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Lighting a path to success

28 September 2017 | Posted in: News

Cyclist Brett Stepanik on the Tour Divide, BC Canada | Photography: Kerry Staite

By Rayannon Innes

When given the opportunity to tour the United States, two-wheeled travel and photography is what Kerry does best. After all, the business of off-road cycling across the mountainous Great Divide can spark quite the photo.

Kerry Staite, dedicated cyclist and founder of K-Lite Dynamo Lighting Systems has recently returned from a three-week tour in the states where his pedal-powered lights ensured competition cyclists had the highest standard of safety and efficiency on their ride. For Kerry, the annual race where competitors traverse the 4,418 km Rocky Mountains with little more than a bike and a backpack was the obvious choice to sell, promote and further test his lighting and battery products.

“It’s not uncommon for a cyclist to come under harm or worse, during the race”; asserted Kerry who understands the necessity of bright, durable bike lighting more than most. With the route taking competitors into the harshest of climates from Canada to New Mexico, simple avoidable accidents on the roads are what threaten cyclists the most. Nevertheless, Kerry’s K-Lite products not only saw competitors safely through the two-week campaign, but were the light of choice for the winning competitors.

As the dynamo pedal-powered batteries worked to generate energy for the cyclists’ lights and backpack of essentials, Kerry tagged along over the two-week long stretch with camera in hand and water on tap. Although the avid cyclist in Kerry would have loved to enter the competition, the job of event and product photographer required more than two wheels.

Three weeks, ten flights, and twelve cities; although brief, this was the right equation for Kerry to get K-Lite generating energy and excitement within the US market. Having now established dealerships in Canada and North America in addition to prior partnerships made in Europe, Kerry has his sights – and lights – set back home in Australia.

In collaboration with local and state-wide bike suppliers, Kerry will be promoting his K-Lite products by lighting the paths of cyclists commuting from Sydney to Newcastle in the sixth annual Newcastle Overnight ride. Kerry will be photographing and filming the iconic event taking place on the 11th of November that has cyclists embark at Sydney Observatory Hill and finish at Newcastle Baths for breakfast at sunrise. You can register to take part in the night ride here. 

Drawn into arts and academia

28 September 2017 | Posted in: News

By Rayannon Innes

Natural History Illustration – the University of Newcastle is prided on being one of the few institutions that offer a degree within the field. So greatly distinguished is the degree that the university created a world-first online course dedicated to the practical and theoretical applications in the area of study late last year. The compressed course, which focuses on introducing students to the foundations of scientific inquiry and presentation through observational illustration techniques, continues to be taught worldwide through the online platform.

Someone who is well aware of the vast potential of studies in natural history illustration is PhD graduate and online course moderator, Dr Tallulah Cunningham. Having chosen to leave her hometown in central Australia upon learning about the specialised degree; one doctorate and working space later, Tallulah continues to dedicate her time to the many projects requested of one from within her field.

From documenting endemic eucalypts of the Hunter region to painting a mural of native birds spanning two-stories of the John Hunter Hospital, Tallulah commits her profession wherever she or others see fit;

“I’m a dabbler” Talulah admits modestly,

“I’m a bit of a prism… light goes in and a lot of rainbows come out”.

Most recently, her versatile quality and creative competence took shape in three-dimensional terms through the construction of a metre-long Eden Gardens commissioned sculpture. The native frog, formed from digitally cut wooden vectors, occupies the Macquarie Park Botanic Gardens along with a series of fifty other nature-inspired sculptures as part of the Eden Unearthed sculpture festival.

Currently, outside of the natural world and true to her ‘dabbling’ ways, Tallulah is curating a Newcastle Theatre Company aligned exhibition. The foyer gallery space will display works from local – a number of which comprise of former illustration collaborative Octopus Ink –  and state-wide artists’ interpretations of key characters from the theatre’s performance of Shakespearean comedy Love’s Labour’s Lost. Tallulah’s work will also join the exhibition which will observe her illustration of human figures rather than her standard animal and nature-based subjects.

It’s this love for both medieval and natural history that will be most clearly combined in a series of upcoming illustration workshops Tallulah will be leading at the Newcastle Region Library specialising in illuminated capital letter typography and bird illustration.

For dates and further details into the array projects Tallulah is working on you can follow her here.

In tune with co-creativity

28 September 2017 | Posted in: News

Carlin McLellan, a composer, poet and Masters of Music Therapy student is our newest participant who has taken up a space in a former beauty salon.

Carlin works with sound and words to create space for quietude. His practice is based on collaboration, field recordings, aleatoric music, and documenting ephemeral states.

“I am interested in connecting people through collaborative music, poetry, and sharing skills,” said Carlin.

“I support diverse groups of people to develop creative autonomy through the co-creation of music and art.”

Renew is an incredible opportunity for me to develop my creative practice, collaborate with other artists and share my passion for creative inclusion with others.”

Carlin has some big, and some small goals to meet now that he has his space with Renew. A day in the life of Carlin goes like this:

  • Work on finishing my band Moonsign’s third full length album HOME SICK
  • Planning for starting my business Play Anything Music Therapy.
  • Drinking tea.
  • Composing ambient music.
  • Facilitating electronic music workshops / skillshare events
  • Drinking more tea.

“This studio is the perfect space for me to work on my various projects and collaborations even though there is a superabundance of sinks from the beauty salon! If you require a sink in your life, I’m your guy. I need more plants though. I’m willing to trade sinks for plants.”

Showdown in the West End

23 August 2017 | Posted in: News


There are still many empty buildings in the west end of Hunter Street – wasted opportunities – and, as was shown in the Mall, property owners can be big winners when creative people are given opportunities.

Read more about Renew Newcastle General Manager Christopher Saunders‘ outlook on the current developments and creative opportunities in Newcastle’s west here.

Affinities in difference

23 August 2017 | Posted in: News

By Rayannon Innes

Belonging. It’s that innate sense of peace with who and where you are as a human being that we all attempt to pursue.

One particular woman, a linguist and self-trained photographer by trade, is exploring this sentiment for herself through the photographic documentation of her community’s people. Four years ago, Natalie Testorelli decided to collate her black and white portraiture of Newcastle’s refugee community into an expanding body of work which she has found to reveal as much about herself as the diversified individuals being captured. Having migrated to Australia at a very young age, Natalie has found locating her own sense of belonging to be a persistent journey. With her collection of portraits now exceeding two hundred, the act of photographically archiving her community has in turn made her herself feel established within Newcastle both geographically and emotionally;

“The process of gathering images and thinking about the project, has me feeling as if I too belong… we all love this place and we all just want to get along and find our way through life.”

With the intent of highlighting how diversity and otherness subsequently unifies us, Natalie has been volunteering her time to photographing anyone willing to sit, state their name, and share their postcode. In the formalities of consent, Natalie’s subjects join the myriad of portraits illustrating Newcastle’s distinctly diverse community. With her subjects’ postcodes, Natalie envisages developing a visual map built from the portraits of each participants’ postal zone.

From volunteer cooks at the local community centre to a young couple requesting to pose with their son’s beloved dog, Natalie’s documentation of the strange and wonderful in the everyday is testament to her project’s core premise, “I think that’s belonging; knowing there are other people who are really different to me, who still feel the same way as I do”

If you don’t come across Nat’s photo booth at a community event, you can make an appointment over the phone or by email to have your photo captured for the project at her studio space in Hamilton’s Clocktower Studios.