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War and Peace Through Aussie Eyes

March 25, 2013

In 2010 I had the privilege to listen to what I consider some of Australia’s best documentary photographers speak as they released their combined collection of war images called “Degree South War”.

The group of eight include Tim Page, Stephen Dupont, Ben Bohane, Jack Picone, Ashley Gilbertson, David Dare Parker, Michael Coyne and  Sean Flynn, who went MIA in Cambodia in 1970.

The collection is still travelling as an exhibition and if you get the chance to view it, it is well worth your time. I have the book in my studio and often pull it out to show those learning  photography the depth of wealth, compassion, humility and photography excellence this gathering of men has.

“Degree South” covers wars from Vietnam to  Afghanistan. War is not a nice subject – never has been – so why would we want to look at graphic images captured on the front line, behind the scenes or those of mass killings and trauma? Firstly not all the images are graphic. The aim of these men was to provide ‘ an unflinching, yet humane view of our world in all its wonder and trouble’.

Looking into the images the viewer realises: each one tells a story, each one has compositional elements and each was captured when time was not on hand to set up a perfect pose. These men know their cameras, how they work and when to click.

Over the years I have had the pleasure of meeting and spending time with many of the men and have been in awe at their humbleness in telling their stories. Indeed they rate as some of the best documentary photographers in the world. Each has a list of awards reflective of their excellence and the high regard in which they are held by photographic, journalistic and humanitarian peers.

The collective are now exhibiting  “Degree South Peace”  at the Monash Gallery of Art till the 28th April 2013. A book will be released soon and it will be one I will not be missing out on purchasing a copy.
For more information please visit: http://degreesouth.com

Written by Danielle Lancaster

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