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Betty Churcher. Wamboin, NSW (For Good Weekend Magazine)

Betty Churcher. Wamboin, NSW (For Good Weekend Magazine)


The most thrilling of all photography related feelings has to be the receipt of a brief from a magazine art / photo-director. All other art or commercial obligations are pushed aside to make way for the potential honor of immortalising someone on the page.

It’s in this very way that the challenge came to contribute to a summer edition story on: “Prominent women with Grey Hair”. What initially sounded like a light-headed idea lead, as it often does, to an unforgettable encounter.

The reference and tribute to Whistler came naturally and felt appropriate for one of Australia’s greatest arts advocate.

Sacred sights

Untitled. From the series, Still Lives. St Peters, NSW

Untitled. From the series, Still Lives. St Peters, NSW

We are accustomed to seeing objects, (like in advertising campaigns, for instance) given more significance then what they are worth. So, the purpose of this series was to raise the status of discarded goods to cultural signposts, to give them another moment to be remembered or even worshiped.

 A few years back, a PHd Student from LaTrobe University had an epiphany while standing in front of the pillars of Stonehenge. What if the theories about how monuments functioned in pagan rituals to appease the Gods…what if these ideas were far-fetched and too elaborate? Instead, could they have had a practical, more mundane purpose? Could they be objects to mark a collective memory?

This theory has gained some traction in archeological circles and actually makes a lot of common sense. There would have been no point to worship through art for the ancient Druids or, for that matter, indigenous Australians, whose Rock paintings are considered by many now as journal entries and manuals for survival.