Andrew Quilty’s censored images, Reportage Festival, Sydney: Works at Reportage Photography Festival in Sydney have been censored after a NSW government agency deemed them ”too distressing” for the general public, including the images of photographers James Nachtwey, Yuri Kozyrev, Daniel Berehulak, Alex Webb, Andrew Quilty, Ed Giles, Conor Ashleigh, Raphaela Rosella, David Smith, Adam Ferguson, Jodie Bieber, the Degree South collective, Jack Picone, and David Burnett.

Above are images courtesy of Andrew Quilty/Oculi which were censored. All are from his series “After The Storm” depicting landscape in the aftermath of three natural disasters in Australia in recent years - The Victorian Bush fires of Feb. 2009, the Queensland Floods of Jan 2011 and Cyclone Yasi, Feb 2011.

These are three of the thirty-odd photographs depicting landscapes in the aftermath of three significant natural disasters in Australia since 2009. Combined, more than 200 people lost their lives in the fires, floods and cyclone that struck the eastern states of the country. 

The photographs are largely devoid of a human element. They focus primarily on the effects on the environment. These and the rest of the body of work were deemed “too distressing” by Reportage Festival sponsor, Destination NSW and banned from being screened in the public projections at Sydney’s Circular Quay along with the work of more than twenty renowned photojournalists from around the world. -AQ

More on the situation from Ed Giles, a photojournalist who has spent the past two years documenting the political upheaval in Egypt: 

The NSW State Government, via its tourism division ‘Destination NSW’, is actively and aggressively censoring the photographic work that we planned to show in public on Circular Quay at the Reportage Festival of Documentary Photography, 2013.

Over two thirds of the photographers who submitted work have either been banned from our outdoor projections, or have elected to pull their bodies of work after having their stories heavily clipped. This includes the work of international and Australian multiple award-winning photographers inlcluding James Nachtwey, Yuri Kozyrev, Adam Ferguson, Daniel Berehulak, Andrew Quilty, Alex Webb, Jodi Bieber, Paula Bronstein, the Degree South collective, Jack Picone and myself.

Within the above group of photographers includes winners of each and every major photographic and/or journalism prize on the face of the planet, some, such as Jodi Bieber and James Nachtwey, multiple times over. For example, my edit of 36 pictures from my two years documenting Egypt’s post revolution political scene was reduced to 17 pictures, and I have pulled my work completely from the outdoor show in protest.

As another example, Andrew Quilty’s quite lyrical and beautiful panoramic landscape photographs of the aftermath of disasters in Australia, including the Victoria Bushfires and Cyclone Yasi, have also been black listed completely after being deemed ‘too distressing’. We will be screen all of the work for the Reportage 2013 projections at an indoor venue in the coming days, and possibly elsewhere in Sydney, so stay tuned … this story will not being going away quietly. -EG

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Images copyright Andrew Quilty/Oculi.


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