In the late 1980's around 4 tonnes of forensic and police photographs were rescued by the Historic Houses Trust from a flooded warehouse in New South Wales. Originating from police investigations, the images focus on the perpetrators, victims and vicinities of (often violent) crimes. The photographers were artists in their own right, documenting reality as a means of employment, and the composition, technique and attention to detail, and most importantly, respect that is found in this collection is astonishing. Each photograph is an intrusion on personal pain, justified only because it may lead to the truth.
The Historic Houses Trust, the caretakers of the Justice and Police Museum, curated an exhibition and adjoining book entitled "City of Shadows". It was a study of calamity, misfortune, injury, death and wickedness.
Stumbling upon this collection in 2009 Dease was immediately taken with the brutal beauty, honesty and the humanity these images portrayed. Fashion and style may have altered, but the haunting faces translate across time and location. Dease set about creating a cycle of songs inspired by the images, and while the lack of information frustrated the researchers and curator of this collection, it also allowed a musicians imagination to replace the long lost police reports and detectives notes. Joining Rachael will be four exquisite string players known for their passion for bringing new works to life. Wailing, screaming bastions of hope surrounding a million dollar voice.
We have certainly not learnt to treat each other any kinder, and we probably never will.
But our vices keep the artists busy.