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Vanessa Harper-Mathews

Vanessa Harper-Mathews is a documentary photographer, process historian and inter-disciplinary artist. Photography is at the heart of her creative practice and a platform she pivots from to explore and understand the world around her, translating her explorations through her unique visual language. After graduating with a Masters of Documentary Photography from Sydney College of the Arts, Sydney University, in 2010, she went on to develop bodies of work centred around objects as keystones for social collective memory as well as topical culture documentary photographic projects. While working a 'day job' as a risk management executive in corporate environments, Vanessa continued her professional arts education in Australia, the United States and Europe, specialising in historical photographic printing processes. She also developed a unique arts practice that integrates contemporary digital photographic practices, and18th and 19th century antiquarian photographic processes, creating hand crafted, unique state works. The result is an intersection between the material nature of these one of a kind, precious and historical articles and the ephemeral nature of the digital image in the Information Age. Currently centred around the possibilities of the materiality of the photograph as object, using alternative and historical photographic practices, her ongoing work continues to explore topical social issues and the landscape Anthropocene epoch, including non-human futures.  

Vanessa embraces the physicality of the photograph and its meaning, examining and intercepting the subject at multiple junctures- including but not exclusive to (viewers) perceptions, memory, time, & place. Her work attempts to establish a dialogue between the physical- historical/alternative photographic processes that reference altered realities, and various subject matter, including the ongoing impacts of human alteration and interference with the natural environment. Vanessa's practice has since broadened to integrate more traditional artistic mediums such as painting and drawing.


Vanessa continues to live a very full and intentional life, so far completing six degrees, [Bachelor of Adult Education, Graduate Diploma in Risk Sciences, Master of Business Administration (MBA), Master of Documentary Photography, Graduate Diploma in Art History, Master of Science in Coaching Psychology] and over 30 years of a successful corporate career in senior and executive leadership roles. She is a high performance mindset and leadership development coach with an evidence based practice centred around positive psychology and a photographic arts educator. Vanessa works professionally and creatively from her home and studio in the Byron Bay Hinterland rainforest, developing her arts practice and running creative photographic and mindfulness workshops and retreats. 


For more on creative workshops go to:


To purchase artworks go to:


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