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Virginia Star

Local photographer Virginia Star was recently chosen alongside a carefully curated selection of women to have her work showcased in an international photography exhibition titled Loud and Luminous for International Women’s Day. The project is dedicated to celebrating women in photography, as well as empowering young women to chase their dreams.

We sat down for a chat with Virginia about travelling through the USA with her camera while Trump was being inaugurated and what it means to her to be included in the exhibition.

How long have you been a Gold Coast local?
Almost two years ago we moved here, we chased the dream of living near the children and eight grandchildren and we are very happy we now live here.

What do you love most about living here?
I love a bike ride from Currumbin to Snapper Rocks for a wine and prawn spaghetti over a sunset view before riding home at dusk.

Tell us about Loud and Luminous…
I became aware of Loud and Luminous through social media and Hillary Wardlaugh the co-founder. I was invited to enter a photo which represented equality and was thrilled to learn a portrait I had shot of my 87 year old mother was chosen to be one of the 100 to be exhibited in Sydney in April, as well as included in a book to be presented to the National Library of Australia in 2020. Loud and Luminous are an incredibly supportive organisation completely dedicated to recognising and celebrating the contribution of contemporary women in the photographic arts in Australia. This project is unique and important in recognising the extensive cultural contribution women photographic artists and photographers have made in this country. It’s designed to empower the girls and women of today and tomorrow to chase in their dreams.

What does it mean to you to be involved in something highlighting International Women’s Day?
International Women’s Day is very important to me as I have seen great changes over the decades in the way women are treated both at work and in the home. My own two daughters have more choice than I did in the path they choose to take in their own loves and my son is supportive of  all the women in his life including his wife and daughter. This is where it begins, with respect towards women. There is still much to correct though with regards to domestic violence in keeping it front and centre to ensure this massive issue is not sidelined. We have to change the culture where it simmers.

What’s been your journey to becoming a professional photographer?
As a self-taught photographer, I began my career on a suburban newspaper then quickly moved on to the big publications like The Australian Financial Review and The Sun Herald in Sydney. Many years photographing a variety of assignments meant never a dull moment with the opportunity to take photographs of news events, politicians, business and the social and fashion worlds. This variety was important and necessary for me as a photographer, as every day was filled with exciting people, events and places to keep my creativity fulfilled. Not all assignments were positive ones though, there were many where I had to deal with my own sadness at the tragedy I witnessed while photographing news. I now shoot for Art Lovers Australia and I am extremely excited to see my work printed large and hung on walls. To think a vision I captured which also gives another pleasure is a wonderful feeling. This is a different world from my press days but as a photographer, it is important to be flexible and walk on through a partly opened door to whatever lies on the other side. Art Lovers Australia is a Gold Coast based online art gallery. Nancy and Jarrod, the owners, are passionate about art and extremely supportive of their artists in many ways. They work tirelessly to promote artists’ work including success contributing art to TV shows such as The Block and Selling Houses Australia.

From where do you find inspiration for your work?
My inspiration lies in the ever changing world I journey through. I am incredibly fascinated by the beauty and unique vision of the every day as well as on my travels. I do my utmost to capture these fleeting moments in time and put an element of interest into each image. Most of my work is spontaneous photography and I love to truly see, through well thought out composition and good lighting, an image to give pleasure or create interest.

What have been some of your favourite projects to work on?
There have been so many favourite projects due to the nature of my work but if I had to limit to only one, I would have to say the three month 20,000 kilometre road trip coast to coast across the USA and back again with a side flight to Cuba. This trip coincided with the inauguration of Trump and I loved stopping to talk to people along the journey as they all had a fascinating point of view on the politics of the winter of 2016/17.  I took film as well as digital cameras including an SLR, a medium format Rangefinder film and instant film camera. Every day was exciting not knowing who I would meet, what I would see and knowing I would return home with once in a lifetime images and many incredible memories.

Any advice for aspiring photographers?
My advice for aspiring photographers would be to be passionate about your craft, shoot in your own style and be open to trying new things. Travel as often as your budget allows even if it’s discovering your own town or city. Take a different route and stop to notice the world you come across. Think outside the box when it comes to your work and how to achieve a start in the industry.

