Wootton Be Anywhere Else - A self-portrait by photographer artist Jo Lyons and husband Neal on their 11th Wedding Anniversary with the Kids

Wootton Be Anywhere Else – Photography Exhibition

Wootton Be Anywhere Else – 12 Photographs of Passionate Woottonites

By dog and family photographer Jo Lyons

On display from 11 March to 10 May 2022 in the Brush Turkey Cafe – 1633 Wootton Way, Wootton NSW 2423. Opening hours: 8.30am – 11.30am Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays.

On Remembrance Day, 11 November 2021, I was invited as the next artist for the Wootton Community Network’s Meet the Artist event. This is a quarterly wine and cheese night exhibition opening in our teeny tiny town of Wootton in the Great Lakes Region of the beautiful Barrington Coast NSW.

IN A NUTSHELL – THE OFFICIAL INTRO

“Photographs of some of the wonderful people who are living and loving life in our beautiful Wootton.

This project was a comfort zone challenge undertaken in a short time-frame for Jo who primarily photographs dogs and their human families.

Jo has a passion for bringing our community together and hopes this exhibition will ignite a new energy to encourage others to participate in all things community.

The Wootton Community is a haven for talented artists, writers, gardeners, craftsman and all-round awesome people.

In a nutshell, most who have found their home here, Wootton be anywhere else!”

My Human Muses

For this project, I chose to photograph local people within our community. We moved to Wootton three years ago and it was the best decision we’ve ever made. We’ve made a life here on our farm, we run two businesses and have thrown ourselves wholeheartedly into our community since we arrived. We have met many like-minded people who have embraced life in our town and surrounding farmland and forests.
 
I had a couple of muses in mind to help me get into the groove, our gorgeous friends and almost neighbours Julie and Warren. I love these two so much. They are a match made in heaven and when I first met Julie when we moved to Wootton, I immediately felt a connection and she had an incredible likeness in energy to my own Mum who I lost in 2016. We’ve been firm friends since that day.
 
Warren, well he even has his own hashtag (which I created!) #welovewarren. You couldn’t meet a more positive and loving man who appreciates every single moment and is always willing to help out when our bridge floods over by clearing it when the flood subsides. Warren is also our local JP and a mad Rabbitoh’s fan.
 
These two kindly spent an hour in our farm shed studio the afternoon of the Christmas Party at the Sawmill back in December … a party none of us were going to miss! We withheld the champs in an effort to help me nail a beautiful portrait of them and help me on my path to find and photograph 10 others in our community.
Wootton Be Anywhere Else Muses Warren and Julie Wall Art

The Planning and Shooting for Wootton Be Anywhere Else

The photographs were taken over January and mainly February of 2022 and worked around my client sessions. Each image was thoughtfully created and taken mainly on farms and in the homes of those I photographed. I’m very grateful to each of them for accepting my invitation to be photographed for this exhibition.

ARTWORK, COFFEE AND ARTISAN TREATS

The exhibition will be on display until 10 May 2022 in the Brush Turkey Cafe in Wootton. My husband Neal and I operate a cafe called Hardwood Espresso within the Brush Turkey and we are open from 8.30am until 11.30am on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays. If you are in the area, you can view the exhibition when Hardwood Espresso is open, and enjoy a delicious coffee and artisan treat while you are there.
 
Naturally, Hardwood Espresso is a dog-friendly cafe! We are located at 1633 Wootton Way, Wootton NSW.

The Virtual Exhibition

Viewing the exhibition digitally is no match for seeing the real thing in fine art, however for those who are out the of area, I hope you enjoy this virtual exhibition.
Adam our Wootton RFS Chief and his lovely wife Larn after the callout, 2022.
Al, Ajax and Mary - The gardener and cook extraordinaire, at home, 2022.
Carole with her cherished dogs amongst the trees, 2022
Chris and Susanne with their Belted Galloways, 2022
Julie and Warren of Rabbitohs Lane, 2022
Kristin Coburn - the re-emerging of the artist, 2022
Leanne and Peter prepping for guests at the Wootton Guesthouse, 2022
Neal the chef and Jo the photographer 11th Wedding Anniversary self-portrait with their kids in the studio, 2021. We Wootton Be Anywhere Else!
Paul Smith the Artist and his masterpiece, 2022
Robyn and Steve peeping out from the historic cottage at Great Lakes Paddocks, 2022
Sculptor Ella Szpindler in her studio crafting a koala from chicken wire, 2022
Tracy Smith the Artist in her Wootton Studio, 2022

INSPIRED BY AND DEDICATED TO GINA MILICIA

Late in 2021 I joined a photography mentoring group called The Goldies, and our mentor was the late Gina Milicia, one of Australia’s most renowned and talented commercial photographers. I discovered Gina in January 2021 while listening to PhotoBizX, a podcast for photographers. Gina was giving a coaches prediction to the year ahead and I just loved her voice and her warmth, so I started listening to her podcast.
 
Even though I was new to her group and I wish I’d found out about it years ago, she gave me valuable feedback on the few times I’d posted my work in the group. Gina was an incredible photographer who gave so selflessly to help other photographers improve their craft, particularly around the areas of lighting and posing people. I really was a rusty rooky in this area and I still have a lot to learn and improve up on when it comes to people portraiture.
 
Sadly Gina passed away in early February 2022, which was a huge shock to us all in The Goldies Community. I dedicate this project in honour of Gina, and thank her for the knowledge I gained in the short time I knew of her.

WHAT NEXT?

If this exhibition inspires you to want to have some beautiful photographs taken of you and your family on your own farm in Wootton or surrounds, please get in touch. We specialise in printed artwork and all our products are made in Australia and will be cherished for generations to come.

We have just started building a dedicated photography studio on our farm in Squires Road which will hopefully be up and running from July 2022. More to come as the studio progresses… if this rain ever stops. We are now taking bookings for the second half of 2022.

If you’ve been putting off having your photos taken, this blog post might just push you to take action: Pet Photography 52 Weeks Project – Week 18 – Pets and People.  Life is short, don’t waste a minute.

Artboard 1 copy

4 Comments

  1. Kieran Stuart-Jones on 5 April, 2022 at 3:18 am

    What a brilliantly diverse group you ‘captured’ Jo, every single one of those photos is a faithful portrait of the people we’ve come to admire, respect and of course ‘love to like’. Your talent is growing exponentially!

    Thank you for sharing your ‘inner eye’. Can’t choose my favourite ,,, maybe it’s Warren & Jules … no it’s Adam & Larn – but then Mary, Al and Ajax is wonderful (decisions, decisions!). I’ve got it…

    You and Neale and the furfam… – yup, that’s the one! (At least till I look at them again)

    • Jo Lyons on 9 April, 2022 at 7:05 am

      Thank you so much for your feedback Kieran! It was such a great experience and I’m so glad to have been able to provide some wonderful memories for all to enjoy.

  2. Sue Williams on 6 April, 2022 at 6:38 am

    Hi Jo you really captured the essence of the people who live in Wootton in these wonderful portraits that will surely be cherished by many families. We all look forward to seeing more of your work and are so glad to know that you Wootton Be Anywhere Else.

    • Jo Lyons on 9 April, 2022 at 7:06 am

      Thank you Sue, it was a pleasure and you’re so right… we Wootton Be Anywhere Else!

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