Ann Shelton
an invitation to dance

PHOTO 2021
02.18.2021 - 03.07.2021


an invitation to dance
Metro Tunnel Creative Program

Visit PHOTO 2021 website.

Radical. Courtesan. Legend.

The life of Lola Montez transcends truth and slips into desiring myth. A radical and mercurial figure Montez exceeded prescribed parameters of femininity and ignored limits and existing conventions controlling women’s bodies. Montez toured Australian gold rush towns during the 1850s as a performer—and was notably the first woman ever photographed smoking.

Drawing upon Montez’s own use of photography to promote her self-image, Shelton has created a new series of works. An Instagram feed (@elizagilbertandlolamontez) created by the artist allows audiences to engage with archival material relating to Montez.

Commissioned by Photo Australia and the Metro Tunnel Creative Program for PHOTO 2021


More about PHOTO 2021
International Festival of Photography in Melbourne and beyond
160+ artists. 65 locations.

“The Truth”
February 18 – March 7, 2021

Photo Australia supports universal access to diverse, progressive, meaningful discourse to make sense of ourselves and the world around us. We achieve this through the promotion and commissioning of new photography and ideas, connecting Australia to a global arts and photography community.

Photo Australia produces Australasia’s largest and most significant photography event. Delivered in collaboration with over 40 cultural institutions, museums, galleries and universities, the Festival features free exhibitions, outdoor displays and artist commissions in Melbourne and across regional Victoria, alongside events and education programs.

The biennial celebration of new photography and ideas invites artists, curators, writers, academics and audiences to interrogate the major issues of our time through a central theme. Responding to the theme of ‘The Truth’, PHOTO 2021 explores the veracity of the photographic image in a time of social media, fake news, and artificial intelligence.

Working with local and international partners, the Festival is committed to commissioning new work, providing opportunities for artists to develop their practice and reach new audiences, and presenting an outdoor program of artworks in unexpected sites across Melbourne, from streets and laneways to the Parliament of Victoria and the Royal Botanic Gardens Victoria.

The inaugural Festival was originally conceived as PHOTO 2020. In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the first edition was rescheduled and relaunched as PHOTO 2021.



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