Charles is an exhibiting photographer with numerous one man and group exhibitions covering a diverse range of subject matter within the context of Social Documentation. His work has been exhibited in the Queensland Art Gallery and the Australian National Gallery as well as many other major venues and has been included in major public collections throughout Australia. Charles has also been the recipient of several major photographic commissions.
Charles has travelled extensively having photographed in over 60 countries. He has also been involved with the International Red Cross to document crisis activities in various conflict zones such as Afghanistan, Malawi, Somalia and Chechnya.
In 1993 he journeyed to the Antarctic under the auspices of the Australian Antarctic Division. Christmas 1994 saw him again photographing under the auspices of the Australian Red Cross, this time in Thailand.
In July 1995 he undertook a one-month International Committee of Red Cross project in Chechnya in the Russian Federation.
Charles returned to Chechnya in July 1996 as an ICRC-contracted photographer to document the ICRC humanitarian activities in that devastated country. In 1997 he undertook a project for the Federation of the Red Cross to document urbanisation in India, Jordan, Colombia and Peru.
In 2001 he completed a Centenary of Federation commission for the Cairns Art Gallery documenting social structures within Cairns society. Charles is now a lecturer in photography for the Queensland College of Art at Griffith University.
Images from Charles’ Antarctic visit have found their way to Norway to take part in an exhibition at the Fram Museum.
“It was early 1993 and I was at 35,000 feet over the Indian Ocean on my way home from photographing the war in Somalia for the International Red Cross. After that project and an earlier visit to Afghanistan, I desperately needed a change of subject matter and environment. I decided to re-apply to the Antarctic Fellowships program offered by Australian Antarctic Division, I retrieved my notebook out of my camera bag, and offset the boredom of the flight by writing my submission. This time my application was successful.
After I returned from Antarctica I extended the experience by slowly printing my images, however I just couldn’t begin photographing again. The experience of Antarctica was so residual and so intense that I didn’t know what I could do to match that experience. I have photographed in almost 70 countries, but Antarctica was unique, and its influence still pervades my work and my life
Six months after my return there was a call from the Red Cross in Geneva; would I be available to go to Chechnya? I went to Chechnya and my career was back on track. However when I see the violence and inhumanity that is still so prevalent in the world, I re-visit Antarctica through my images and memories. I am then reminded and encouraged that a place still exists that exemplifies sublime beauty and peace. My visit really did change many aspects of my life.”
In recent years Charles reflected on his Antarctic experience, “I find it intriguing that my 1993 Antarctic experience still resonates within my practice as a documentary photographer”.
1994 Antarctic folio Tasmanian Art Gallery and Museum Hobart Tasmania
2003 Visible traces of another life Rockhampton Art Gallery Queensland
2006 South of Sixty, Benalla Art Gallery, Victoria
2007 — 2008 Cross section, travelling exhibition.
- Horsham Regional Art Gallery, Victoria
- Bundoora Homestead Art Centre, Victoria
- Ballarat Fine Art Gallery, Victoria
- Ararat Regional Art Gallery, Victoria
- Mildura Arts Centre, Victoria
- Murray Bridge Regional Art Gallery, South Australia
- Wangaratta exhibitions Gallery, Victoria
- Ipswich Art Gallery, Queensland
- QUT Art Museum and Art Gallery, Queensland
1999 The art of Inclusion: Queensland Art Gallery travelling exhibition
- Queensland Art Gallery Brisbane
- Cairns Regional Gallery
- Toowoomba Regional Art Gallery
- Gladstone Regional Art Museum
- Winton Art Gallery
- Logan Art Gallery
2003 Impressions of Antarctica, Parliament House Canberra
2004 Ice and Snow- Antarctica to Mt Everest, Josef Lebovic gallery, Sydney
2004 Antarctic Exhibition, Fram Museum Norway
- Australian Embassy Denmark
2005 Hell Bent for the South Pole, Tasmanian Art Gallery and Museum
2012 THINGS photographing the constructed world, National Library of Australia.
Collections containing my Antarctic images
- Tasmanian Art Gallery and Museum
- Queensland Art Gallery
- Benalla Art Gallery, Victoria
- Horsham Regional Art Gallery, Victoria
- The National Library of Australia, Canberra
The Crystal Desert: published 2007