PW14-01-Paredes cover (300)a~

Latin America–China

Extending the Conversation

Following the highly successful series of interviews with Australian photomedia artists published in PhotoWorld’  in 2013, the Chinese magazine has commissioned Alasdair Foster to write a further 12 articles based on conversations with photographers in Latin America. 2014 opened with the Peruvian artist Cecilia Paredes  whose work features on the front cover of the January edition and across a 12-page spread inside.

During the year Alasdair Foster will interview artists from Argentina, Brazil, Colombia, Guatemala, Mexico, Peru and Uruguay. In line with CDC’s mission to encourage empathy through visual dialogue, the commission represents a valuable platform through which to open up new cultural conversations across the richly diverse Asia-Pacific region.



Conversing in Pictures

In 2013 the respected Chinese magazine PhotoWorld commissioned Alasdair Foster to write 13 articles, each of which featured an Australian practitioner.

He selected the artists with a special emphasis on the diversity of approach and visual language at play in our country and each article consists of an introduction, interview and portfolio.

In all, the features span 148 pages presenting 220 images which are explored in texts amounting to over 25,000 words. More…

Alternatives header  01 bIntroducing the Q&A Alternatives Season

IN THIS SERIES OF INTERVIEWS, Alasdair Foster talks with cultural practitioners who take an alternative approach to creativity – their own or that of others. These individuals hail from various cultures and continents; they have diverse aspirations and idiosyncratic means for achieving them. There is no consistency, no single path. Nor should there be.

Some look critically upon the world around them – be it the institutional world of art or the wider world of human affairs. Others seek to build connections where previously there was alienation; offering a means of expression to the marginalised and the dispossessed. And some simply try to feel their way to a sense of personal truth that can be communicated outwards in the centrifugal language of the eye. Each, in their different way, suggests how a questioning mind, human connection and creativity can work synergistically to achieve results significantly more valuable than those measured by the market or celebrity. 


Proboscis: Giles Lane and Alice AngusBIC - 0903PROB21 - A 1213968

Proboscis employs the imaginative insights of art practice to address real-life social issues, not through commentary and hand-wringing, but in the development of practical tools for change. The emphasis is on empowerment through participation; of working together to overcome barriers in thinking that, at first, seem insurmountable. More… 

“Cultures of listening are crucial to cultural experience”


Tomoko Hayashi (100) 03Tomoko Hayashi

She has been called a ‘Love Doctor’, but Tomoko Hayashi calls herself a multi-disciplinary artist/designer. She harnesses new and traditional technologies to connect distant lovers in subtle and truly romantic ways. In this interview she talks about her role as a creative practitioner working at the interface of art, science, design and technology. More… 

“What is the nature of real human connection in this fast-moving society?”


Ian MillissIan Milliss (100)

The phrase ‘ahead of his time’ can be a cliché, but applied to Ian Milliss it is a precisely accurate description. Spanning almost five decades, his practice engages directly with issues of social, cultural and personal sustainability: the fundamental issue of survival. So why, for so long, has he been ‘the invisible artist’? More…

“An artist is someone who creates adaptive cultural change”


Sohrab Hura (100)Sohrab Hura

Sohrab Hura lives in Delhi and makes photographs. But he does not want to think of himself as a photographer… or an artist. He fears that to do so would set him on an art-world career path that would make it harder to strive for honest imagery. He keeps himself broke for the same reason. More…

“I’d like my work … to be bigger than me”


Scott RedfordScott Redford (100)a

Scott Redford has a fascination for pop culture and a love of his home town of Surfer’s Paradise on the southern Queensland Coast of Australia. Harnessing a diverse array of media his work turns its back on the cosy coteries of the art world to address the international from the vantage of the local. More…

“Art is something made in private and validated in public”


Thierry Geoffroy (100)aThierry Geoffroy

For the past 25 years Thierry Geoffroy has created a series of conceptual formulas to initiate events and temporary installations. These projects involve many participants – often several hundred – to address the social psychology of issues such as conflict, collaboration, hypocrisy and commercialisation. More…

“By making and consuming art, have we become better human beings?”



