NVI: Sirens of Gunnedah exhibition unique perspective on local women

Gunnedah will see a different side to more than 40 local women when creative duo and former NVI staff Alyssa Barwick and Marie Low launch their first exhibition, Sirens of Gunnedah.

The friends and photographers have been capturing portraits of residents for 18 months and will reveal their collection on November 22 at the Gunnedah Bicentennial Creative Arts Gallery.

Their subjects are by no means pigeon-holed, ranging from 16 to 70s in age – “they’re not all size 8 beauty queens” – and their professions include education, journalism, administration and business.

While many have embraced the photo shoots – “there has been a lot of enthusiasm and excitement” – there have also been some reluctant models among them. But with a little persuasion, most models found themselves having fun in the end.

“So many people have said they’re not photogenic, and they’re wrong,” Ms Low said.

“Finding that special thing about every model.

“We’re bringing something out in people they don’t even know is there sometimes.”

Elizabeth Emmerson was spark that lit the flame for Sirens of Gunnedah. Photo: Marie Low

 Elizabeth Emmerson was spark that lit the flame for Sirens of Gunnedah. Photo: Marie Low

 

It all started with a friend’s bucket list dream of dressing up in 1950s fashion for a photo shoot. Ms Low jumped on the idea and took the photos in early 2018 and it went on from then.

“I thought, ‘This is great fun and it’s something that we could do with any woman in any era in any style,” Ms Low said.

There has been no shortage of helping hands during the photography project, and hairdressers and makeup artists are among those volunteering their time and skills.

Op shops have also got on board, lending clothing and shoes and the photographers have also built up their own collection of vintages pieces. Often an item sparked an idea and a whole shoot might be based around one piece of clothing or jewellery.

“We’re calling them conceptual portraits because they’re built around a concept. They’re not all built around an era,” Mr Low said.

“They’re all original. There’s no two alike.

“We’re taking our dream photos.”

A mystery model who will feature in the Sirens of Gunnedah exhibition in November.

 A mystery model who will feature in the Sirens of Gunnedah exhibition in November.

 

The women have been keeping their model’s identities and photos under wraps and even the models don’t know which of their photos will feature in the exhibition.

“There will be some surprises for everyone there because no one has chosen their final piece,” Ms Low said.

Ms Barwick said all the models were locals and all of the shoots were done in Gunnedah.

“It’s been an adventure into the imagination for us, and the fun will continue right up until the exhibition itself,” she said.

“We hope the opening will showcase not only our sirens, but will also open people’s eyes to the enormous range of possibilities we have here in Gunnedah, and the amazing things we are all capable of.”

So many people have said they’re not photogenic, and they’re wrong.

Marie Low, Two Cats Creative

The photography project paved the way for Ms Low and Ms Barwick to form their new business Two Cats Creative, which was launched last month.

Sirens of Gunnedah will be the first exhibition under this banner and is named after “the mythical temptresses of the past who lured sailors with their songs” because “every woman has their own song to sing”.

  • The official opening of the Sirens of Gunnedah exhibition starts at 6pm on November 22.

By Vanessa Hohnke / September 12, 2019 / Source: www.nvi.com.au

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