The Photography Room: Solomon Islands, UNDERPASS & I Speak of the City Exhibitions

3 February 2017

The Photography Room is tucked away upstairs at the Old Bus Depot Markets, and on a night where the main cavernous hall was deserted, the detritus of the food court chained and blocked behind a barrier and a small but delicious collection of food stalls were doing a busy Friday night trade, Sean Davey invited guests to his current exhibition to chill with a glass of bubbly or a cold beer and see three very different exhibitions.

Sean Davey, founder and director of The Photography Room, has a passion for the islands. He’s worked in Papua New Guinea and has with his preference for black and white photography found a perspective that captivates and emphasises a classical visual impact often lost in the blaze of colour I’m familiar with in PNG. For this exhibition it was a contract to provide professional pictures for Kokonut Pacific, based in Canberra and a Chief Minister’s Export Award winner in 2016, that produces with the local population a wide range of coconut based products. And he relished the opportunity.

The company assists the locals to produce high quality coconut oil with a machine that presses fresh coconut into oil in an hour,  is easy to operate and can involve all villagers in the process. On display at the opening was a comprehensive range of products showing the versatility of the oil we used to slather ourselves with for rotisserie style sunbaking before we found out how detrimental baking was with vinegars, sauces, flour, sugar, syrups, soaps, shredded coconut and oil among the products Kokonut Pacific retails with all income going back to the locals.

Sean Davey happily went to the Solomon Islands to take his pictures and he found much more. He immersed himself in the local culture, befriended all - as is his way- and has reflected that intimacy in this exhibition.

Also exhibiting, and maintaining the black and white theme is Spiro Miralis’ Underpass showing his collection from the seedier side of the built environment, the imperfections that we try to conceal and then celebrates his perspective with an eye to making us observe and notice more. Downstairs in the Solo Gallery it’s a blast of colour and shine from Dimitri Mellos called I Speak of the City where he captures moments in time in New York that speak of the ebb and flow of the moments that you might miss, the characters that collide and the perspective he brings to this complex city that can swallow you up or uplift you like no other.

Take time in your meanderings at the Old Bus Depot Markets, and support this initiative.