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Jeremy Collins

Jeremy Collins


Artist biography

Jeremy Collins

Jeremy Collins is a photographic/sculpture based artist currently studying a Bachelor of Visual Arts at the Australian National University School of Art, and has recently completed his second year of study.

He has exhibited at The Front Gallery and installed at the National Gallery of Australia and has recently published his first artist book, Frank Hurley: Selling Australia.

Generally speaking, his practice is concerned with both abstraction and architectural forms through traditional photographic processes.

However through his studies he is continuing to push himself into different ways of making and furthering his conceptual understanding, in addition to trying new processes.

Jeremy loves his borders on prints.

Black and white photograph of Jeremy Collins. The left side of the photograph features an image of trees.

Artist statement

Frank Hurley's Portrait is based on the idea of representing Australian photographer Frank Hurley's differing photographic styles (1885–1962) through a contemporary take on portraiture using video and audio as a medium.

Shown through the eyes of Hurley, the piece depicts Hurley going through a selection of his glass plate negatives over a light table in a rough chronological order while reading out the titles. I have represented the original glass plate negatives with glass cyanotypes of the same size. The cyanotype is a nineteenth century photographic process in which a UV light sensitive emulsion is coated on an object (in this case glass) and a contact print is made. Once washed the print turns blue.

After researching works of Frank Hurley it came to my attention that Hurley had made composite images in which he would take bits of different negatives and combine them to make a print. Most famously and controversially he used this technique in World War One, adding explosions where there were none. Hurley used this technique in many of his Antarctic prints too. According to Hurley, the purpose of this was to make the scene more real, more graphic, for the viewer so they may have a better chance of understanding the photographed event.

Intriguingly I found that Hurley did not apply this technique to any of his domestic works, but rather set photographed very differently – to the effect that he created a utopian front: Australia.

It seems to me that for Hurley, Australia was his escape and that he had very different photographic styles when he was overseas to when he was in his home country. I feel this is something about Hurley that generally gets left out of his biography. To represent this, every now and then on the right of the video a composite made up of two cyanotypes will appear – one from Hurley's overseas work and one from his domestic works.

Artist works

Title: Frank Hurley's Portrait
Medium: HD video with audio
Length: 5 minutes 35 seconds
Date: November 2010
Original Frank Hurley. Images are copyrighted to the National Library of Australia.

Artist inspiration

Frank Hurley exhibit

My inspiration came from the Frank Hurley exhibit, which presents Hurley's Antarctic, World War One and World War Two experiences. From viewing the Frank Hurley piece in the Australian Journeys gallery, my inspiration for my work stemmed from what wasn't displayed rather than what was. I found it strange that none of Frank Hurley's Australian based work was displayed in the gallery. I wondered why this is so, why the Museum decided to only include Hurley's wartime and Antarctic work. Sure Australian Journeys is about Australia's great and many connections with the world, however I feel that without including Hurley's domestic works the full story of Hurley's personal connection to Australia is not being told.

A rectangular box-shaped motion picture camera with a hand-crank and glass lens. The camera's metal body is silver with black side panels and has external slides, levers and dials for adjustment and operation. 'Le Parvo Modele L' is stamped in the metal plate beneath the lens at the front of the camera.
Debrie 'Le Parvo' motion picture camera used by Frank Hurley.
Photo: George Serras.