Like every other gallery in Sydney, Halls Lane Gallery is closed.
And yet it’s open and showing one of the largest and most diverse group shows in the history of photography and illustration. The Lockdown Picture Show is the brainchild of gallery owner Hugh Stewart and world-renowned photo editor Rachel Knepfer, who came upon the idea to utilize Halls Lane’s floor to ceiling, lane-facing windows for an exhibition. We caught up with Knepfer via email on the digital Internet to find out more.
What’s this show and where is it?
It’s hundreds of pictures people have sent us, printed on photo-copy paper, at Officeworks. Contact-free, covid-safety being paramount. Taped to the street-facing windows of Hugh Stewart’s Woollahra studio/gallery space. There are also bits of it on our Instagrams if you’re not in the neighbourhood.
Who’s in it?
There’s some of the Monster Children family: Bruno Cowen, Dougal Gorman, Campbell Milligan, Chris Searl, Glendyn Ivin, there’s Andrew Cowen’s famous cat (‘Flaumig’), and then Emma Balfour, Hugh Stewart, Marlo McClintock’s high-school art project, there’s Dan Winters, Guzman, Ben Baker, Jamie Wdziekonski, Ollie Ritchie, Kitty Callaghan, Laura Bailey, Julian Broad, Andrew Southam, Henry Curchod, Ben Watts, Audrey Viola and her daughter Izzy, Fiona McDonough, Elise Lockwood, James Brickwood, Matthew Abbott, Mark Clinton, Matteo Dalvera, Garry Trinh, John Feely, Maya Stocks, Michael Corridore, Michele Lockwood, Noah Thompson, Richard Bailey, Sam Armstrong, Kevin Davies, Polly Borland; there’s one from Derek Henderson and there’s also his little boy Theo’s drawing of a pencil. There’s Ed Douglas’s photograph of me as a child floating in a pool in Mexico, there’s legendary old Raymond Steiner, there’s a picture by the late great David Moore. Kids and old people. It’s a bit like the party we can’t have: people crowding the room, pressed up against the windows. Random people we don’t know and old friends.
Courtney Love is in it twice (by Julian Broad & Laura Bailey), there are mating butterflies (Raymond Steiner); there’s people’s dogs & babies, and Nick Cave is in it three times. (by Andrew Southam, Kevin Davies & Polly Borland).
And what’s your involvement?
I’ve been putting this together with Hugh from the beginning. Hugh is a photographer and director who I work with a lot, he runs Halls Lane with his wife Emma. Hugh is the driving force, he’s good at making things happen and maybe I’m good at helping make things happen. We started a couple of weeks ago. It’s unplanned, a reaction to the Delta Variant hitting town and everything shutting down. It could only be rough, printed cheaply and safely. It’s happened in less time than the gap between Pfizer shots. It just feels like a good thing to do.
What were the criteria for the show?
No rules, except that safety in the middle of this pandemic is paramount.
Who is the best photographer in the show?
Who is the worst photographer in the world?
Why are people making mean memes about Jennifer Anniston looking like Iggy Pop?
Are they? That’s funny. Except that I think these days we all need to be as kind and as tender as we can be or everything might collapse.
What makes a good photograph?
I don’t know. A good person?
When you were at Rolling Stone, did you ever get passive-aggressive post-it notes from Jann Wenner?
Jann was always kind to me. I loved working for him, loved working there. He did send me a note on fancy heavy paper telling me he’d miss me, along with a tiny perfect baby’s twinset from a fancy Upper East Side baby store, when I resigned after my son was born… Weirdly, this Lockdown Show thing has reminded me at moments of those RS days: I open up my emails at dawn to see what’s rolled in overnight. There are incredible pictures from Kurt Markus, god of the West, there’s the mighty Dan Winters sending us pictures of Barack Obama, & of Robert Frank… a bit of that hold-your-breath feeling of opening up a box of prints…
What’s the first thing you’re gonna do once lockdown ends?
I hope my pony knows the way back home… Also: if we could all put as much effort and sacrifice into saving ourselves & the planet from fucking climate change.
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