Let me take you on a tour of a house made of mirrors
You are not at all who you thought you were
~ Joelistics from 'All of the lights

Peer through the looking glass as six poets respond creatively to the Shadow catchers photographic exhibition.

Adopting the mirror as a metaphoric device and the echo as a visual conceit, Shadow catchers offers a playful portrait of photographic doubling.

Five commissioned poets, and one specially-selected public poet, offer their poetic reflections to the mirrored realms and split selves in response to Shadow catchers – an exhibition of photographs and moving image from the Art Gallery of NSW’s collection, which ran February–May 2020.

Revel in poetic refractions and intimate explorations of the way photography and film reflect reality but also upend it in a series of audio recordings co-created with the Gallery. Explore the poems, audio and reflections below, or read and listen to excerpts from the poems, alongside images of the artworks in Poetic reflections on Shadow catchers on the Gallery's website. 

This project was co-produced by the Art Gallery of New South Wales and Red Room Poetry, for Sydney Writers' Festival 2020, becoming a digital outcome in response to the interruption of COVID-19.

Open call-out winner

From fractured light to hidden selves, the Shadow catchers open-call out revealed the myriad ways a photograph is not merely a reflection.

Our winning poet, Maddie Godfrey received a Red Room Poetry commission and joined Saba, David, Melinda, Joelistics and Ali to create poems in response to the Shadow catchers exhibition.

Image: Olive Cotton The photographer’s shadow (detail), 1935 Art Gallery of New South Wales

Poetic video reflections

Delve deeper into mirrored worlds with the Gallery's #TogetherInArt video series.