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The Unknown Swimmer

13 March - 23 March

13- 23 March 2024

Tuesday – Friday: 12pm – 7pm
Saturdays: 12pm – 4pm
admission: Free never regret a swim…

The Unknown Swimmer was born in the frigid waters of Port Phillip Bay in the grip of a Melbourne winter. Stemming from a slightly drunken conversation, a gauntlet was thrown down. The challenge – to swim the year through.
The camera, encased in an underwater housing and ungainly to handle, initially came along as a distraction from the cold but it quickly became evident that something special was happening. The sea is transformative, and cold water a physical and metaphorical challenge to embrace; the Unknown Swimmer becomes every one of us – our struggles, our deeper yearnings and our capacity for transcendence. This exhibit looks to sea and its danger and beauty, the comfort and the cold and the eternally shifting canvas it presents.
You never regret a swim.

Images courtesy of Jason Reekie

Talk was there was a farmer with a shotgun loaded with salt cartridges. If he caught you on his land you’d get a barrel load. Not deadly but it would sting for a week.
Regardless, like a scene from a coming of age movie, four of us no older than ten would crawl under a barbed wire fence, crouch low and with a hiss at each other to hurry,  dash through the farmers paddocks down to an icy cold creek. Crystal clear, lined with prehistoric looking tree ferns and rich with freshwater yabbies it felt like a lost world. The fear of discovery couldn’t temper the thrill of discovering this magical world.
The curiosity that drove those childhood adventures has never left and led to driving the 12000km loop around Australia in an old four wheel drive held together with wire and empty beer cans; stumbling lost on an active volcano at midnight; scuba diving the cold waters of southern Australia to the Great Barrier Reef and the coral reefs of Thailand; eating with Hari Krishnas in Prague and leaving with a spiritual feeling that has never quite left; getting lost in the Medinas of Marrakech; rafting in the Czech Republic; crying at the sight of Uluru in central Australia and being plucked from mountainous seas off a perilous rocky Australian coast.

Photography has enabled a career of being curious about people, places and ideas while photographing for a diverse range clients and personal projects
I live in Melbourne with my family and a rescue dog called Heidi who’s learning to trust us and I can often be found in and around the water with a camera exploring new ideas.

Feb 2024 – digital installation with The Unknown Swimmer chamber opera
Jan 2024 – Ukaria cultural Centre artists residency participant
Sep 2023 – IPA awards – Honorable Mention
May 2023 – No Commission- MonW studio -Hero Palm solo installation exhibit
Nov 2022 – Australian Photography Awards- Finalist
Dec 2021 – Asia Pacific Photography Awards – Highly Commended and Silver awards
Aug 2021 – IPA awards – Honorable Mention

Opening Night
Wednesday 13th March
5:00pm to 7:00pm
Small Gallery

Free Entry.
All Welcome.
No Booking Required.


13 March
23 March
Event Category:


fortyfivedownstairs gallery
45 Flinders Lane
Melbourne, Victoria 3000 Australia
+ Google Map
03 9662 9966
View Venue Website


03 9662 9966


Jason Reekie
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