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


Finalist Ravenswood Prize for Women 2022

Finalist Sunshine Coast Art Prize 2022

Finalist Newcastle Club Painting Prize 2022

Finalist Honorable Mention Blackstone Works on Paper Prize 2022

Finalist Lake Mac Art Prize 2022

Honorable Mention, Asia Pacific Photo Awards 2022 and Julie Margaret Cameron Awards 2022

Winner Hunter Emerging Artist Prize EXPERIMENTAL 2021 announced in 2022

Finalist Ravenswood Prize for Women 2021

Finalist Gosford Art Prize 2021

Hunter Arts Network Coastal Journeys - Highly Commended Award Oct 2014

Selection – Newcastle Emerging Artist Prize – 2014

Finalist Hawkesbury Art Prize 2013

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

Residency/International/National Self Directed Study


Iceland Greenland

LightHouse Arts Newcastle Inaugural artists residency