Cameron James Cope

b. 1985, Warragul.

I'm a photographer based in Naarm / Melbourne, Australia.

My projects and photobooks explore how the past is embedded in the present through visual allegory, narrative form and conceptual documentary.

I acknowledge the sovereignty of the Kulin Nations in Naarm, where I currently live and work. I pay my respects to their elders past and present, and also to the Gunaikurnai, on whose country I spent my formative years.

Art Practice

I recently completed a Master of Fine Art at RMIT University exploring inconsistencies in dominant representations of Australian colonial history and pioneer mythology.

Through photography supported by text and installation I invoke European traditions of knowledge and authority to question colonial practices and examine my position as a European-Australian in settler society.

My works draw from and contribute to the ‘History Wars’ public debate and form a dialogue re-appraising ‘remembrance’ of frontier history from a non-Aboriginal standpoint.

I don't aim to tell ‘history,' it's the not telling of it I'm exploring - alongside how the past has been ignored and dispensed with.

Critical to my approach is the ‘embedded narrative,’ a literary device I use to place a story within a story. My photographs explore narratives carried within objects, places and personal ancestries, and leverage the ‘truth claim’ of photography to serve as both anchors to and starting points for broader historical and contemporary narratives.

My hope is to negotiate a personal position that explores colonial narratives without appropriating from the ‘anthropological other.’ And to subvert indexical documentary threads in coloniser traditions (photography, historiography and museology) by placing them under their own microscope. 


2018 - Pabva Zizi Pagara Gondo @ Head On Photo Festival, Gaffa Gallery, Sydney.

2017 - Pabva Zizi Pagara Gondo, Aeso Studio, Fitzroy.

2016 - Moreland Summer Show: Factivism, Counihan Gallery, Brunswick.

2016 - Belong In, Alternating Current Art Space, Windsor.

2016 - Dispersia, School of Art Gallery, RMIT University, Melbourne.

2016 - One Night Stand III: Clearway, Easey Street Studios, Collingwood.

2016 - Wallung Githa Unsettled (selected prints) at Land Dialogues, HR Gallop Gallery, Wagga Wagga.

2015 - Wallung Githa Unsettled, Anna Pappas Gallery, South Yarra, Melbourne.

2014 – Boorun’s Canoe touring exhibition at Latrobe Gallery, Morwell.

2014 – GroundUp, N/A Space, Brunswick East, Melbourne.

2014 – CCP Salon Prize, Centre for Contemporary Photography, Fitzroy, Melbourne.

2013 – Boorun’s Canoe, First Peoples permanent exhibit, Bunjilaka Aboriginal Cultural Centre, Melbourne Museum.

2013 – Picture 1000 Words at the Gallery @ City Library, Melbourne.

2012 – Boorun’s Canoe at Birrarung Gallery, Bunjilaka Aboriginal Cultural Centre, Melbourne Museum.

2012 - Mongolia in the Footsteps of the Nomads at TAP Gallery, Sydney.

2012 - Mongolia in the Footsteps of the Nomads at West Gippsland Arts Centre,Warragul.

2012 – Mongolia in the Footsteps of the Nomads at Matt Irwin Gallery, Melbourne.

Awards, Grants & Sponsorship

2020 - Shortlisted. Australian Photography Awards. Documentary, Landscape and Travel categories.

2020 - City of Melbourne COVID-19 Arts Grant.

2018 - Finalist. Australian Photobook of the Year (2017).

2016 - Finalist. Australian Life Photographic Prize.

2014 - Travel Photographer of the Year. The Australian Society of Travel Writers Awards.

2014 - Best Australian Story Under 1000 Words. The Australian Society of Travel Writers Awards.

2014 - First Runner Up. The Photo Society November Contest.

2013 - Finalist. Sydney Life Photographic Prize.

2013 - Finalist. Best International Story Under 1000 Words. The Australian Society of Travel Writers Awards.

2013 - Fujifilm Australia. First edition prints by CPL for the photo-literary collaboration Picture 1000 Words.

2012 - City of Melbourne. $10,000 Artist Grant for the cultural collaboration Boorun's Canoe.

2011 - Winner. Outer Edge Magazine Travel Writing Competition.

2011 - Honourable Mention. Global Travel Photo Contest.

2010 - Winner. On The Beach Photo Competition.

2010 - Selected for Exhibition. ACMP Bang Your Drum.


2017 - Pabva Zizi Pagara Gondo - Where the Owl Left the Eagle Comes to Sit. Self published photobook.

2015 - Wallung Githa Unsettled. Self published poster zine.

2013Picture 1000 Words: A Photo-Literary Collaboration Exploring the Power of Images to Inspire Written Creativity. Self published in limited editions.

2013 - Boorun’s Canoe: A Journey of Connection to Past and Present. Published by Museum Victoria.


Public - The Melbourne Museum, Melbourne City Library, The Asia Pacific Photobook Archive, National Library of Australia, Charles Darwin University.

Private – Sydney, Melbourne, Gippsland.

Selected Articles

2014 –‘Q&A with Cam Cope – Australian Travel Photographer of the Year’ publishedon

2013 – ‘Insight and Inspiration’ interview /feature article in issue #02 of the Ballarat International Foto Biennale’sjournal of critical essays and reviews on photography: One Thousand Words [About Photography].

2013 – ‘Coping Abroad’ interview / featurearticle published in Infocusphotography magazine.

2012 – ‘Boorun’s Canoe’ feature article developed from presentation transcript for the special 100th editionof Signals Journal of the Australian Maritime Musuem.

2012 – ‘Insidethe Silver Mountain feature article (words and pictures) published in edition #422 of The Big Issue (Australia).

2012 – ‘CapturingPassion interview/feature article published in issue #16 of Milk Magazine.

2012 – ‘The Knowledge Keepers’ feature articleon Boorun’s Canoe in issue #15 of Milk Magazine.


2016 - Master of Fine Art, RMIT University, Melbourne.

2015 - Masterclass in street photography with Jesse Marlow, Centre for Contemporary Photography, Melbourne.

2012 - Certificate in Documentary Photography with Michael Coyne, RMIT University, Melbourne.

2009 - Certificate in Digital Photography – Postproduction, RMIT University, Melbourne.

2009 - Certificate in Basic Digital Photography, CAE, Melbourne.

2008 - Bachelor of Arts Bachelor of Science double degree at Monash University, Melbourne, Victoria. Arts major in Spanish with minors in Film Studies and History. Science major in Geography with a minor in Conservation and Environmental Biology.


2016 Treasurer and committee member of Coalesce ARI.

2015 - 2020 Vocational teaching, Contemporary Travel Photography, RMIT University.

2011 - 2016 Freelance photojournalism (with publications including Australian Geographic, The Weekend Australian, International Traveller, Royal Auto, The Big Issue, Get Lost and many others).

Using Format