The Heavy Collective Is Making and Recording Australian Photographic History

We talked to one of the collective's founders about why the photo book will never die.

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Feb 24 2015, 12:00am


Image by Zhang Xiao

Sydney photographer Jack Harries is one half of The Heavy Collective, a blog and community leading the curation of antipodean photography. Over the past few years he and his partner Geordie Cargill have created one of Australia's most interesting image archives by working with both big and small names through their exhibitions, book fairs, and publications. And if that wasn't enough, they also just opened Sydney's only independent photo book store, Press Books .

We called Jack just before the relaunch of their website, the release their new book, and their launch into the stratosphere.

VICE: So the Heavy Collective is making the jump from the internet to reality?
Jack Harries: We've been online for four years now—it's free, it's an easy thing to do—but print has always been the dream. We're all about print, we own a photo bookstore here in Sydney. The book's been a long time coming, it just took a long time to come.

Is there anyone in particular you were excited to have in the book?
I guess all of them. We put together a list of ten long-shot names we really respected and were shocked to have them all come on board. I'm definitely excited about all of them.

That's a very diplomatic answer.
Mark Steinmetz is a black-and-white photographer who we've had a crush on for a very long time. Tim Page is the kind of guy whose name precedes him, he was the Vietnam photographer—the guy's a living legend. I could go through all the names, I've got wonderful things to say about all of them.

Are there certain things that define the Heavy Collective aesthetic, or do you feel it's pretty open?
I think there is a bias. We definitely lean towards film photography, I mean not strictly, but me and Geordie both shoot film and I guess it's something that really appeals to us.

Has the role of a curator affected your personal work?
Yeah, definitely. I guess some days it makes you feel like you don't want to do it anymore. And some days it's great, but you have to be careful to not use other people as a measuring stick for your own output. I guess it helps in the way it lets you see how work is made—who makes it and for what reasons.

What's next for you beyond putting the book out?
We're doing a Kickstarter at the moment to relaunch the website at the same time the book comes out. We want it to have more of a focus on projects and community, mixed in with the interviews that we're known for.

Why do this book when you've already made such a place online?
Photography at the moment is kind of like running water: Everyone's a photographer and all that. In reaction to that, I feel the photo book community has really come together. There are more photo books being published now than in the last ten years. I think its never been as healthy, but never been as hard to define.

You have to embrace photography for what it is—it's the people's medium. You have to keep on top of it, we're all about paying respect to where it came from, but you have to embrace the future as well. More so now than ever.

Check out The Heavy Collective's Kickstarter before 25 March.

Follow Ben Thomson on Instagram.

Image by Zhang Xiao

Image by Tim Page

Image by Tim Page

Image by Mark Steinmetz

Image by Mark Steinmetz

Image by Lucas Foglia

Image by Lucas Foglia

Image by Stacy Kranitz

Image by Stacy Kranitz

Image by Bryan Schutmaat

Image by Bryan Schutmaat

Image by Kate Peters

Image by Kate Peters

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