100 Pictures, 100 Stories: The unanticipated joy of embracing creativity
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100 Pictures, 100 Stories: The unanticipated joy of embracing creativity

Art as Activism
By Alannah Maher | 21/11/2017 10:26:47 AM


What would a project celebrating the simple joy of creating look like? From people who create professionally, to ragtag artists, to people who find time on the side of their daily hustle to do what makes them most happy (or maybe even those lucky ones that get the chance to flex that muscle at their nine-to-five), to children with untempered imaginations. Artists Chrissie Hall and Deb Morgan believe everyone is creative, and they set out to capture this with 100 Pictures, 100 Stories.

 

Photographer: Chrissie Hall.

 

Multi-platform artist and producer Deb and well-regarded photographer Chrissie sat down to chat about what they discovered in their pursuit to profile 100 people, after the project was revealed to the public with a whirlwind exhibition at Redfern’s 107 Projects.

“I believe that everyone is creative, and we are just creative by our very nature as humans. I teach a creativity course at a college and half of the job is just making people believe that they are creative,” explains Deb.

“…Look at everything around us, we’re surrounded by art – the car that you drive, the guitar that you play, that was still designed, it’s still art,” says Chrissie.

Their joint project is the culmination of about two years of work – a series of 100 photographic portraits and interviews with people of diverse backgrounds and practices covering everything from artists to scientists, actors, taxidermists, porn-stars, chicken breeders and everything in between.

 

Photographer: Chrissie Hall.

 

The subjects were invited along to star in a photo shoot in Chrissie’s signature bright and playful style, and then to sit down for an interview with Deb.

“Everyone’s got their stories – we asked people to bring in items that they felt represented a part of themselves or their identity, that was really interesting,” said Deb.

“It was beautiful, because everyone just brought such unique objects,” said Chrissie. “We had no idea what it was about [sometimes], like one person just brought this bag. [You would think] like yeah it’s just a bag, whatever. But then he would describe it and he would say ‘well it’s taken me all over the world, I’ve been through all these adventures, it’s helped me being overseas and getting into trouble’…”

The portraits are mostly campy, playful and full of life. The interviews (a majority of which took place sitting down over a cup of tea, tucked away into a quiet corner of the Create or Die studios) touch on highly personal and sensitive topics.

 

Photographer: Chrissie Hall.

 

By giving a platform to people to express themselves and tease out the meaning of their creative endeavours, Morgan and Hall have incidentally explored some complex and stigmatised human issues in a candid and empowering way. Give people the chance to be treated like a superstar, and it’s amazing what you’ll find out.

Interviews cover popular science communicator Dr Karl musing on his place as a migrant to Australia, a young trans man’s surprise loss of his “female” singing voice, and a little girl’s aspirations to turn into a fairy in her old age.

There can be something revolutionary in a project that promotes unrelenting joy and positivity, and this project is a big injection of the warm and fuzzies. Even through the more heart-wrenching personal accounts, 100 Pictures finds common ground amongst a diverse cross-section of the community.

 

Photographer: Chrissie Hall.

 

When people are given the chance to share their most personal experiences and motivations in a comfortable, candid space, it can be cathartic for audiences too. To engage with authentic lived experiences (whether they’re relatable or foreign to our own experiences) in a non-stigmatising way can be rare. When you pair these stories with the opportunity for the subjects to be photographed in an expressive way, you can unleash beauty. 

“One of the biggest things for me [to realise] in creating this project is yes, everyone is unique and different, but there are [also] these really universal truths, especially about creativity. People always have [their own] wisdom, but there’s a lot of similarities in the things that people say…” Deb explained.

“There’s nothing more human than being creative,” Chrissie added.

Rather than finding one distinct meaning or inspirational catchphrase to encapsulate life and creativity, 100 Pictures, 100 Stories presents a striking overlapping of shared experiences, people finding creative outlets in ways that suit their lives, and loving themselves well while embracing and expressing themselves. All in all, a pretty marvellous guide map to life.

 

Photographer: Chrissie Hall.

 

 

100 Pictures, 100 Stories will be re-exhibited at Create or Die Gallery on 10 Mitchell Street, Marrickville from 29 November to 13 December, 2017. It was originally exhibited at 107 Projects from October 18-22, 2017. You can stay tuned for the next steps with the project and see portraits published every week here.

You can follow Create or Die on Facebook, web or Instagram and you can also follow Chrissie Hall on Facebook, web or Instagram.

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21/11/2017 10:26:47 AM

Art as Activism

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