Diversity World…

Art and auctions, Photography — By on December 16, 2015 at 7:59 PM
Shane Aurousseau

Shane Aurousseau

Diversity World: all-rounder Shane Aurousseau’s London debut as photographer-artist

By James Brewer

Dedicated photographer Shane Aurousseau is adept finding his ease in any setting, be it a Spanish fiesta, a Northern Australia corroboree or London’s sights and street life.

This facility is explained by the fact that photography is just one of his many disciplines. His career has been characterised by great diversity, so it is fitting that his latest exhibition is entitled Diversity World. His sympathy with his subjects and surroundings allows him to translate the essence into intriguing images wherever he totes his camera. His exuberant energy is transmitted directly into the task at hand.

The Drover and the Cockee. Photograph by Shane Aurousseau.

The Drover and the Cockee. Photograph by Shane Aurousseau.

Although a veteran of extensive travels, Australian-born Shane has been rejoicing that this is his first show in London, a capital to which he is no stranger. His images of the metropolis have appeared on posters and postcards sold in West End shops and in other outlets across the city; and he has worked in the financial sector.

The venue for the new exhibition is Leyas coffee shop, in Camden High Street, a thoroughfare of one of London’s most diverse – that word again – suburbs, and the three dozen photos make for a suitably – diverse if you will – mix.

“My great contention, ” Shane said, “is that there are a lot of different things going on in the world, but fundamentally we are all the same.  We should get our act together and stop our arguments. That is the message.” The message comes over via outstanding matt prints with pigment inks on acid-free cotton-based paper produced by Innova Art, which was a sponsor of the exhibition.

The Fiesta.

The Fiesta.

Shane composes his landscapes as though he is reaching for a palette of watercolours, and he revels in sharp landscapes, and public festivals and celebrations from romerias to corroborees.

Several images recall the robust traditions of Spain. “I love Spain. I photographed the Feria Goyesca last year where they wear the costumes as depicted by Goya, and fight the bulls.” The fair takes place in Ronda, which has perhaps the most famous bullring in Spain. Shane is fascinated by the story of Antoñio Ordóñez (1932-98) who went into the ring to face a total in his lifetime of 1, 000 bulls, and who inspired the modern version of the Feria Goyesca. “Bull-fighting is part of the history of Spain, so you cannot overlook it, ” said Shane.

In one of his fiesta pictures he catches “three women who were supposed to enjoy themselves but who are bored as hell.”

Australia: Indian Pacific Railway.

Australia: Indian Pacific Railway.

Shane naturally never tires of Australia as one of the most diverse nations on earth – focusing through his lens on subjects as varied as its coastal greenery to typical outback towns “still in the time-warp of the 1800s” with sheep farming and white cattle, to ghost gum trees, and a pelican eating a fish. So vivid is the picture of two of the blokes he meets, “the drover and the cockee” –a stockman who moves livestock long distances on the hoof, and a sheep station owner – that you want to shake hands with them or ‘shout’ them a cold beer.

Currently living in London, Shane has worked in that city, in Sydney and Amsterdam as a creative director with large advertising agencies serving clients including Time magazine and Time Life Books. He has produced designs and photographs for record covers and had his work published in glossy magazines. At one stage, he ran hedge funds and was a general manager for offshore investments. Formerly a successful tennis player, he has created a website of photos of the stars in that sport.

One of his exhibitions, in Madrid, was sponsored by the American Women’s Association.

The artist with guests on opening night.

The artist with guests on opening night.

Big projects are ahead – “I have a lot coming up.” As well as diversity, Shane is keen in his to use his photo skills to show up adversity.

“I want to go to Alice Springs and to the Tiwi Islands (80km north of Darwin), because the Aborigines have got a pretty raw deal, and have had for a long time.”

“I grew up in the period of White Australia. Even to this day, some people have a weird attitude as to who the Aborigines are. I have written to some elders, with a view to preparing an exhibition on the history of the Aborigines that could be shown here in Europe.

“Here are a people that have got 50, 000 years-plus of history behind them – a lot more than we probably have. They have a culture that fits together properly, and it is being destroyed, and they have got to know where they are going.” Despite those 50, 000 years, the government “is still not giving enough rights.”

Dramatic landscape photography

Dramatic landscape photography

The overall land mass of the Tiwi Islands, which are run by the indigenous people, is bigger than the UK.  “Their Dreamtime is slightly different to the mainland Aborigines. It has a lot of Moluccan influence. [There was said to be early contact with traders from areas of what is now Indonesia] Their stories attached to their ceremonies are built around funeral rites. I have got close to being ready to photo the ceremonies.”

Shane lamented one of the sad sides of the Aboriginal plight: “At one time there were 250 dialects. Today there are only a few left.”

Shane is a long-generation Australian – “on my mother’s side of the family we go back to the First Fleet” – and he has French and Irish roots too. He grew up in Buxton, a small farming community inland from Sydney, later moving to the big city where he studied art and photography.

In his blogs he has raged against what he describes as the plundering by large-scale crop irrigation of the great river basin of the Darling-Murray system which In the 1800s and early 1900s was alive with steamers carrying passengers, wool and grain . Now especially in the Darling “it is lucky if a rubber bath duck could navigate the system.” Communities along the Colorado River in the US face a similar problem, he says. It is “one of the most contested and controlled rivers on earth.”

Shane asserts: “As a species we are extremely bad at managing our natural resources.”

His sites are www.kiamafoto.com  www.shaneasite.com and www.shanea.photostockplus.com.

Shane Aurousseau and curator Ruta Sasnauskaite

Shane Aurousseau and curator Ruta Sasnauskaite

The Leyas coffee shop exhibition is curated by Ruta Sasnauskaite of Outwalls. Outwalls describes itself as “a curatorial project aiming to exhibit a range of artists within social spaces, creating a more approachable link between audience and artist.”

Diversity World, photographs by Shane Aurousseau, is at Leyas coffee shop, 20 Camden High Street, London NW1, until the end of December 2015.

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    1 Comment

  • Shane has produced some brilliant photography for my records label Halo UK Records and these have worked to create images for our Artists. They can be seen on Single and Album Cover designs and he always has great input in what we are trying to create. We are currently working on a new album project which features Shane’s photography of Lightning Ridge Australia but you will have to ask him about that!

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