The Reading Room

Every year at the OBSCURA Festival of Photography, a selection of photobooks specially curated for the festival are made available for public browsing. This year, the photobook library will be held at The Black Kettle, first floor. Visitors to the festival can also look forward to talks by curators and some of the photobook artists about their photographic practice, thought process, and challenges in editing and putting together their photobook. As part of OBSCURA festival tradition, there will also be open sessions for photographers with manuscripts or published books to share their work with the audience. A selection of photobooks will also be available for sale at the festival.

My Own Reality

My Own Reality is a photobook curation that pokes at discovery of personal truths and perceptions of life through forms of investigation, evidence of life and exploring the world. It looks at questions like how do we decide what is included in our own discovery of personal truth, what are the differences in topics that people decide to focus on that brings them meaning and a possible step closer to their own personal truth and surrounding?

From the unassuming, newspaper format of Charlie Hillhouse’s Photographs that depart from a project full of pretentious concept and appreciating the simple things to Shinji Otani’s The Country of the Rising Sun that deeply reflects on his home country of Japan. The selection brings together nine photographers whose work approaches the matter in either an abstract or direct way to question their own reality and personal truths.


Scrapbook – Hajime Kimura
Poet Island – Atshushi Fujiwara
You’re Not From Around Here – Dessrihana Utomo
Daydream – Tomoaiki Makino
I Keep Mine Hidden – Drew Pettifer
PHOTOGRAPHS – Charlie Hillhouse
THEY – Zhang Xiao
Primal Mountain – Yuji Hamada
The Country of the Rising Sun – Shinji Otani

Curator : Jordan Madge

Jordan Madge (b.1994) is a photographer based in Melbourne, Australia. His work is concerned with deconstruction of place through photographic narrative. His process includes image appropriation, found objects and his own photographs. In 2015 he graduated with a BA of Photography (Documentary) at Photography Studies College Melbourne. During that year he had a solo show as part of the Photobook Melbourne Festival. In 2016 he was the recipient of the Australian Photobook of the Year Award (Unpublished) and featured in The British Journal of Photography’s ‘Modern Myths’ issue. In 2016 he completed a residency program and held a solo exhibition at Youkobo Art Space in Tokyo, Japan. During 2017 he held a solo exhibition at the Centre for Contemporary Photography in Melbourne and was in a group show titled ‘Shadows are Cast by Things and People’ at the Australian Centre for Photography curated by The Heavy Collective. He was also a part of a projection titled ‘I Love a Sunburnt Country’ which was shown as part of The Night of the Images organised by the Musee de I’Elysee in Lausanne, Switzerland and curated by Claire Monneraye the former Australian Centre for Photography head curator.


James Talalay

Supreme India is a moving celebration of James Talalay’s two-year journey wandering through India, photographing the details of everyday life away from sights typically featured in the images the West sees of the country.

Talalay visited and photographed people and places with an eye toward recording exactly what is seen in the daily rhythms of India. He finds and brings out the beauty in the prosaic and mundane, concentrating on regal composition and the presence of color in the work. Influenced by Walker Evans’ images for the Farm Security Administration (FSA), Talalay’s work is a nod to historical truth and the significance of the patina of the country.

Supreme India explores themes of dignity and joy, so evident throughout the country. Talalay found expressions of those qualities despite the myriad difficulties the Indian people face among such an enormous, diverse population in a challenged land.


James Talalay is an American photographer. He graduated from New York University with a major in Art History and a minor in Photography. He has lived and photographed all over the world, most recently residing in India, Lithuania and currently in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. He has completed photography workshops in India, Sierra Leone, Poland and Washington, DC.

His approach to photography projects is anthropological and also reflects his view of how people present images of their culture to the public.

For his professional career, Talalay has worked on movies, TV shows, and commercial and Internet productions.