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Lismore Regional Gallery | Heart & Soul: Jacklyn Wagner & Peter Derrett

Image: Peter Derrett and Jacklyn Wagner with a selection of prints for the exhibition.
Well known Lismore photographers, Jacklyn Wagner and Peter Derrett, have for the first time collaborated to produce a body of work documenting the diversity of people who make up this eclectic community.
For two years, the photographers have spent their time looking for people, who “at first sight we found interesting”, the results of which have produced a diverse and intriguing body of work. Throughout the past two years they have photographed over eighty locals, who were mostly unknown to the photographers. The sum effect is that this project is very much a ‘portrait’ of Lismore.
In many ways this project is an update on Wagner’s 2001 ‘Southies’ project, which documented a range of inhabitants of South Lismore. This body of work, now residing in the Gallery’s permanent collection, continues to be one of our most cherished groups of work due to the loving portrayal of the subjects. Heart and Soul, which again will enter our collection at the conclusion of this exhibition, thanks to the generosity of the artists, will no doubt continue to do the same.
Wagner and Derrett have stated a mutual respect for each other’s work, and both have had an unwavering commitment to the project. This has resulted in a relatively seamless exhibition in which both photographers are proud to have been involved.
The project has also been embraced by the subjects in the images, with a real sense of anticipation and even disbelief that they are part of the exhibition: “Opening night will be something special. I think it will be very much an exhibition for the subjects and their families”, states Wagner.


Between them, Jacklyn Wagner and Peter Derrett have documented life in Lismore and the Northern Rivers for almost 80 years.
Derrett photographed the 1973 Aquarius Festival, and has been a fixture in the region since. His work has been published in numerous local publications, and exhibited nationally and internationally. To many, he is known for his work documenting the region’s theatre productions, having set up Theatre North with his wife Dr Ros Derrett OAM in 1981, and being a drama and English teacher at Trinity for 36 years. This theatrical photography is evident in Peter’s work for this exhibition.
Wagner was Lismore daily newspaper, The Northern Star’s, first female photojournalist when she took up the role in the late 1980s. This role confirmed her ability to capture, with compassion, a range of people, and allowing a singular image to tell a complex story. Her 2001 ‘Southie’s Project’, documenting the people of South Lismore is a key body of work in Lismore Regional Gallery’s permanent collection.
Thursday 4th October 11am
Join the artists as they discuss their approach to this project, the people they photographed, and the legacy of projects such as this.
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