Death threats for artist and hunting model

<em>Family</em>Life on the land: Family by Emma Thomson. Photo: Emma Thomson

An artist and the model who posed for her, dressed in denim shorts and midriff top, posing with a dead kangaroo have received death threats.

Emma Thomson and the model Katrina Byrnes received the threats before an exhibition of the artist’s photos of women such as Byrnes who hunt in rural NSW.

Animal rights campaigners remain outraged by Thomson’s depiction of female hunters from the Dubbo region as part of a two-month artist-in-residency at the Dubbo Regional Gallery supported by Museums and Galleries NSW, a state government agency, and the Copyright Agency.

”It [the text threats] affected me at the time but that’s died down now,” Thomson said. ”I’m still continuing with the project as I proposed.”


The chief executive of Animal Liberation, Lynda Stoner, compared Thomson’s hunting photos to images of child pornography, bestiality, snuff murders, rape and torture.

”Would Ms Thomson, Museums and Gallery NSW, the Copyright Agency and Dubbo Regional Gallery agree these were suitable for ‘artistic’ exhibitions?” she asked. ”If not, why not? Each entails causing fear, suffering and dominion.”

The exhibition will open at Galerie pompom in Chippendale on May 14 as part of the Head On Photo Festival and at Dubbo Regional Gallery next year. Take Your Best Shot features images of women posing with guns, hunting dogs and other equipment they use to hunt animals, as well as Family, which also includes a baby and a young boy holding a gun.

”Nothing in her photographs will convey the terror and often protracted death caused by people who enjoy inflicting pain, who enjoy killing,” Ms Stoner said.

The exhibition catalogue states that Thomson’s residency provided her with the opportunity to create photos reflecting life in regional NSW. ”The photographs reveal women who are engaged with the landscape in which they live, and whose presence highlights the multifaceted reality of ‘life on the land,’ ” Dubbo Gallery curator Kent Buchanan said.

An associate lecturer in photography at Charles Sturt University in Wagga Wagga, Christopher Orchard, said he imagined the animals in Thomson’s shots were killed humanely and lawfully and ”as such I do not have any objection to them on those grounds”.

However, he said: ”The singular image I have seen of a woman in her swimwear, it perhaps cheapens any statement about respectful killing.”