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Since 2014, we have been immersed in the discovery of diverse imagery.

Photo collective represents photographers, advocates, educators and curators working towards the collective goal of celebrating and contributing to the changing ecology of Australian photography. We achieve this through award recognition, publications, exhibitions, community engagement initiatives and educational programs.

Through our existing initiatives Fox Darkroom & Gallery, Australian Photography Awards and Stories, along with our recently announced Photobook Awards, we have composed a network of creative collaborators ranging from Australia’s most established visual artists to the emerging voices of the next generation. We work daily to continue to expand this network with the aim of ensuring all Australian’s feel represented within this space.

In 2021 we merged our initiatives to form Photo Collective, a financially and politically independent organisation dedicated to finding meaning and sharing knowledge through photography.

Who we are

Our in-house team is made up of Harriet Tarbuck & Tom Goldner (Creative Directors), Stephen Ryan (Web and Design) and Angus Scott (Content Editor). It is the power of a large community revolving around a small core team which enables us to consistently progress our initiatives each year.

You can read more about our collaborators and contributors here.

Creative Directors Tom Goldner & Harriet Tarbuck

Past Events and Initiatives

Our History

Photo Collective grew out of the Fox Darkroom & Gallery which operated as an exhibition and educational space in Melbourne’s inner west. Beginning as a grass-roots, community orientated organisation, Fox evolved to become an important outpost for the public to engage with photographic work.

As an organisation we have a rich history of making photography accessible to the public. Our team has curated and facilitated numerous exhibitions, book launches, artist talks, award nights and specialty workshops with highly regarded Australian and international photographic artists.

What We Do

Photo Collective connects photographers, writers, curators and artists from all around Australia, forming long standing collaborations and opportunities as we go. We share photography based content on a daily basis, engaging over 150,000 people per year through our website platforms and delivering regular content to our growing social media and newsletter audience of 97,000.

Through our partnership with Momento Pro, we release multiple publications celebrating Australian photography each year. With a focus on beautiful design and meaningful content, our publications have become a record of our current times and represent a diverse range of voices within Australian photography.

Our annual awards program includes;

Australian Photography AwardsCalling for stand-alone imagery across multiple categories (August – October)

StoriesSeeking photographic narratives in the form of photo-essays and long-form projects (March – May)

Australian Photobook AwardsCelebrating excellence in photobook publication and design (November – January).

Code of Ethics

We always want to hear from our community on ways that we can do better. If you have any suggestions contact [email protected]

We acknowledge the Traditional Owners of the land and waters on which we live, work and travel.

Some of the ways in which we hope to contribute to positive change in this space are:

  • Whenever we host an event, talk or gathering we will respect an Acknowledgement to Country before proceedings
  • We will endeavour to decolonise language when discussing space and country
  • We hope to recognise our own position and the imagery we see within the colonial framework
  • We hope to learn from and be a part of constructive dialogues even when it may be difficult or uncomfortable
  • We have zero tolerance for abusive or discriminatory behaviour
  • We will advocate not just for generations past but also for current and future generations
  • It is our hope that Photo Collective can be used to assist First Nation Australians to feel empowered, tell their stories and find voice though the visual arts

Your rights are important to us

We advocate up for the rights of artists, image makers, photographers and writers. Some of the ways in which we endeavour to do this are:

  • Across all our initiatives and platforms copyright stays unconditionally with the maker
  • We credit artists on images and link in websites and social handles where possible
  • We consider context and ramifications when publishing imagery and or words
  • If an artist requests an image not be utilised or published we will respect that position and comply
  • We understand that the consent to show imagery can change over time, if requested we will willing remove imagery

Representation matters

Representation matters

Each year our organisation works to discover and amplify new voices from all over Australia, in the hopes that each and every member of our community can find identity within this platform. 

