Faces in the street
Friday, 1st April, 2011
Acclaimed portrait photographer Robin Sellick has focussed on Broken Hill people as the subject of his latest exhibition that opens tonight.
Mr Sellick's show, called "Future Australia", is made up of pictures taken of 60 locals and it will be officially opened at the Regional Art Gallery.
Now one of the nation's foremost photographic portraitists, Mr Sellick was born and grew up here and has worked nationally and internationally.
His photos have appeared regularly in Australian and international magazines including Vogue, Marie Claire, Who Weekly, Australian Style, Q and Rolling Stone.
Mr Sellick published his first book in 2004.
Future Australia is described as a photographic portrait essay on the great cultural mix in this country.
"It's about what people are going to think of Broken Hill in the future," he said.
Mr Sellick said words could only describe so much, but the culture of the town was written on the faces of the people he has photographed.
Broken Hill's isolation makes the city unique, he said.
"It hasn't had the luxury or the problem of having to consult with others in the region ... we have dealt with issues in our own way and it has put us ahead in many regards," Mr Sellick said.
"It is not just typical, it is unique. It is not the buildings that make a community, but the people.
"This community, this isolated environment has grown, created and shaped really big personalities; unique and sometimes eccentric individuals who are not afraid to express who they are.
"Broken Hill is not the place where people try to pretend they are something they are not ... our uniqueness makes us interesting."
Mr Sellick said he tried to capture this diversity in his photos.
"There is a fellow who collects snakes, a nude lady on her dining room table, a gay couple, sporting people, political leaders, Aboriginal people, poets, a whole range of people," Mr Sellick said.
"For a town this size there is a rich diversity of personalities living normally and being free and being themselves."
Mr Sellick said in his exhibition the audience might see familiar faces, or unknown faces, but "whatever the case, you will see them in a way that you have never seen before".
Mr Sellick said he already knew some of his subjects, but many he saw on the street and approached them.
"They are young, old, Aboriginal, non-Aboriginal, fat, skinny, multicultural ... and come from all walks of life," he said.
There are 60 portraits altogether and 29 will be hanging in the gallery tonight
The other portraits will be shown on television screens located around the gallery.
Mr Sellick is also putting together a book of the photographs and has been working with Walkley-award winning journalist Jack Marx.
Mr Marx spoke to each of Mr Sellick's subjects and composed a short story which will accompany each portrait in the book.
He has picked 20 of his favourite quotes from the book which will also be displayed at tonight's exhibition.
Mr Sellick said this would add another dimension to the show.
"You can hear other people's opinions and get a sense of the way other people see Broken Hill," he said.
Future Australia will be officially opened at 6.30pm tonight and will run until May 16.
"Come down and have a look. Have a look at the town in a way you haven't seen it before," Mr Sellick said.