Chris Byrnes
 artist & photographer


Exhibitions & Statements

Master Fine Art (Photomedia) National Art School Darlinghurst Sydney 2017
A selection of varying stages of my research
Circles of Light: An Investigation of the Photographic Medium and a Chance Encounter

 Quiet Light Silent Space

These works explore the quietness of morning or evening, the silent space before the day takes a breath, a solitary morning walk or moment of quiet contemplation. 

While marking a temporary step away from lens-less and paper negative works of recent times, these somewhat disparate images about light, use the lens and film grain as a handmade medium.

Although perhaps more fitting to previous works, the following quote still expresses some of my thoughts about photography in general.  It speaks of the personal connection and commitment to art practice.

"But there is another kind of seeing that involves letting go. When I see this way I sway transfixed and emptied. The difference between the two ways of seeing is the difference between walking with and without a camera. When I walk with a camera I walk from shot to shot, reading the light on a calibrated meter.

When I walk without a camera, my own shutter opens, and the moment’s light prints on my own silver gut. When I see this second way I am above all an unscrupulous observer.[1] "

When I walk out into the world with my handmade cameras, I measure the experience in  breaths, pulses and heartbeats and wonder what is unfolding inside the camera at that point in time and space.

[1] Martin Barnes, Illumine, (London: Merrell, 2005), 22 [referenced by Barnes as being from Annie Dillard, Pilgrim at Tinker Creek, (London: Picador, 1974) 40] 

Painting with Light - Pinhole to Pixel
An exhibition for the Award of Bachelor Fine Art Honours

My research explores experimental, historical or elemental photography [referred to in this research as first photography]. This requires pushing the boundaries of old photographic technology as they collide head-on with contemporary digital imaging practice.  Pivotal to my analysis, and lying beneath the surface, is a personal struggle that is easily textualised as ‘the need to be known as an artist and the desire to remain unknown as a private, somewhat introverted individual being’.  At the very beginning it must be said, that while I recognise that I am consciously and subconsciously discovering and exploring the bigger questions in life, and in particular, the search for my place and understanding of the world around me; I have chosen to select a segment of the natural and scientific world, and to look at the relationship between science, light and art.  My aim is to experience or release the fundamental, essential, true, original, and primal elements, as they are revealed, across all stages of the performance ritual of making or discovering photography. 

The narrative will often reflect daily life and in particular, physical spaces I exist within. The decision to work within my set methodology comes out of both an aesthetic principle [one linked to the atmospheric style of painter Clarice Beckett (1887-1935) and the tonal experience of photo-impressionists such as Harold Cazneaux (1878 -1953)], and a desire to further expand upon this by mixing the scientific principles from early and first photography, and the directness and honesty of the physical sciences with ideas realised through human imagination.

On Land
An exhibition from Broken Hill and surrounding areas.

My work explores images of outback New South Wales.  I have taken a naïve, sentimental and emotional response in an attempt to describe the beauty, strength, weather (heat), physicality and uniqueness of the outback and the people who live within her.


Master of Fine Art National Art School 2017

Bachelor Fine Art (Honours) University of Newcastle 2010

TAFE Certificate IV in Library, Information and Cultural Services

Museums and Galleries 2014

Project Space attendant Australian Centre Photography
Former Member Newcastle Art Space Committee
Former writer - newcastleartspace.blogspot (Past)
Former Volunteer Worker Newcastle Community Arts Centre


Exhibitions & Events

Head On Photography 2021

Loud and Luminous Canberra and Sydney 2020

Head On Photography Festival Highlighted Photographer– Sydney 2020

PH21 Photography Gallery Self(ie) and other Budapest 2020

Reclaim Photography Festival Wolverhampton UK January 2020

Maud Street Gallery Brisbane, A Smith Gallery Texas World Cyanotype Day 2019

Reimagining the Canon Newcastle University Gallery October 2019

13th Pollux and the Julia Margaret Cameron Awards for Female Photographers Barcelona October 2019

Group exhibition with Shutter Hub Open International Photo Month Festival France “Time to Think”, July 2019

12th Pollux and the Julia Margaret Cameron Awards for Female Photographers Barcelona 2019

