Today I had the opportunity to attend the DIVEST exhibition showing at Gallery On The Lane, located in Southport on the Golden Coast of Australia. It is a “collaboration between two of Australia’s most promising young photographers on an ocular stroll through social surroundings and isolated rural wonderlands”. These two photographers are Max Duff and Mitch Carlin or ‘Finland’ as he is referred to within the exhibition.
Mitch’s work captures something that intrigues me like no other: social commentary. His images, all presented in stunning black and white and mounted on old medical/informational journals were accompanied with the caption “we are all watching and idly yawning”. This may or may not be a direct reference to the Mason Cooley quote “the gods are watching, but idly, yawning”. I’m not sure, but in my mind, I’d like to think so. We so often watch situations pass us buy and we do nothing, even if it is within our power to do so. These photographs invoked emotion, as black and white often does, and I repeatedly found myself becoming invested in the stories of those he found through his lens. I did not know these people, but after a while I felt I did and wondered where they were headed on the day those photos were taken. I will never know, but I hope it was somewhere beautiful.
Max Duff, the second part of this stunning exhibition both displayed both rural photography and illustrated typography. Typography is one of my favourite things in this world, so I was finding myself wishing I could purchase every single one of his pieces. From favourite songs to beautiful phrases this collection of illustrated type was something I would definitely love to aspire to. Duff’s photography also gave way to an interesting thought process. Each of his images contained a vast rural setting and the same female model dressed only in denim jeans or shorts. It wasn’t until I realised the meaning of the exhibitions title that I started to think. The word divest means to ‘deprive someone of power, rights or possessions’. It can also be used to describe something that is deprived of a particular quality. To me, this series of photos brought about the comparison of the city to the country and maybe the freedom I feel within a city, to be whoever I want to be, isn’t very free after all. Maybe the freedom we all seek involves the physical space to be so? I equate country living with needing or having less than those within the urban jungle, but maybe it is the opposite. Maybe they have everything, and more.
This exhibition was a lovely way to spend my tuesday morning. From invoking photography to bold typography, it was an exhibition that challenged and inspired. The gallery is a beautiful little niche within the Southport CBD and I encourage anyone who is within the area to check it out. Also, a huge thanks to Nicola Parsons at Gallery on the Lane and Troy Sizer, from CATC Design School for pulling this little adventure together.
We are all watching, and idly yawning,