WHAT'S ON

Bob's brings his passion for photography to Church Street

Bob Teoh finds more comfort behind the camera than in front of the lens. Photo Anne Keen
Bob Teoh finds more comfort behind the camera than in front of the lens. Photo Anne Keen

Bob Teoh's quest for the perfect photo of the Gloucester valley almost shattered his dream of launching his first solo Australian exhibition.

The Malaysian born photographer had chosen all of his pieces for an Australia Day art walk in Gloucester, when his desire to ensure he'd captured Gloucester the way he saw it, found him climbing the Bucketts.

"I felt there was an 'elusive' shot to complete my selection," Bob explained. "On September 1, I went up the Bucketts hoping to take a shot of Gloucester valley. My last shot was at 12.56pm then I felt dizzy and tried to sit down on a rock."

"The next thing I knew was waking up below a rock with no sensations in my body and limbs except for my neck and elbow."

The 71-year-old had suffered a medical condition and his fall resulted in a spinal cord injury. He was airlifted by Westpac Rescue Helicopter to John Hunter hospital where we underwent surgery and spent 69 days in rehab.

"The doctors told me I'm very lucky that I'm able to walk again," Bob said.

But the fall hasn't stopped his determination to complete his exhibition, ready for everyone to enjoy. Despite only recently being able to walk without crutches and the inability to use his camera, with the help and support of his wife, Kim the Glen Below the Wind exhibition will fill the shopfront windows on Church Street, Gloucester on January 25 until February 15.

Bob Teoh with the paramedics and being airlifted after his fall on the Bucketts. Photos Ty Soupidis

Bob Teoh with the paramedics and being airlifted after his fall on the Bucketts. Photos Ty Soupidis

Bob took the first photo for the exhibition in April 2017, only a couple months after visiting Gloucester for the first time. He'd been invited to preach at St Andrew's Presbyterian Church in late February and moved to the area shortly after.

"As I drove toward the shire, the mist, hills and valleys caught my imagination. I knew instinctively and immediately I have to do a photo essay of the place at least over four seasons," Bob recalled. "It has taken me more time as I had to do some research and also to look for certain images. This is my experiment in imaging rural Australia."

This isn't Bob 's first body of works capturing the essence of a place, having spent two years capturing the inner regions of Sarawak, Borneo. His photo essay, Between Two Rivers was exhibited in Malaysia in 2007.

His first solo exhibition in Australia will consist of 20 black and white photos taken in the 2422 postcode, showcasing life as it is in a country town; "no photoshop, no embellishment".

"This is my contribution to the community. Viewers can see the exhibits 24/7 as they are mounted on the windows of shops and offices along Church Street," Bob said.