Joyce Evans (photographer)

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Joyce Olga Evans, B.A., Dip. Soc. Stud., (21 December 1929, Elsternwick, Australia; died 20 April 2019[1], Melbourne, Australia), Australian photographer, artist, gallery director, curator, art collector, and lecturer.

Church Street Photographic Centre[edit]

Joyce Evans was well known in Australian photography. In 1976 Evans opened Church Street Photographic Centre, a specialist photography gallery and bookshop in Church Street, Richmond, Victoria, Vic. It was the first commercial photographic gallery in Melbourne to showcase Australian and International 19th and 20th Century photography.[2]

Within a short period of time, it became one of Australia's most innovative commercial galleries with an international reputation. Joyce Evans exhibited works by such renowned photographers as Berenice Abbott, Eugène Atget, Julia Margaret Cameron, Henri Cartier-Bresson, Max Dupain, Rennie Ellis, Bill Henson, Fiona Hall, Frank Hurley, André Kertész, David Moore, Arnold Newman, Alfred Stieglitz, Paul Strand, Brett Weston, and numerous others.[3]

The gallery's bookshop stocked an extensive range of local and international books on photography and latest specialist photographic periodicals. It became a source of knowledge for Melburnian photographers and photographic artists, and major supplier of books and magazines to Melbourne's schools, colleges and tertiary institutions. In 1980 her inventory of books and magazines became a foundation for another renowned Melbourne institution, The Printed Image bookshop, which also specialised exclusively in photography.

The gallery space was also used for photographic workshops, tutored by such prominent photographers and writers of the era as Pete Turner, editor of Creative Camera, UK; Jean-Marc Le Pechoux, publisher/editor of Light Vision; John Cato; Ian Cosier; and many others.[3]

It also housed a photographic dark room and framing facilities (which were used by artists and photographers, notably by German artist Herbert Zangs during his Australian visit in 1981).[3]

Joyce Evans closed the Church Street premises in 1982, and relocated the gallery's collection and inventory to a private studio, from which she continued to operate. In 1978 she was appointed Approved Commonwealth Valuer for Australian and International photography from the 19th Century to the present day for the Australian Government's Cultural Gifts Program. Evans continued acting as a specialist adviser on photography for a number of public institutions and prominent private collectors in Australia.

Professional photography[edit]

Joyce Evans took up photography professionally after closing her Church Street gallery space.

Evans worked across a number of photographic genres, including portraiture, landscape, and documentary photography. Major areas of investigation include the edge of the road, road kills and fatalities, the land, and many other bodies of focused photo essays and photographic work.

In her landscape photography, Joyce Evans strove to capture the essence of the place, relating to the viewer not only its purely mimetic qualities, but also the spiritual and psychological sensation of the place. Among the most outstanding bodies of work are series of photographic essays taken by Evans in the Dandenongs and Mt Martha regions in the outer Melbourne; along the Hume Hwy; in the Central Desert and outback Australia, most notably Oodnadatta, Oodlawirra, Menindee, and Lake Mungo; vineyards and rural villages in the South of France; the old Jewish cemetery in the centre of Prague; and numerous others.

Evans's portrait photographs were taken mainly in black and white, at close range, and more often than not constructed within the subject's own creative environment, whether studio or office, home or out of doors; with the underlying emphasis on the psychological connexion between the sitter and his or her own space. She created a number of important portraits of a diverse cross-section of Australian intelligentsia and personalities, including Marianne Baillieu; Barbara Blackman; Baron Avid von Blumenthal; Tim Burstall; Dur-e Dara; Robert Dessaix; Germaine Greer; Elena Kats-Chernin; Joan Kerr; Ellen Koshland; David Malouf; Dame Elisabeth Murdoch; Lin Onus; Jill Reichstein; Chris Wallace-Crabbe; and innumerable others.

Among further important achievements, Evans went on numerous scientific and explorative expeditions; worked as an honorary photographer for the Department of Aboriginal Affairs in Central Australia; and for over ten years documented Australian country towns and events for the National Library of Australia.


