Skip to content
Case Study

Magnet Galleries Melbourne

Magnet Galleries is a not-for-profit organisation designed to draw together people with an interest in and a passion for photography, to share their knowledge, experience and aspirations and gain new insights and expertise. At its core is a desire to preserve and celebrate the best of Australian photography and encourage excellence among established and emerging photographers.

‘We are about helping people by fundraising, education or simply bringing joy through entertainment and friendship. Photography is the basis of everything we do but we see no boundaries,’ said Michael Silver, President Magnet Galleries. ‘Magnet Galleries held an impressive array of events during 2018 (the last year of the Docklands Arts Collective project) and 2019, which drew significant visitation to both Magnet and the precinct. This is a taste of what we have done in 2018 and 2019.’

At the completion of the Docklands Arts Collective project, Magnet Galleries Melbourne converted to an ongoing lease agreement with the property owner. ‘Our location at The District Docklands made possible many large events during 2018 and provided the impetus for many more,’ said Michael.

Monthly music concerts, organised by a Brazilian artist, started in February 2019 and provided a joyful mixture of mainly acoustic South American, Italian, Spanish and even Australian musicians.

The launch of a new book and exhibition “Kuwarddewardde, The Stone Country,” photographed and written by Darwin resident David Hancock, was held in February 2019. Remote and rugged, it is one of the most inaccessible and least disturbed environments left on earth. Aboriginal people have lived here for more than 60,000 years – their extraordinary artistic record, adorning the walls and ceilings of thousands of rock shelters, is unparalleled.

Wine and Food week in March 2019 saw an extravaganza of food and wine around an exhibition by Victor Pugatschew’s world prize winning wine photography. Victor is a Champagne consultant who works with the artisan vineyards in Champagne. He also won the world’s top photography prize two years in a row. Magnet are planning to bring the complete world prize for food and wine photography award exhibition from London for the Wine and Food week in 2020. This is a very large and prestigious prize consisting of 150 A2 framed prints.

Magnet enthusiastically raises money for worthy causes. Recently It exhibited and sold photographs by Australia’s greatest industrial, commercial and architectural photographer, the late Wolfgang Sievers. This collaboration with Julian Burnside QC raised $10,000 for the Human Rights Law Centre. Magnet also hosted a huge 10th anniversary event for a fellow charity and good friends at ‘Bicycles for Humanity’ ( with over 150 people attending.

A sponsored prize for photography for Woman photographers over 40 (with a first prize is $5000) was held in May. In collaboration with the Australian Photographic Society (the National peer group of Australian Photographic Societies), Magnet organised and hosted the first Australian Prize for Conceptual Photography during July 2019.

In collaboration with the Royal Society of Victoria for the launch of Science Week (August 2019), Magnet hung a very large print exhibition of science photographs (by Michael Silver) taken over 25 years for the University of Melbourne. The Science Week event was attended by 120 eminent guests from the science community, including academics, politicians, councillors and senior public servants. A major national photographic prize for Science photography was also launched, and announced during the event.

The Photo Marathon is now in 86 large cities around the world after starting in Barcelona in the mid 1980s. Magnet hosted the event in 2017 and 2018, when 250 participants took nine photos of nine topics all over Melbourne over the course of nine hours. ‘This is an event that people loved and couldn’t wait for the next,’ said Michael. Magnet collaborated with Fuji to host the 2019 Photo Marathon international event, with the aims of doubling the number of participants. The 2019 Photo Marathon Melbourne event brought over 700 mainly young people interested in photography to Magnet for a day long series of demonstrations and photo walks around docklands. ‘Fuji were overjoyed – they expected only 200 participants, we helped increase that number to 700.’

The Docklands Art Collective was co-funded by The District Docklands and Development Victoria.