Katrin Koenning

Katrin Koenning (b.1978, Germany) is a photographer from the German Ruhrgebiet, currently based in Naarm, Melbourne Australia. Situated in the documentary tradition, Katrin’s intimate photographs and sequences are of the everyday. Koenning offers a way of seeing in which the greater living world, the human and the animal occupy an equal space – connected rather than apart. In careful image-dialogues, she explores extended narrative possibilities and the currencies of the document.

Her work is regularly exhibited in Australian and international solo and group exhibitions, and she is a former editor and picture editor of the Australian PhotoJournalist Magazine, an annual photography and human rights publication. Koenning’s images are published widely and she has won numerous awards. Katrin regularly gives workshops in photographic practice and thinking. She is represented by Reading Room Melbourne and East Wing.

Swell (In Progress)

In 2015 communities and organisations across Australia were struggling to halt approval of the country’s largest coal project — Adani’s Carmichael Coal Mine. After a brief victory for the environment, the government responded by limiting conservational philanthropy and even considered repealing laws in order to restrict green activism.

Today, this political climate of vested interest continues and Australia is still at risk of losing further precious eco-systems. All in the name of ‘economic growth’. Swell is born out of anger at policies that elevate short-term profit above the need to make sustainable decisions and safeguard our future. Avoiding expected tropes of disaster-capitalism and rather focussing on a number of mini-ecologies across Australia, the work seeks to present counter-narratives and positive ecological imaginaries to highlight our current state of collective urgency. It creates a space in which things are connected, rather than apart.

Swell is a work in progress; a personal narrative about nature hanging in the balance.

Midnight in Prahran (2012 – ongoing)

It’s always six, Andrew says towards the end. The hallway wears an old-school clock, one that is stuck forever. I have to think of his son’s mother, how she’d lost her life. Alan dresses like it’s Sunday – vest and hat and all. He too speaks of the absence of a mother while we wait for birds. He tells me come along to dance class (over 65’s). There Aubray moves like he is twenty, swinging two mad legs. I think of love and injury, how things are found and lost and found. Dancing defies the ghosts, they say, and time is time.

In winter, once the leaves have fallen, morning fogs come settling in. They bring with them a swallowing effect – the urban world, not mute but muffled and a bit drowned out. The chilly air then smells like fire, coffee and damp earth. When the local magpie sings on such a morning, over on the window tree, her call is loud and wallowing. You’ve heard? It comes in such assortment that your head explodes, seducing with a thousand faces.

Drawing on a variety of media to find, collect and visualise stories from the suburb of Prahran, South of the Yarra river, Midnight in Prahran is a localised work about fabrics of a particular community. It is imaginary of a community in fluidity; a little like a never-ending puzzle or a humming swarm that is in constant motion, never static. Within this humming swarm, every thing wants to belong – the tear, the hope, the bird, the human. The stone, the tree and the dream.

Connect with Katrin | katrinkoenning.com | Instagram |

Heroines 2020