documentation

signal arts

emma byrnes photographer melbournea
emma byrnes photographer melbourne
emma byrnes chi ngyuen
emma byrnes photographer melbourne
emma byrnes photographer melbourne
emma byrnes photographer melbourne
emma byrnes photographer melbourne
emma byrnes photographer melbourne
emma byrnes photographer melbourne
Signal Arts  is a creative studio for young people aged 13-25 in Melbourne CBD. The images above are from the Signal Summer showcase 2019 and the Young Creative Lab project. Photographs by  Emma Byrnes

Signal Arts is a creative studio for young people aged 13-25 in Melbourne CBD. The images above are from the Signal Summer showcase 2019 and the Young Creative Lab project. Photographs by Emma Byrnes

I was invited to document the impressive summer showcase at Signal Arts. Ten days of workshops culminated in an impressive showcase with 120 young people presenting words from a variety of creative disciplines including visual art, sculpture, music, spoken word, theatre, performance and animation.
If you know any young creatives who live in or near Melbourne be sure to steer their attention towards the Signal - it’s a terrific program offering young people the opportunity to work alongside professional artists in a collaborative way, through multi-artform workshops and mentoring.
What a gift to emerging young artists and ultimately the City of Melbourne!

throwing shadows from the sun

emma byrnes, spacecraft studio, garland magazine, screen printing melbourne
emma byrnes, spacecraft studio, garland magazine, screen printing melbourne
emma byrnes, spacecraft studio, garland magazine, screen printing melbourne
emma byrnes, spacecraft studio, garland magazine, screen printing melbourne
emma byrnes, spacecraft studio, garland magazine, screen printing melbourne
emma byrnes, spacecraft studio, garland magazine, screen printing melbourne
emma byrnes, spacecraft studio, garland magazine, screen printing melbourne
emma byrnes, spacecraft studio, garland magazine, screen printing melbourne
emma byrnes, spacecraft studio, garland magazine, screen printing melbourne
emma byrnes, spacecraft studio, garland magazine, screen printing melbourne
emma byrnes, spacecraft studio, garland magazine, screen printing melbourne
emma byrnes, spacecraft studio, garland magazine, screen printing melbourne
Photographs by  Emma Byrnes

Photographs by Emma Byrnes

In November I captured Spacecraft at work in their Rokeby studio on a botanical prints series that had been commissioned for KFive + KinnarpsBoyd Collection. The images accompanied an article on the project by Eugenia Lim in Garland Magazine and needed to reflect the interplay between Spacecraft’s research, handcraft, materiality and digital production - the conversation that Lim explores in depth throughout the article.

As Lim writes:

“In Spacecraft’s series of commissioned prints for KFive + Kinnarps’ Boyd Collection furniture, site, history, language, art and architecture intermingle under the guise of soft-furnishings. On face value, these textile designs are simple botanical prints that take the specificity of trees as a motif. The silhouettes of leaves, vines and flowers are assembled, repeated and mirrored onto linen.

But deeper, beyond the “upholstery” of surface, these designs speak of a skilled, curious studio who bring craft, research and experimentation to their work across commercial, artistic and architectural projects.”

The article is well worth the read and highlights the “the quiet and conscientious work of Spacecraft, engaged as it is with the elemental, the material, the botanical, the artistic, the political and the social.” 

Wonderful!

fast and fearless: the benefits of documentation

emma byrnes, RMIT interior design
rmit-4.jpg
emma byrnes photographer melbourne
emma byrnes, rmit interior design, design hub
emma byrnes, RMIT interior design
emma byrnes photographer melbourne
emma byrnes, RMIT interior design
Photographs by  Emma Byrnes
emma byrnes, RMIT interior design
emma byrnes, RMIT interior design
emma byrnes, RMIT interior design
emma byrnes, RMIT interior design
emma byrnes, RMIT interior design
First year RMIT Interior Design students during their 2018 orientation week. Photographs by  Emma Byrnes.

First year RMIT Interior Design students during their 2018 orientation week. Photographs by Emma Byrnes.

Photographing 130 RMIT Interior Design first-year students during their orientation week and installing their collaborative exhibition got me thinking about how much I enjoy documentation as an arm of my photographic practice.