We acknowledge the limitations of understanding that can arise when viewing art through a narrow cultural lens and endeavour to be different by:

  • Actively growing and including our community in the direction and operation of our organisation
  • Fostering a wide range of voices from diverse backgrounds through Photo Collective
  • Although we rely on support from the private sector, representation remains politically and financially independent
  • We endeavour to provide equal opportunity regardless of age, gender, religion, sexual orientation, disability or ethnicity

There are limitations to what we do

We recognise that we exist within a position of power when it comes to what we show. Some ways in which we are attempting to shift this power balance is as follows:

  • Communicating clearly and truthfully with our entrants and community
  • Exploring new and better ways to communicate results and provide feedback
  • We plan to further develop user driven components to our platform
  • By acknowledging that the decisions we make in selecting or not selecting work doesn’t reflect on the importance or success of that work

Our connection to the community

We recognise that as an organisation and as individuals we have connections with many of the people who submit to our awards programs and publications.

We strive to ensure that all work is viewed from an unbiased lens, making sure that nobody is given more or less opportunities based on existing relationships. Some of the ways in which we do this are:

  • Always working with an external committee across our award programs
  • Actively growing and changing our committee each year
  • Inviting entrants to contribute as committee members
  • Communicating our processes clearly for the public to understand
  • Keeping our committee members informed of any existing connection to individuals or work during the awards process

Transparency of operation

As a politically and financially independent organisation, we are funded entirely through commercial endeavours such as entry fees, magazine subscriptions and sponsorship.

There can be trepidation when it comes to competitions and award programs, we want to be transparent in the ways in which we make and spend money.

Some of the ways in which we are hoping to do things differently are:

  • By paying our staff, committee and contributors
  • The main purpose of our operation remains to grow opportunities within the arts and operate them at the best possible standard
  • We will continue to find ways that we can be funded sustainably by and for the community
  • We do our best to keep entry fees accessible but acknowledge this will still be prohibitive to some
  • We will remain transparent about the way funds are earned and spent within our organisation

As much as photography has the ability to heal, it also has the ability to harm

We want our community to practice safe and ethical photography. Some of the ways in which we work towards this are:

  • We actively consider ‘the ability to harm’ when looking at photography and or words
  • If there is a complaint raised either by a person featured, the photographer or by a person with another understanding of a project we will listen and carry out our own due diligence
  • We will educate and advocate for the protection of animals, environment and culture
  • We endeavour to stay at the forefront of discussions around agency and representation
  • If in doubt, and where appropriate, we will open a dialogue with a photographer to provide further context around imagery
  • There is no place on our platform for disregard to subject safety and wellbeing

We want to continue to learn

We acknowledge that working ethically is a value, not a goal. Some of the ways in which we strive to continue to learn are:

  • We welcome feedback, both from the community and beyond
  • We recognise there is always room to improve and do better
  • Within our organisation we will treat each other and others with respect, kindness and understanding
  • We will keep ourselves in check when it comes to the wellbeing of our community and our team

Our mission for the future

Our values are and remain to:

  • Dissolve barriers within the photographic industry
  • Use the Photo Collective platform to fund artists and support the arts
  • Aim to bring people together, share knowledge and enable growth
  • Always do our best listen and hear feedback or concerns and improve
  • Achieve financial stability through smart business decisions and invest back into community initiatives
  • Be publicly accessible and democratic
  • Allow Photo Collective to enable the next generation of voices
  • Elevate Australian photography on the international stage

Partner With Us

As an organisation centred around collaboration we welcome new industry connections and corporate partnerships. Whether you’re an organisation, corporation, foundation, philanthropist or an individual who recognises alignment in what we do, we are open to conversations around how we can achieve a collective vision. We are proud to partner with organisations and individuals who share our values and ethics. Working with Photo Collective not only benefits our efforts and supports our creative community, it is a tangible way to introduce you to our community in a meaningful way. 

If you have a proposal, an idea or wish to open a dialogue with us, we would love to hear from you.

[email protected]