City Commissions: Sammy Hawker x Headspace Tuggeranong

City Commissions: Sammy Hawker x Headspace Tuggeranong

Portrait, 2022

“Exploring the possibilities of ‘making’ rather than ‘taking’ a photographic portrait in collaboration with the subject”

Working with participants from Headspace Tuggeranong to take a photographic portrait  on a large format camera using 6×6 and 4×5 negative film. Then, guided by conversations with each participant, explore ways we can embed something of that persons essence or pandemic experience into the negative of that portrait.

This process, guided by conversations with the subject, could include touching, marking, burying, scratching the photographic negative)

Sammy is interested in exploring the possibilities of ‘making’ rather than ‘taking’ a photographic portrait in collaboration with the subject.

In photographic practice touch is generally prohibited and fingerprints or marks on the negative is something to be avoided. With the pandemic similarly leading us to now double-think how and what we touch, this artwork invites participants from a community group to handle/manipulate/rupture a photographic negative in order to introduce something of themselves into the frame.


Sammy Hawker is an Australian based visual artist working predominantly on Ngunawal country [Canberra, ACT]. In her practice she examines methodologies of co-creation when producing work from sites of the Anthropocene. Sammy works predominantly with analogue photography techniques and facilitates interaction with the more-than human in the creation of the visual image. Sammy will often work closely with Traditional Custodians, scientists, ecologists and other relevant practitioners. These collaborative engagements assist her in interpreting quantitative and qualitative data as well as developing ecological literacy and a cultural understanding of the site.

In 2021 Sammy exhibited two critically acclaimed and highly successful solo shows: Acts of Co-Creation at the Mixing Room Gallery & Experiments in Living: Melt as part of her darkroom residency at PhotoAccess. Sammy is the current recipient of the Contour 556 x ArtsACT City Commissions project, an artist-in-residence at the CORRIDOR project and preparing for a second solo show at the Mixing Room Gallery scheduled for December 2022.

Sammy also works professionally as a freelance cinematographer. She has worked with a wide range of national & international clients and travelled to create videos in places as far reaching as Uganda, Mexico, China and Arnhem Land.