Tara Cook, Stare Well (PLACES 2023)

I attended an appointment at the Garvan Institute to see a specialist for severe endocrine problems I had acquired due to Covid related complications. I became totally mesmerised by the spiral staircase in its foyer - a commanding 6 storey white spiral resembling a DNA helix cascading down as architectural centrepiece. It's form was marvellously modernist yet highly contemporary and perfectly suited to the cutting edge medical research taking place there. I felt awestruck by both the gravity of this enormous staircase and the groundbreaking developments taking place there post-Covid. Luckily I had my camera with me. I had been studying a part-time photography course as art therapy to help while battling ongoing health issues. I was reminded of a personal favourite photographic black & white series by Max Dupain of Sydney in the 1970s, where he too marvelled at the bold contrasting angles, lines and shapes of buildings, staircases, developments and urban life of his surroundings. The photograph captures the entrancing view from the top of the building staring down the rabbit hole-like barrel of the staircase, a descent suggestive of the labyrinthine darkness of the past, the pandemic, and health issues, all of which we collectively found ourselves tumbling into. Yet the image's sparkling contemporary aesthetic is also bright & sharp- the resultant perspective transforming the rails into a depiction of a kind of futuristic eye, and with the title, a play on the terms stair & stare, well & wellness -perhaps the piece may leave the viewer feeling or asking the same questions I had for myself and for the world when taking this picture, that there is a light at the end of this pandemic tunnel, that future wellness is within sight.

Images have been resized for web display, which may cause some loss of image quality. Note: Original high-resolution images are used for judging.