The Sacrifice exhibition is now on display at the Springsure Regional Art Gallery. With a mix of older prints and images taken this year, this particular display feels like a particularly diverse rendition of a project that is now nearing the end of its third year, and is still going...
With over 80 portrait sessions conducted since the start of the project, I am starting to see parallels between some of the stories I have collected. One example is the connection between Benoit Sadry’s story of sacrifice and that of Brian Courtice. As president of the Association of Families of Martyrs from the Oradour Sur Glane massacre, perpetrated by the Nazi in 1944, Benoit Sadry ensures that the memory of one of the darkest episodes in modern French history is upheld with respect and dignity. Similarly, but with less official support, Brian Courtice has for decades been raising awareness of the fate of the 29 South Sea Islanders buried in unmarked graves on his property in rural Bundaberg. His relentless efforts to get recognition that slavery was at the centre of the economic development of the region will hopefully lead to adequate commemoration of those who fell victim of slavery and exploitation in Australia.
This is the last week to see the Sacrifice exhibition at Bundaberg Regional Art Gallery. To mark the end of this exceptional display, I will share some of the portraits and stories I gathered during my July artist residency in Bundaberg, organised with the support of the Regional Art Development Fund.
I photographed Aunty Lauretta and her daughter, Aunty Diana, on the site of the South Sea Islanders cemetery in Bundaberg. They hold valuable knowledge about a painful past that is seldom acknowledged and at risk of remaining a footnote in the history of the Bundaberg Region. The generosity with which they shared stories with me reminded me that cultural and historical knowledge is precious and calls for respect.
Aunty Lauretta gave me a beautiful shell necklace before we parted company. It was a gift I didn't really know how to handle. Should I wear it, although I never wear jewellery? Should I keep it in a special place but not wear it? Would I be accused of cultural appropriation if I did wear it? Should I tell everybody about it and make it about me? 
The gift of stories is the same as this delicate artefact. We must question what our relationship to these stories is and how to understand them, respect them, how to pass them on, and to whom.
The Regional Arts Development Fund (RADF) is a partnership between the Queensland Government and Bundaberg Regional Council to support local arts and culture in regional Queensland.

Not long now! Sacrifice exhibition at @gladstoneartgallerymuseum starts on 30th July, and yes, I am still getting my scans ready!

Trying to squeeze another sacrifice portrait shot on film into the selection for my exhibition at Gladstone Regional Art And Museum. 
*insert motivational quote about self development” 

Sacrifice is a projects made of portraits, but I see them as collaborations and therefore, contributed words are equally important. Transcribing, cutting, editing those words with absolute respect for the stories and the people has kept me and Jennifer Staples busy over the last few days. It will all come together for the Sacrifice exhibition at @gladstoneartgallerymuseum starting at the end of this month.

Digitising my latest portraits for Sacrifice before school.

Despite an incredibly busy week and weekend, I still managed to shoot a couple of portraits for Sacrifice. I’m pretty sure that the portraits and stories of Dylan and Wanda De Parke (@wandadeparkes) will make it into the exhibition at Gladstone Regional Art Gallery & Museum (@gladstoneartgallerymuseum) starting at the end of July.

Another late night, this time to finish an application for an artist residency in France next year. Believe it or not, I’ve not written in my native tongue that I’m now having to use a French/English dictionary in reverse!

Channeling Wolfgang Tillmans (@wolfgang_tillmans) with promotion images for Queensland artist Julia Higgs. Shot on @fujifilm_profilm that expired in 1996. Indeed film never dies.

Site visit of the future exhibition space at Benevolent Living in Rockhampton. Fantastic concept for aged community living with a big focus on the arts. Allison and Jaimie are so enthusiastic about their work. I really hope we get to work together on a Sacrifice collaboration in the not so distant future.