Documenting people at work/play is a terrific way as a photographer to hone my technical skills - by working in a fast and fearless manner whilst remaining curious and responsive to what unfolds before me. And I am well aware of the benefits that documentation can bring to my clients.
Having documented events over the past year for organisations such as Queen Victoria Market, City of Melbourne’s Signal Arts, The Kimberley Foundation, The Craft Sessions’ Soul Craft Festival and RMIT Interior Design I am a firm believer that thorough documentation plays an essential role in running a successful program.
One picture won’t usually do it, but a well curated collection can really tell the story of what has unfolded. It can also assist in marketing what may otherwise be intangible or abstract ideas to a future audience. In the words of Dr Olivia Hamilton at RMIT:

“Emma has photographed many RMIT interior design student events, exhibitions and projects. These can be complex events involving over a hundred students and running for several days. Her photos document the event beautifully and thoroughly, but more importantly she is also able to capture the fleeting and subtle moments that make the event unique. She has a particular ability to capture the human experience and the relationships and interactions between the students. Her images have been invaluable in the publications and marketing material that has come from these events.”

— Dr Olivia Hamilton - School of Architecture + Urban Design RMIT University Lecturer - Interior Design First Year Co-ordinator

For individual artists/makers good documentation is the best long-term investment they can make in their art practice. It will serve as the backbone of their art archive, and the primary factor in how their entire practice is viewed long-term. Even if someone has strong work it doesn’t mean that it will be perceived that way - if the documentation isn’t strong the work will most likely be perceived as weak :-(

How you document your work determines everything from how it is reproduced in print publications to how it is seen online. In our visually savvy world it is crucial to keep this aspect in mind. Strong visual documentation could mean the difference between securing a grant or an exhibition, or being rejected and passed over for opportunities.

Artist Jen Rae of Fair Share Fare has come to appreciate the value of strong documentation:

”Working with Emma on our projects has been a game changer in how the creative works of Fair Share Fare are documented. Her ability to place herself within the artist’s lens means that she captures the moments that matter - the big picture, nuances, subtleties and aesthetics of what can be very complex projects. She listens, comprehends the scope and is always present. Her stealth modus operandi means that she can get behind the scenes and within performances without ever detracting from what is at play between subjects, performers and public participants. I value Emma’s contributions and considered approach, so much so, that I see her as an integral part of the creative team in planning and sharing the story of Fair Share Fare’s work to various audiences.”
— Jen Rae: Creative lead and director of Fair Share Fare

Often documentation is the only evidence from non-permanent work, such as performances, art installations, popup events, etc. In fact it will be the only thing that survives and can actually become the work itself! This is why it is very important to budget and plan for this essential step in your marketing plan/art process.

Past (and ongoing) artist/maker clients of mine include Katie Stackhouse, Fair Share Fare, Sarah Tomasetti, Jing Wei Bu, Angus Hamra, Martin Lee, Lee Mullen and Spacecraft Studio.

Book me in for your next event.

Em x

NB - View all of my blog posts on documentation

fair share fare

emma byrnes, fair share fare, jen rae
emma byrnes, fair share fare, jen rae
emma byrnes, jen rae, fair share fare
emma byrnes, fair share fare, jen rae
emma byrnes, jen rae, refuge
emma byrnes, fair share fare, jen rae
emma byrnes, fair share fare, jen rae
emma byrnes, fair share fare, jen rae
emma byrnes, jen rae, fair share fare
emma byrnes photographer melbourne
emma byrnes, emma byrnesjen rae, fair share fare
Photographs by  Emma Byrnes

Photographs by Emma Byrnes

Amongst many other ambitious projects, Canadian Métis (Indigenous)/Australian artist-researcher, Jen Rae has established Fair Share Fare - a collaborative, multi-platform art project focused on future food security in a time of climate change. And for the second year running I have had the great pleasure of documenting REFUGE at Arts House for Jen.  

REFUGE is now in year three of a five-year project that examines potential climate-related disasters and traces how we might collectively respond. It explores the role of artists and cultural institutions in times of climate catastrophe…extreme heat, rising sea levels, forced migration, increased spread of diseases, social unrest, extinctions.

In 2018, the theme for REFUGE was PANDEMIC - artists examined a pandemic event and what happens when the risk of contagion mean no public gathering?

