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Newcastle Camera Obscura


Address:  19 Wolfe Street, Newcastle
Hours: Friday – Sunday 11am – 3pm or by appointment
Property Donor:  GPT/Urban Growth Group
Launched:  7th July 2016

Chris Byrnes
m: 0438 591 371
e: [email protected]

Who are you?
My name is Chris Byrnes and I am obsessed with photography which means camera obscura, black and white chemistry, experimental and alternative processes, the hand-made and the unique-state print.  It all starts with the power of light out in the universe and we (artists) try and capture the images it reveals to us.  The camera obscura is at the basis of photography.

I have a BFA Honours from Newcastle Uni and undertaking Master of Fine Art Photography at National Art School in Darlinghurst.  I started studying way back in the 1970s, left, came back part-time a number of times until I finally completed my Honours degree in 2011.  Now I commute to Sydney, blog for the Newcastle Art Space Gallery and try and make art most days.

What do you do?
I will be turning rooms into cameras and working with digital documentation, and (light permitting) working with film and paper inside the space.  I want to record Newcastle’s changing face at the grass roots level of our buildings, businesses and the community.  The images will of course, be upside down inside the space, so it will always be recording what appears outside of the room, combined with whatever, or whoever is inside the space.  I am in the hands of the external light experience and I love it but a little scared at the moment, looking for ‘those’ images.

What are you doing in your space?
I will be working during the middle of the day on some days of the week (including weekends) and particularly at times with good light.  If the door is locked I am either up a ladder behind it or exposing digital, film or paper as negative inside the space or cutting new apertures, slits or playing with mirror and formulating ideas of play.

If the work is ‘good enough’ by my standards I will be showing work towards the end of my time in the room.  It is a work in progress.  Although the space looks empty as it is blacked out to keep out the light, I will be inside most days of the week during good light although I will use my darkroom at home, when I have something to print.

Tell us about the space?
19 Wolfe Street is empty in between longer term tenants as I only need to be in the space for a few weeks.  I will then move onto another empty (preferably empty) space to see what images I can make.  I hope to complete images across Newcastle over the next year or so as I complete my Masters.