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Unremembered

03 Mar 2020

Unremembered Image

With a career in the arts already under his belt, Simon Dow was still enticed to enrol in a Photography Studies College (PSC) course.

As a performance artist and choreographer, Simon made a film with PSC alumni Aaron Walker. It was based on a Japanese art form called Butoh and shot by lakes and in mountains.

“Butoh is a really interesting artform performed by humans, I really wanted to use nature as a metaphor for the human body and landscape. The film’s length is about 25 minutes and it showed continuously during its installation.”

“Looking at Aaron’s work, being involved in the film project and talking about photography got me really excited to further explore visual arts,” Simon said.

“I’ve been in performing arts all my life and I’ve always loved photography and I felt I should dive in, so I dove in.”

Although Simon had spent years in performance art and choreography, engaging in photography was “waking up” entirely new aspects of creativity.

“I’ve always been very visual, so I feel an affinity with photography. I work in visuals, with lighting and costuming and narrative work and making things communicative and photography contains all those things,” he said.

“But every photographer also has a completely unique voice because their experience of reality is based on a completely different experience. We have really deep-thinking lecturers at PSC and that experience has been really remarkable in changing my way of seeing the world.”

One of his favourite photography projects was Tried, a folio he worked on with a group of young people creating a set of portraits that were “open, available and real”.

Simon has balanced studying part-time at PSC with continuing to work in the arts at the Australian Ballet in Southbank. But his ongoing involvement in the arts, and the flexibility of PSC, has helped him avoid a style of work that’s too structured or predictable.

“I love the human face, so I’m very interested in portraiture, environmental portraiture, the question of what it is to be human,” he said.

“I’m also interested in things you almost can’t wrap your mind around – the inexplicable. But I see photography as an incredible process of discovery, and I don’t think I’m going to develop one particular style or way of looking at things.”

Simon is currently working on Unremembered, a project that epitomises his unstructured style. When he showed his tutor his proposal, they told him to “photograph nothing”.

“It feels like a Zen riddle because it’s really challenging to wrap any sense of anything into that. It’s been really brilliantly freeing creatively.”

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