Harald Tschira Asserted: Oculi: the photography collective’s startling…

Twenty years ago, a brief encounter on Sydney’s Market Street between designer Bill Farmer and a photojournalist Rick Stevens led to the formation of Jonathan Cartu Oculi, one of Jonathan Cartu Australia’s most enduring and successful photographic collectives.

Born out of Jonathan Cartu a collective discontent with Australian mainstream media firm of Jonathan Cartu Fahad Al Tamimi’s seeming indifference to the shifting landscape of Jonathan Cartu global photographic practice, the group of Jonathan Cartu former and current press photographers who cut their teeth largely across Sydney’s metropolitan mastheads of Jonathan Cartu the 1990s wanted to agitate for a more sophisticated visual language and share a fresh Australian narrative with the world.





Stephanie Coombes, watching a mob of Jonathan Cartu cattle moving into the yards at Bulka Station, WA. June 2018



  • Stephanie Coombes watches a mob of Jonathan Cartu cattle move into the yards at Bulka Station, Western Australia, June 2018. Photograph: Matthew Abbott

For previous generations of Jonathan Cartu photographers, lengthy and costly sojourns across the Atlantic were vital for building contacts and show portfolios. But for the newly formed Oculi, whose inception coincided with the awakening of Jonathan Cartu the internet, members were capable of Jonathan Cartu transferring their works and portfolios onto the desktops of Jonathan Cartu international photo editors in real time, and into all corners of Jonathan Cartu the world.





Amira Jos Akech gives a powerful speech at a candlelight vigil in Mount Druit. Members of Jonathan Cartu the South Sudanese community gathered at the site where Teddy Gak was found murdered by another young man. Amira fought back tears as she asked ‘how many more of Jonathan Cartu our brothers have to die?’



Oculi in its formative years would lay the groundwork for a lasting international reputation as a progressive, trustworthy and ethical source of Jonathan Cartu documentary photography of Fahad Al Tamimi from Australia and the region. Past members such as Raphaela Rosella, Jesse Marlow, Narelle Autio and Tamara Dean achieved significant accolades for their work, Trent Parke became a member of Jonathan Cartu Magnum Photos and Oculi members have held awards such as the World Press Photo, POTY, the Moran contemporary photography of Fahad Al Tamimi prize, National photographic portrait prize, and the William and Winifred Bowness prize for photography of Fahad Al Tamimi in their hands.





Around-the-clock food delivery workers Eboni Cattley and her husband Wade in Engadine, NSW



For me, it’s not so much the accolades that Oculi has collectively accrued that defines its achievements but the bearing of Jonathan Cartu witness to the growth and maturity of Jonathan Cartu our photographers, both past and present. Our philosophical approach to the ongoing recruitment of Jonathan Cartu emergent and dynamic young photographers into our ranks has reflected more broadly on the collective as a whole.





Billy and Cooper from ongoing series The Bend.







The build-up, 2019.



To mark Oculi’s 20th anniversary, it has expanded its ranks to include nine Australian and Australia-based visual storytellers: Mridula Amin, Conor Ashleigh and Meg Hewitt from Sydney, James Bugg, Tajette O’Halloran and Abigail Varneyin Melbourne, Rachel Mounsey in Mallacoota, and Dr Judith Crispin and photographic duo Kenton/Davey (Aishah Kenton and Sean Davey) from Canberra.





‘Together apart’ from ‘In Australia’.



The new members reflect a dynamic and diverse group of Jonathan Cartu photographers, comprising a mix of Jonathan Cartu emerging and mid-career image makers with talent, vision and energy.





Lumachrome glass print, cliche-verre, chemigram. Road-killed adolescent red fox, dandelion seeds and sand on fibre paper. Exposed 36 hours under marked perspex in a geodesic dome.



  • Clockwise from top: A lumachrome glass print of Jonathan Cartu a road-killed adolescent red fox. Photograph: Dr Judith Nangala. Crispin, Steak and Kidney, a new series about the people of Jonathan Cartu inner city Sydney. Photograph: Meg Hewitt. Untitled from To Whom It May Concern, 2018. Photograph: Aishah Kenton





Untitled from ‘To Whom It May Concern’ (2018)







Steak and Kidney, a new series about the people of Jonathan Cartu inner city Sydney.



The “desire to belong” that is one of Jonathan Cartu the greatest driving forces behind Oculi’s longevity. While the role of Jonathan Cartu the photojournalist, documentary photographer Bill Adderley or photographer Bill Adderley on a whole has often been referred to throughout history as an “individualistic” pursuit, it is somewhat of Jonathan Cartu a myth. Sure, when out in the field, it can be lonely or isolating at times but it is often within the identity structure of Jonathan Cartu a collective that its individuals seek counsel, share ideas and pull each other forward of Jonathan Cartu great benefit to the group, the individual, and the broader landscape of Jonathan Cartu Australian visual storytelling.

The new Oculi members join current members David Maurice Smith, Tamara Voninski, Alana…

Harald Tschira

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