The Photography Room: Gary Ramage, Rohan Thomson and Scot Newman Exhibitions

24 March 2017

The Photography Room is tucked away in the cavernous confines of the Old Bus Depot Markets. On weekends this is a hive of activity; for the opening of the current exhibition of three local photographers the empty space where stalls bring colour and movement was utilised as a temporary gallery to feature the black and white portfolio of Gary Ramage taken during his embed with Australian soldiers in 2011. It worked well giving the photographs a space that suited the harshness and impact they deserve to best reflect what Ramage captured in these images of an environment that is not conducive to living in let alone defending.

It takes a special kind of photographer to find the story he wants to convey in this kind of assignment and Ramage finds it with an eye for the experiences of our soldiers in a war zone that documents for history many and varied aspects of their deployment.

As guest speaker for the opening of Ramage’s exhibition, Australian War Memorial Director Brendan Nelson, a master of an ‘off the cuff’ speech chose to read from the notes he made that day on a plane trip back to Canberra paying tribute to Ramage for this body of work and intent to purchase a set of 20 pictures to be chosen by his staff for the War Memorial.

 Rohan Thomson’s  collection of predominately portraits of local artists of diverse persuasions were taken taken with a 1950’s Polaroid Land Camera and pull-apart instant film. This exhibition is on display in the Photography Room’s solo Gallery and give the intimacy to the pictures that Thomson captured using this method. Thomson is an excellent photographer and extends his day to day as a newspaper photographer into areas where he can use his many talents and create different stories of the people he sees as ‘peers and collaborators’ in the local artistic community.

Scot Newman finds beauty in the linear forms of concrete and the built environment that he sees every day where structure and form which for him appear as fleeting and fragile, look to us as permanent.

Then again when we see the devastation of so many of the war zones where destruction reduces the built environment to rubble and the man made becomes dust you wonder what will survive. So the haunting song Dust of Uruzgan sung by Iain Smith- better known as Fred – was a fitting performance for this opening.

The current exhibition continues at the Photography Room until 30April.