Love & Barbershops | 2018 TPR Gallery Personal Photography Project

11 November - 23 December 2018

Kim Sinclair • Saini-Marita Copp • Alberto Florez • Mila Logan • Jennifer Pinkerton • Michael Ye • Eva Schroeder • Julia Boyd • Rachel Mounsey

TPR Gallery is pleased to present the gallery’s final exhibition for 2018 Love & Barbershops, a group exhibition by nine photographers who, for the past year, have been working with TPR’s Sean Davey and Aishah Kenton to produce personal and individual series of works.

The nine photographers presented in the exhibition, Rachel Mounsey, Kim Sinclair, Michael Ye, Julia Boyd, Mila Logan, Eva Schroeder, Jennifer Pinkerton, Saini-Marita Copp and Alberto Florez, all answered a call out to participate in the 2018 TPR Gallery Personal Photography Project, a year-long workshop that was designed to engage photographers in a sustained personal project of their own choosing. The final result of this workshop is the exhibition you see in the gallery today.

The workshop participants met ten times throughout the year, each session included group critiques on each photographer’s work-in-progress, editing and sequencing of photographs and importantly, delicious shared pot-luck lunches. As the year passed the participants developed stronger relationships as they not only developed their own works, but actively engaged and offered feedback and genuine encouragement on the works of their fellow photographers. Twelve months after beginning on this journey, this group is now one of friends who share a common interest in the medium of photography.

The language of photography is a varied one; it records time and place, things that we can see and put a date to. But it also records so much more, things that are less able to be seen, and at times, are often better felt. The nine projects you see in Love & Barbershops (in both gallery spaces, upstairs and downstairs) use the medium in different ways; some are accompanied by words, like Jen Pinkerton’s Love Notes which explores the notion of love and what it means to different people, while others offer only limited information to assist the viewer’s contextual awareness. Mila Logan’s close engagement with a friend coming to terms with her child’s rare chromosomal disorder shows us the tender and unbreakable bond between mother and child in such an intimate and honest way.

Michael Ye’s work Year of Dog is an homage to his Uncle Li, who passed away this year. In what has admittedly been a bad year for Michael, he has grasped photography as a way of dealing with grief and using it  ‘as my way of expression, to be in tune with my emotions and as an action of making known my thoughts and feelings… And most importantly, my memory of the important people who have left us.’

Julia Boyd has stayed close to home (where some of the most compelling photographs are to be found) and turned her camera on her daughter Emma and husband Dickie. In recording intimate moments of her own family life, Julia’s work helps to reminds us that everyday moments can be extremely beautiful, and that they offer ample opportunities to make heartfelt photographs, ones that will only become more important as time goes on.

Rachel Mounsey lives in the regional Victorian town of Mallacoota; she works in the local pub and is the town’s much loved documentary photographer. Rachel is a firecracker, her enthusiasm and excitement for all things photography is unstoppable, and her unbridled energy and love for making pictures is at once evident in her photographs. With a camera constantly by her side – even when working behind the bar – Rachel is always aware of the light, an aspect of her work that is immediately apparent for its rich cinematic quality. Rachel lives and breathes photography, and her family and her town are at the heat of it all.

For this project, Kim Sinclair has delved into her extensive archive of medium format film photographs of barbershops, made between 1998 and 2000, with a 1956 Rolleiflex camera. Kim’s hand printed gelatin silver photographs (which take serious amounts of time and care to produce) reveal her long-standing love for the medium of photography. Exploring archival images of barber shops from her hometown in Toronto, Kim writes, “The modest barbershop displayed a clinical vernacular that intrigued me, it seemed a place of solitude as well as a place of business, where not much talking went on, where well-dressed-men would sit in their own barber chairs reading the news, waiting for customers… for years.” Accompanying the eight black and white gelatin silver prints are four colour archival pigment prints, scanned from medium format negative and printed with modern inkjet technique.

When we think of love, it is hard not to think of the people in our lives, present and past, who have influenced us, and who will always be part of who we are. Saini-Marita Copp, Alberto Florez and Eva Schroeder have all taken their family histories as starting points for their projects, looking at the people who share not only the same blood, but who also share the same stories. Saini takes us to Samoa, where “With each passing year, I feel an increased yearning to deeper understand my Samoan heritage and to record my family’s stories for future generations.”

Eva Schroeder uses a mix of archival portraits, including that of her grandmother, her daughter and of herself as a child, with still lives of plants and flowers, to encourage the consideration of personal family lineage. Accompanying the work is a short poem that leaves the work open-ended for personal interpretation. 

Alberto Florez’s work begins with a “stern-looking woman in a black and white photo which sat on our family bookshelf gathering dust”, a portrait of his grandmother, Maria Hernestina Marquez. Alberto’s body of work Abuelita explores his family’s Colombian roots and the strength and resilience of one woman. “Abuelita’s spirit lives on through her children, both here and in Colombia, and through the traditions of love and togetherness that connect us as a family across continents. 35 years after her death and on the other side of the world, those core values still hold true, and are part of the fabric that makes-up our extended family. Love without judgement enacts selflessness, which I believe is Abuelita's legacy.”

It has been an honour to work with the nine photographers in this year’s TPR Personal Photography Project. We hope that you enjoy the exhibition.

Sean Davey & Aishah Kenton

TPR Gallery