Interviewing Bindi Cole Chocka for Bluethumb

Award winning photographer Bindi Cole Chocka uses her deeply personal practice to delve into tensions within her identity and beliefs. The Melbourne based photographer’s work is known for exploring her Indigenous heritage, devotion to Christianity and experiences of motherhood.

In my work for Bluethumb, I was lucky enough to sit down with the legendary photography to discuss her practice and the messages she aims to convey in her work. The article was written for the Bluethumb blog back in October last year.

Bindi Cole Chocka is a non-stop creative.

Bindi Cole Chocka is a non-stop creative.



Bindi’s creativity spans across many realms of the art world. She’s an artist, curator, photographer and writer. She works across photography, video and installation, and has held multiple solo and group exhibitions. The most notable of these was held at the NGV in Melbourne.

“My first love is definitely photography. When I was young my mum bought me a camera and film, and I would shoot photos of my friends, then come home and sit by myself and develop all the negatives.”

Babylon 2, 2015  is from Bindi’s residency at the Victorian Western Treatment Plant.

Babylon 2, 2015 is from Bindi’s residency at the Victorian Western Treatment Plant.



Bindi’s work explores themes of her identity, heritage and religion as they relate to current politics and the media. Religion is a a huge part of her life, so her work often reflects her Christian beliefs.

“I definitely use photography as a way to unearth tensions and discomfort that exist within me… I take those tensions, exercise them and put them on a wall for all to see.”

Putting uncomfortable emotions into her work is a cathartic process for Bindi. By exploring these themes in her work, she is helping herself to understand and accept them.

Bindi is filming a series of vlogs for her Youtube project.

Bindi is filming a series of vlogs for her Youtube project.

Each photograph Bindi creates is a carefully planned statement. Bindi explains, “I’m not one of those photographers who carries a camera around and takes photos all the time. I generally think about what I want to say and build a photograph around it.”

Recent work by Bindi has focused on her experience of motherhood and how her family life has shifted after having a child. Indeed, her favourite subject matter to explore is family relationships and experiences. However, while this topic is close to her heart, Bindi loves having the freedom to create whatever she feels like. “I don’t limit myself to anything. I allow myself to explore any option I want.”

Bindi has an ever-growing collection of old cameras!

Bindi has an ever-growing collection of old cameras!

Working without limitations is how Bindi has come to utilise so many creative mediums. While she is formally trained in photography, with a Diploma in Applied Photography from NMIT and a Bachelor in Fine Arts from Federation University, she enjoys working in other mediums. In the past she has even created feathered works, video installations and set installations, such as a prison. The lack of rules makes Bindi feel like she “can be anything [she wants]”.

Bindi doesn’t shy away from taboo subjects in her work.

Bindi doesn’t shy away from taboo subjects in her work.

The use of words often plays an integral part of Bindi’s photography. Bindi uses her writing skills to select key phrases that emphasise the message behind her pieces. “Sometimes I use text because it feels like the most powerful way to express what I want to say.”

Using her voice to speak out on her experiences is what Bindi loves most about being an artist. She hopes to inspire her children to use and find their own voices.

Sky, 2009.  honours the heritage of her father’s people, the Wadawarrung. Lakorra is the Wadawarrung word for sky.

Sky, 2009. honours the heritage of her father’s people, the Wadawarrung. Lakorra is the Wadawarrung word for sky.

Inspiration comes from creatives working in all mediums. Among her chief influences are photographer Sue Ford, who rose to prominence as a pioneer of Australian photography in the 1970s, British artist Tracey Emin who also creates autobiographical work and Bindi’s own mother, whose writing was a raw account of life in the 80s.

Bindi editing videos for her Youtube channel

Bindi editing videos for her Youtube channel

Throughout 2018 Bindi has been focusing her energy on her new Youtube channel, Last Year’s Artist. Her videos on this platform are a natural extension of her previous works, where she discusses themes of identity and meme culture. One such video, called Becoming The Thing I Mocked, explores her journey into Christianity.

Staring into those bright lights as Bindi Cole Chocka bares her soul on Youtube.

Staring into those bright lights as Bindi Cole Chocka bares her soul on Youtube.

See more of Bindi Cole Chocka’s fine art photography here.

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