In Jen’s project - a horticulturalist, a masseur and a beekeeper each had significant roles to play and she places them in an immersive spa-meets-science-lab-meets-urban-agriculture environment.
In most instances during this documentation process the light was extremely low which for a photographer can be very challenging as light is what we paint with! But I think the limitations allowed for some dramatic images.

For in-depth detail and photographs of the project visit Jen’s website.

merging materiality with modernity

emma byrnes, katie stackhouse, melbourne artist
emma byrnes, katie stackhouse, melbourne artist
emma byrnes photographer melbourne, katie stackhouse
emma byrnes, katie stackhouse, melbourne artist
emma byrnes, katie stackhouse, melbourne artist
emma byrnes, katie stackhouse, melbourne artist
emma byrnes, katie stackhouse, melbourne artist
Melbourne artist - Katie Stackhouse (top) and artworks from  Embodied Materialities , 2018 and  Perspicuity , 2018. Photographs by  Emma Byrnes.

Melbourne artist - Katie Stackhouse (top) and artworks from Embodied Materialities, 2018 and Perspicuity, 2018. Photographs by Emma Byrnes.

I have had the pleasure of documenting two of Katie Stackhouses’ exhibitions these past months.
The Melbourne artist’s sculptural works refer to the emerging experiential technologies of virtual reality, and the enquiry as to how these technologies may affect human relationships. Her use of limestone to carve sculptures of what are essentially VR goggles allows her to marry the serenity of the natural environment of her home-base in Warrandyte with the inner-cityscape in her work “Embodied Materialities” at Assembly Point. Following on from that at Rubicon Ari was “Perspicuity” - a work that continued the conversation - combining elements of the past with the present.
I was very happy to hear that Katie was able to use these photographs to communicate her creative work for successful grant applications.
For a blog post about the importance of documentation for artists see here.

heat wave at refuge

emma byrnes photographer melbourne
emma byrnes photographer melbourne
emma byrnes photographer melbourne
emma byrnes photographer melbourne
emma byrnes photographer melbourne
emma byrnes photographer melbourne
emma byrnes photographer melbourne
emma byrnes photographer melbourne
emma byrnes photographer melbourne
emma byrnes photographer melbourne
emma byrnes photographer melbourne
emma byrnes photographer melbourne
emma byrnes photographer melbourne
emma byrnes photographer melbourne
emma byrnes photographer melbourne
FUTURE PROOF by Jen Rae for REFUGE 2017 at Arts House. Photography by Emma Byrnes.

FUTURE PROOF by Jen Rae for REFUGE 2017 at Arts House. Photography by Emma Byrnes.

For REFUGE 2017, the heatwave provides a context to question, what do you know, that you don’t know you know, that we all might need to know in a disaster? 
Artist Jen Rae explored this question through a series of task oriented activities for participant involvement where food is created and experienced in the 24-hour period.  Skill, labour and knowledge-sharing underpinned the interactions and participants helped with designated collaborative kitchen-related tasks whilst talking about food futures. Participants were rewarded with Feral Food trade tickets for their contributions. 
The depth and complexity of Jen Rae’s inspiring Fair Share Fare art projects is difficult to communicate unless you actually participate in one of them as her ideas and concepts are so challenging, immersive and interlaced.
However my job in documenting them requires me to capture not only the breadth of the project but also the small details in order to tell the story . Of course this is the ultimate challenge from the photographer’s point of view and had me on constant alert for any special incidental moments that flashed before me that communicated the project in one gesture or action. 24 hours is a long time for an art project and many moments took place. If you would like to see more images from the project visit Jen’s website here.

And here is a wonderful testimonial from Jen that demonstrates how valuable documentation is to her art practice:

“Working with Emma on Fair Share Fare projects has been a game changer in how the creative works of Fair Share Fare are documented. Her ability to place herself within the artist’s lens means that she captures the moments that matter - the big picture, nuances, subtleties and aesthetics of what can be very complex projects. She listens, comprehends the scope and is always present. Her stealth modus operandi means that she can get behind the scenes and within performances without ever detracting from what is at play between subjects, performers and public participants. I value Emma’s contributions and considered approach, so much so, that I see her as an integral part of the creative team in planning and sharing the story of Fair Share Fare’s work to various audiences.”