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Bill Henson Photography Exhibition at Roslyn Oxley 9 Gallery

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by Jade Jackson (subscribe)
Hi, I’m a writer, podcaster, and photographer, obsessed with travel; based between the Blue Mountains & Sydney. For useful and inspiring travel articles head to my website: www.jadejackson.com.au/
Event: -
From landscapes to portraits, Henson is a master of light
Bill Henson, Bill Henson Photography Exhibition Sydney, Roslyn Oxley 9 Gallery, Photography Exhibition Sydney, Darlinghurst arts district, review by Jade Jackson
Image by Bill Henson. Image supplied courtesy of Roslyn Oxley 9 Gallery.


To listen to an audio version of this article, read by the author, click the play button below:


Esteemed master of light, Bill Henson is currently showcasing a selection of photographs at the Roslyn Oxley 9 Gallery in Darlinghurst.

The first major exhibition of Henson's in 7 years, it features portraits and European landscape images in his trademark sombre tones, eliciting intrigue, wonder and curiosity.

The landscape shots were taken at architectural wonders in Greece and Italy. Whilst intimate portraits of youthful slender bodies in delicate and vulnerable poses, were shot mostly in his studio.

However, despite the contrasting content, the images work seamlessly together. A quick glance and you could easily be wandering an old masters European art exhibition. Instead, each photograph was carefully constructed. Tiny movements by models captured over several hours, until everything was just right—the light, shadows, muscle tones, and beads of sweat.

The images may look effortless, but it takes a lot of work to create enigmatic images with two key elements, light and darkness.

Bill Henson, Bill Henson Photography Exhibition, Roslyn Oxley 9 Gallery, Photography Exhibition Sydney, Review by Jade Jackson
Untitled image by Bill Henson. Image supplied courtesy of Roslyn Oxley 9 Gallery.


As part of the opening weekend, Bill Henson gave an exclusive talk answering questions from the audience about his studio process, his inspirations and most importantly some of the images themselves.

This unique insight into the genius behind the lens gave the audience further appreciation of the resulting photographs. Some of which took days to capture. Bill would often spend months editing the images, staring at them for days on end, adding a dab of light here, a touch of colour there, and a smear of grain before it was considered complete.

He mentioned his love of music and books (such as Centuries of Childhood) which were some of his biggest influences rather than other photographers. Though he did mention American photographer, O. Winston Link as being one of his favourites "for his ability to shoot massive night scenes of industrial objects, and turn them into something beautiful and almost romantic."

Bill Henson Photography Exhibition Roslyn Oxley 9 Gallery, Bill Henson, Photography Exhibition Sydney, Darlinghurst arts precinct, review by Jade Jackson
Bill Henson during a Q & A at his exhibition, Roslyn Oxley 9 Gallery. Image by Jade Jackson.


Henson also described how he shoots on 35mm film, then scans the negatives to create a digital file, which he manipulates to get the final result. He said, "the reason I shoot with film is because you can't stop during the shoot to look at the image, and check if it's okay or not. It's less inhibiting to continue shooting uninterrupted and that way, there's still some magic and awe when I see the images for the first time, it's easier to go, yes—that one works."

Some of the images in the exhibition are new, some have been sitting around his studio for years. Regardless of whether you're a fan of his incredible images or a first time viewer, I highly recommend spending an afternoon perusing this new photography exhibition of Bill Henson at the Roslyn Oxley 9 Gallery.

Bill Henson Photography Exhibition Sydney, Bill Henson Photography Exhibition Roslyn Oxley 9, review by Jade Jackson, Darlinghurst arts precinct
Untitled image by Bill Henson. Image supplied courtesy of Roslyn Oxley 9 Gallery.


The exhibition contains some nudity, however, you can preview all images online here if you have concerns about suitability for younger audiences.

Whilst you're at the exhibition, there's a bunch of other independent galleries worth checking out in the Darlinghurst Art's Precinct.

Bill Henson, Bill Henson Photography Exhibition Sydney, Roslyn Oxley 9 Gallery, review by Jade Jackson
Untitled image by Bill Henson. Image supplied courtesy of Roslyn Oxley 9 Gallery.


Entry to the The Bill Henson Exhibition is free. All images are for sale (you can pick up a price guide on entry) and start from $57,000-framed and including GST.

The Roslyn Oxley 9 Gallery is at:
8 Soudan Lane (off Hampden Street)
Paddington NSW 2021

Opening hours are:
10am-6pm Tuesday - Friday
11am-6pm Saturday

Bill Henson Photography Exhibition Sydney, Bill Henson Roslyn Oxley 9 Gallery, Image by Jade Jackson
Allow at least 30 minutes to peruse the exhibition. Image by Jade Jackson.


On-street parking is limited and free (up to 2 hours). Nearby The Fiveways intersection has a selection of cafe's, bars, restaurants and a Woolworths Metro if you wish to pack a picnic to enjoy down by the sports oval, (there's often local weekend matches) after perusing the exhibition.

Bill Henson Photography Exhibition, Bill Henson Roslyn Oxley 9 Gallery, Photography exhibition Sydney, image by Jade Jackson
Bill Henson Photography Exhibition is currently on at the Roslyn Oxley 9 Gallery. Image by Jade Jackson.
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Why? Outstanding photography exhibition by an esteemed Australian photographer (and it’s free).
When: Gallery is open Tuesday to Friday 10am-6pm and Saturday 11am-6pm. Exhibition runs until Thursday 6th June 2019
Phone: 02 9331 1919
Where: Roslyn Oxley 9 Gallery, 8 Soudan Lane Paddington
Cost: Entry is free. You can purchase the images, starting from $57,000 each.
Your Comment
Bill Henson will be on Gardening Australia Friday 31/5/19 on ABC at 7:30pm!
by Jade Jackson (score: 2|213) 20 days ago
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