Sharon Zwi celebrates the lives of 60 Australians in portraits

17 May 2013

Museum Studies graduate, Sharon Zwi, will  launch her new photographic exhibition at Fisher Library next week to chronicle the extraordinary lives of 60 influential Australians.

Inspired by the composite portraits she made for her parents' 70th birthdays 15 years ago,  Time Exposures: 60 Life Portraits traces the lives its subjects via 25 chronological portraits from infancy to the present day, highlighting the way both growth and experience take form on the human face.

"Photographs address my interest in memory, place, identity and history. Each photo was taken in a time and place of different historical events," says Zwi. "I also find it fascinating to see the changes as people grow up, mature and age; at what stage you see the 'essence' of the person, when their personalities are formed and their faces take on their identity."

Featured are a diverse group of politicians, feminists, teachers, scientists and environmentalists, to name a few, plus locals that have become known to Zwi during her 30 years living in Glebe. They were chosen by Zwi because of the contributions they have made to society, whether on a national, international, or community level. The exhibition includes 24 University of Sydney alumni and 11 current and former staff members, Zwi sourcing the photos from personal photo albums and archives, and taking the final portrait herself.

Notable Sydney alumni featured in the project, which include former High Court Judge Michael Kirby, film critic David Stratton, and women's rights advocate Margaret Whitlam. Zwi was  selected as a finalist in the 2013 National Photographic Portrait Prize, currently on show at the National Portrait Gallery in Canberra, for her portrait of Stratton.

"I want the viewer, in looking at the photos, to be able to identify with some subjects and react to what they see. I aim to show the things all people have in common and also those that make them individuals," Zwi.

Time Exposures: 60 Life Portraits is part of the Head On Photo Festival, andwill be available for viewing at Fisher Library from 22 May to 29 June 2013,