Group exhibition with Shutter Hub Open International Photo Month Festival France, Cambridge University UK and 5 & 33 Gallery Amsterdam 2018 - 2019

Monash Gallery of Art Victoria In Anna’s Garden, Group Exhibition Australian Cyanotype Practitioners for World Cyanotype Day 2018

Julia Margaret Cameron Awards 2018 Nature Series - Honorary Mention - Exhibition April 2019 Barcelona

Everything I Ever Learnt Group Exhibition Cambridge University UK 28 March - 3 May 2019

Published work Fine Art Black and White Photography 2019

Group Exhibition Newcastle Writers Festival 2019

Published work Shots Magazine 2019

Published work in The Hand Magazine 2018

Published work Fine art Black and White Photography Magazine 2018

Open Show Shutter Hub The Old Brewery London Oct 2018

Photography Show Shutter Hub France 2018

2016 Centenary Institute Fundraiser Exhibition Dominik Mersch Gallery Rushcutters Bay Nov 2016

Retrospective 15 years of Printmaking Newcastle Art Space June 2016

Head On Photography - Contact Sheet Gallery May 2016

Finalist The Alice Prize April 2016

Selected Works Cstudio Gallery Feb 2016

Bounds of Photography Gallery 139 Feb 2016

Positive Negative, Art Cooperative Gosford Feb 2016

NOHO M33 Gallery New York January 2016

Photography tour Iceland and Greenland, New York Centre for Photographic Art Aug-Sep 2015

Past & Present - Group Exhibition NAS Aug 2015

The Art of Paper - Group Exhibition Gallery 139 June 2015

TEXT Me - Group Exhibition Gallery 139 March 2015

BEGinnings - Group Exhibition Gallery 139 Feb 2015

NAS Fundraising Exhibition Jan 2015

Hunter Arts Network Coastal Journeys Nobbys Lighthouse Oct 2014

Newcastle Emerging Artist Prize Selection Sept 2014

International Postcard Print Exchange – Brooklyn New York July 2014

Transit Town Nobbys Light House Pop-Up Gallery July 2014

Selection for exhibition of pinhole images of Newcastle –

Queensland Centre for Photography May 2014

Quiet Light – Silent Space – Newcastle Art Space March 2014

Hawkesbury Art Prize – Freemans Reach Finalist October 2013   

Emerging Artist Prize  - Photography -  Newcastle Art Space September 2013

Wind – Exhibition with Newcastle Printmakers Group August 2013

The Print Exposed Gold Street Studios Victoria March 2013

Muswellbrook Photography Prize - Finalist February 2012

Photography 12A – Brunswick Street Gallery, Melbourne January 2012

Bronze Award – International Panoramic

Photography Competition 2011

No Alternative – Curator’s Choice Selection, Hand + Eye

Alternative Photography competition and exhibition USA  2011

Photography Show Brunswick Street Gallery 2011

Photography and art tour Italy Briagalong School of Art Victoria

Painting with Light – pinhole to pixel, Watt Space 2011

Photography ’09 - Brunswick Street Gallery, Melbourne  2009

Japanese Pinhole Photography Symposium/Exhibitions – Kyoto  2005 & 2007 & 2009

Outback Art Prize Selection – Broken Hill Art Gallery 2005

On Land Solo Exhibition – Watt Space Newcastle  2005

Student Art Exhibitions – Watt Space Gallery 2002-2008

Newcastle Printmakers Workshop Exhibitions (Annual) 1996-2006 & 2013


Hunter Arts Network Coastal Journeys - Highly Commended Award Oct 2014

Selection – Newcastle Emerging Artist Prize – 2014

Finalist Hawkesbury Art Prize 2013

Photo-media Prize – Emerging Artist Prize – Newcastle Art Space 2013

Selected for international exhibition “The Print Exposed’ 2013

Finalist Muswellbrook Photography Prize 2012

Selected for International Exhibition ‘No Alternative’ 2011

Finalist Jennie Thomas Travelling Scholarship 2010

Best Print Award, Exchange Partners in Print, 2003

Hunter Urban Division of General Practice Print Commission