Christian Blanchard’s Spirit Queen

Through a lens, darkly



On Thursday 13th March, Melbourne fashion photographer Christian Blanchard and stylist Bec Cole will unveil an exhibition called ‘Spirit Queen’ at the Yarra Gallery in Federation Square.

Open to the public from March 14-19, Spirit Queen is part of the wider cultural program of the very long-established Melbourne Fashion Festival and will run at venues all over Melbourne for the duration of March.

Here is more information on the show.

Inspired by late 19th century Calotype prints, the exhibition is comprised of eight large-scale “giclée” canvas prints, all images of model Louise van de Vorst, kitted out in some quite spectacular Baroque jewellery and head-pieces.

The exhibition is free to attend – and the prints are available for purchase.

Frockwriter highly recommends anyone in Melbourne check out the show. Below is an exclusive preview of four images and a GIF created by Blanchard.

Interestingly, the Spirit Queen exhibition follows hot on the heels of last week’s announcement by Getty Images that the company will make some 35million images from its archive available for free to non-commercial entitites.

The move has been dubbed a “cynical” exercise by many professional photographers, who can’t see how making their work available for nix is going to help them pay the rent.

But it does underline the crisis that has been brewing for the past decade for professional photographers, as they struggle to compete with free photographic content created by smartphone and DSLR-toting amateurs – some of whom have even become their direct competitors.

Exhibitions like Spirit Queen and selling spinoff merchandise are among the avenues available to photographers, as is taking assertive steps in the social media space to reinforce their own brands. Just like musicians are increasingly relying on touring, brand partnerships and merchandise in order to survive in what has been a catastrophic period for the music industry, with music sales plummeting by 50percent to USD7billion since 2000.