A view from the porches of Hopetoun

A view from the porches of Hopetoun

Regional Arts WA

This story was submitted by a member of the regional arts sector: Kirsty Duffy from Rave About Arts (Ravensthorpe Regional Arts Council). We love sharing stories from the sector. If you want to find out how to submit your own stories, take a look at the submit your story page. We can’t wait to hear from you!

On 31st July 2020 Rave About Arts partnered with Dene Bingham Photography to bring the Porch Project Exhibition to the small coastal town of Hopetoun.

The exhibition was a showcase of images taken by Dene Bingham of Hopetoun locals on their ‘porches’ during the time when interregional borders were closed due to COVID-19 and the community was feeling even more isolated than the usual 7 hour drive to Perth or the 3.5 hour drive to Albany.

The photography project went beyond a mere image snap. Locals dressed appropriately and inappropriately for the occasion, sported props and even went to the trouble of making a “Dad Scare Crow” complete with cut out head photo because Dad couldn’t be there for the shoot.

As this memorable project swept through the town, stories emerged. For one couple it was the only professional photo taken since their marriage many years ago, happy tears were shed on the reveal of the image. A travelling family who had recently arrived in Hopetoun remained for 5 months after making new contacts through the project. The local IGA (and only grocery store in Hopetoun) used toilet paper in their photo shoot – a satirical nod to the great toiled paper debacle, now set in imagery as part of Hopetoun’s history.

These stories and more brought the community together in a time where the words social distancing graced everyones lips. The project enabled us to see beauty in and pay homage to the temporarily disconnected community faces.

Photographer Dene Bingham said the project had started out as a month long project, but continued for four months by the time it was wrapped.

“Each porch photo recipient had time to talk to me from their front porch,” they said. “For some this was the only contact they had for five or six weeks when COVID was first out there.”

Dene also noted that the project provided a sense of community while everyone was forced to stay at home, with folks waiting each night to see who would be featured next in the photo series.

Rave About Arts were proud to give flight to an exhibition that showcased the artistic work by Dene Bingham Photography. The exhibition will be on display for two weeks at the Hopetoun Community Centre for everyone to enjoy.

Photo books from the Porch Project can be ordered from Dene Bingham Photography.

Pictures from Porch Project and Exhibition, by Dene Bingham

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