Emma Hellowell is an Australian photographer, writer and traveller based in Burgundy, France. She received her BFA from the College of Fine Arts Sydney in 2002 and has since worked in both photographic and film production. Her work has taken her on adventures throughout Australia, Europe and the Middle East. Hellowell completed her Masters of Media Practice in 2010. Her photographs and writing depict vast landscapes, personal stories and intimate images of natural life. She has been closely involved with La Porte Peinte since 2013, having completed several residencies, shown work as a part of quoitidiæn, curated our Table event, and helped out with every aspect of the La Porte Peinte operation.


Ice Lilies, Sweden
From the series Traveling North

During 2003 to 2005 there were numerous opportunities to travel north. It started with six months living in Scotland and continued with trips to Iceland, Sweden, Latvia and Estonia. As it was, all these trips took place during winter with haphazard wishes attached to them. To see the northern lights, walk over a frozen lake and see the snow falling beside the sea. We found all these wonders, and the light, or lack of it always made it such a joy to take pictures. The low northern winter sun that bounces across the horizon before falling back into night created long afternoon shadows at midday. Smoke from log fires clung to the cold air and diffused the light so that landscapes turned the color of dusk. The experiences we were searching for came about effortlessly and on New Year’s Day in Sweden, I edged my way across a frozen lake. Leaves and bubbles were frozen between my feet and the deep green water. The images of the ice lilies are a few photographs that document this journey.


Burgundy is a region that draws you back to earth, into the rhythm of seasons and the ritual of harvesting what nature can provide. Autumn is an abundant moment for gatherers with sumptuous berries, rich mushrooms and wild game finding its way back onto our tables. Alchemica is an intimate series of images that aim to encapsulate the mood of this time while also paying homage to the area’s medieval past. Through the detail of the berries emerging from their intense velvety back ground I wanted to capture the colour, spice and natural medicinal magic associated with the medieval era and also my favourite season, Autumn. 

The opening reception for Alchemica was paired with a dinner of the same title. 20 guests came to La Porte Peinte and were treated to a magical evening of medieval-inspired cookery by Chef Ollie Timberlake. The colours, flavours and techniques reflected the traditional food of this era but with a contemporary slant. Candles and an open fire illuminated the evening, and the delicate music created by Adrian and Danielle Rubi Dentzel transported our diners to another world.

It was the first of a dinner series entitled Table, a curated collection of gatherings, each centred around a meal. Each menu is prepared by a visionary chef. Each gathering is unique. Each event is an excursion into the unknown via the ritual of eating.

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