The Alchemists: rediscovering photography in the age of the jpeg 2015 - Exhibition

Joyce Campbell | Ben Cauchi | Danica Chappell | Lisa Clunie | Lucinda Eva-May | Ashleigh Garwood | Mike Gray | David Haines | Joyce Hinterding | Matt Higgins | Benjamin Lichtenstein | Todd McMillan | Dane Mitchell | Laura Moore | Sarah Mosca | Anne Noble | Sawit Prasertphan | Kate Robertson | Catherine Rogers | Aaron Seeto | Benjamin Stone-Herbert | C J Taylor | Craig Tuffin | James Tylor | Daisuke Yokota

This project considers the resurgent interest in experimental darkroom processes within contemporary photography with a particular focus on the Asia-Pacific region. A project by the Australian Centre for Photography, The Australian National University and The University of Sydney, Sydney College of the Arts.

The Alchemists: rediscovering photography in the age of the jpeg is a collaboration between the Australian Centre for Photography, The Australian National University and The University of Sydney, Sydney College of the Arts involving an exhibition, symposium, masterclass and digital publication.

At a time when digital images are rapidly created and consumed, this project considers the resurgent interest in experimental darkroom processes within contemporary photography. The project invokes new hybrid practices to home in on the nexus between analogue and digital photography, with particular consideration of an Australian perspective within a broader Asia-Pacific context.

The Alchemists centres on an expansive exhibition presented across all of the galleries at the Australian Centre for Photography, featuring the work of 25 artists from Australia, New Zealand, Japan and Thailand. The exhibition brings together new and recent works from early-practice and established artists from the region, exemplifying new analogue/digital forms that collapse historic processes and future innovations.

This exhibition was co-curated by Suzanne Buljan, Dr Cherine Fahd and Dr Martyn Jolly

Download the Exhibition Catalogue here

Exhibition Details
ACP Gallery, 30 October - 6 December 2015

Teaching & Learning Resources
This project considers the resurgent interest in experimental darkroom processes within contemporary photography with a particular focus on the Asia-Pacific region.

This learning resource is closely aligned with the Australian Curriculum:

  • The Arts: Media Arts, Visual Arts, Design
  • Humanities and Social Science: History, Asia and Australian’s Engagement with Asia
  • Science: Chemistry

Download the Teaching & Learning resource here

Additional Resources
Download the Exhibition Catalogue here
Read Michael Waites musings on his large format photography course here


Main image: Danica Chappell, Distances #1 2014. Courtesy and © the artist
All installation images ©ACP Michael Waite

Public Programs
A symposium on 5 December 2015 at The University of Sydney, Sydney College of the Arts featured historian, theorist and curator Professor Geoffrey Batchen, Ellie Young (Goldstreet Studios), and exhibiting artists Ben Cauchi, David Haines, Joyce Hinterding, Benjamin Lichtenstein, Laura Moore and Todd McMillan.

A masterclass and workshop series held on 7-11 December 2015 gave participants a chance to examine iconic works from the National Gallery of Australia (NGA)’s photographic collection. Under the instruction of Professor Batchen participants experimented with digital contact negatives and alternative processes at the Australian National University.