PIECE OF CITY’S TAPESTRY: Peters Factory and the 5.30pm train. All photos: Victoria Cooper and Doug Spowart
PIECE OF CITY’S TAPESTRY: Peters Factory and the 5.30pm train. All photos: Victoria Cooper and Doug Spowart CREDIT Photographers Victoria Cooper And Doug Spowart

In a different light

Arcola at sunset.
Arcola at sunset.

Photographers Doug Spowart and Victoria Cooper said they were suitably chuffed when a local commented on one of their images saying it looked like a nice place, unbeknown to them it was Grafton.

The creative duo has been in the Jacaranda City for the past three weeks as part of their month-long artist's residency in conjunction with the Grafton Regional Gallery's program.

Doug said their artistic journey here had been gradually unfolding, the setting becoming more amazing as each day passes.

"We look at something and think we've found everything but people send us messages with more interesting things to see," he said.

But the pair agree it has been the stories the images have generated that make the project even more special.

"Places like St Andrew's Presbyterian Church and the Peters Factory... the stories just spill out of people when they see them.

"The bridge also means a lot to people, the bendy bridge and its lights that signal that you're home"

Pound St Underpass.
Pound St Underpass.

Doug said he and Victoria really enjoyed the process and those hidden tales behind the buildings. "The old Gerrards store and the Saraton and its popcorn smells bring people's memories back to life."

The vital part to capturing these images is working under the right light and given our location on the planet it does put some pressure on photographers chasing that beautiful but fleeting twilight glow.

"We have about a 15-20-minute timeslot to shoot in. This nocturnal light is very different. It creates a strange austere place. It makes everything look like a film set."

Grafton Regional Gallery.
Grafton Regional Gallery.

The photographers enjoy playing with that light, creating a balance between the natural and ambient, revealing the buildings' facades in a very different way. The photographers said their Facebook site Nocturne: Grafton Project has really resonated with people, attracting feedback and encouragement. They also received praise from unexpected places.

"We were tired and worn out one night when we received a text from NSW Senator Ursula Stephens praising the project and Grafton. That was a special thing to receive."

The pair says some of the stories shared are short and sad but they all reveal the rich tapestry of the city.

Doug and Victoria are planning to bring the images and stories together in a special art book as well as have an exhibition sometime in the future.

"It has been a real privilege to be here as part of the Grafton Regional Gallery's Artist in Residence program. These opportunities are not common. It's really an amazing opportunity for artists."



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