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Kimberly Barnes: Transported

Kimberly Barnes: Transported


Artist biography

Kimberly Barnes

Kimberly Barnes studies Visual Arts at the Australian National University, majoring in Photo Media. She has been very interested in documentary photography and the photo narrative.

Artist statement

Most of the convicts were thieves who had been convicted in England. Simple larceny meant transportation for seven years or longer.

We have all heard the story of the man who was transported for stealing a loaf of bread, but this in my opinion is not the most absurd crime that people were transported for.

For this work I wanted to show ten crimes that I felt were completely absurd, by capturing images of the objects featured in the crimes. These were then printed on a matte flat paper with a grey mask, subtly signifying the dirtiness of such silly crimes, brought on by desperation and sheer tomfoolery.

I chose to capture these in an elegant and obscure way, as I felt that in representing the objects in this way not only fit the crime, but also they draw the viewer in, to question why these objects are grouped together in the first place.

Artist work

Title: Transported
Medium: Digital photograph
Date: October 2010

A compilation of photographs featuring a piece of bread, a fish's tail, a handkerchief, a piece of a hand-written letter, a piece of a list of convict crimes and the sentences, a plant, a piece of patterned plate, a piece of a white shirt burnt around the collar, a shoe, a piece of patterned silk and a piece of a skirt.

Artist inspiration

The convict love tokens shoebox

While researching the convicts in general I came across records of convicts and their crimes. While reading through them, I found crimes and punishments that by today's standards were completely absurd. This is where I got the idea of documenting the crimes and stories attached to them by photographing the objects of crime.

Convict token in the form of a circular copper disc stipple-engraved with 'THOMAS / LOCK / AGED 22 / TRANSPed / 10 Years" is impressed in side one, and "WHEN / THIS YOU / SEE / REMEMBER / ME WHEN / I AM FAR / FROM THE [sic]' is in side two.
Thomas Lock's convict token. Photo: Dragi Markovic.

Read more about the convict tokens

Collector and consultant Peter Lane detailed his research on convict tokens in a presentation at the National Museum on 13 June 2009. The talk also covered the Alexander Mussen ambrotype and the Muriel McPhee trousseau.

audio_w15  Listen to 'Stories of sadness and loss' audio (MP3 42mb) 1:32:00