Collodion and Cosplay: A prize-winning student artist

9 November 2017

"Being a recipient of generosity like this empowered me to persevere in my research and believe in my abilities."

The Gray Smith and Joan Scott Prize at the ANU School of Art and Design was established by Sheenagh Callahan in honour of her parents. The prize recognises outstanding students who are enrolled in an Honours year in the Bachelor of Visual Arts at ANU in Painting, Photography, Printmedia and Drawing, or Animation and Video.

The 2017 Gray Smith and Joan Scott Prize recipient, Prue Hazelgrove, is a photographer currently studying Honours in Photomedia at the ANU School of Art & Design.

Originally from Port Macquarie, Prue says she quickly felt at home at ANU.

"I like the community and culture of the School of Art & Design. It's a tight-knit family that you can really feel at home in"

Prue’s Honours project specialises in wet-plate collodion photography, an old photographic medium which predates digital and film. She uses this medium to photograph Cosplayers – where participants wear costumes and accessories to represent specific characters – and observe the interaction of a very old process and a very new culture.

Without the prize, Prue says she would have struggled to afford the materials used in the photography process. The benefits of the prize have also extended beyond the financial.

“It was so encouraging to not only receive practical financial support but to know that there are people who are sufficiently invested and passionate about what I’m pursuing that they take action. Being a recipient of generosity like this empowered me to persevere in my research and believe in my abilities.”

Prue’s Honours research has led her to consider further research, including a possible PhD on the history of wet-plate photography and the collodion process in Australia and its role in today’s society.

Prue has also undertaken a residency at Photoaccess and participated in an exhibition at the Canberra Museum and Gallery, made possible by the Emerging Artist Support Scheme.

“I’m blown away by the generosity and connections in the Canberra art scene so, whatever I do, I’m keen to embed myself in the community here, its galleries and museums, and work alongside the amazing people.”

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