Anthony’s studio – a photographic essay

Anthony Essenza is a local Sydney artist – he generously opened the doors to his home and studio to allow me to document his workspace in Petersham.

From the minute I walked in I was taken with the scope of Anthony’s work.  It’s clear his home is alive with creation – be it painting, sculpture, music or wood.  The paintings covering the walls are all by his own hand.  There are intricate sculptures throughout made with a variety of mediums – from clay, to metal, to wood – also all his.

A drum kit and several guitars have prime position in the lounge where Anthony and his mates make music….but my eyes are drawn to the beautiful wood-working tools which easily accessible at the end of Anthony’s bed.  There he is crafting an amazing bespoke piece of timber furniture, and I can’t help but wondering who it’s for.

Then Anthony takes me through what feels like a secret passageway behind a wall, through to other artists’ spaces he manages.  These spaces are as diverse as the artists who work in them.  In one space, incredibly intricate feathered dogs are being created by hand.  In another (more meticulous) space, the artist is working on copper etching.  Currently in residence there is also a costume designer, a painter, another artist doing casting and firing, and even an electronics repairman.  Anthony tells me these spaces themselves are always in a state of motion – with some tenants remaining for years, and others staying only for a few short months before moving on.

Cactus Study

When Kara Town – one of the creative directors of the beautiful online journal Nest Together – approached me to talk about an editorial she wanted to do on Cactus, I was immediately intrigued. We spoke in detail of Ansel Adams’ early botanical works as inspiration for the piece – his interaction with nature, and his wider landscapes together with his more intimate portrait details.

With this in mind, I visited The Royal Botanic Gardens in an homage to both Adams’ connection with the environment and his photographic techniques.  Once at the Gardens, I found myself in another, very quiet world where only light and shadow, form and texture existed – just me and these strange botanical creatures. I started to see the cactus as individuals, each with their own distinct personality and things started to feel quite surreal.

This is some of what I saw that day.

(if you love what you see, you can get a limited edition print from my new store here)