State Library Victoria

Mirror: New Views on Photography


Client — State Library Victoria
Project — Mirror: New Views on Photography

‘MIRROR: New Views on Photography’ is an exhibition of words and pictures at State Library Victoria. 141 photographs chosen to explore the theme of ‘mirror’. Dating from 1950 to today, they were taken by artists, documentarians and photojournalists. Some of the images are born-digital, while others were made for record keeping or for books, gallery walls or newspapers. 

The words are by Victorian novelists, essayists, spoken word artists, non-fiction writers, activists, songwriters and poets. Their responses to the photographs have been woven into films for three large projections. Alice Skye has arranged lyrics; Leah Jing McIntosh has composed a short essay; Jason Tamiru has performed an audiovisual journey; Pasifika Storytellers Collective has made songs, films, short texts, spoken word and prints; Prithvi Varatharajan has written poems; Superfluity has crafted a radio show;Walter Kadiki has performed an Auslan poem. 

The complete set of 141 photographs can be viewed in two ‘cinemas’ within the gallery along with new images documenting how they are stored in the collection. Collectively, the images convey the breadth of the Library’s photography collection. Yet they also reflect absence. We’d like to acknowledge that not all Victorians will see pictures relatable to themselves or their families or cultures. Not everyone in the photographs is named. The images represent historical institutional blind spots and biases that we are working to correct, and this exhibition is part of a process of reckoning. It draws attention to how we may grow the State Collection, and emphasises an ever-present invitation for others to tell stories about, around and against it.