Between the Tides: Portland artist launches first Australian exhibition at Winter Magic

Portland artist Sue Daley will be officially opening her first Australian exhibition on Saturday, June 24, to coincide with the Winter Magic festival, Katoomba, at Rex-Livingstone Art and Objects in Katoomba Street. 

Sue has drawn on her love of the Portland landscape to create 16 works for display in an exhibition titled ‘Between the Tides: Photo Montages’.

The very large photographs are extremely detailed and, even during preparations for the exhibition, Sue said she loved watching people’s reactions to them. 

“What I do find, what we've found while we’ve been setting up, which is really lovely, is people coming in very close to them to peer into the picture,” she said. 

"It’s lovely to watch them discover all those little details.” 

The images come together to create something that reminds us of our childhood imagination. 

“I always love collages,” Sue said. 

“I would go out and photograph birds – I love photographing birds – and then I started combining them with other things I loved. 

“I loved that idea of the birds becoming a character in a bigger picture.”

Sue said the photo montages would pay homage to stories that gave presence and substance to people long gone, only known from stories and old black and white photographs. She was inspired by a stack of old black and white family photographs she found as a child, spilling out of a broken cardboard box at the bottom of a wardrobe. 

“And to add my own chapter of the story as someone whose good fortune has led me to this amazing place,” she said. 

“It has been incredibly rewarding creating these images. Photoshop is a great tool, but the really exciting moment was when I saw them outside of my computer for the first time, printed tonally and texturally in a manner so reminiscent of the original family portraits at the bottom of the wardrobe.”

Sue has been fascinated with photography since she was a young girl in the UK. Her parents saved up and bought her a 35mm camera when she was 11 years old. 

“Then some twerp stole it at a school sports day,” she said. 

Sue went on to study art and then photography at Bournemouth College in the UK. Her focus was on social documentary photography, which took her on a journey across America documenting the women’s peace movement. She went on to teach art and photography in the UK and Australia. She moved to Portland in 2000. 

Most recently, Sue has enjoying working with musicians to create photographic montages that evoke the personality of the musicians and the music they make.

The 'Between the Tides' exhibition opened on Friday, June 23 and will continue until July 10. The official opening will take place on June 24 from 2-4pm with drinks and nibbles, but the gallery will be open from 10am to 5pm.