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Remarkable people. Remarkable book.

The acclaimed trainer Gai Waterhouse photographed at dawn training at Royal Randwick Sydney. Photo by Michel Lawrence © 2018 for the book Remarkable. Published by Thames and Hudson
Michel Lawrence photographed the once feared and admired leader of the Sydney Builders’ Labourers Federation at his Sydney home © 2018 for the book Remarkable. Mundey was the first Unionist/Envrinmentalist leader in Australia successfuly halting redevelopment of the Sydney Rocks area.

‘Remarkable’ is Michel Lawrence’s third photographic book. And as the title suggests it is filled with remarkable people, some very well-known, such as former Prime Minister John Howard, comedian Gary McDonald (aka Norman Gunston) the great swimmers Dawn Fraser and Shane Gould, the brilliant polymath Barry Jones and a further 95 great Australians.

Some are not so well known but they were all nominated as Australia’s ‘National Living Treasures’ in an idea sponsored by the National Trust of Australia in 1997 and voted on by Australians through the pages of The Age and The Sydney Morning Herald.

So these were the People’s Choice Awards if you like.

‘Remarkable’ which took nearly two years to compile was written by Melinda Williams and photographed by Michel Lawrence.

‘Remarkable’ was published by the venerable Thames and Hudson, arguably, one of the world’s great publishers of illustrated books on Art, Architecture, Design, Photography, Fashion, Lifestyle, Music, History.

Melinda and Michel travelled across Australia meeting, interviewing and photographing the Treasures. The photographs were all shot using only natural light, as it would have made for a much larger production budget with a large crew with lights and larger format film equipment. But this meant that there was a much greater sense of continuity to the photographs and stylistically much more consistency. The portraits were largely shot in the landscape format and quite often in very close-up mode.

Senator Pat Dodson was photographed outside his office in Parliament House Canberra, by Michel Lawrence © 2018 for the book Remarkable published by Thames and Hudson. 

They were remarkable people” says Michel Lawrence.

As Michel remarked later: “We understood with each new portrait session why these people were Australian Living Treasures. They were all remarkable people.”

Bob Brown, the former Greens leader was photographed by Michel Lawrence © 2018 under an ancient Walnut tree on his property, Oura Oura in Tasmania for the book Remarkable, published by Thames and Hudson.
Dawn Fraser is without doubt one of Australia’s National Living Treasures. The great swimmer was photographed by Michel Lawrence at her local pool © 2018 for the book Remarkable published by Thames and Hudson.

Melinda conducted her interviews as the portrait sessions progressed and a video recording session was also included in the project.

Unfortunately some of the original nominations could not be interviewed or photographed as they had sadly passed away. Gough and Margaret Whitlam were gone, as too Malcolm Fraser, the indigenous singer/songwriter Jimmy Little, the internationally acclaimed art critic Robert Hughes, Dame Leonie Kramer, the much loved Hazel Hawke and the great country singer Slim Dusty to name just a few.

Michel Lawrence photographed the acclaimed Aboriginal actor, TV presenter and activist in Perth for the book Remarkable © 2018. Published by Thames and Hudson.
The brilliant polymath Barry Jones was photographed at his office at Melbourne University for the book Remarkable. Portrait by Michel Lawrence © 2018

So, Melinda and Michel set about the project with a sense of urgency as they wanted to record as many of the Remarkable Australians before any more passed away. By and large they were successful, as several in fact passed away after they had sat for portraits and interviews.


The book was launched in October 2018 at The Buxton Contemporary Art Gallery Melbourne.

Remarkable was designed by John Canty and edited by Katie Purvis. Publisher in charge of the production was Kirsten Abbott.



















Is It Art?

Inside Art, the arts television program launched on Channel 31 in mid 2012 and is now being screened in Sydney, Brisbane, Perth and Adelaide as well as Melbourne. The show sees Michel Lawrence move from stills photography to TV presenter. The new program presents art from the artists’ perspective. Inside Art has proved a strong performer on C31 with steadliy increasing viewer numbers and the blog, www.insideart.tv also seeing solid growth each week.


The program consists of three main segments, Artists-In-Residence where artists talk about their work in their studios, Making Art which shows art being produced ‘en plein air’ and even in bronze foundries and Private View which features gallerists, auctioneers and administrators discussing the latest issues in the arts.

The program is now screening as segments on the Big Screen at Melbourne’s FedSq and in Sydney at Westfield’s  Chatswood Shopping Centre.



InsideArt is now also an educational program with 8 completed DVDs targetting secondary and tertiary art students. The video is now also available as direct downloads and soon will also be available with the SeeCue technology which allows instant searching by text in video.



Visit the website: http://www.insideart.tv/

All of Us

Michel Lawrence’s ‘All of Us’ project began as a statement about racism and an attempt to demonstrate what multiculturalism really meant to Australians.


Beginning with a large scale exhibition installed on the exterior walls of the CrossBar building in Melbourne’s Federation Square, All of Us had many iterations including a tour of India for the Foreign Affairs Department. The exhibition was launched by the Victorian Premier Mr John Brumby, for Australia Day 2008. The subsequent exhibitions were launched in India by Premier Brumby and Foreign Affairs Minister Stephen Smith.

The photographs first appeared in All of Us, a website used to promote the project and were then used in a huge array of materials from the 240 page All of Us book published by Scribe Books to magazines and newspapers around the country, to TV commercials and the Victorian Government’s Multicultural policy book- for which it also borrowed the title All of Us. The photographs also formed the basis of a large website we designed and built  for the Victorian Multicultural Commission.

Federation Square, Melbourne, VIC

The Fed Square Installation of All of Us.

View the 7.30 Report on All of Us: