Even though Starstruck features hundreds of photos, posters, documents and even costumes preserved by the NFSA, it is only the proverbial ‘tip of the iceberg’ from a collection of over 2.8 million items. Chief Curator Gayle Lake says ‘it is the most amazing collection, growing every day. To this day I can still go in and find things I didn't know we had and go, “Ooh aah”.’
According to NFSA Curator Jennifer Coombes and National Portrait Gallery Curator Penny Grist, it took them almost two years to survey the collection because it is ‘enormous’.
Telling a story in one picture
We interviewed some of the photographers featured in the exhibition, who talk about classic films such as Shine, Strictly Ballroom, Lion, Two Hands and Cosi.
Mark Rogers (Lion, Samson & Delilah, Animal Kingdom) says, about the work of stills photographers on film sets: ‘[Directors] have 90 minutes and hundreds of thousands of frames to tell their story. I'm trying to tell the story of that film in one picture.’
He added: ‘To see the work of other photographers [in the exhibition], my colleagues that I've worked alongside for 20 years, was really exciting. There might be another Starstruck in 50 years and I'll be one of the old dinosaurs whose work looks dated, but hopefully it's inspiring to the young photographer shooting stills ... if that still exists in 50 years’ time.’
Stuart Spence (Two Hands) explained that ‘the fact that the NFSA has that mandate to preserve that material is so extraordinarily important, especially the original material. It gives a sense of where you've come and where you're going. It's a real shame if we forget that.’
Lisa Tomasetti (Shine, Rabbit-Proof Fence) feels ‘incredibly chuffed’ to be a part of Starstruck, ‘to know that you're a part of that whole feast, that fabulous feast where we tell our stories.’
Starstruck: Australian Movie Portraits runs from 2 March 2019 at HOTA, Home of the Arts on the Gold Coast until Sunday 28 April 2019. See the HOTA website for events and screenings complementing the exhibition.