Local Artist Spotlight: Bronwyn Kidd
Tuesday 8 September 2020
Renowned Australian photographer Bronwyn Kidd's #STYLE Exhibition can be seen on the large screen in the Glass Cube at the front of Cube 37 Gallery until 20 September.
Whilst our theatre and exhibition spaces are temporarily closed, we're putting the spotlight on local artists and this week we're thrilled to feature Bronwyn Kidd and her exquisite, nostalgic, high-fashion imagery. You can currently enjoy Bronwyn's #STYLE exhibition on the large screens in the Glass Cube at the front of Cube 37 (view 24/7 from the street front at 37 Davey Street, Frankston until 20 September). If you don't live close enough to pass by on your daily travels, you can also experience the Virtual Exhibition below.
We were fortunate to have recently had the opportunity to ask Bronwyn some questions about her career and her creative inspirations for #STYLE.
Tell us about your connection to the local peninsula area?
I live in the beautiful and diverse Frankston South, we moved here almost four years ago from Richmond. I grew up with a family beach house in Rye in the 1970’s so the Mornington Peninsula is familiar to me. As we would arrive at Frankston (four kids and the dog on a mattress in the back of a 'panel van') , the Cypress trees, the ‘Comfort Station’ and of course Oliver's Hill - which had very few houses on it - always meant we were ‘at the beach’. Someone would always yell out "First to see the water!” - a tradition from my Dad's family, and though there was still quite a drive to Rye we already felt like we were there.
What were the main inspirations for your #STYLE exhibition currently displayed on large screen in our Glass Cube?
Since 2005 I have mainly worked in the digital medium, and in many ways I put the process of analogue photography behind me. But on collating my archive - sifting through negatives, contact sheets, polaroids, prints, notes and letters - I felt a strong sense of a capsule of time where I had been both making photographs that embodied elegance and #STYLE, and I was meeting and working with people who had defined it.
I was definitely not a photographer who was recording ’the new’. In 1993 my photographic style introduced me to people who had big histories, many stories - I came in at the finale, and carried on my work through to the digital age (and still going). I guess that stood out to me as being interesting, significant and worthy of showing to others.
Can you single out one or two highlights from your career so far?
Every picture that I print or put my name to is a highlight… though the National Portrait Gallery in London Curator of photographs, Terrence Pepper, choosing some images in 1997 to be printed for the gallery archives means so much to me. It hit me the moment I stepped out of the gallery that this was permanent, and so much of what we do in photography doesn’t achieve that stature.
More recently (20I6) I collaborated with Creative Director Virginia Dowzer on an image for the National Gallery of Victoria - 200 Years of Australian Fashion exhibition. The image was a ‘montage’ of a scene where a model wore exhibited clothing - that's a challenge in its self as the clothing couldn't be worn or touched. Working with the curators at the NGV and the privilege of being around these exquisite garments was so inspiring and memorable - a highlight was to photograph a gown by La Petite. The gown had been photographed in 1961 by the wonderful Athol Schmith on the model Anne Chapman at the Royal Botanical Gardens - a picture I have always loved, by a photographer I have always admired.
What advice would you give your younger self if you could go back in time to the early days of your career?
I feel that I took every opportunity, was passionate, tenacious, adventurous, and worked hard. Although we are living in very different times from when I started, I guess my approach would be the same. There's so much talk around strategy now - you need to do this to get that - which I have seen work incredibly for people. In the early 2000’s, a very talented assistant that I was working with beelined to work at the hottest studio in town, he assisted Mario Testino, then met Karl Lagerfeld and next thing you know his art was in Vogue. He got this amazing ticket of recognition - good for him!
My route was much less strategic, but lead me to great projects and to meet and work with incredible people nevertheless.
What are you currently working on?
Truthfully... at the moment - homeschooling (AAAGHHHH!). But I am also working on new work. I have given myself a deadline of April 2021. What that looks like - I am not sure as yet - but I am gathering inspiration, and looking forward to seeing where that takes me.
How has the current pandemic changed your approach to creating?
What drives my images is primarily ‘romance’... and gosh do we all need it right now! I have never been shaped by, or reactive to, current events in my images that I can recall. But I think that, more than ever, I need to tap in to and surround myself with beauty and romance to be able to make the pictures sing. That will be the challenge - removing myself from the every day, but keeping one eye open so that the pictures are still relatable - that’s important.
What are you most looking forward to once the pandemic is behind us?
That’s simple - spontaneously spending time with family and friends , I’m a huge fan of the ‘pop in’.
We'd love to keep sharing the spotlight by featuring a local artist in future news! A reminder of just how talented our local community is at a time when the arts are more important than ever, helping us get through the days, weeks and months.
Know a local creative who deserves some time to shine? Perhaps they might be a dancer, visual artist, actor, musician, playwright, theatre group or author. Send us their details so we can share the love, by emailing us here.