I came across Simone Darcy’s work in the most ‘Newcastle’ of ways: She knows someone I know. This sense of connection we feel with some, as we move in close circles, reinforces the feeling of separation from those whose experience is distanced and marginalized. As Simone strips her subjects of clothes, shelter and privacy, she effectively removes all that usually separates people from a cold winter morning, leaving them exposed and vulnerable. The separation between those who do it by choice – in the name of Art – and those who don’t is frayed, for an hour or two and irreversibly.
SIMONE DARCY: The Bus Stop Project is a series of ‘exposing’ portraits taken in the early mornings of the winter months of 2011 and has continued into 2012. The images were taken in the bus stop on Hunter Street, Newcastle. The artist built bus stop features domestic wallpaper and objects placed behind glass, giving a sense of the home and it has become a sort of home for a number of locals who live on the street and take refuge in the shelter throughout the day and night.
I wanted this project to be exhibited outdoors, outside the gallery space in a public location, where people would pass by daily. The work was exhibited in late 2011 as large posters in the back streets of Newcastle and I plan to exhibit a selection of the series as large billboard size posters later in 2012.
My work is inspired by an array of photographers, from Helen Levitt, Martin Parr, Juergen Teller, Rineke Dijkstra, Jeff Wall, William Yang to Alec Soth and Nan Goldin….
My portrait work can be viewed as having a minimalist style, with simple backgrounds which heighten the play and positioning of my subjects. Though these portraits may appear simple at first glance, woven within are concepts of social anxiety, the body in flux and displacement. I have lately come to refer to my work as self-portraits.
© All photos are copyright of Simone Darcy.
Images from the Bus Stop Project have in 2012 been selected in: Head On Portrait Prize, The Australian Centre of Photography; Josephine Ulrick & Win Schubert Photography Award; Muswellbrook Photographic Prize.
Ahn & Pete, The Bus Stop Project was awarded second prize in the Queensland Festival of Photography Portrait Prize, QCP
Simone Darcy lives in Newcastle where she works as a freelance photographer and casual photomedia lecturer at The University of Newcastle. Simone’s portrait work will be published in Identities Now, Contemporary Portrait Photography, Peter Hay Halpart Fine Art, New York, due to be released later in 2012.
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