The exhibition space also encourages sustained engagement through the dynamic display of the photographs. Yabini Kickett’s large scale collage of Sally Field is hung high, presiding above the entry and threshold between the Perth Centre for Photography and FLUX Gallery next door. This work is a digital collage that sparkles and delights, with the words “Women of Influence” plastered atop expressive images of activist and actor Sally Field. The fruit photographs of Erica Watkin blare engagingly against a square of wall that blushes pastel pink. Two photographs by Chiluba Young, of subjects that the artist calls “people that look like me” feature a pressing textual intervention – “To be Female, Anxious and Black!” These colourful interjections and the exhibition’s thoughtful installation activate the space, invite a sustained engagement with the works, and are testament to the diversity of photographic practice featured.

For me, the highlights of the show are the photographs by Sherry Paddon. Paddon originally worked as a sculptor and this experience emerges in her works which feature assemblages of flowers, junk food, packaging and decor items. In the artist talks for the show, Paddon suggested that she wanted to replicate the visual language of advertising campaigns from the 1980s. These traits are evident in the bright colours and spatial arrangements within her photographs. Flowers emerge from a KFC bag, comedic and pathos laden, against a pale blue background. The large-scale photograph of Paddon’s daughter is a stand-out. The subject lies on her back, dressed in red against a red background. Across her little body she holds a silver tray with a bowl of Nutri-Grain, a can of Coke and a silver-lidded bowl. There is something inherently funny about this work, perhaps in the subject’s wide eyed, unperturbed stare, and tiny resigned, open hands. There is also a serious commentary about consumption, ageing, mass advertising, the hyperbolic ways and lengths corporations go to sell products that are devoid of nutrition and the ways these narratives repeat in culture. The semi-ironic title of Paddon’s work is fitting: The Weight of All Things.

“The weight of all things” also best reflects the content of the exhibition: encompassing, pervasive, and fraught with difficulty. The micro is made macro in this exhibition, and we are exposed to the weight of all things that concern these eight precocious photographers. Moments are suspended, the trivial is amplified, and the unseen attitudes which characterise the unequal relations of power between men and women are named and criticised. When Virginia Woolf asked Now is life very solid, or very shifting? in 1941, she was referring to both the nature of experience and how best to encapsulate it through an aesthetic medium. In the hands of these eight female photographers, the question is expertly placed.

Days of Their Lives runs until July 18 at the Perth Centre for Photography. More information here.


  1. Briggs, Julia.“ ‘Like a Shell on a Sandhill’: Woolf’s Images of Emptiness.” Reading Virginia Woolf, Edinburgh University Press, 2006, pp. 141.
  2. Weston, Gemma. “Gender Equality in the Museum: The Cruthers Collection of Women’s Art.” Artlink, 2017.
  3. Crott, Emma. “Expanding the Field of Photography: Between Specificity and Plurality.” Here & Now 17, Lawrence Wilson Art Gallery, 2017, pp.2.