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Letras y Fotografía # 91 – Jesse Marlow


Por Rubén Natividad
Alumno del Curso Avanzado de Fotografía Blackkamera

Biografía personal e inspiración

• Nace en Melbourne (1978) y desarrolla principalmente su obra en Australia. Actualmente se dedica a fotografía comercial y de calle.

• Con ocho años llegó a sus manos un libro del movimiento graffity de NY (Subway Art, 1984). Ello justificó su acercamiento a la fotografía, usando la réflex de su madre durante las vacaciones escolares para fotografiar los graffity en Melbourne, y así continuó durante 10 años.

• Realizó cursos de fotografía que le acercaron a los trabajos de Robert Frank, Henri Cartier-Bresson, Joseph Koudelka y Alex Webb.

• Inicialmente fotografía en blanco y negro, con película de 35mm.

• En sus últimas obras, salta a color y digital, probablemente inspirado en pintores australianos postmodernistas e hiperrealistas como Jeffrey Smart y Howard Arkley.


Anything Can Happen and Probably Will by Jesse Marlow, Leica Australia, 2018
100 Great Street Photographs, Prestel, 2017
Use This If You Want To Take Great Photographs, Lawrence King Publishing, 2016
The World Atlas of Street Photography, Thames & Hudson, 2014
The Street Photographer’s Manual, Thames & Hudson, 2014
Don’t Just Tell Them, Show Them, by Jesse Marlow, M.33, 2014
Hijacked, Australia & UK, Big City, 2012
In-Public @ 10, Nick Turpin Publishing, UK, 2010
Centre Bounce. Football from Australia’s Heart, by Jesse Marlow, HGB, Melbourne 2003
Street Photography Now – Thames & Hudson, UK, 2010
Wounded, by Jesse Marlow, Sling Shot Press, Melbourne, 2005
Centre Bounce. Football from Australia’s Heart, by Jesse Marlow, HGB, Melbourne 2003

Centre Bounce (2003)

Carnavales de fútbol australiano (una serie de campeonato nacional) en las comunidades aborígenes australianas del Territorio del Norte, haciendo también viajes al vasto y remoto árido interior de Australia durante cuatro años.

Realizado en blanco y negro.

04 02 05

Wounded (2005)

Fue una situación adversa (fractura de un brazo) la que inspiró su segundo libro, tras un periodo en que le fue imposible usar la cámara. Se inspiró en lesionados para este trabajo.

También en blanco y negro.

01 17

Don’t Just Tell Them, Show Them (2014)

Salto a la fotografía en color.

“En la tradición de la gran fotografía de calle, Jesse Marlow domina los lugares de Melbourne … Extraordinariamente astuto …, crea una  visión operística del mundo urbano –llena de sinsentidos humanos, contratiempos y yuxtaposiciones involuntarias” — Naomi Cass, former Director of the Centre for Contemporary Photography, Melbourne

“Poesía visual y momentos de juego visual inesperado a lo largo de Melbourne” –Alexander Strecker.

06 23 19 32


LC: Do you go out expressly to shoot your work or is it always spur of the moment? Is there a conscious mindset that you embrace or is it a constant, fundamental way of seeing the world?

JM: I have had periods of time where I went out specifically to shoot, but often I found this approach put unnecessary pressure on myself and an expectation to come home with results. Thus, over the last five years or so—as life and my commercial work have become busier—I’ve found the best approach is to simply carry a camera at all times.

With the camera around my neck, I am constantly aware of the forms around me, and on the look out for something that could lead to an interesting shot. This doesn’t mean that I’m constantly finding such  moments, however! But it’s this uncertainty that I love about street photography.

LC: Perhaps unusually for a contemporary street photographer, you shoot a lot of your work on film. What’s special  about the analog process for you?

JM: I’ve always been a film user and I continue using film for a long-term project I’m working on. I really enjoy the suspense that is created between shooting and (the much delayed) seeing of the results. It’s the complete opposite to my commercial practice, which is all shot on digital cameras.

LC: Some people dream of flying to exotic locations which will inspire them to make their work. Much of your photographs are made much closer to home. How do you find continual interest in your familiar surroundings?

JM: Exotic locations have never meant a lot to me photographically. I’m more inspired by the daily grind that most people find themselves in, and looking for something interesting, often small and inconsequential, that can flip the scene into something entirely unexpected. It comes back to keeping an open mind and being constantly aware of my surroundings.

LC: Do you ever tire of taking pictures; do you ever feel like you need a visual break?

JM: I definitely go through periods during which my output slows and isn’t what I feel it should be. I think it’s important to acknowledge this as being part of the creative process and embrace it. It’s often during these periods of reflection that new directions reveal themselves.


• 2003-2012: Oculi, un colectivo australiano de fotografía documental.
• M.33, colectivo de fotógrafos australianos y representación.
• 2001-actualidad, In-Public, colectivo de fotografía de calle.


• Permanentes: colecciones públicas City of Melbourne y State Library of Victoria (Melbourne, Australia).
• Otras:

Anything Can Happen and Probably Will, Leica Gallery, Sydney, April 2017
Jesse Marlow: Street Photographer, Horsham Regional Art Gallery, July 2016
Wounded, Lamington Drive, Melbourne, March 2015
City of Whitehorse 20 Year Anniversary Commission, Artspace, Box Hill September 2014
Don’t Just Tell Them, Show Them – Part 3 (selected works), Richmond Town Hall, June 2012
Don’t Just Tell Them, Show Them – Part 3, Anna Pappas Gallery, Melbourne, April 2012
Don’t Just Tell Them, Show Them – London Street Photography Festival, July 2011
OAO (One And Only) – Anna Pappas Gallery, Prahran, March 2011
Don’t Just Tell Them, Show Them… continued – Menzies Art Brands Gallery, Melbourne, 2010
Centre Bounce, Alcastan Gallery, Melbourne (Complete series) April 3– 25 2003
Life: Flinders St Station, Platform2, Flinders Street Station, Melbourne, July 2000

Breaking Point / Space. Street. Life. Photography – Seven Decades of Street Photography, Dichtorhallen – The House of Photography,  Hamburg, 2018
Elevating the Everyday, Boroondara Gallery, Melbourne, 2018
Recent Acquisitions, National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne, 2017
An Unorthodox Flow of Images, Centre for Contemporary Photography, 2017
True-Self Exhibition, Melbourne GPO, May 2013
In-Public, Bangkok Design Centre, 2013 Geomorphometries: Contemporary Terrains, Queensland Centre for Photography 2012
Oculi – Terra Australia Incognita , MGA, 2012
Street Photography Now, Mois de la Photo Festival, Paris, November 2010
In-Public, Format Photography Festival, Derby, March 2011 Oculi – Terra Australia Incognita , Manly City Gallery, 2010
Leica CCP Documentary Prize, CCP, Melbourne, September 2007
Australian Rules: Around the Grounds, Monash Gallery of Art, September 2007
Risk – Joop-Swart Masterclass, Foam Fotografiemuseum, Amsterdam, 2006 Crosswalks: Contemporary Street Photography, Oklahoma City Museum of Art, USA, August, 2006


Winner – Bowness Prize, Monash Gallery of Art, 2012
Winner – International Street Photographer of the Year, 2011
Finalist – Moran Contemporary Photography Prize, 2010
Fabrica Scholarship, 1 year, Italy, 2007
World Press Photo Joop Swart Masterclass participant, Amsterdam 2006
Winner, Hasselblad X-PAN Masters, 2002