New England High Country Forty photographers

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A new exhibition and book recently launched at the New England Regional Art Museum (NERAM) provide an opportunity to see a diverse range of images from across the entire New England region.

The book, New England High Country: Forty Photographers includes over 122 photographs by 40 local photographers and has been a project organised by experienced photographer Terry Cooke over a number of years. The exhibition at NERAM provides visitors an opportunity to see some of these images in larger formats.

“Terry Cooke is a remarkable photographer in his own right, whose work has showcased our region over many years in a number of exhibitions and publications,” said Robert Heather, Art Museum Director. “In this project he has shared his talents, expertise and time to create a unique reminder of the beauty of our region.

“The book and exhibition provide viewers with a portrait of New England through the eyes and lenses of a number of different people, creating a unique glimpse into the people, place, landscape and culture of the High Country.”

The aim of the project was to collect photographs of the region from as many photographers as possible, raise the required funds through crowdfunding, and then have judges choose the images to be used and then print and publish the book. It was planned that this book would replace Terry Cooke’s 2014 crowdfunded book New England High Country – Contrast and Colour, which sold out by early 2018.

After consultation with a small group of local photographers, a project plan was drawn up and a Flickr website created, where photographers could upload their images. By 2017, over 3,000 photographs of the region had been submitted to the Flickr website by 94 photographers. With a brief to make a selection of images that would appeal to an Australian and overseas audience and also reflected life and living in the New England High Country, four judges were given the unenviable task of selecting, from this massive collection of images, those that were to be published.

After spending many hours refining their selection, they chose 122 photographs taken by 40 photographers for inclusion in the book. Ranging widely across town and rural life, landscapes and waterscapes, flora and fauna and the four seasons, their chosen images beautifully highlight the diversity found in this region of Australia.

In mid 2017, with the support of 137 contributors, a crowdfunding campaign successfully raised the funds required to print 1,500 copies of the book. As one of the aims of the project was “to have a local community organisation raise funds through the distribution of the book”, the New England Regional Art Museum will be earning income from the distribution of the books to various outlets in the region and from retailing through their own store.

The book is a pictorial journey that begins in Armidale and then moves out into the surrounding region. It takes you out to the many towns and villages of the region, while along the way taking time to pause for a look at the local flora, fauna and some unique country mailboxes.

After a career in Land Surveying and Information Technology, Terry Cooke retired to pursue his other interests, one of these being photography. His focus over the last few years has been photographing the many and varied landscapes and urban environments of the Northern Tablelands of New South Wales, Australia. He enjoys photographing local drama and musical productions, photographing while travelling around Australia and teaching photography.

Designed to show off what life is like on the New England High Country, the book New England High Country: Forty Photographers makes a great gift for both visitors and for people leaving the region and also for taking as a gift when travelling. Terry Cooke’s book New England High Country – Contrast and Colour, which sold 800 copies over four years, now resides in many countries around the world.

The exhibition New England High Country: Forty Photographers will be on display at the New England Regional Art Museum until Sunday 3rd June 2018. The book is available through NERAM and other local tourism and retail book outlets.

Further information www.neram.com.au

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