The winners of the HeadOn Photo Festival 2021 Awards will be announced tonight. From tomorrow, you will be able to see my portrait entry as well as all this year's finalist at the Paddington Reservoir Gardens, 251-255 Oxford St, Sydney.
My first solo exhibition in Sydney at Gaffa is a significant milestone for me. The support I received from Gladstone Regional Council and the Queensland Government through the Regional Arts Development Fund was absolutely essential in reaching that stage in my career as an artist. It allowed me to contract NeoT Solutions to design this first exhibition of SACRIFICE and plan a tour that could see the portraits from the project shown in multiple locations throughout Australia. I'll be forever grateful for this opportunity.
#RADF #gladstoneregion #exhibition #art #photography #queensland
My first solo exhibition in Sydney at Gaffa is a significant milestone for me. The support I received from Gladstone Regional Council and the Queensland Government through the Regional Arts Development Fund was absolutely essential in reaching that stage in my career as an artist. It allowed me to contract NeoT Solutions to design this first exhibition of SACRIFICE and plan a tour that could see the portraits from the project shown in multiple locations throughout Australia. I'll be forever grateful for this opportunity.
#RADF #gladstoneregion #exhibition #art #photography #queensland
The first ever SACRIFICE exhibition starts tomorrow at Gaffa Gallery, 2 level, 281 clarence st, Sydney CBD as part of HeadOn Photo Festival . Since few of you will get to see it in situ, I will share the 17 portraits and stories featured in the exhibition at a rate of one per day. The exhibition will run until 29th November.
My portrait of activist, community radio DJ and cancer survivor Vivian Malo is a finalist in this year's HeadOn Photo Festival Portraits Awards in Sydney. Winners will be announced on Friday and you can attend the launch online. Details will be available here shortly:
Day off today and yet I was reminded of my project as I took Dope Lemon off the turntable because my son wanted to listen too War Of The Worlds instead. That’s the kind of sacrifice we accept as parents every single day.
#disco #prog #illdothisforyou #sacrifice
Some fights are worth fighting. Last night’s punch up with Microsoft Word eventually resulted in useable files for the @gaffagallery SACRIFICE exhibition didactics. Being printed at @officeworks just in time for the Saturday post. Thank you @neot_solutions for putting up with my last minute changes.
#microsoftword #ohdear #letsfight #sacrifice
The person who is usually behind the camera captured in front of it. 👋 William Debois 📸
Website in development for Sacrifice exhibiting at Gaffa Gallery for HeadOn
Test prints from @iconic_printing_and_framing have arrived and I’m trying to decide on textured or smooth paper finish. The prints for the Sacrifice exhibition at @gaffagallery during @headonphotofest will be gorgeous no matter what. #sacrifice #photography #portraitphotography #berggerpancro400 — in Gladstone, Queensland.
Today is what is know as, or might be referred to, as a day off, a holiday of sort, spent not doing any work, artistic or otherwise, in the company of my children and of some obsolete media.
Test prints are good. Beer is good. It’s time to get the prints for the SACRIFICE exhibition at @gaffagallery for @headonphotofest printed for real!
An evening of celebration for fellow RADF recipients who, like me, have been given funding to do the things we love. Thanks to RADF, I can employ @biancaroseacimovic from @neot_solutions to develop a touring program of exhibition and events that will make SACRIFICE accessible to audiences far and wide.
Finalising the selection of 17 images from Sacrifice with Bianca Acimovic (@biancaroseacimovic) from @neot_solutions who’s handling the exhibition at Gaffa (@gaffagallery) in Sydney in the most professional of ways.
Loving my 50th birthday present, a fujifilm instax camera. There is something immensely satisfying about instant snapshots.
The 46th Martin Hanson Art Awards Exhibition is now open at the Gladstone Regional Art Gallery (@gladstoneartgallerymuseum). It features the very first public exhibition of a print from my Sacrifice project. I’m immensely grateful that I got to photograph Gooniyandi woman, radio DJ and activist Viv Malo in Collingwood earlier this year. Go and see the exhibition. You won’t regret it.
I’d better do some serious digitisation if I’m to meet a big and fast approaching deadline!
Next in line to face the Hasselblad was one of the most successful Australian businessmen of all times: Andrew Forrest, of Fortescue Future Industries. I’m so grateful that he spared a few minutes to pose for me and tell his story of sacrifice.
If only I had more time to shoot for this project…
It’s been a while since I’ve set up this backdrop! Photographing Guillaume the Swiss adventure for Sacrifice today near Rainbow Beach.
Another funding application wrapped and submitted. If successful, I’ll get to work with the very experienced Bianca Acimovic (@biancaroseacimovic) from Neot Solutions (@neot_solutions) to develop a touring exhibition for Sacrifice. Wish me luck.

