GOMA Q: Kim Guthrie in conversation


Kim Guthrie is a compulsive photographer. He documents his encounters with the people, objects, scenes, signs and settings that he encounters daily in his surrounds and travels. Guthrie explains:

I’ve spent most of my career to date being overlooked and ignored because the world admires popular culture and my worldview is an un-popular culture — things the general population don’t usually aspire to or are used to rejecting, because of social bias. I spent the 1980s living on the margins of society addicted to heroin and developed a mutual respect for outsiders and the marginalised. My photographs are a work-in-progress, an ongoing self-portrait informed by my own aesthetic filter: my art training, composition, art historical references, colour relationships, and my personal history. It’s low-fi with no Photoshop gimmickry or artifice, just the trust of the ‘strangers’ I encounter and ‘things’ as they present themselves to me. Some things have a particular magic that compels my image-making. I share a love for and affinity with the regularly ignored people and things in society — the honesty and resilience of ordinariness, diametrically opposed to a fatuous celebrity culture. To the rest of the world, we are exotic — a unique melting pot that is our distinctive cultural identity, our Australian-ness. After a lifetime immersed in the language of visual art, I celebrate the uncelebrated as culturally significant.

By extension Guthrie’s broader practice can be seen as a cumulative self-portrait in which the true subject is hidden behind the lens.


Kim Guthrie’s ‘My vanishing act’ series is on view in ‘GOMA Q: Contemporary Queensland Art’ currently at the Gallery of Modern Art (GOMA) until 11 October. The accompanying publication profiles the latest innovations and achievements by some of Queensland’s leading visual artists.

Kim Guthrie, Australia b.1957 / From ‘My vanishing act’ series: War of the roses (from ‘The word on the street’ series) 2012 / Digital photograph slideshow displayed on five monitors / Courtesy: The artist / © The artist