Monday, September 26, 2011

Andrew Chapman's Shearer project

One of our favourite documentary photographers Andrew Chapman was featured on this week's Landline program (ABC) with his ongoing work on Australian shearers and shearing sheds. This now decade long project has seen Andrew travel across Australian documenting the arduous work of the country's shearers and also the sheds in which they do their work. As Andrew hints in the Landline feature, shearing sheds are surely among the most significant examples of vernacular Australian architecture and surely in need of photographic documentation.

Andrew's project is now quite vast in scale and increasingly highly regarded: the NGA in Canberra recently acquired photographs and a second book drawing on the series is about to come out. But this aside, the most striking aspect of the Landline story is its dramatic account of Andrew's battle with a life-threatening condition and recent liver transplant. It makes for a compelling portrait of an Australian photographer dedicated to and sustained by their practice. MGA exhibited 40 of Andrew's photographs of shearers in 2004.

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