Tell us your favourites on the Coast:
Coffee spot: Fuel Bakehouse at Currumbin Waters for coffee and a perfect sausage roll.
Cafe for breakfast: Beach Shack at Currumbin – breakfast with the sound of rolling waves is a great start to the day.
Restaurant for dinner: Rick Shores Burleigh Heads with views and an ambience not easy to beat.
How does your weekend usually look: If not travelling, a typical weekend is a bike ride on the wonderful shared path from Currumbin to Rainbow Bay, valuable family laugh time with my husband, children and eight grandchildren or meals with friends either out or at home. End of the day sunset walk along one of the beautiful beaches of the southern Gold Coast really reminds me how very lucky I am to live in paradise.

 

LIVIN launches epic mental health awareness photo exhibition

Today we’re here to talk about checking in on our mates, igniting conversations and the realities of suicide rates in Australia. Heavy but necessary, particularly right now because September is suicide awareness month and today, September 12th is R U OK Day.

We lose over 3,000 people every year to suicide, which is the leading cause of death between Australians aged 15 to 44.

The premise of R U OK Day is simply reaching out to our mates, asking the question, listening to the answer and igniting conversations around mental health.

Which is exactly what LIVIN aim to do with their photo exhibition Collective Minds, launching at Robina Town Centre today and showcasing the work of 20 local photographer’s’ who were asked to submit a photo representing their take on mental health.

The exhibition can be found opposite Peter Alexander within the centre and features world-renowned photographers (and Gold Coast locals) Sean Scott, Melissa Findley and Trent Mitchell.

By Luke Marsden - Drop in the Ocean

Each image is a unique interpretation of the photographers’ own experience with mental health and the entire exhibition aims to ignite conversations about mental health and perpetuate LIVIN’s mantra that ‘it ain’t weak to speak’.

These pieces will be available to purchase on Collective Minds dedicated website an online silent auction running throughout the duration of the exhibition.

All money raised will go directly to LIVIN, which will allow them to continue to expand their support network throughout the Gold Coast and Australia via their LIVINWell program.

Since their beginning in 2013, LIVIN have made it their mission to encourage the community to speak up about mental health, offering vital support services and advice so that nobody has to suffer in silence.

The exhibition runs from September 12th until October 13th and will be open 7 days a week.

The Collective Minds gallery been designed as a place for quiet contemplation so pop down there when you get a chance and spend some time thinking about your own mental health and what you can do to ignite a conversation in your community.

LOCATION: Ground floor (opposite Peter Alexander), Robina Town Centre, Robina
WHEN: September 12th to October 13th

Words by Kirra Smith

Balter Brewing to host epic photography auction for bushfire relief

Jason Charles Hill

If there is one thing Aussies are good at, it is coming together in times of community crisis. We are also obviously good at things like drinking beer, playing sport and being absolute legends, most of which conveniently relate to the story we’re about to tell.

Which is this.

An art auction will be held this Friday, February 21st at Balter Brewing in Currumbin with photographs donated by some of Australia’s best photographers. Meaning you can hang the art of these mind-blowiningly excellent artists in your home and the profits from your purchase will go straight to bushfire relief efforts.

So that’s epic in all of the ways.

Jarrad Seng

The auctions will be silent and there are 11 prolific Australian travel, landscape and nature works of art to choose from, including some local favourites you no doubt already know and love.

The Gold Coast’s very own (legendary) Sean Scott is on the roster, as is photo magician Trent Mitchell, one of the world’s absolute best travel photographers (who is also a Gold Coaster), Melissa Findley and the extremely impressive Anne Köhler originally from The Netherlands but now residing here.

SO many talented artists here guys.

Sean Scott

Not only those three through, you can also hang the work of renowned photographers Hayley Andersen, Kyle Hunter, Jarrad Sang, Matt Cherubino and Emilie Ristevski whose images are absolutely incredible every single time.

International delights Carmen Huter and Jason Hill will also be showcasing their unbelievable work and look, we’re big fans of all of them and might just spend our entire life savings on buying their snaps for a good cause.

Not only all of that excitement though, there’ll also be live music, food, beer (obviously) and raffle prizes from local businesses like Greenhouse Canteen & Bar, Greenhouse the Bathhouse, Alfred St Tattoo, i like ramen and The Collective.

 

Trent Mitchell

It’s pretty much the perfect time.

If you’re after some epic photography and you’re also into supporting the communities that were so horrifically affected by the recent bushfires, here’s your chance.

It’s called Return to Earth and it’s kicking off from 3pm this Friday. Get down there for a very good time.

LOCATION: Balter Brewing, 14 Traders Way, Currumbin
WHEN: Friday 21st February from 3pm

Words by Kirra Smith

Melissa Findley
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