New gallery space for a familiar face

Jack Hayes

A new gallery is set to open at Collins Place, welcoming former state Member for Bayswater, Heidi Victoria, as its inaugural resident artist with her photographic exhibition, Where to Next?

Ms Victoria, a theatre photography and portrait specialist, and newly published author, has taken over the space at 45 Collins St nestled between Pope Joan Café and the florist, after the soft opening on April 27.

Where to Next? showcases a number of different works by Ms Victoria from across the globe.

“It is travel photography, but not as we know it. Rather than looking like someone’s holiday snaps, it has a sharp artistic focus, capturing images in well-known places, but from a different perspective,” Ms Victoria said.

“There are photos in New York, but none at the Statue of Liberty. Paris, but no pictures of the Eiffel Tower. It is very different to what you will find in usual photography.”

According to Ms Victoria, many of her shots would struggle to be replicated, whether it be from the top of the now burnt viewing areas of Notre Dame or a frozen lake in Tibet at 5000m, this is a truly unique exhibition.

No stranger to a camera, Ms Victoria spent 12 years in parliament with five of those years serving as Minister for Arts, Women’s Affairs and Consumer Affairs.

Following the 2018 election, Ms Victoria’s exit from politics saw a return to her “first true love” of photography.

“Other than upgrading all of my equipment, the transition back into photography was incredibly easy. Once a photographer, always a photographer,” Ms Victoria said.

“The transition coming out of parliament, was a lot easier than the transition entering parliament. It [photography] is something that has always been natural for me.”

To accompany a long career in photography and politics, Ms Victoria can now ad author to her list of achievements, with the publishing of her first book Show Must Go On.

The book documents Melbourne’s performing arts scene during COVID-19 induced lockdowns.

Now, with her eyes firmly set on her residency at Collins Place, Ms Victoria is excited to welcome visitors into the freshly curated exhibition, with all works available for purchase.

“Collins Place have been just a delight to deal with. They made everything happen so quickly. Completely different to my time in politics where everything is filled with different layers of bureaucracy. It has been an absolutely pleasure dealing with them,” Ms Victoria said.

“It is an affordable way to get something bespoke, something that is individual, that won’t be printed in huge numbers, with a limited number of larger works of just 25 prints.”

Gallery hours will be between 11am and 2pm, Tuesday to Friday with out of hours access available by appointment seven days a week •

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