For This Week's Focus we talk to Lumina, an Australian collective of award-winning women and non-binary photographic artists. With their name stemming from ideas relating to light, illuminate and shine, the group are committed to revealing diverse stories and narratives within the Australian landscape and further afield. Make sure you check out our Instagram (link below) to view the group's wonderful images.
Let’s go back to the beginning of Lumina. What were you seeing in the industry that encouraged you to set up the collective?
Lumina was formed as a response to a gap in the Australian photographic community for a collective that challenged traditional views of documentary photography. Although all our work is narrative based our members' work falls into more of an expanded and post-documentary practice.
Who makes up the collective?
Lumina is an Australian collective of award-winning women and non-binary photographic artists breaking ground in visual storytelling and documentary narratives. Each artist brings to the collective a unique voice and vision. Founding members are Donna Bailey, Chloe Bartram, Jessie Boylan, Aletheia Casey, Anna Maria Antoinette D'Addario, Lyndal Irons, Morganna Magee and Sarah Rhodes.
Echoes was Lumina's first major exhibition project after its exhibition launch and was exhibited at the Art Gallery of Ballarat in 2018 - 2019. The collective also put on the show Women by Women. How has the collective grown since those first exhibitions?
While the collective has kept steady in membership, our scope has grown extensively since our launch exhibitions. In March this year, an evolved version of the original Echoes exhibition was a featured part of the program at the Biennale della Fotografia Femminile in Mantova, Italy. The year before this, we launched another exhibition: A Particular Being at the Perth Centre for Photography. The work, created during the pandemic, explored notions of grievability, memory and recognition in an unstable world. This show also travelled across the country to the New England Regional Art Museum (NERAM) in Armidale New South Wales. Individual career achievements keep everyone busy but aside from our collective exhibitions we also work as a group to explore and promote the work of other artists, like our online interview series Lumina Conversations (hosted at the University of Tasmania Inveresk, as part of the Art Forum series).
Tell us about the Lumina Conversations series, what was the aim of the online talks?
In 2020, during the height of the pandemic, Lumina Collective hosted a series of online conversations, aimed to inspire, challenge and engage in critical dialogues about contemporary image-making practices in Australia. With these talks we hoped to create resources for the community during a challenging time, but they also gave us the opportunity to collaborate with other artists. The conversations can be accessed via our website, here.
Why are collectives so important for creatives, especially photographers?
Collectives involve a lot of energy; however, they can be useful to counterbalance the often solitary work of photography, and amplify opportunities. Lumina’s members are spread out across Australia and each person contributes networks and skills which are pooled and used to benefit the group or its projects. We set monthly catch-ups to share work-in-progress and receive feedback and ideas, as well as less formal conversations around balancing life and creative work, challenges, inspiration, or blocks.
What’s next for Lumina? Have you got any collaborations or projects set for the remainder of 2022?
Currently members are focusing on individual projects. As a collective we are looking ahead to 2023 for collaborative projects but it’s a bit too early to comment on these yet.