Venus Virgin Tomarz by Robert Earp

Described as a an intergalactic adventure in photo making, the conceptual photography of Robert Earp focuses on the ‘surreal realness’ of transgendering with his current exhibition. Named after Earp’s ‘divalicious’ artist/collaborator/muse – and featuring the sometimes-salacious and ever-sassy wordplay of Ian Buckland – the true story of Venus Virgin Tomarz is told in hyper-colourful composite photographs that recall the sci-fi kitsch of yesteryear. Think Barbarella-meets-Flash Gordon-meets-Dune. Entire galaxy and epic encounters have been created in minute detail, using everyday household items as their building blocks.  

© Robert Earp
Two Faces. © Robert Earp

“The idea of taking 1960s sci-fi as the metaphor of Venus’ story of transgender, I just thought that was brilliant,” says Earp. “What I brought to the table was, if we’re going to make it a true nod to ‘60s sci-fi, we’re going to have to build it all ourselves. We’re going to have to make stars, make planets, make aliens, and make it come to life.”

In Venus Virgin Tomarz’s universe, the stars are bicarbonate soda, mixed spices or a sprinkling of chalk dust; the moon is a swirling pour of beer; a Kitchen aid blender whips up tornadoes; and the flesh of alien robots comes from the fish in Earp’s tank. 

Playtime with Pluto. © Robert Earp.
Playtime with Pluto. © Robert Earp.

Nothing is as it appears but, once you metaphorically scratch the surface, these very analogue methods come together to pose profound futuristic questions that affect us all (whether goddesses or otherwise). Where are we going and how are we getting there? Will we be able to accept each other in whatever guise we appear?

Ride the Rocket. © Robert Earp
Ride the Rocket. © Robert Earp
Mars Triumph. © Robert Earp.
Mars Triumph. © Robert Earp.
Clash of Two Worlds. © Robert Earp.
Clash of Two Worlds. © Robert Earp.

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March

An ancient rock shelter in remote Arnhem Land decorated with complex x-ray figures and naturalistic animals is one of a number of extraordinary Indigenous sites featured in this exhibition of work by acclaimed Melbourne photographer, John Gollings.

May

World Press Photo rewards the best pictures contributing to the past year of visual journalism. This year, one Australian was in the final six for World Press Photo of the Year.

June

For this exhibition, Dianna Snape has carefully curated a series of aerial photographic abstractions that explore the 2,850 square kilometre Tarangire National Park in Tanzania’s Manyara region.

July

The National Photographic Portrait Prize is an annual event intended to promote the very best in contemporary photographic portraiture by both professional and aspiring Australian photographers.