Nine portraits by seven Australian photographers are among 200 shortlisted images which will be, for the first time ever, exhibited in space and transmitted into infinity, as part of the Portrait of Humanity photo contest shortlist.
The publisher of the British Journal of Photography, 1854 Media, runs Portrait of Humanity with the aim of proving that ‘despite our many differences, we are able to unite as a global community… to create one of the greatest collaborative photography exhibitions in history’.
Australian photographers who have images in the shortlist include Cairns-based photojournalist Brian Cassey, Macedonian-Australian photographer Biljana Jurukovski, Sydney photographer Antoine Veling, Melbourne photographers Cathy Ronalds and Anne Moffat, Broome-based photographer Ingetje Tadros, and amateur photographer Kathryn MacPhee.
Cassey and Tadros both have two images shortlisted. One of Cassey’s is a striking portrait titled The Skin I’m In. It’s of Carol Mayer, a Cairns burn victim who the photographer previously photographed in 2011 and won the Walkley portrait prize.
As well as publishing the 200 shortlisted images in a book, they will also be sent to the edge of space. Why? Because we can!
‘In a feat never before achieved with a photographic exhibition, 200 shortlisted images will be used to broadcast a message of peace and unity from humankind to infinity.
‘Our partner, Sent Into Space, will launch a screen into the stratosphere with a 360 degree camera, so photographers can see their images displayed against the extraordinary backdrop of Space. The images will then be beamed onwards in binary code, travelling unimpeded through the solar system at the speed of light. These messages could continue on an infinite journey – or until another civilisation receives and decodes them.’
Sent Into Space is a marketing stunt company, which specialises in sending a weather balloon up into the atmosphere to capture a brand’s logo teetering on the edge of space, with the curvature of the globe in the background. ‘In the age of social media, attention is currency. Our clients routinely garner millions of views and engagements on social media at a fraction of the cost of other marketing campaigns for an incredible ROI,’ Sent Into Space pitches. The company has successfully launched over 400 objects into space, including a bottle of Jamieson Irish whisky, a Buzz Lightyear doll from the Toy Story movie, lego, vodka bottles, meat pies, and monitors with branded messages.
Before social media turned shrinking attention spans into currency, one would assume weather balloons were primarily sent into the atmosphere for scientific purposes. So yes, this may be the first photo exhibition ever shown in space, and the first show to be transmitted into the greater unknown in binary code. Next up, an exhibition on the ocean floor or inside a volcano?
‘It sounds like a bit of a stunt but it’s quite an exciting little stunt, you never know where they’ll end up … there’s a bit of romance about it,’ Cassey told the ABC.
In September, the judging panel will unveil 30 winning images which will be exhibited at photo festivals in New York, India, and Budapest. Click here to visit the Portrait of Humanity website.