Doing some research for some elements of Sacrifice, you got to love a good Google suggested search.
A cyanotype print from this weekend’s workshop. More of a test than anything else but I think it’s a good starting point.
I photographed Zoe Godijn for the Financial Review a few days ago for an article that deals with the notion of sacrifice in large corporations. Pretty chuffed with the pictures they used for their printed edition too. Full story here:
Isn’t it nice to have the time to play?
Homemade hardening fixer is soooo pretty. 
Yep! I can't share the photographed selected as finalist for the HeadOn Photo Festival Awards exhibition yet, but let's say that I am super proud of the selected image.
Yesterday's Sacrifice photoshoot in Bundaberg involved my 2 children standing in a prickly bush to bounce some light off a sheet borrowed from Nikki, the portrait subject. Clearly i wasn't the one making any sacrifices on this occasion.
Today's Sacrifice portrait shoots took place in my own studio, which hosted the CQ Shopfront Artisan In Residence workshop and exhibition. It was the turn of artists Jen Hollstein and Jeanette Stok to face the Hasselblad and share their experience of Sacrifice.
Another great processing and scanning job by Fotofast in Brisbane. Few labs can make expired Kodak Portrait 220 film come back to life like they do.
When you suddenly remember that you actually bought the wine to tone your cyanotype prints with.
The possibilities offered by an exhibition of Sacrifice as part of the 2021 @headonphotofest in Sydney are endless. It’s literally a blank canvas, so I’m experimenting with leftover tarpaulin from the project as support for cyanotype prints. It might turnout terrible, or it might not, who knows?
Rage, rage against the dying of the light! I’m experimenting with cyanotype printing to see it the technique suits the portraits taken for Sacrifice. The problem is that shortening days mean less sunlight and consistent exposures. It’s still more fun than working at a computer though!
It won’t seem significant to you but I’ve just submitted my outcome report for the Individual Fund I received from Arts Queensland. This is quite a milestone for me as it denotes the success of the Sacrifice project and opens the door to further funding, possibly for a touring exhibition. Onward and upwards!
From Sharon & Austin’s session for Sacrifice, taken in Boggabilla, NSW.
New cafe and gallery in Gladstone! The Blue Mirror, at 153, Auckland st, next to the bike shop. Fantastic space. Go and see!

I’ll just leave this here.

Today is Anzac Day so it seems appropriate to share Jamie Tattersall’s contribution to my project Sacrifice in pictures and in his own words:
“Sacrifice to me can mean many things. Simply giving up a seat for a pregnant woman on a crowded train is sacrifice. It can be the smallest gesture of courtesy. I have always felt it important to give back to the community. I first started volunteering at 14 with a 100 km walk to raise money for high school cadet unit. Upon leaving school I committed myself to the Australian army due to my huge respect for those who have served and those who gave the ultimate sacrifice. I learnt a lot about the sacrifices made by so many in the past from my family. My father served for over 15 years in the army reserve and both my grandfathers served in world war 2. My mother’s uncle gave the ultimate sacrifice in ww2. As well as doing 4 years service myself I have given back to the community over the years. Due to being diagnosed with cardiomyopathy I was forced onto a disability pension 13 years ago and have since been even more involved with community work with local sports and the arts. I find that by giving back I really receive so much more in return. Each sacrifice I make gives an amazing sense of pride and worth. Each little sacrifice can give so many others joy as well. If we all could sacrifice just a little each day I absolutely believe the world could be a better place. We don’t all have to put hours of community work in. Simply helping the elderly carry some heavy things, wishing someone a wonderful day, giving someone a shoulder to lean on, in our own way we all make sacrifices.” James Tattersall, February 2021.
Earlier today. Vaughn posed for Sacrifice and told me his story of living with type 1 diabetes and still playing soccer for Central FC in Gladstone.
The Sheik of Scrubby Creek. I called him Mr Morgan, he said “the name is Chad!”
Ready to photograph Chad Morgan at the Bororen Hall for Sacrifice. He will be live from 1:30pm. This is a pretty amazing opportunity to see an unstoppable Australian country music legend and hear something quite quite unique!
These days, I have my Hasselblad, backdrop and some film with me wherever I go, ready for any opportunity to photograph people for Sacrifice. It was completely unplanned, but Suezanne, Rhianna and Paulien agreed to pose with their horses (one of them called “William”) before going on a walk in Lake Weyba yesterday.
This is my grandfather, Adrien Firmin Debois. The photographer is unknown but it most likely was his own father, and the date is probably 1910. In many ways, this connects with my own way of approaching portraiture. It’s a very inspiring visual reference for me.
I almost forgot that I did take some colour images during my Sacrifice road trip, using an Aires IIIc and some expired Agfa negatives. The town of Peak Hill have dedicated a street to one of my favourite bands. Surely that was worth a picture, right?

