Reconstructing Australia’s Photographic Memories

By Jacqueline Trewin

Noosa Councilor Karen Finzel will unveil the second photography exhibition at Max Galleria, featuring an international book launch by acclaimed Brisbane-based writer-photographer Matt Bushell.

The highly anticipated event will take place in Tewantin this Saturday February 12 from 6-9pm until Saturday February 26.

Titled “Memories of Australia”, the exhibition documents the architecture and interiors of Australia’s industrial past, inciting wonderment at the stories behind the beloved monumental relics, once prosperous dwellings of a bygone era.

Gallery curator Maxine Stibbe, who featured Bushell’s early work in the exclusive [email protected] group show at her Noosaville gallery in 2016, said her career has since skyrocketed.

“To see Matt now with an international book launch after giving him his first opportunity to exhibit, makes me happy to share the passion of a huge talent in our community,” Ms Stibbe said.

“He could have started it in Brisbane, where he works full time and has been given plenty of opportunities, but he chose the little Tewantin person who helped him along the way,” she said. declared.

While working for five years as a graphic designer in Singapore for global real estate firm Jones Lang LaSalle, Bushell discovered a love for graffiti photography seven years ago.

But a much greater love proved monumental.

“In Singapore, graffiti is frowned upon and there is a heavy penalty if you are caught doing it. So, I wanted to come in and photograph it. And one place where you can find graffiti is on buildings abandoned,” Bushell said.

“I was fascinated by these abandoned spaces, where nature took precedence over the scene. You would get those strangler figs where tree roots would come down from the walls of buildings, as if recovery was once nature.

“We arrived, we cleared the land, felled all the trees and built this building, this house or this factory there. And once we were done with that space, we just left it, and then nature came back to reclaim that space,” Bushell said.

But it was before earning a bachelor’s degree in design and communications, with a minor in photography from the University of the Sunshine Coast (USC), that Bushell’s unique gift was officially recognized.

In 2017, his photography professor at USC, Dr. Debra Livingstone, invited him to participate in the exhibition “How the Light Gets In” at the USC Art Gallery, where viewers explored the unimaginable possibilities of digital photography that “stimulates the mind, emotion and imagination”. .

Bushell’s next collection at Max Galleria promises to be no exception.

Escaping through an adventurous portal of heterotopic spaces, it allows you to reflect on a social culture that time has forgotten.

“I think we are losing our industrial past. In fact, from the 80s, we slowly lost everything. We used to make everything in Australia, now everything is imported,” Mr Bushell said.

“You drive around big cities these days and you see these big warehouses, but they don’t do anything. We don’t have textile factories making products. We used to make trains here, but now we just import them from India and other countries.

“So I think it’s important to document an industry that was once quite big here in Australia,” he said.

Bushell achieved this with a 240-page anthological masterpiece.

Published by Schiffer Publishing last year, “Memories of Australia – Abandoned Buildings and Their Stories” will transport you through a nostalgic lens, leaving you mesmerized.

Aside from its aesthetic quality that lends character to living spaces, it serves best as a coffee table book to spark conversation.

A timeless classic of urban exploration across diverse landscapes, it educates and inspires thought-provoking reflections on Australia’s heritage.

“I think it’s nice to see beautiful shiny relics in a museum, but I think an abandoned building is much more solid because it shows how it actually worked and how the place worked ‘back then'” , did he declare.

“It’s almost as if time has stopped; as if the workers worked one day, then left the next day.

With his third exhibition underway, Bushell reminds the public that this exhibition is more than a photographic collection of crumbling monstrosities.

“Some people may say these buildings should be demolished because they are kind of awful and bad for the community. But once they see the pictures of these places, the first reaction is, “Oh, wow, this is so amazing – look at this place!” he said.

Ms Stibbe is looking forward to providing her space again to an artist she believes plays a central role in Australia’s cultural heritage.

“The vastness of Matt Bushell’s adventures across Australia’s decaying landscape and buildings triggers memories of aeons and ways of life long gone.”

“Haunting images of places and things so familiar to the Australian psyche create a moving and exquisite reflection of Australia and how its culture can rapidly deteriorate with growth and the loving embrace of mother nature,” said she declared.

Proudly sponsored by local business, Scotty’s Pizza, the exhibit will feature artist talks on February 12, 19 and 26, with 100% tax-deductible artwork available to ABN holders.

For more information contact Max Galleria on 0414 725 424 or visit mattamation.com

Michael E. Marquez