These works are a response to the current movement of women leading by reclaiming feminine traits for their strength and power.


© Tracey Hebden

Tessa Ivison explores the unspoken side of grief, having taken shots that she felt reflected how she was feeling as she walked along familiar paths whilst dealing with the death of her partner.


© Tessa Iverson

Linda Roche is displaying four dazzling coloured images – astrophotography and light painting. They immediately command attention and then keep you looking at their boldness.


© Linda Roche

Michelle Crosbie’s prints explore textured surfaces highlighted within shadows. Along with all the other works in this excellent exhibition, they demand your exploration of them.

© Michelle Crosbie

Grace Costa has done a fine job of mentoring these eleven photographers of varying skill levels on their journeys through eight long months. They have each produced a new body of work building on a creative concept outside their usual photographic comfort zone. Each body of work tells an excellent personal story, as they have used their photographic voices to confront and share.

This review (with fewer images) was first published on 3 October 2020 in The Canbera Times here. It has also been published on the the author's personal blog here.