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Capturing Nature - Australian Museum Archival Photography
Lettuce Coral, Pectin lactuca. Archival images from the Australian Museum promoting the Capturing Nature Exhibition. Image: Henry Barnes
© Australian Museum

Join Capturing Nature curator Vanessa Finney, artist and scientist Dr Erica Seccombe, documentary photographer Dean Sewell and early photography specialist Adrian Cook, as they respond to the exhibition’s never-before-revealed images.

Presented in collaboration with 2019 Head On Photo Festival.


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Meet the panel


Vanessa Finney, Curator of Capturing Nature and AM Archivist

Vanessa Finney heads Australia’s oldest and largest specialist natural history archives and rare books collections. Her publications include Capturing Nature: Early photography at the Australian Museum 1857-1893 and Transformations: Harriet and Helena Scott, colonial Sydney’s finest natural history artists.


Dr Erica Seccombe, award winning artist, scientist and academic

Dr Erica Seccombe is an award winning artist, scientist and academic. Her practice-led research GROW: experiencing Nature in the Fifth Dimension investigates the science of 4D micro-computed X-ray Tomography through immersive stereoscopic digital projection installations and 3D printing. She exhibits nationally and overseas, garnering awards including the 2018 Waterhouse Natural Science Art prize for Metamorphosis 2016 and Casula Powerhouse Art Centre’s Inaugural Paramor Prize: Art + Innovation for Virtual Life 2014. In 2017, Erica was awarded the Capital Arts Patrons Fellowship, and her interdisciplinary research is facilitated by the ANU Department of Applied Mathematics, Vizlab and NCI.


Dean Sewell, Independent documentary photographer

Dean Sewell’s searing images capture the social implications of the new globalised world economy and the environmental consequences of climate change. Apocalyptic representations of natural and man-made environmental catastrophes, as well as the tension between the urban environment and its human habitation, have earned the Oculi founder a swag of awards and residencies. He has been the recipient of three World Press Photo Awards (2000, 2002 and 2005 for works covering the transition of East Timor to an independent state, Australian Bushfires, and the 2004 Tsunami aftermath in Aceh, respectively) and was named Australian Press Photographer of the Year in 1994 and 1998. Images created during his three-year study of the Murray-Darling Basin earned him the 2009 Moran Contemporary Photography Prize.


Adrian Cook, Wet-plate-collodian photographer

Adrian Cook’s work reviving the early photography technique of printing on glass plates has been exhibited worldwide and been recognised at Cannes, One Show, D&AD and The Clios. Lurzers Archive has twice included his work in their issue of Best 200 Ad Photographers Worldwide and his photograph That Summer was recently awarded “Best in Show” at the AOP Open in London. Cook’s tintype of Sudanese-Australian mechanical engineer, social media blogger and memoirist Yassmin Abdel-Magied was a finalist in both the National Portrait Prize and the Moran Contemporary Portrait Prize.


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