Ferne’s focus on a life of creativity
Ferne Millen is a local artist, award-winning photographer, creative consultant and art director whose whole life has predominantly been dedicated to the arts.
Ferne has lived on the Surf Coast for more than 20 years and now works from her studio in Jan Juc.
Having taken up photography from a young age, she then attended the Victorian College of Arts to pursue Theatre and Visual Arts.
After seven years in Melbourne, Ferne sought to connect to nature and the lifestyle that Torquay offered.
With one foot in the city working in arts and major events for the City of Melbourne, Ferne also found her other foot firmly planted foot in the coast, opening up possibilities of capturing lifestyle photography for Wine Geelong, car launches along the Great Ocean Road for Porsche and Volkswagen, capturing foody shots for local restaurants and wineries, as well as marketing shots for businesses such as Saltair Spa and individual self-made operators.
Her work slowly became more focused on the coast which saw her develop connections to work in this beautiful landscape for the likes of Corangamite Catchment Authority, Barwon Water, Powercor and other locally-based organisations such as GORCAPA.
Ferne says her work can be simplified into three categories – people, place and story.
She often works from her studio and on location in many parts of Victoria and beyond to capture the places, people and stories of many communities, culture, work, family and lifestyle.
Ferne is also an advocate for mental health support and awareness and in November last year realised her vision for “Ungrind Your Mind” – a mental health forum “by the community for the community” which was held at Ocean Grind.
Ferne worked alongside an incredible team of volunteers to launch this and will continue to work in this space going forward.
This forum planted a seed for many great community engaged projects to come and solidified Ferne’s ability to create collaborative projects that aim to create change; to bring people together, to connect, engage and seeks to leave this place a better one than she found it.
Another important recent creative project was Journey on Wadawurrung Country, which launched at the Geelong Arts Centre in 2021 and toured the International Ballarat Foto Biennale, is on the move once again to the Potato Shed on the Bellarine from May 17 to June 3.
Journey on Wadawurrung Country is a cross-section of portraits, sounds and stories from identified Wadawurrung Traditional Owners and their lands.
Together in close consultation with Corrina Eccles (Wadawurrung Traditional Owner and cultural manager), Ferne (art director/photographer) and Vicki Hallett (musician, sound artist, field recordist), collaborated to capture the stories of the traditional custodians of Wadawurrung land.
This multidisciplinary exhibition features installations and includes sound, visual arts and lighting.
Ferne’s fine art prints of portraits of Wadawurrung elders and landscapes of this country will be displayed and interwoven with Vicki Hallett’s sound recordings and interviews, activating the space into a sensory and immersive cultural learning experience for all.
She was a recipient of the Surf Coast Shire COVID-19 Recovery Assistance Grant Program: Creative Communities (Arts & Culture) to continue this project to further develop all aspects of the initiative.
Ferne is also a finalist in several awards including National Photographic Portrait Prize in 2014 and 2015.
To learn more, head to fernemillen.com, email [email protected] or phone 0417 137 310.
More information about the Journey on Wadawurrung Country exhibition can be found at https://www.geelongaustralia.com.au/potatoshed/calendar/item/8d9da9beb1482c1.aspx