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MICHAEL COYNE "Their Stories are My Stories"

© michael coyne

Michael Coyne has used his photographic, artistic and journalistic talent for more than 35 years to document areas of the human condition as an eye in to the soul of humanity. He is one those rare wonders - a journalist who can cover action, but also one who can tell a story and pass on his insights in images that delve into the eyes and character of his subjects.
His coverage in Iran combined both of these traits. Viewers were aware of the constant action and motion of what was happening. At the same time, they became aware of the subjects as individuals, not just as puppets on the great stage of politics.
His Jesuit project delved deeply into the soul of the individuals and through them the viewer was brought to an understanding of the larger element - the Society itself and its place in the modern world.
The Olympic portraits commissioned by Kodak show the diversity and depth of the Australian society and the people who form its parts. It is uncanny to look at a portrait and find oneself looking through the eyes and into the depths of the subjects entire being.
Michael has combined his talent and his love for humanity to create a body of work that is alive in and of itself. I am proud to call this Renaissance man my friend.

Benjamin J Chapnick, President Black Star New York

© michael coyne

Philosophically, I believe that my role as a photojournalist is to allow the voice of the people being photographed to be heard: to show their lives and the events that impact upon them not just at a given and possibly catastrophic moment, but rather as their lives unfold. My lifes work is an attempt to capture and document photographically the human struggle to affirm life; to live it to the full. Much of my work centres around the dramas being lived by humankind. My hope is that my photographs are not only a witness to the great crisis at the end of the 20th century and the start of the 21st century, but that they also affirm the attempt by many people, worldwide, to begin again.

This belief in the need for a long term rather than instant view of a situation goes to the very core of my work as a photojournalist. Every one of my photographic undertakings is a long time in the making. The documentation is invariably in-depth and a result of a considerable investment of time and energy getting to know my photographic subjects and their circumstances as thoroughly as possible. I take my time. I get to know the people. I find out about their lives, and then I take photographs.

The results of my efforts are intended to compel people (the viewers) to step back and really look. I believe that it is important to allow people to experience the power of a comprehensive and integrated series of documentary photographs.

Michael Coyne
April 2005


Michael Coyne has had a number of solo and combined exhibitions in Australia, New Zealand, Hong Kong and America. His photographs are held in collections in Europe, Asia, North America and Australia. His books include: A World of Australians, Second Spring, Tour of Duty, Jesus the Jew and The Oz Factor. He has worked for magazines such as: Newsweek, Life, Time & National Geographic Magazine. His numerous awards include: American National Press Photographers Association, Overseas Press Club of America, New York Art Directors Award and Religious Book of the Year. Michael has been contracted to the prestigious New York agency, Black Star for twenty years.

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2004 Daylesford Foto Biennale Inc. All rights reserved