Jon Lewis first exhibited in 1974. He was a member of Sydney's "Yellow House" in the early 70's, went on to make experimental video with "Bush Video", and in 1977 was a founder of Greenpeace Australia, which led a successful campaign to end the slaughter of whales in that country. His interests are reflected in his photography, and when not on the hop, photographing or teaching, he lives in the Southern Highlands of NSW.
Perfect Strangers (2013-2017)
Exhibition 28 JANUARY - 4 MARCH 2018
The street photography of Jon Lewis highlights the culturally diverse city of Sydney through images of its people.
Over the past four years he has walked the streets of inner Sydney, creating portraits in a style that pays homage to the street photographers of the 1930s to 1950s. In his search to find beauty in difference, he says, ‘I aim to show the humanity of Sydney town.’
In the tradition of street photographers, Jon Lewis approaches people on the street and asks if he can photograph them without recording their names or any details.
'Portraiture engages with perfect strangers, an image without a name emphasises the person, their emotional humanity as a stranger whose journey crosses that of the photographer, knitting us together for a moment, with a recognition that lasts an eternity.
'The less we know of the image by title, interview or small talk, the more the photograph has to do its job.”
In 2017 the State Library of NSW acquired 50 portraits from this series, which totals over 600 unique portraits of Sydneysiders. This series is undoubtedly one of the most significant portrait archives in Australia.