6 March 2020

Eurobodalla photographer featured in Loud and Luminous women's exhibition

| Elka Wood
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One of last year's Loud and luminous entries. Photo:

One of last year’s Loud and luminous entries. Photo: Ilana Rose.

For Bateman’s Bay resident and photojournalist Elise Searson, the hardest part of being a female artist is pursuing her art while being the sole parent of her two-year-old son.

“Taking great photos often relies on spending hours in uncomfortable and sometimes dangerous situations,” she says “I found it very tough being a mother and trying to cover the recent bushfires.”

Elise is taking part in Loud and Luminous, a national photography exhibition for female artists, for the second time this year.

The exhibition, in its third year, features hundreds of female photographers and will open in Canberra with a major symposium on International Women’s Day, Sunday, March 8th.

“A major aim of Loud and Luminous is to promote greater equality and inclusion in the arts, with the theme of Equality for 2020, echoing the United Nations sustainable development goals of ‘gender equality’ and ‘I am generation equality’” says project co-curator Melissa Anderson.

“This will be the third year that Australian photographers have come together to make a strong statement through their work.”

Photo: Sue Stubbs.

Photo: Sue Stubbs.

“The stories told in Loud and Luminous 2020 will address important social issues, such as what equality is in global, gender, economic, social, cultural and environmental concepts—and what changes we need to make to achieve it.”

This year, Elise has entered a portrait of a young person from regional NSW who was bullied in school about his sexuality.

“The theme of equality means to me the freedom to express oneself freely without ridicule and so I have focused on sexuality and gender-based bullying in my submission,” she says.

Loud and luminous Co-curator Hilary Wardhaugh says the exhibition is both a celebration of equality and also a brave statement of what still desperately needs to be done.

“Many women come into the industry but they don’t stay. There are fewer women exhibited in galleries and fewer in leadership positions, yet the statistics show that women want to work in this space—they want to create and contribute—but we need to look at improving retention rates and focus on leadership and longevity.”

Despite continuing to grow her family, Elise shows no signs of slowing down, saying that living regionally provides “abundant stories,” to tell via her artistic medium.

And showing the next generation that art and mothering go hand-in-hand.

“My son came along when I was photographing for this exhibition,” she shares “he comes to a lot of the safe jobs with me.”

Natalie Grono

Photo: Natalie Grono.

A four-day program of events has being developed for Canberra, leading up to International Women’s Day on Sunday 8 March 2020.

  • Full-day symposium for International Women’s Day, The Harmonie German Club of Canberra, Friday 6 March
  • Presentation of Loud and Luminous 2019 book to National Library of Australia, Friday 6 March
  • International Women’s Day multimedia launch, Friday 6 March
  • Dawn photo walk, gallery walk and gallery workshops, Saturday/Sunday 7-8 March
  • Re-Generations artist talks and panel discussion Saturday 7 March
  • Re-Generations artist Helga Salwe ‘Contemplative Photography Walk’ along the Uriarra Loop Track. Sunday 8 March

The 2020 Loud and Luminous print exhibition will be held in Sydney at Contact Sheet Gallery throughout April.

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