scenes from the mall

The first three sets of work below are from SCENES FROM THE MALL, an exhibition that took place at the Belconnen Arts Centre between 1.dec.2023 and 11.feb.2024. Each series of of portraits was shot at the Belconnen Mall in 1989 and 1990. For those who are not local, Belconnen is a district in the north-west of Canberra, which is Australia’s national capital. The Belconnen Mall is the largest shopping centre in Belconnen.

The Lido Bistro

The people in these photographs were regular customers of the Lido Bistro, an eatery and bar on the Benjamin Way side of the Belconnen Mall. Now known as the Lido Cafe, this business has operated continuously in the same location since the mall opened in 1978. The people's photographs were taken at the Lido and, on one of their visits a week or two later, they penned a message on their photographs in their own handwriting . The conversation started off with their musings on the Lido itself, but they were free to go wherever they liked so long as they maintained a focus on themselves. Clearly, some people were more guarded than others but their messages are no less telling. Despite the differences in approach taken by each subject, the messages add a depth and intimacy to the images, transforming the final product into something of a self-portrait.

friskies buffet dog food promotion coles belconnen 1989

The Shoppingtown

Where once people would hawk their wares in town squares and entertain on the street, the mall provided a new environment for people to promote goods and services to the public. It was called a shoppingtown and Belconnen’s new shoppingtown was one of a network across the country. This series of portraits documents those doing business in the mall’s common areas. There were organised shows and performances on stage and stalls that advertised products, providing samples to shoppers and generating sales. These people drifted through the mall - itinerant entertainers, travelling salespeople, temps and casuals from employment agencies and volunteers, all trying to drum up business.

Portrait of a parking area stairwell

These portraits were taken on the landing of a stairwell at one of the Belconnen Mall’s parking areas. The portraits were all shot at this site on one day. All of these people were walking past this site and agreed to have their photographs taken on the spot. Highlighting their status as passers-by, the subjects are anonymous. The backdrop takes the studio out on location, making the momentary presence of these people into a layered portrait of this place.

ray perrone

Working Peel Street

This series features portraits and street scenes from the 1992 Tamworth Country Music Festival. The photographs feature the buskers, hawkers and punters on Tamworth's main drag, Peel Street, over the Australia Day weekend. This collection of images contrasts with the scenes at formal venues and awards ceremonies that are often presented as the face of the Festival. Peel Street was and continues to be its own show.

Hope School

This series includes a selection of portraits from Hi Vong (Hope) School for hearing impaired children in District 8 of Ho Chi Minh City. The children were photographed in one session, at the end of one of their weekly classes in photography. As if to balance the limitations in their hearing, the children responded enthusiastically to exploring the visual medium. Perhaps this influenced how they engaged with the camera - there is a certain something there.

Royal birthday in Australia

The Monarch's Birthday

Exploring Australians' relationship with the monarchy. People were asked to write a birthday card to the reigning monarch on the June long weekend commemorating the event. This series merges the old and the new to provide a historical perspective. The monarch changes as does the face of Australia. Although it is the subject of some debate, the role of the royals endures and this says something about how Australia sees itself.

Here is a sample for now. It's a project under construction.