Photographer Bindi Cole Chocka

Bindi Cole Chocka: Confronting Tension

Award winning photographer Bindi Cole Chocka uses her deeply personal practice to delve into tensions within her identity and beliefs. The Melbourne based photographer’s work is known for exploring her Indigenous heritage, devotion to Christianity and experiences of motherhood.

We sat down with Bindi in her Melbourne home to get to know the process behind each carefully planned image, and find out exactly what it is she loves most about being behind the camera.

Photographer Bindi Cole Chocka

Bindi Cole Chocka is a non-stop creative.

Bindi’s creativity spans across many realms of the art world. She’s an artist, curator, photographer and writer. She works across photography, video and installation, and has held multiple solo and group exhibitions. The most notable of these was held at the NGV in Melbourne.

“My first love is definitely photography. When I was young my mum bought me a camera and film, and I would shoot photos of my friends, then come home and sit by myself and develop all the negatives.”

Photographer Bindi Cole Chocka

Babylon 2, 2015 is from Bindi’s residency at the Victorian Western Treatment Plant.

Bindi’s work explores themes of her identity, heritage and religion as they relate to current politics and the media. Religion is a a huge part of her life, so her work often reflects her Christian beliefs.

“I definitely use photography as a way to unearth tensions and discomfort that exist within me… I take those tensions, exercise them and put them on a wall for all to see.”

Putting uncomfortable emotions into her work is a cathartic process for Bindi. By exploring these themes in her work, she is helping herself to understand and accept them.

Photographer Bindi Cole Chocka

Bindi is filming a series of vlogs for her Youtube project.

Each photograph Bindi creates is a carefully planned statement. Bindi explains, “I’m not one of those photographers who carries a camera around and takes photos all the time. I generally think about what I want to say and build a photograph around it.”

Recent work by Bindi has focused on her experience of motherhood and how her family life has shifted after having a child. Indeed, her favourite subject matter to explore is family relationships and experiences. However, while this topic is close to her heart, Bindi loves having the freedom to create whatever she feels like. “I don’t limit myself to anything. I allow myself to explore any option I want.”

Bindi Cole Chocka's camera collection

Bindi has an ever-growing collection of old cameras!

Working without limitations is how Bindi has come to utilise so many creative mediums. While she is formally trained in photography, with a Diploma in Applied Photography from NMIT and a Bachelor in Fine Arts from Federation University, she enjoys working in other mediums. In the past she has even created feathered works, video installations and set installations, such as a prison. The lack of rules makes Bindi feel like she “can be anything [she wants]”.

Photographer and artist Bindi Cole Chocka

Bindi doesn’t shy away from taboo subjects in her work.

The use of words often plays an integral part of Bindi’s photography. Bindi uses her writing skills to select key phrases that emphasise the message behind her pieces. “Sometimes I use text because it feels like the most powerful way to express what I want to say.”

Using her voice to speak out on her experiences is what Bindi loves most about being an artist. She hopes to inspire her children to use and find their own voices.

Sky, 2009. honours the heritage of her father’s people, the Wadawarrung. Lakorra is the Wadawarrung word for sky.

Inspiration comes from creatives working in all mediums. Among her chief influences are photographer Sue Ford, who rose to prominence as a pioneer of Australian photography in the 1970s, British artist Tracey Emin who also creates autobiographical work and Bindi’s own mother, whose writing was a raw account of life in the 80s.

Photographer and Youtuber Bindi Cole Chocka

Bindi editing videos for her Youtube channel

Throughout 2018 Bindi has been focusing her energy on her new Youtube channel, Last Year’s Artist. Her videos on this platform are a natural extension of her previous works, where she discusses themes of identity and meme culture. One such video, called Becoming The Thing I Mocked, explores her journey into Christianity.

Bindi Cole Chocka

Staring into those bright lights as Bindi Cole Chocka bares her soul on Youtube.

Bindi was one of the photographers who joined Bluethumb Photography for the launch of the platform, and has enjoyed the level of control she has over selling her own work without a middleman.

See more of Bindi Cole Chocka’s fine art photography here.

Missions To Seafarer's Victoria Maritime Art Prize 2018
Winners of the Mission To Seafarers Victoria Maritime Art Prize

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