When iconic photographer William Yang’s landmark 1977 exhibition Sydneyphiles _debuted at the Australian Centre for Photography it broke all artistic conventions and launched the self-taught photographer’s 46-year career. William’s diaristic display of Sydney’s vibrant cultural life — the parties, the rising stars, the city’s gay subculture — saw over 200 photos tightly packed onto the gallery walls. Some 46 years later, _Sydneyphiles Reimagined at the State Library of NSW looks at the heady days of William’s early career, as well as the aftermath of the show’s success.
In this special event, William presents a performance about Sydneyphiles, followed by a conversation with writer and journalist Benjamin Law about the legacy of _Sydneyphiles _and William’s broader body of work, and what it means to see the show now reimagined for audiences at the State Library.
This event is presented in association with the Library’s exhibition Sydneyphiles Reimagined.
William Yang worked as a freelance photographer in the 70s and 80s documenting Sydney’s social life. In 1989 he integrated his skills as a writer and a visual artist. He began to perform monologues with slide projection in the theatre. They tell personal stories and explore issues of identity. William had a retrospective exhibition _Seeing and Being Seen _at QAGOMA, Brisbane, in 2021. He won a Lifetime Achievement award from Sydney Theatre Critics in 2022.
Benjamin Law is a journalist, columnist, TV screenwriter and author of The Family Law, Gaysia: Adventures in the Queer East and Quarterly Essay 67: Moral Panic 101. The Family Law is an award-winning TV series for SBS that Benjamin created and co-wrote over three seasons. He co-hosts ABC Radio’s Stop Everything! _with Beverley Wang, and is a weekly columnist for _Good Weekend magazine.
This initiative is proudly supported by the NSW Government through the Culture Up Late Program.
Image credit: Alexis Orosa