Photojournalism student Michelle Doherty has taken the humble wedding picture from the album to the art world.
Michelle’s shot of her best friend’s Belgian wedding is now hanging in St Kilda’s Linden New Art Gallery, having won a prize in its coveted annual postcard show.
Michelle says she entered the picture to get an industry gauge of how her work was progressing.
“So I would have been pleased to be hung in the gallery let alone win a prize,” she says, on being awarded the $1000 Elwood Community Bank Linden Postcard Award. Her entry, The Ricegate Incident, captures a traditional wedding moment of rice being thrown over the newly-wedded couple.
“Because same-sex marriage is legal in Belgium, the big ticket issue was the rice. Simon was delighted and spent time out in front playing in the rice with the children before diving back in to guide his rice-averse husband out of the town hall. We were all covered in it, bespoke suits, hair, everything,” Michelle says.
“The point of the picture was to say it’s just marriage. It’s not about two men getting married, it’s about the rice and the child jumping right into the camera, and you get a sense of the merry-go-round kind of joy of the day, and all the other moments.”
The couple loved the image too. It’s now hanging on their own wall at home in Geneva, as well as at the historic mansion that houses the gallery, alongside a kaleidoscope of fellow entries.
“It’s a vibrant show and I love the fact that it has so much diversity,” Michelle says. “Art is hung according to colour.” The only requirement of entries is that each work measures no more than eight by 10 inches.
Michelle is a second-year student studying online via the Bendigo campus. She already has an arts degree through Melbourne University, but says she chose to progress her studies through the Bendigo course on the strength of then lecturer Julie Millowick.
“She’s the reason I chose to study here because of her artistry and background as a practitioner,” Michelle says.
“The skills I learnt very quickly in my first year I learnt from Julie, I had a very strong grounding from her.”
Although Michelle now lives in Canberra, she grew up in Bendigo and still has strong family ties to her home city. Her sister, local artist Donna Bailey, started in the same course in Bendigo.
Donna’s exhibition Don’t play on the mullock, was the first Bendigo Art Gallery Going Solo show for local artists.
“Donna and Julie have been my biggest artistic influences,” she says. “But my style is very different. I learnt from them but have done my own thing. I look forward to evolving as an artist with my work, but this is a really good starting place”
Michelle’s winning postcard will be on show at the Acland Street gallery until November 21.