Katrin Koenning

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Lin's Goodbye from the series Near.


One morning in 2005 I woke and, with a sudden immediacy, feared the fragility of things. What if tomorrow someone close died? In an ideal world, my family will always be there. But they won’t, at least not in a physical sense. I needed to hold on and photograph those transient moments of intimacy shared only between us, yet common to most. I needed to investigate what is ultimately the centre stage of my life, and to explore the complexity of family love. I wanted to see if there was such a thing as family identity. That morning, Near was born – it is an ongoing portrait of my family.

Our story is common to the 21st Century – we’re spread across four countries and three continents, torn apart and thrown together by migration. We are architects, engineers, social workers, therapists, dancers, animators, carpenters, students and dreamers. We are divorced, we are married, we are old and young and everything in between. Above all, we’re lucky – we are close. Together, we’ve come through cancer and suicide. The physical distance isn’t always easy. Ours is a story of suitcases and skypecalls and longing.

Near implies a personal narrative and is inspired by a deep curiosity in what we often brush aside as banal or ordinary. Celebrating the significance of the local, Near is a collection of small moments that are more often than not the keepers of this mystery that is belonging.

The work pays tribute to the idea that in the end, we belong to people, rather than places or things. We belong to the stories we compose, and hold close.


KATRIN KOENNING lives and works in Melbourne, Australia. Much of her work investigates the ordinary and everyday.

Her images have been shown at international festivals such as FORMAT, Reportage, Voies Off and the Gijon International Photojournalism Festival. Katrin has exhibited widely, and her work has been published in the International Herald Tribune, Der Spiegel Magazine, Marie Claire Magazine, The Guardian, DeepSleep Magazine, Capture Magazine, Eleanor Magazine and Light Journeys amongst others. Katrin has won a number of awards including the Troika Editions Format Exposure Prize, a Julia Margaret Cameron Award, a National Geographic Award, the APA Award for Best Documentary Photography, and the Godfrey Rivers Medal.

In 2011, Katrin was selected as Australia’s Top Emerging Documentary Photographer and won the 2011 HeadOn Portrait Prize Critic’s Choice award. She is the Editor of Silent Screams: The Rights of the Child (Australian PhotoJournalist Magazine). Katrin is a photographer for Amnesty International Australia and is currently represented by Obscura Photos.

Visit Katrin’s website to view more of her work.