“Photography is a space where I can be alone in my thoughts, observe and record.”
For the minimalist Australian photographer Justine Varga the darkroom is a refuge that allows her to “explore other concerns to do with the photographic medium, philosophy and art in general that are not wholly reliant on geographic location.”
Varga’s interest in photography began while she was in high school. As she told the Try Hard Magazine “Photography was part of my year eight art class. I connected with it immediately and before too long I was given free run of the darkrooms. I would be in there most lunchtimes, really whenever I could. I didn’t particularly enjoy school so it was a refuge for me.”
Now armed with a Bachelor of Fine Art’s degree with a photography major from Sydney’s National Art School, Varga indulges her interest in poetry using analogue photography as her medium.
As she explained to Sydney’s Museum of Contemporary Art in 2012 “Poetry has the ability to get to the core of things and at the same time is difficult to pin even when it is stripped down, for me it is felt. Like most art forms it becomes very much about your own experience your relationship to the work, it is personal whether you read it or create it. And when I think about this, this is largely why I want to be an artist and why I want to engage with art, to read poetry.”
As the Art Collector Magazine noted about Varga’s work “In our global environment of image saturation and infinite reproduction, her work is a welcome shift in the genre of photography. As is the focus not on self, through portraiture or the tiring documentation of the social activities of so many millions, but through symbolic gestures and actions that speak about individual existence in a private space.”
About her photographic process Varga has said “I enjoy exploring analogue processes, of late it has drawn me to concentrate on the film surface – this surface for me is one fundamental point of difference between the two [analogue and digital photography] and I have begun to exploit its materiality within works…”