Dean Sewell is a photographer who was instrumental in the creation of a ‘guerrilla gallery’ of photographs along an unsightly wall in Elizabeth St in central Sydney in 2012. The unauthorised installation was subsequently approved by the City of Sydney Council. In this interview Dean talks about his introduction to photography in high school, his work on the Sydney Morning Herald metropolitan daily newspaper, and about the principles of culture jamming and other art actions. In the excerpt below he discusses some of the practical issues association with the installation.
Logistically, it was a pretty big project. The biggest problem was finding a material, something to print on, that was going to be durable and weatherproof and so forth. There were issues of glue, the backing that we’d put the photographs onto, how we’d put them on there, because we were using unconventional papers. They were sort of like poly-based sort of papers so then because of the nature of the materials we had issues of sticking them. We had to find something that was going to be durable that would last. It’s a fairly conventional printing process but not like art papers, not if you were exhibiting in a gallery where you’d have a nice, maybe a cotton-based paper or something. These were poly-based. It wasn’t till we’d actually done it all that we realised there were much simpler processes that would have been cheaper and saved us a lot of work in the end. As it was, we got it all done. The images all were sort of extracts, I guess, from bigger bodies of work. They were essentially all street photography, I guess. There were forty two spaces, I think, and six photographers. So we thought that street photography was a good genre to put back onto the street, since we’d harvested images from the street, it’s only appropriate that we put them back there for people to see.