Joyce Evans had her first exhibition at Realities Gallery in Toorak in 1986. Since then she consistently showed in commercial galleries, including Wiregrass Gallery, Eltham, Vic; Fitzroy Gallery, Melbourne, Vic; Gallery 482, Fortitude Valley, Brisbane; Oak Hill Gallery, Mornington, Vic; Gold Street Studios, Collingwood, Vic; Dickerson Galleries, Richmond, Vic; and Obscura Gallery, St Kilda East, Vic.[4]

Important solo exhibitions in public galleries include surveys at the Musée de la Photographie, Mougins, France; Monash Gallery of Art; Horsham Regional Art Gallery; Queen Victoria Women’s Centre, Melbourne; Albury Regional Art Gallery; and National Trust Gallery, Melbourne.[4]

Her works were included in important curated exhibitions and group surveys of Australian and international photography at the State Library of Victoria; National Library of Australia; Cowwarr Art Space; Horsham Regional Art Gallery; Monash Gallery of Art; Mosman Art Gallery; Jewish Museum of Australia; Castlemaine Art Gallery and Historical Museum; Brisbane Powerhouse Museum; and Broken Hill Regional Art Gallery.[4]


Joyce Evans received numerous photographic awards, including Hasselblad Masters (Landscape Division), 1985; Print of the Year Award, IAPP Victorian Division (1985); and Print of the Year Award, IAPP Victorian Division (1991). She was a finalist in the Josephine Ulrick Photography Prize (2004); Leica Award (2007); Julie Millowick Acquisitive Photography Prize (2005, 2007); Outback Art Prize, Broken Hill Regional Art Gallery (2007); William and Winifred Bowness Photography Prize (2007); and the Blake Prize for Religious Art (2009).[4]


Works by Joyce Evans are represented in the Musée de la Photographie, Mougins, France; numerous public collections in Australia, including the National Library of Australia; National Gallery of Victoria; State Library of Victoria; State Library of New South Wales (Mitchell Library Collection); Jewish Museum of Australia; Castlemaine Art Gallery and Historical Museum; Horsham Regional Art Gallery; Monash Gallery of Art; Museum of Victoria, Melbourne; Immigration Museum, Melbourne; corporate and private collections in Australia and worldwide.[4]


In 1995, one of her iconic images, Selby Daffodils (Cotswald Farm), was made into a tapestry by the Australian Tapestry Workshop, Melbourne.


Important publications on Joyce Evans include a monograph Only One Kilometre (Melbourne: Lothian Press, 2003), and exhibition catalogues with essays by Alison Inglis,[5] Eugene Barilo von Reisberg,[6] Tim Page, Victoria Hammond, and many others.

Photographs by Joyce Evans were published in major art compendiums and publications in Australia and internationally, including Studio International (199: 1015, 1986–87); Silvershotz (2010), The Interior (1:1, May 1991); Focus on New Zealand (William Collins, 1986); Colour and Transparency (Melbourne: National Gallery of Victoria, 1986).

Joyce Evans is included in McCulloch's Encyclopaedia of Australian Art (Alan and Susan McCulloch, eds, 2006);[7] Dictionary of Australian Women Artists (Max Germaine, 1991); Who's Who of Australian Women (1982, 2007); and The World's Who's Who of Women (1986).

Education and Lecturing[edit]

Joyce Evans also played an important educational role in Australian photography. She taught history of photography at Melbourne's RMIT University; appointed inaugural assistant director of Waverley City Gallery (now Monash Gallery of Art), 1990–91, the first municipal public collection in Melbourne to specialise in photography; inaugurated a course on the History of Photography taught by Daniel Palmer and appointed Research Fellow at the University of Melbourne, 1997–2010.[4] Evans continued conducting lectures and photographic workshops, predominantly in Melbourne and regional Victoria.


  1. ^ "Vale Joyce Evans Photographer". Retrieved 12 May 2019.
  2. ^ McCulloch's Encyclopedia of Australian Art, 2006 ed, 409
  3. ^ a b c Church Street Photographic Centre Archives, 1976–1982
  4. ^ a b c d e f Joyce Evans: Imaging the Spiritual 1980–2010, exhib. cat. Melbourne: Obscura Gallery, 2010
  5. ^ Joyce Evans, exhib. cat., Melbourne: Dickerson Gallery, 2007
  6. ^ Joyce Evans: Imaging the Spiritual 1980–2010, exhib. cat., Melbourne: Obscura Gallery, 2010
  7. ^ McCulloch's Encyclopedia, 2006, op. cit, 409

External links[edit]