Staged Photography

22 Apr –
11 Jun 2023

The Gallery has an extensive collection of photographic works by artists from the region and a selection of these have been brought together for an exhibition that explores concepts of art, artifice and staging.

Photography is often regarded as a ‘snapshot’ capturing a decisive moment in time. However, many contemporary artists construct their photographs, using props, settings and lighting, to create staged images in order to explore their ideas or provoke a particular response in the viewer.

This exhibition explores photographic works by artists in the Collection, including Simone Arnol, Michael Cook, Ezekiel Dick, Naomi Hobson, Charles Page, Christian Thompson and William Yang.

Michael Cook’s 2020 series Livin’ the Dream comprises five black and white photographs which are meticulously staged and choreographed to create an enigmatic narrative around an event, such as a birthday, BBQ or homecoming.

Cook is renowned for his ability to engage audiences in dialogues about what is real and what is imaginary. His photographs combine the imaginary, political and personal, recalling the history of white colonisation and its enduring legacies of dislocation and inequality for Australian Indigenous people.

Charles Page is one of Queensland’s most important documentary photographers. In 2000 he was commissioned by the Cairns Art Gallery to produce a portfolio of photographs that would capture people and places of Far North Queensland. It is an intriguing collection of photographs of the well-known and not so well-known figures of the day. Each of Page’s photographs is carefully staged to reveal the public/private lives of his sitters.


List of works

Artist Showcase

Simone Arnol
Naomi Hobson

Selected Works


Installation images



This exhibition is a Cairns Art Gallery Collection exhibition. 


1. Michael Cook
Livin' the dream (BBQ) from the Livin' the dream series 2020
inkjet print
120.0 x 180.0 cm
Donated through the Australian Government’s Cultural Gifts Program by Michael Cook, 2021

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