Justin Spiers


In the Zoo Series, the camera offers a means of rendering more visible the glass barrier between the spaces of viewing and viewed. This mediating layer, which is meant to be clear and not seen, becomes a kind of third space, full of illusory reflections and a patina of scratches and marks.  This series refutes the clarity and objectivity of the scientific eye, instead of a technologically aided observation of nature, the images present a dark and obscured view into the animal enclosures.

Our encounters with animals are often mediated through a context of entertainment and leisure. I am interested in the ways that these experiences are fabricated and why.  My images explore our relationship to non-human animals and raise questions regarding our power over them. By considering obscure aspects within this framework we examine our relationship to – and increasingly our construction of- the natural world.


JUSTIN SPIERS lives in Perth, Western Australia and Dunedin, New Zealand. His exhibitions have included The Detour (Fremantle Arts Centre, 2010), Castleland (Blue Oyster Project Space, Dunedin, 2011), Surface Tension (Red Gate Gallery Bei Gao, Beijing 2010 with Erin Coates), Greenwood Guardian (Guilford Lane Gallery, Melbourne,2009),  Group exhibitions include Hijacked (PICA and Quad Gallery in Derby, UK) Pet Project  (Australian Centre for Photography), Josephine Ulrick and Win Schubert Photography Prize (Gold Coast City Art Gallery,2011), Golden Lining (Platform Gallery, Beijing, as part of Photo Spring Caochangdi Festival 2010), National Photography Portrait Prize (National Portrait Gallery, Canberra,2009,2010), Remix (Art Gallery of Western Australia, 2011) Iris Award, (Perth Centre for Photography 2010, 2011) and Wallace Art Award,(Auckland 2011).

Spiers has had artist residencies in Beijing, Darwin, Sydney and Brisbane. A previous project Pet Photo Booth (with Yvonne Doherty) examined our relationships with pets in a kitsch extravaganza and travelled throughout Australia.