PHOTO 2024 International Festival of Photography has arrived at Latrobe Regional Gallery (LRG).

PHOTO 2024 features 100 free exhibitions and outdoor artworks to explore across seven Festival Precincts in Melbourne and five regional Victoria areas. LRG has been lucky enough to be included in these exhibitions, such as The Valley, Interstates of Becoming, Selected Works, The Quickening and No More Flags.

Featured in Gallery 1 and 2, The Valley explores its possible futures through its past and present, people and places. It’s a joint initiative curated by LRG and Hillvale Photo photographers James Bugg, Andy Johnson, Anne Moffat, and Clare Steele. Hillvale Photo is an independent photo lab and gallery in Melbourne created by photographers for photographers.

Artists assembled: The Valley team includes artists Clare Steele, Gareth Phillips, Anne Moffat, (front) Andy Johnson, curator David Ashley Kerr and Ying Ang. Photograph: Katrina Brandon

Throughout six months, the four artists visited Latrobe Valley numerous times as a group and individually to connect with locals and community organisations.

“Additionally, we conducted a series of workshops in collaboration with students from Kurnai College’s Flexible Learning Option, using Hillvale Photo’s recycled disposable cameras,” artist Anne Moffat said.

“The images made during these workshops comprise our exhibition’s ‘Community Noticeboard’ part. We’ll continuously update the noticeboard throughout the exhibition until June 23, incorporating photos from upcoming workshops in April and May.”

“The exhibition is part of the PHOTO 2024 International Festival of Photography and engages with the festival’s overarching theme: ‘The Future Is Shaped By Those Who Can See It’.”

Ms Moffat told the Express that they asked the community what their dreams and aspirations were in Latrobe Valley and what they considered the shifting futures of a new tomorrow, so they could provide an outsider’s glance of Latrobe Valley. She said that the other artists branched out into their interests.

Groups that received visits from the artists include the Latrobe Valley Field Naturalists Club, Field and Game Clubs in Moe and Morwell, the Latrobe Valley Model Aero Club, Traralgon City Band, Latrobe Valley Beekeepers Association, Moe Skatepark, Morwell Citizens Band, Newborough Men’s Shed, Traralgon Rodeo, Kurnai College’s Flexible Learning Option and Country Women’s Association Morwell.

“The experience surpassed our expectations in many ways,” Ms Moffat said.

“While we anticipated engaging with the diverse communities of the Latrobe Valley, I think we were all particularly struck by the resilience, warmth and generosity of the community members we encountered.

“Engaging with various community groups and individuals provided us with invaluable insights into the multifaceted aspects of life in the Latrobe Valley. I’m grateful for the people I’ve met, both serendipitously and planned. It has been a privilege to get to know this region and the people who call it home.”

Popular: The opening night of The Valley was a huge hit, with many people coming to view the artwork. Photograph: Katrina Brandon

Now open to the public, Ms Moffat said that she is incredibly excited to share the works they have been working on, and is eager to see how the community resonates with their countless work hours.

“I believe it’s crucial for people to feel represented in their civic spaces. With this in mind, I hope our exhibition will act as a mirror, providing community representation and fostering connection,” she said.

“We hope to foster a sense of inclusivity and empowerment among all who are represented in and engage with the exhibit, encouraging them to envision and actively shape the Valley’s future.”

The exhibition launched on March 1 and is open to the public until June 23 at the Latrobe Regional Gallery.

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