WE CAN BE HEROES: a backstage pass

Dean BELETICH Mojo Juju 2007 (detail) silver gelatin print, selenium toned 17.2 x 17.1cm Gift of Dean Beletich 2015 Newcastle Art Gallery collection Courtesy the artist
14 November 2020 – 14 February 2021
10am to 5pm Tuesday to Sunday, 7 days during school holidays

Free exhibition

Over the summer of 2020 Newcastle Art Gallery presents a behind the scenes tour of intimate moments of Australian and international musicians.

Viewed through the lens of four leading Australian music photographers - Charlie Hardy, Maclay Heriot, Sophie Howarth and Luke Kellett, WE CAN BE HEROES: a backstage pass celebrates the connection and relationship between the photographer and their subject.

Featuring homegrown local musicians to international superstars, the exhibition showcases acts from the 70’s through to the contemporary heroes of today. Some of the featured musicians include well-known names such as Angus and Julia Stone, Baker Boy, Boy and Bear, Dave Grohl, David Bowie, Delta Riggs, DMA's, Dr G Yunupingu, Flight to Dubai, Gang of Youths, Garbage, Grinspoon, Iggy Pop, Kira Puru, Kwame, Midnight Oil, Mo’Ju (formerly known as Mojo Juju), Nick Cave, Paul Dempsey, PJ Harvey, Powderfinger, Saltwater Band, San Cisco, Silverchair, Skeggs, The Beatles, The Jungle Giants, The Preatures, The Prodigy, Violent Soho, You Am I + many more.

WE CAN BE HEROES: a backstage pass also takes audiences into the epicentre of festivals such as Austin City Limits, Big Day Out, and Lollapalooza.

The exhibition showcases rarely seen touring images, unreleased press images, backstage portraits and views from the stage that very few of us get to experience.

The exhibition will be supported with works of art drawn from the Newcastle Art Gallery collection, as well as private collections.


Charlie Hardy developed his interest in music photography whilst playing music as a teenager. He has toured and worked closely with Australian bands The Preatures, Violent Soho, DMA’s, The Jungle Giants, San Cisco & Spacey Jane and has been an official photographer for several years at music festivals Splendour In the Grass, Falls Festival, Spilt Milk festival, Party In The Paddock & Fairgrounds Festival. He has worked with Australian & international record labels on artist and has featured in publications Rolling Stone Australia, The Brag, MNE Australia, The Music, Beat Mag & Scenestr. From 2014 he has been a contributor to Monster Children magazine and been on assignments to photograph Lollapalooza & Austin City Limits in America.

Maclay Heriot never leaves the house without his trusty Leica camera and over the last five years has divided his time between his Sydney base and Los Angeles. He has been published in Rolling Stone, RUSH and YEN magazine. Like most committed music photographers he has spent time sleeping on band van floors and hotel rooms in the pursuit of documenting authentic images of his subjects. He has toured with for Grammy winning rock band Portugal and the Man since 2014 becoming their official photographer in 2016.

Sophie Howarth is one of Australia’s leading music photographers who has captured some of the most celebrated international musicians, festivals and tours. Her 2006 publication Peace love and Brown Rice documents her vast photographic archive of the Big Day Out spanning 1992 - 2006 as a freelance photographer, later becoming the official festival photographer from 2003 - 2011. She has travelled extensively as a tour photographer and this exhibition includes a series of images taken of ARIA award winning Elcho Island musicians, Saltwater Band during their top end tour.

Luke Kellett began his photographic career in 2004 with UK record labels, Atlantic and Sony producing album art and artists press shots. During this period, he assisted London fashion photographer George Ktistakis and was an apprentice at London darkroom Rapid Eye. Arriving in Australia in 2008 he undertook his first major photographic essay “This City Speaks To Me” about Melbourne’s underground artists, performers and musicians using a large format camera and any of the last remaining Polaroid Type 55 film he could find. In 2011 The State Library of Victoria recognised the project as an important record acquiring the complete body of works.





Photographer: Luke Kellet

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Newcastle Art Gallery
1 Laman Street
Cooks Hill