Emma Phillips, Too Much to Dream, 13 March–27 April, 2019
1/22. Emma Phillips, Too Much to Dream, Installation view
2/22. Emma Phillips, Untitled (landscape with light leak), 2018, gelatin silver print
3/22. Emma Phillips, Too Much to Dream, Installation view
4/22. Emma Phillips, Untitled (butterflies), 2018, gelatin silver print
5/22. Emma Phillips, Too Much to Dream, Installation view
6/22. Emma Phillips, Untitled (Diane washing dishes at her father's house), 2018, gelatin silver print
7/22. Emma Phillips, Too Much to Dream, Installation view
8/22. Emma Phillips, Untitled (Evie and Harriett), 2018, gelatin silver print
9/22. Emma Phillips, Too Much to Dream, Installation view
10/22. Emma Phillips, Untitled (synthetic stars), 2018, gelatin silver print
11/22. Emma Phillips, Too Much to Dream, Installation view
12/22. Emma Phillips, Untitled (Lucy on Sammy's bed), 2018, gelatin silver print
13/22. Emma Phillips, Untitled (pollarded tree), 2018, gelatin silver print
14/22. Emma Phillips, Untitled (Amber on her grandmother's bed), 2018, gelatin silver print
15/22. Emma Phillips, Too Much to Dream, Installation view
16/22. Emma Phillips, Untitled (Denise and Diane twinning), 2018, gelatin silver print
17/22. Emma Phillips, Too Much to Dream, Installation view
18/22. Emma Phillips, Untitled (stalagtites and stalagmites), 2018, gelatin silver print
19/22. Emma Phillips, Too Much to Dream, Installation view
20/22. Emma Phillips, Too Much to Dream, Installation view
21/22. Emma Phillips, Untitled (Diane on her bed, smiling), 2018, triptych, chromogenic prints
22/22. Emma Phillips, Untitled (muscleman), 2018, gelatin silver print

Questions to ask R.
1. what is his middle name
2. how funny is he on a scale of 1 to 10
3. when he blinks does he see the world upside down
4. does he ever tag on instagram

you’re uncomfortable it doesn’t get any better
i am always sincere

dont you have a face
this isn’t a narrative, its a primary life that breathes breathes breathes
words are stupid sounds with shadows
i am not intellectual. what i write is a fog.

Thinking About Starting a Web Show soon and doing it once a week. Not Sure when
It’s the best night yesterday i’ve ever lived

i don’t know how to water the dying plants without boiling them alive
things have no reality in themselves
What’s another word for demon
photography cant do that

love it love it love it love it

You’re my favourite painting
I touched a central place where I have never touched before. I wrote from the margin.
She hates that photo she thinks she looks old
I am very emotional about certain things
my mystery

It looks too tight first of all
can you private message on that
facts are hard rocks

I am proud of myself for moving out of home living out of home glad i have good friends family and boyfriend. I would love to get into modelling sometime next year. or even learn guitar. I would love to get into acting and improve my singing and to make movies and learn to take photos and learn not to be so shy around people.

can you text me
All I need now is a job to complete my life
ill slap bitches
girls are just little sluts
someone bring me a ciggie

I wash myself with nature
is there anywhere thats hiring besides maccas and shit
the moon is changing
ive only just realised i don’t have a best friend

I have a passion for the void.
Cheap tearjerker
All I had to eat today were cold coffee

Your pictures are still on my wall
vague nausea
When they ask if i’d like to leave early i always say yes
take flash & tripod
a melodrama
it aint so mysterious
totally metaphysical
what happens to water when you put your hand in it

The Devil is an image. Imagine Hell. We grab the book, and run.
do you miss the rats?
I’m still working out how to photograph this
the map is not the terrain
is your camera heavy
beyond a look
the great pretender

still haven’t found a way to photograph people
live in the word of the photographs
I forgot to mention I read nothing, I look at nothing, I listen to nothing for fear of polluting my mind.
my mother asks if you want dinner
you look like shit
everybody wants to be in the mainstream

i walked past target but didn’t go in there
dimension & the way film describes space + light
Always is the house
they’re really cute
the most beautiful music in the world is the interstellar silence.

i lost the will to look
A sensibility for what is outside the image
How do you give a spirit form

i really wish i could synthesise my ideas for the presentation but i cannot
The Golden Record
A word in the back of your head
Look at her she’s so happy with all her toys

periphery of space and made to look
whats @ stake?
a house is just a house
remember how stoned we got in portland
Cartier-Bresson woman in water photo
the spectacle is a distraction
I killed a mosquito

hallucinations hallucinations hallucinations
I’m a little teapot
I introduce you to myself, visualise you in snapshots.
im trying to work out what planet she’s on
Getting my braces off today after 3 good long years
It is girls from which stories begin.
24 days until i turn 22

i got a new camera
how do you grab anything in 2 minutes
you didn’t find those dream diaries i guess
haven’t really done anything

—Text Collage by Emma Phillips, featuring diary notes, and sentences, friends, family and portrait subjects’ have written, texted or spoken aloud, as well as excerpts from Clarice Lispector’s A Breath of Life.


Revealing a slightly skewed, soft and feminine gaze in her subjects of young women and men, as well as the domestic and interior spaces they engage with, the photographs by Melbourne-based Emma Phillips present as traditional, documentary-style recordings.

From this position within the documentary canon the photographs — largely quotidian moments under the guise of the snapshot — continually turn inward and look at themselves, exposing a grander curiosity about collapsing and expanding ideas around seeing.

Emma Phillips (b. 1989, Mornington, Australia) received a BA from RMIT University, Melbourne, Australia (2010) and an MFA from Hartford Art School, Hartford, Connecticut, USA (2017). She lives and works in Melbourne, Australia.

Exhibition Pamphlet

PHILLIPS, EMMA. Too Much to Dream, ReadingRoom, Melbourne, 13 March–27 April 2019

Further Reading

With thanks to Sandy Barnard