Amateur photographers draw on love of Pilbara landscape for first club exhibition

Amateur photographers draw on love of Pilbara landscape for first club exhibition

Amateur photographers draw on love of Pilbara landscape for first club exhibition

Updated 25 July 2017, 14:05 AEST

Budding photographers in north-west Western Australia tap into the popularity of local art awards to show off their new skills.

Budding photographers in north-west Western Australia are tapping into the popularity of local art awards to show off their new skills.

Each year in the historic Pilbara village of Cossack, the Cossack Art Awards are held to great acclaim, and this year is the 25th anniversary of the huge regional acquisitive art award.

Red Dirt Camera Club members have drawn on their love of the vast Pilbara landscape to show off their newly acquired amateur photography skills.

Glowing golden rays on spinifex above the deep gorges of the Fortescue River captured the imagination of Emma Byrne, a long-term member of the club.

Starting as a novice, Ms Byrne has taken every opportunity to learn advanced techniques for portraiture, landscape and night photography, and has exhibited with ABC Open in a travelling exhibition that toured Port Hedland, Exmouth and Karratha in 2015.

"I have been dabbling in photography for about 10 years and am mostly self-taught," she said.

"ABC Open and the camera club have given me the opportunity to meet like-minded people, develop new skills and share my knowledge with others in a non-threatening and non-competitive atmosphere.

"I love that you can ask a question without feeling intimidated, yet help others with questions they might have as well."

Christine Sewell has been a member for two years.

"I joined knowing nothing about photography but keen to learn," she said.

"Our monthly themes have challenged me to take photos I would not have otherwise taken, and in doing so I have learnt along the way.

"I'm thrilled to say I now shoot in manual mode more often than auto. It is great being around people who share the same interest and are happy to share their knowledge."

Club president Harley Coventry has also been a member for two years.

This year he organised club members to print enough of their works to create the very first club exhibition, showing in an old jail in conjunction with the Cossack Art Awards at the Bond Store historic building.

"It's absolutely amazing, it blows me away, just the diversity," he said.

"One thing that particularly amazes me is the absolute quality of all the photos in there. There's a lot of different styles and they're all at a really high standard, which is just amazing."

Although he describes the curation and hanging process as "the technical term is probably winging it", club members certainly pooled their late-evening practical skills with ladders and chains to get the show up and running with great pride.

"It's hard to go past a good Pilbara landscape," Mr Coventry said.

A special retrospective art exhibition is also displayed in the Galbraith Store on the Cossack grounds, showing past Cossack Art Award overall winners over 25 years, together for the first time.

The Cossack Art Awards and the Red Dirt Camera Club exhibition are open until August 13.

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