PIP13-Award 03Alasdair Foster has won the inaugural international award for curatorial excellence at the 2013 Pingyao International Festival of Photography in Shanxi, China. The Jin Hou Niao Zun trophy was presented at a glittering televised event staged on Saturday 21 September in the newly opened Memory Theatre before an invited audience of international and Chinese VIPs.



Black Islands book (400)2~


Back in November 2012, CDC reported on a crowd-funding project by the photographer Ben Bohane. His fund-raising was successful and as a result he published a fascinating and truly beautiful book. It not only stands as tribute to Ben’s talent but also demonstrates that quality can be achieved when we collaborate; it does not require bureaucratic gate-keeping or the filter of plutocratic taste. More…

PV13 header image 01


CDC will present the work of four Australian photomedia artists at the celebrated Russian festival, PhotoVisa. The artists, Hoda Afshar, Ray Cook, Simon Harsent and Owen Leong, create fables that address variously hybridity, metamorphosis, dissolution and adaptation. Curated by Alasdair Foster, the exhibition will be presented at the Krasnodar Institute of Contemporary Art (KISI) in October and November 2013.


Oh Yiste 01 (400)




ALASDAIR FOSTER has been named as the Commissioner for the Latin-American Pavilion at the 2013 Pingyao International Photography Festival (PIP) in China.

Extending over more than 600 square metres, the Pavilion will feature work from Colombia, Cuba, Guatemala, Mexico and Venezuela. More…



It has been announced that the five Latin-American exhibitions commissioned for the 2013 PIP festival will tour on to Wuhan Museum in the principal city of Central China. More…


OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAAustralian Artist ‘Wows’ Danish Art Critic

HENRIK BROCH-LIPS is an art critic not known for his flights of hyperbole, but when he saw Magdalena Bors’ work at Galleri Image he could not restrain himself. The Melbourne artist’s exhibition, entitled ‘The Art of Domestic Compulsion’, was curated by Alasdair Foster and presented by CDC in partnership with Galleri Image in Aarhus. While in Denmark, Magdalena Bors ran a very successful workshop for children at ARoS, the country’s largest contemporary art museum. You can read more about the exhibition and workshop, as well as Henrik Broch-Lips’ full review in English, here.

Sean Izzard and David Maurice Smith 01CIntercontinental announcement for Pool Grant 2013

CONGRATULATIONS! to David Maurice Smith, the winner of the 2013 Pool Grant. The award is made by a group of eminent Australian photographers, who put their own money together to create an annual grant for an emerging photographer. David Maurice Smith will use the money to complete a project about the rural Aboriginal Community of Wilcannia, New South Wales. Alasdair Foster, the external judge for the grant, announced the winner via a video link from Denmark. More…



Congratulations! to Shan Turner-Carroll who has just won the $35,000AUD National Tertiary Student Art Prize presented last Friday (9 April) at the Perth Institute of Contemporary Art (PICA). His work featured on the CDC website in January (click here to view his portfolio)

The selection panel comprised Glen Barkley (curator at the Museum of Contemporary Art, Sydney); Isobel Ching (an independent curator based in Singapore); Andrew Varano (an artist and curator of OK Gallery, Perth); Leigh Robb and Tim Carter (respectively curator and special projects curator at PICA).

Shan is an exceptional young artist with a distinctive vision that draws on his cultural heritage. That journey is now leading him to undertake creative research in Burma.

His work was previously recognised when he won the 2012 Jennie Thomas Travelling Art Scholarship.
South America and violinist (300)b~


CDC will present the work of Melbourne artist Polixeni Papapetrou at a major South American festival this May. Fotográfica Bogotá is reputedly the continent’s largest photo biennale, reaching an audience of some 80,000 people.

While in Bogotá, Alasdair Foster will present a paper at the Encuentro Teórico, Latin America’s foremost photo-theory conference, which attracts some 1,200 delegates from the across the continent.



Syria: a Culture of Peace in Time of War

Any artist, gallerist or festival director in the West who feels life is tough; spare a thought for Issa Touma, the founder and director of the Aleppo International Photography Festival (AIPF), Syria.

