As work around the country dries up, two Brisbane-based photo businesses have adapted and come up with new ideas to keep the doors open. Fine art printer, Brilliant Prints (Bpro), is cutting transparent acrylic sheets for businesses to use as a protective barrier at a service counter; while the Maud Street Photo Gallery is showing a ‘virtual’ and interactive online exhibition of Scan by fine art photographer, Jeff Moorfoot.

Twenty Carat Love is a subset of a much larger body of work titled Legumes Morts – literally dead vegetables. Part of the exhibition, Scan. Photos: Jeff Moorfoot.

When Irena Prikryl, director of Maud Street Photo Gallery and the new Queensland Centre for Photography, was forced to cancel the showing of Scan in-person, she explored installing a virtual exhibition online.

Rather than installing a basic online gallery, where a viewer scrolls or slides passed images, Irena wanted to provide justice to Jeff’s work and incorporate design to make the exhibition interactive and more interesting. The problem was she only has a basic knowledge of IT and web design.

‘I am relatively new to the digital design medium and am self taught,’ Irena told Inside Imaging. ‘It took me a good week to put this virtual exhibition together because as I said, from an IT perspective I am not that efficient and everything took me a while. But I am getting better and I hope with each future exhibition the process will get quicker.’

The virtual exhibition features seven series of images. The audience can view each series, which is accompanied with a project statement, and the photos appear side-by-side but can also be enlarged for a close inspection. For someone without a background in IT, Irena has produced a polished presentation and demonstrates one approach to show photography in a more meaningful way online.

Rodents Mort, a series that’s part of Scan, by Jeff Moorfoot.

‘Having the opportunity to work with an accomplished artist such as Jeff Moorfoot made the job an absolute pleasure. Moorfoot’s art in real life is always presented in the best possible form and the virtual presentation needed to be on par with the actual presentations.

‘I approached the process first and foremost from the visual design language. I needed to articulate strong but not imposing background for Moorfoot’s art. The choice of black background for the whole exhibition appealed to me; it’s letting the art present itself, and it created a great marriage between The Maud Street Photo Gallery’s black-and-white signature look and Moorfoot’s art.’

Before COVID-19 came along and put a stop to social gatherings, the Maud Street Photo Gallery had scheduled Scan to run from March 26 – April 1, including an artist talk, master class, and a lecture. Without an artist talk, Irena wanted to create some sort of ‘virtual opening’, to provide context and background to Jeff and Scan.

‘I have overlayed the Artist statement and the Bio over the back of Jeff’s head image; in my mind, that’s where the statement came from, and I positioned the menus in front of him, as if it’s him speaking and presenting the exhibition to us.

‘In terms of the actual exhibition, Jeff made a part of the curating process easy for me, he knew Maud gallery from his previous show and he knew the order in which he wanted the images to be displayed, so I just followed his lead in the flow of the exhibition.

‘I am pleased with my achievement, that Jeff’s art in this virtual exhibition speaks for itself and is not lost amongst the digital clutter of menus and icons and page layouts, etc. I don’t think it’s all that much different from curating an actual exhibition at the Maud Gallery.’

Check out the exhibition here.