Helene Chandiok attended our first Mentorship Program in 2014. Join her Wednesday 24th January 2018 for her first solo exhibition. Helene and I caught up over a beer to talk about her new work.
ready set go ....
So where did the idea come from for the exhibition?
l love finding out about things that I know nothing about – this series came about by coming across a poster at my local YMCA for the State Rope Skipping Championships in 2015. I had so many questions I wanted answered. Curious to find out more I made some enquiries and have been lucky enough to cover a few state & national titles.
Over what period of time was the work photographed?
I worked on this series over the past few years on and off, between other projects.
In your words describe the series
The exhibition focuses on the physical and mental highs and lows of the Northbridge Knockouts, a team of young rope skippers aged from six to sixteen, as they compete in national and state competitions. What captivated me about this sport – is it’s both engaging and addictive. The contrast between the fixed gaze of concentration and the rapidity of hands and feet in motion seizes your attention, capturing and pulling you in. Meanwhile, your heart races – rope skipping is a powerful sport that requires enormous mental and physical stamina and resilience.
How hard is it to put together an exhibition like this?
It has been a huge but enjoyable job pulling this exhibition together – the number of images in the exhibition is close to 60 (for the walls)- since the major theme was to celebrate and recognise the skippers I wanted to try and include as many as I could. The exhibition space is quite large – it includes 2 large walls and some rather large glass display cabinets. The formality of the work on the walls (of the skippers practicing & competing – showing their athleticism and dedication)- is supposed to contrast to the loose informality of the cabinets (skippers after competition and awards – showing the fun and youthfulness).
Dealing with such a large number of images was challenging. I knew that I wanted to display them in a rhythmical layout reflecting the motion and emotion of the sport and although I had a pre-planned layout - Isabelle Baumann greatly assisted with the install (on walls), her great eye helped give an independent view to the work but still provide the rhythm I was looking for.
How did you convince the subjects to be in the series?
The subjects themselves were happy to have their photographs taken the hardest part has been getting releases officially signed. Most of the subjects were under 18. I had permission to take photos at the competitions but to display them publicly I required the parents permission. Only one or two did not sign so they were’t included.
What do they think of the exhibition?
They are keen to be exhibited. I guess I will find out at the closing celebration when they come along.
What is next for you?
I am super excited at the moment with lots of ideas of projects I want to develop further. I am strongly interested in documentary and fine art photography and am researching ideas for both. I am current in talks with a few places.
Tell us about the mentorship you did at Contact Sheet?
The mentorship was a good place to gain confidence and meet other passionate photographers. It was a great welcoming place to openly discuss ideas and seek criticism from peers.
Who inspires you?
I get lots of inspiration from different mediums and art forms – I am excited by looking through a lens– art and story-telling is at the core of my work and I love exploring ideas that on the surface appear ordinary but are actually extraordinary. So who inspires me - people - everyone has a story sometimes they just need to asked.
Join us for closing drinks on Wednesday 24th January 2018 - 5:30 pm – 7:30 pm
Willoughby City Council, 31 Victor Street< Chatswood, NSW 2067
Further details can be found here