Like most establishments in Lismore, the building where photographer Raimond de Weerdt works his magic was hit hard by the 2022 floods. Luckily the water didn’t make it up to his studio on the first floor so his equipment was safe but once the waters receded, the clean up of all that flood mud began.
Eventually he was ready to restart his portraiture business. He soon found that many creative people were coming to him for headshots to get their own enterprises up and running again in the wake of the disaster. As many of them were strapped for cash, he asked them to contribute only what they could for the session and in return asked permission to collate their portrait into a book.
All the photos were taken against black backgrounds for a more traditional look. “I’m also Dutch and it’s the whole Rembrandt look. I want to create an atmosphere of mystique as well.” he said.
The result is ‘Creatives of the Northern Rivers’, a bold coffee table book with over 250 photographs including one of me from a sitting I did with him earlier this year (another one is featured on the homepage of this website). My old friend and performance artist Ana Wojak is one of the subjects and another is production designer Ross Wallace who I’ve also known for decades. Published by Janus Imprint, it was launched on May 13, 2023 at the Serpentine Gallery in Lismore with many of the subjects in attendance.
With none of the old established galleries yet open post floods, the book is such a terrific way of displaying these photographs. It’s also a more enduring and accessible format to celebrate the hundreds of creatives who did it tough this past year and are still dealing with the fallout from that catastrophic moment in our collective history.