The Western Plains Cultural Centre in Dubbo (Central west of New South Wales) is showing Oculi Terra Australis Incognita: A Photographic Survey until September 2. I hadn’t rushed to see the show as I have seen most of the images in it before as many of them are over a decade old. . But it is an amazing show that is still a standout. There is also a book called “Oculi” that I didn’t have a chance to look at, but if it is a real reflection of the collective’s work it would be worth having on the shelf.

According to the blurb on the Western Plain Cultural Centre’s web site “Terra  Australis Incognita is a vision of Australia (and its nearby neighbours) that is empathic, humorous, interpretative, defiant, questioning and critical.  The work of Oculi, a collective of ten Australian photographers who have worked together for over ten years, is an unflinching vision of Australia in a contemporary light. Oculi is curated by Sandy Edwards and is a touring exhibition from Manly Art Gallery and Museum.”

Founded in 2000, the history of Oculi’s membership is rich with some of the biggest names in contemporary Australian photography. Current members are: Donna Bailey, James Brickwood, Lee Grant, Claire Martin, Nick Moir, Jeremy Piper, Andrew Quilty, Dean Sewell and Tamara Voninski, with former members including: Narelle Autio, Warren Clarke, Nick Cubbin, Tamara Dean, Glenn Hunt, Jesse Marlow, Trent Parke and Steven Siewert.

Many of the shots fit loosely into the “street photography” genre, but I’d suggest that most of the photographers involved would tend to think of it as reportage. But definitions aside if it comes to a gallery somewhere near by it is well worth the visit.


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