Plans for the 2012 festival were ambitious, with a new venue in a former power station and 48 local and international artists to present some 870 works. When they began work a year ago, no-one imagined that by September Syria would be in the grips of civil war and Aleppo at the heart of the conflict.

Who, facing such calamitous events, would not throw in the towel and abandon the festival? Not Issa Touma and his colleagues. More…

Update: A Message from Issa Touma

Asia-Pacific PhotoForum Ambassador

Alasdair Foster has been elected the Asia-Pacific PhotoForum Ambassador, with a remit to help build new alliances between photographic festivals from across the Asia-Pacific region.

“Alasdair Foster’s extensive international experience provides a perfect fit as Ambassador for our blossoming APP network”, said Julia Durkin, Director of the Auckland Photography Festival. More…


In May 2012 CDC took at a look at the challenging issues of censorship. The season included two extended interviews and an article by Alasdair Foster, along with a Q&A of the views of 14 artists and commentators from Americas, Asia, Australia and Europe.

Bringing together all the links to the various articles and Q&A responses, the OMNIBUS page is a one-stop access point for the entire season.

Please join in by adding your comments at the foot of the page of any of the articles or Q&A rounds.


Be the first to know

… To keep up-to-date on articles and imagery published on the site you can register to receive information in a number of ways:

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Images (from the top):
Latin American Pavilion image: © Oh Yiste (Venezuela)
Accolade image: © Shan Turner-Carroll
Pablo Lopez Luz and Alasdair Foster after the awards ceremony, PIP 2012 [photo courtesy Fernando Montiel Klint]
SarKiss Rshdouni with a rubbing made at Art Camping, Aleppo (image © SarKiss Rshdouni)


12 Responses to “Alternatives”
  1. Lisa Sharkey says:

    Bravo Alastair! Brilliant concept!

  2. Mexico in China, China in Guatemala, Guatemala in Lithuania, Lithuania in South Africa, South Africa in Canada, Canada in Mexico: that’s what’s so refreshing about your connection concept, Alasdair. It decentralizes the medium of photography from the historically self-anointed and self-propelling power centers of the photographic world and reaches out to new sources of continuum and inspiration thus making our lens based medium, still rightfully called photography, the art of everyone as well as an art with massive potential to bring nations as individual entities together.

  3. Hi Alasdair,
    this is a great and very informative website.

  4. val vallhonrat says:

    cogratulations! From Madrid, Valentin.

  5. Rip Griffith says:

    Nice site, good luck from Russia

  6. Rui Prata says:

    Hi Alasdair. Congratulations for your web site. You are always surprising me in good sense. The architecture and the offers are really well done and it refreshes the cultural world.

  7. james mellon says:

    Wonderful site and concept.
    Your dedication to photography and photographers is second to none
    All the best

  8. Glenn Sloggett says:

    Alasdair is the greatest thing that has ever happened to Australian photography.
    Personally I can never repay the debt of gratitude that I owe him for his friendship
    guidance and support of my work.
    He’s a fucking legend!!
    All the best mate,
    Glenn Sloggett

  9. Anne kirker says:

    Alasdair, I truly admire you and wish you well with this timely venture. Indeed, art should not be the province of a few…it should open out with numerous trajectories…


  10. stavros dagtzidis says:

    HELLO, this is stavros dagztidis from Greece (Thessaloniki)

  11. I’m looking forward to great things Alasdair – best wishes on your new website. Keep up the good work – Alan (Luminous-Lint)

  12. Jim and Sue Dooley says:

    Alasdair, what a wonderful website. Congratulations……jim and sue dooley

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  • The majority of the texts on this site are by Alasdair Foster and represent his opinions.
    However, in order to facilitate a useful diversity of views, some texts have been invited from artists and colleagues around the world, while others appear as independent comments. These opinions and comments are not necessarily those of Alasdair Foster or Cultural Development Consulting (CDC).
    All data and information on this site is provided on an as-is basis. While every effort is made to be as thorough as possible, neither Alasdair Foster nor CDC make representations as to accuracy, completeness, currency, suitability or validity of any information on this site and will not be liable for any errors, omissions or delays in this information or any losses, injuries or damages arising from its display or use.