Under Twenty-Seven exhibitions in 2019

1  -  26 May, 2019 

Watt  Space Gallery, Newcastle, NSW Australia

A Head On Photo Festival Featured Exhibition

 23 October - 3 November, 2019

Bondi Pavilion Gallery, Sydney, NSW Australia

Under Twenty-Seven is the third in a series of photographic portraits following a group of young men every seven years, observing them as they evolve from childhood into early adulthood and beyond. This is a new chapter in an iconic project that began with Under Twelves at Ground Floor Gallery in 2005, followed by Under Twelves, Under Twenty at Stills Gallery in 2012, to its latest iteration Under Twenty-Seven to be exhibited in 2019. 

The black and white images depict the development of the boys into young men in a remarkably poignant manner, addressing concepts of masculinity and representation and make a unique contribution to photographic portraiture in Australia. 

The boys were team-mates in a local soccer club and Ella Dreyfus is the mother of one of them. She acknowledges her privileged position as a witness to the subtle and sensitive changes they are undergoing throughout their lives. After years of watching her son and his friends playing on the soccer fields, I knew I had to photograph them as they approached the end of primary school and began the huge change from boyhood into adolescence. So with the permission of the parents she made studio portraits of each boy at age 11 or 12, and held the first exhibition Under Twelve in 2005. 

Under Twelves was created at a key moment of transition, when the team of boys were leaving primary school and “hovering on the cusp of childhood and adolescence, traversing both the masculine and feminine worlds” (Dreyfus, 2005). 

The second series Under Twelve, Under Twenty showed the same group, after they finished high school and had grown into dignified young men. In 2018 Dreyfus tracked down all the men to create the third series Under Twenty-Seven for exhibition in 2019, as the men reach their mid-twenties and are in another fascinating phase of life. 

Now they are 25 and Dreyfus has photographed them again. She enjoyed meeting them at this age and all the original 14 returned for a new portrait with great enthusiasm for the project and far more interest than when they were younger. She aim photographs them in the same pose every seven years and believes that the images reveal aspects of themselves that they don't necessarily see, especially their sensitive, quieter sides. As the artist/mother/feminist she is committed to giving men a safe place to be vulnerable and beautiful, to have this recorded and witnessed by others. So far, they trust her to do this. 

The subjects have given their consent for the portraits to be exhibited and Dreyfus sincerely hopes that audiences will celebrate their courage and pride. She states “They are simple portraits wihttps://websites.godaddy.com/under-twenty-seventh no agenda other than to invite people to look with wonder and awe at these beautiful young men” (Sun-Herald, 2012). 

under twelve under twenty 2012

Exhibition links

Head On Photo Festival

Exhibition Information


Under Twenty-Seven Exhibitions

1 – 26 May, 2019 Watt Space Gallery, Newcastle

A Head On Photo Festival Featured Exhibition

23 October – 3 November, 2019 Bondi Pavilion Gallery, Sydney

Exhibition Publicity

Files coming soon.