Just to show that even if Sacrifice is a serious theme, the shoots were often full of laughter.

Some fresh supplies of film, developer and storage from Decisive Moment. I'm catching up with commercial work at the moment but Sacrifice is a project that is very much ongoing.

I had a long conversation with my apprentice about portraiture and what constitutes objectification. I hope I didn’t come across as dogmatic. Anyway, this is Ross, who took part in Sacrifice near Dubbo, NSW. Wonderful man.

Although Sacrifice is an ongoing project, I am starting to write an exhibition proposal for it. I thought I was done analysing the concept itself, but it turns out that I had much more thinking to do! I don’t know if it’s a sign that the project goes deeper than I expected or that I simply didn’t grasp it in the first place.

To share or not to share? That is indeed the question! I am really quite happy with the portraits for Sacrifice that have so far been digitised. I want everyone to see how wonderful these people are, but I also feel that social media trivialises everything and that I should show these properly. Oh, what must one do?

Photographing for Sacrifice in Gladstone means that I can set up right around the corner from the studio and get help from Aidan, my apprentice! Much thank to @jharalyowyeh5 who gracefully accepted to share his story of sacrifice whilst attending the Closing The Gap Awareness Day organised by Gladstone Women’s Health Centre.

Digitising all the Sacrifice negatives has started and so far I am delighted with the results. The portraits feel raw, uncompromising, sometimes unflattering and hopefully do justice to the people who have shared their story of sacrifice with me.

I could be doing more work after a full day at work but I read I’ll read from @kerriephipps’s books, which she very kindly gave me after letting me stay at her and her husband @lyndon_phipps’s home in Dubbo. Do talk to strangers indeed, that’s how I managed to photograph most people for Sacrifice.

