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LA FOCUS // VICTORIA COOPER

 
 
 

QCP is taking books of sixteen Australian photo-media artists to PhotoBook Independent (1 – 3 May 2015). This series of focus interviews gives an insight into the selected artists.

How did you get into photography?
A desire to photograph has always been a part of my life. My parents were not able to support any academic study so I was advised to pursue a career in science. At this early stage of my life I looked for opportunities to work with photography and I was able to photograph many subjects and objects in human and plant pathology. I found both terrifying and wondrous worlds within the diseased and decomposition of the living world.

When I was able to finance my own, purely photographic pathway, I immersed myself within the potential of the medium to record my being in the world. Even though I developed a life-long involvement in the simplicity of pinhole photography, I do not have any preference or specific interest in technology. As soon as digital enabled desktop printing in the mid to late 1990’s, I adopted it as a way of recording and creating work. In this expansive technology I found new ways of visual story telling and creating books as artists books.

How did you arrive at the decision to create a photo book, and how is working with a book different from working on an exhibition?
The book is a natural medium for the photograph and as such has informed my arts practice. Although I had created visual narratives either as an exhibition or in a simple book form, in 2000 I undertook academic study at Monash University to research the photo narrative and digital photomontage in the form of scrolls. All of my work is a book … I am constantly exploring the possibilities of reading and visual narratives. First and foremost is the concept and contemporary perceptions of Place. The secondary, but just as important, is the visual and physical connection with the reader through both experimental and traditional forms of the book.

Tell us a bit about your book featured at PhotoBook Independent.
Pilliga is the culmination of 10 years work. It is informed by the many physical, psychological and metaphorical journeys through this enigmatic place during the decade of its creation.

This book is not a topographic depiction of the Pilliga Scrub, a remote location in the Australian Bush. Rather it is a human story of lurking deep anxiety manifested as a destructive invisible entity feeding on fears of the unknown and unknowable.

For more information about Victoria Cooper, please visit her website.

Banner image: Pilliga cover

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