mamiya RB67 fotofacto


true, according to the facts in the photograph
documentary photographs by spiros coutroubas

latest work

scenes from the mall

portraits of people and places
in the belconnen mall

The 25 portraits in SCENES FROM THE MALL were exhibited at the Belconnen Arts Centre, very close to where the pictures were made, between 1.dec.2023 and 11.feb.2024. A seminar followed on 12.mar.2024 at the Australian National University’s Humanities Research Centre. It was entitled ‘Exploring the balance between recording history and storytelling in everyday life’.

The photographs in this collection comprise three sets of portraits, each documenting people in particular places in the Belconnen Mall. The Belconnen Mall is the largest shopping centre in Belconnen, a district on the north-west of Canberra, Australia’s national capital. The first series captures scenes at a stairwell landing, with passers-by pausing for the camera as they make their way through one of the mall’s parking areas. The next includes salespeople, promotional staff and performers working in the mall’s common areas and supermarkets. In the last series, regular customers of one of the mall’s cafes complement their photographs with handwritten messages that lend an extra dimension to their portraits. Click on the images below to see each series.

All portraits are made to be seen in the future. Pictures such as those in these series may be seen as a historical snapshot of people and places but, given the commonplace nature of the subjects, some of this interpretation depends on the viewer’s familiarity with the people, place and time that are depicted. The less the viewer knows about these details, the more the images stand on their own and, in some measure, the more the pictures become a story prompt for the viewer. These stories may focus on the human or emotional elements or on incidental artefacts in the photographs. People may also see a historical perspective or even nostalgia. The stories might also integrate the relationship between the subject and the photographer, noting that both parties have an influence on the process. There could be a 3 or 4 dimensional diagram to map out the possibilities but I don’t have one. 

scenes from the mall

the book


There’s a book version of ‘Scenes From The Mall’, including all 25 portraits featured in the exhibition as well as some reflections about the people, the mall, the times, and the creation of the pictures. It’s an authentic piece of Canberra history.

Alternatively, you can get it at these good book shops:

A veritable tour de force of mall life in Canberra and a captivating look into our recent history.
– me

This exhibition will be fascinating viewing for anyone who frequented the mall in the late 1980s – you may not be in the photos but you will recognise the look and feel of the place and get that strange feeling of deja vu. The book is a great memento of the time and and place while showcasing the excellent portraiture.
– Karen Visser

A masterful work that reveals beauty and meaning in the most ordinary moments and places. The mall is transformed into a stage for the exploration of the human condition and how it was shaped by the spaces we inhabited.
– chatGPT

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