Turns out that the little Jucy van that could couldn’t no more and will be going back to its Brisbane home on a truck.
Back home and busy logging all the details from the Sacrifice photo shoots I’ve done over the last 2 weeks. The project has good exceptionally well so far, thanks to the many people who have supported me and taken part.
Over the last two weeks, the conversations I’ve had with portrait subjects for Sacrifice were often deep and sometimes political. Indigenous rights activist Robert Thorpe mentioned to me that Australia claimed the right to define the concept of genocide when ratifying the ICC’s Rome Statute. I did find it hard to believe so I researched it. It appears to be true and well documented. I’m sorry I doubted your words Robbie!
 “Closer to home, the Australian Senate only ratified the ICC’s founding treaty, the Rome Statute, after a bitter debate that split both the Liberal and National parties. This was the case even though the Howard government—and Foreign Minister Alexander Downer in particular—had been a leading advocate of the court and ratification of the Rome Statute had been a Liberal Party election promise in 2001. The cost that Downer, and pro-ICC Attorney-General Daryl Williams had to pay in order to appease restive conservative backbenchers, the National Party, and an increasingly reluctant (and pro- US) Prime Minister and secure the ratification was a declaration that reaffirmed the primacy of the Australian judicial system over the ICC. The declaration insisted that no Australian would be prosecuted by the court without the consent of the Attorney- General, and asserted Australia’s right to define what is meant by the crimes of genocide, war crimes, and crimes against humanity.”  
From Justice Beyond Borders?
Australia and the International Criminal Court by Alex J. Bellamy and Marianne Hanson.
L Home at last and developing the last 4 films from the trip, shot in Condamine and Theodore, Queensland.
Nearly home.
One of yesterday’s Sacrifice photo shoot locations, at the Goondiwindi Showgrounds. Vicky and Bruce own the Pelican and the 4 wheel drive vehicle it toes behind. They’ve been on the road for 24 years and would not consider moving into a house at any cost.
7 film rolls to process before I can hit the pub across the road... better get on with it!
Looks like someone who frequents the Goondiwindi touch footy club was very much alert to “stranger danger”. You could have just checked me out using the business card I gave you before calling the cops on me though, Karen, or whatever your name is!
Ooooohhhh I feel dizzy thinking of the possibilities this much tarpaulin would offer!
We all knew it was going to happen: I picked up a Tammy Wynette double CD for $3 as soon as I left Melbourne and she’ll forever be the sound of the Sacrifice road trip.
I’ve just left the CSIRO Australia Telescope near Wee Waa, where I photographed Peter, who keeps the antennas working and listening to the stars.
I develop in other people’s kitchens, bathrooms, BBQ areas; I develop everywhere I can, because latent images need to be revealed. 1000 thank you to Kerrie Phipps and Lyndon Phipps for their incredible generosity over the last 2 days and for letting me process six films in their kitchen.
Just had a mind opening conversation with Riverbank Frank from Leaderlife in Dubbo would gracefully accepted to take part in my Sacrifice project. Many thanks to Lyndon Phipps and Kerrie Phipps for introducing me to Frank and for taking this behind the scene picture.
Meet the Sacriwagon. Probably the ugliest vehicle I’ve ever driven, but it’s perfect for this project.
I spent Saturday morning taking pictures at the Jerilderie Working Dog Auction. I had to reassure the volunteer at the gate that I wasn’t an animal activist. A very enjoyable and educational visit. Did you know that a trained kelpie can fetch $20000 and can do the work of 2 people or more? I wonder if they can be trained to operate a computer.
I’m now in New South Wales, home of some very large geese.
Jerilderie working dog auction tomorrow. Are you thinking what I’m thinking?
Last night I got kicked out pretty swiftly from the Puckapunyal army base visitors car park, where I was setting up to photograph Narelle, army hospital clerk and military wife. We relocated to a nearby country lane, which was fine, but not as flat.
I hesitantly developed one film in the BBQ area of the Melbourne AirBnb accomodation where I was staying. The temperature was dropping very quickly outside so I left it at that. The operation was successful though, and both socks and film dried in time for me to pack and hit the road towards my next stop.
Southern Cross Station, Melbourne, this morning. Jeremy, a complete stranger, was waiting for his girlfriend and didn’t seem put off by my request to photograph him. The police was checking us out from afar, so packing the gear was pretty swift.
The location for yesterday’s Sacrifice shoot with Hadi was the stunning Jawbone Marine Sanctuary in Williamstown. Believe it or not, the tarpaulin went up and stayed up, despite very strong winds.
I set up my tarpaulin in Collingwood, Victoria, Australia yesterday to photograph Vivian Malo and Robbie Thorpe. They are radio DJs on 3CR Community Radio in Melbourne, Indigenous Social Justice Association - Melbourne (ISJA Melbourne) activists, pillars of the local community and incredibly generous and beautiful people. Now I need to process the films.
With the project now under way, costs are adding up. The generous support from Gladstone Regional Council through the Regional Arts Development Fund and from the Queensland Government through Arts Queensland’s Individual Fund has allowed the work for Sacrifice to begin but some funds are still required. Please click on “support SACRIFICE” to see how you may be able to help.
If you are wondering what the portraits for Sacrifice might actually look like, here is a sample from a photo shoot with Jamie Tattersall, Gladstone resident and ex-serviceman. 
Discover or rediscover the magic of black and white film in all its glory with our film photography workshops on 13th and 14th February. Booking essential. Please follow the link:
Read all about it: Sacrifice: a portrait project by William Debois is in the Observer today.
#sacrifice #radf #gladstoneobserver #artproject #filmphotography
New batch of film has arrived from A mix of Kodak Tri-X, discontinued and much missed Agfa Vista, and Bergger Pancro 400, my emulsion of choice for Sacrifice.
Please consider buying one of the perks available through my Indiegogo campaign to support this project
A large part of Sacrifice’s visual language comes from the backdrop I will be using for the portraits. I knew that a waxed canvas tarpaulin would give me the right look and texture but finding one was harder than I thought. Finally, this arrived. This ominous looking parcel holds precisely what I was after.
#sacrifice #black&white #shootfilm #vintageindustrial
SACRIFICE could not happen without the financial support from Gladstone Regional Council and the Queensland Government through the Regional Arts Development Funds and Arts Queensland's Individual Fund.
This said, grants never cover 100% of projects costs and I have started an Indiegogo campaign to raise the finances needed to make SACRIFICE a success. There. are some pretty cool perks available in exchange for donation, so please please please consider contributing:
Over the next few weeks, as I prepare for the actual photographic work involved in SACRIFICE, I will share some insight into the elements that make it unique. 
Since the project will be shot on film, I had to carefully research the type of black & white emulsion that would produce the look and feel I want for those portraits. I think I found a match in the Bergger official Panchro 400. You can read all about this distinguished company and their delightful products here:
#shootfilm #blackandwhite #sacrifice #gladstoneregion #radf #artsqueensland
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