Photos of The Betty Brown Historical Centre

image of museum space showing historical displays and blurred people moving through the space.

It’s a real accolade for the Shire of West Arthur that its new museum has been acknowledged in the Australian Museums and Galleries Association’s Museums and Galleries National Awards (MAGNA).

I’m happy to have been asked to photograph the Betty Brown Historical Centre museum before it opened, to provide images for the Shire and for Creative Spaces, the company that was brought in to create the display spaces, which are housed in the old Roads Board building in Darkan, as part of the West Arthur Health and Resource centre.

In photographing the space, I needed to capture the overall essence of the space as well as details of objects. Because some items are housed in protective perspex display boxes there was reflection on the clear surfaces. A polarising filter on the lens helped to cut out the reflections and show the contents clearly.

To show that the space has interactive features I used a friend as a model who interacted with the displays – scanning a QR code, opening a drawer, writing on a note to pin on the memorial board. To show that the space is used and welcoming I shot some images with a slow shutter speed to emphasise the displays with human figures moving about the space.

sewing accessories and fine crochet on display in Betty Brown Historical Centre. Photo by Caro Telfer
Sewing accessories and fine crochet on display in an acrylic case.

museum display of treadle sewing machine and interpretive panel
museum display of treadle sewing machine and interpretive panel

Museum visitor scanning QR code with smartphone. Photo by Caro Telfer.
Museum visitor scanning QR code with smartphone.

photo of cane basket containing spinning wheel accessories and spun wool. Photo by Caro Telfer.
A basket of spinning wheel accessories and spun wool.

Close up of information panels in the Betty Brown Historical Centre.
Close up of information panels.

Wide angle view of main room of historical centre showing polished wood floor, museum displays, and people blurred moving through the scene.
Slow shutter speed allows for the blurring of museum visitors in this image.



Faces of West Arthur Photography Exhibition

Caro Telfer standing in front of black and white portraits on a wall

Friday night was the opening of the “Faces of West Arthur” photography exhibition, at the West Arthur CRC in Darkan. It was the culmination of months of work by six local photography enthusiasts whom I had been mentoring over the previous four months. The project was made possible by the Creative Grid, funded through Country Arts WA and Sate and Federal Government funding. We received sponsorship from Fitzgerald Photo Imaging in Perth, where the photos were printed.

An iPhone photo of four of the large black and white portraits at the exhibition.

It is not the location, but the people, that make a country town what it is. For a small country community, the Shire of West Arthur has always been an inclusive and supportive place. As one of the subjects said, “People are always happy to help each other”. 

Well getting the photos hung for the exhibition couldn’t have been done without a lot of help. It was the first time that the new hanging system installed in the Health and Resource centre had been used – it was installed only the week before. There was some trial and error getting the hanging hooks and cords in place, and then the dilemma of how to get he photos to sit straight as they were so light and the cords were still coiled after being removed from their packaging. 

Photo of woman hanging photos in the exhibition
Getting all the photos hung and sitting straight was a big job

Frank stands near the photo of himself, taken by his wife. (Photo by Astrid Volzke, Our Photo Stories)

Members of the public enjoy viewing the Faces of West Arthur exhibition
Recognising familiar faces on display at the exhibition (Photo by Astrid Volzke, Our Photo Stories)

The brief the photographers were given for the photographs was that they should show the full face or head and shoulders  straight on, and the subject should be looking straight into the lens. There was to be a sense of connection with the sitter. The photos are quite similar to passport photos in their format. What I was hoping to achieve was that the viewer would be drawn to the eyes of the subject, and that they would feel a sense of engagement through the photograph. As each photograph is similar in its composition, then the only difference is the physical difference between the subjects. The idea for choosing portraits for our project came about because we decided to combine it with the biennial West Arthur Cultural Day with the theme of “We all Belong”.

Nicole Wasmann, Caro Telfer, and Kerryn Chia at the Faces of West Arthur exhibition in Darkan
Me standing between Nicole Wasmann, the Shire of West Arthur CEO, and Kerryn Chia, the coordinator of the Faces of West Arthur Project. (Photo by Astrid Volzke, Our Photo Stories)

Fitzgerald Photo Imaging in Perth were very supportive of our community project, providing advice on printing and mounting, and giving us a discount on the cost of the printing. We ended up being able to print twelve large photos, which are 14” x 20” (35cm x 50cm) matted and mounted on foamcore board, and fifty four smaller photos which are 7” x 10” (17.5cm x 25cm) matted to 11” x 14”.

The hanging space for the exhibition is brand new and is the new wing of the extended West Arthur Health and Resource Centre in Burrowes Street in Darkan. The official opening of the extensions will be held on Saturday 15 September, which is the last day of our exhibition. The wide lobby and hallway spaces with bright even lighting show the photos well, and the adjoining meeting room gave space for serving wine and cheese at the opening event.

Me looking dorky making a speech, with Astrid taking photos behind me. (Photo by Kerryn Chia)

Although the exhibition will only be hung for eight days, it is quite likely that it will be shown again at a later date. We are talking about taking it to other regional areas too, if we can get funding for that. 

Faces of West Arthur exhibition catalogues (Photo by Kerryn Chia)