Rare subjects, rare photos

“Children and croc, Daly River,” by Darren Clark

THE CSIRO Discovery Centre, independent curator Suzie Edwards and Tuggeranong Arts Centre have joined forces to brign to town one of Australia’s most admired photographers for NAIDOC Week.

Darren Clark’s work is collected by the National Library of Australia as well as state libraries, private collectors and broadsheets like “The Australian and The Land” and has recently made the shortlist for the hotly-contested Moran Photography Prize.

He will be in Canberra on the weekend for the show.

Travelling to some of the most remote parts of Australia, he gets to record situations, people and parts of Australia many of us will never see.

Self-funded, he is able to tackle subjects, political, social and personal, that  other photographers may shy away from, preferring to select his own subjects and locations.

“Mickayla,” by Darren Clark

Edwards believes that sometimes the only acknowledgement of these subjects and communities is due solely to Clark’s engagement with them.

“It is not unusual,” she says, “to leave his exhibitions with questions needing answers. Portraiture is one of his most powerful skills and it is often through his portraiture that we as an audience engage with the subject.”

An amusing story behind the “croc shot” illustrates her point.

The children photographed were swimming in the river, but got out very quickly when this two metre croc hauled itself up onto the bank, then died.

The children made sure it was dead by throwing stones at it and prodding it with a stick, then, after the local police took the carcass away and delivered it to rangers, it was found to have eaten a cane toad. True story, and a bit of a worry.

The opening of the exhibition on June 28 will be combined with the Jack Cusack Lecture, this year to be presented by Dr Rosemary Hill.

“Darren Clark – From Daly to Darwin”, at the CSIRO Discovery Centre, Clunies Ross Drive, Acton. Opening, 6pm Thursday, June 28, then runs to July 15.


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