There is this thing in art photography where its about trying to see things or people
Thats the theory anyhow
There is thing in journalism where its about opportunistic ideas about a ‘good shot”
Thats like its underside
I find that difficult, being a woman, close to variable Abled people and having a complex cultural and personal history.
I know how that feels to be an object of interest not a person
That causes me to struggle
with a blind or obscured or omitted area within myself and the drives and ambition we all have for a “good shot’
Its because seeing is through the self, I figure that there are three types of blind a continuum of sightedness and its as emotional and cultural as its actual.
Its not a secure place to shoot from, but thats good thing.
I can be blind because I simply do not want to see it, or I choose ” not to know” sometimes its another persons secret and I can’t see it because I said I wouldn’t.
Second the ability to see is obscured like by rain or culture an erasing like a foggy negative, like denial but deeper.
Like just simply not getting it.
It doesn’t matter how many times I go north or that I grew up with this there are certain things I will never understand.
Last complete omission its taken away, like if I shoot and they take my camera card film off me.
So i thought instead of trying to shoot like “good negatives” i would just shoot it how it felt go into this blind area in myself.
It started in a park in Cairns, i saw a woman wearing an “australia” t shirt, i went up and spoke to her and it turned out we were connected to my family, i didn’t photograph her or her partner because i just couldn’t. I choose not to.
Not because it wasn’t a good picture but because it should be her story not mine.
I was confronted emotionally as a photographer in the best possible way.
After that was i was travelling by boat from to Timor and Darwin. Its to do with some medical journo related volunteering stuff.
I was walking in the town and had the strong sense a person could see me, the crowds were epic and there was some police thing going on.
I just knew someone could see me, I felt it ,thats when I met the first woman I made a photo with, behind the gate. We have met twice now.
After that all i thought about was how to get back there.
I found out that there were groups of variable sighted people all throughout this quite large region. Unlike other cultures its seen that they are regular people and doing their things and living, it isn’t a big deal. Walking canes are just left casually on an outdoor table, older people sit in the big gate doorways of their homes and see the street life. Its ok to walk up and say hello or bring some fruit as a gift, there isn’t that whole I shouldn’t approach this person idea going on. With the disAbility shooting I do here in australia with Don Turton and the cerebral palsy stuff the main thing he expresses is he is just a regular person and it frustrates him that he experiences social isolation, and that people are afraid to just say hello to him just like anyone else.
Its complex shooting as I must connect and communicate in a real way, coping with language difference and sighted difference, and not take the story of these people but show their lives and the integrity of that. Its difficult and thats a good thing.
The shooting in villages its hill side small dwellings, hand built irrigation,often access by small boat only. Any visits that are helpful are appreciated to bring supplies or contact with the larger world. Shooting in these towns very pregnant and unable to speak the language fluently the welcome as a visitor was amazing, I don’t think that would happen here !!!.
The direct portrait of the woman that was burnt as a child is a person named Ah Chin we met and ate jackfruit together. We spoke and she looked straight at me with the low vision she has in her left eye and she understood I was making a photo with her. We were holding hands when that happened, connected.
Being five months pregnant on my last trip has added to how i feel and without the assistance of Ellen Hewiit and the UNSW Grant for Curators lending me her Mamiya and organising the film scanning quite frankly i would not have been able to make these pictures.There are 132 negatives and 7 subjects I met and connected with.
Ellen really explained to me that its one thing to shoot opportunistically but to engage the parts of yourself where you are unsure or afraid or alone is actually really worth doing and that putting aside these ideas about skill and spotting a good photo in favour of my deeper values is really why they are good pictures.
I can’t thank her enough.
This exhibition is running concurrently with Gordon McComskie who is showing a digital projection in addition to his prints curated by me of 36 or more images of his unrepeatable and unique content from the Darlinghurst and Kings Cross area we have dialogue about the issues, consent, privacy and the strong desire we have as photographers to show life that we see to others
We are doing a talk “the money shot empathic moment or opportunistic challenge” with curator Ellen Hewitt, Peter Banki PhD on May 20th at 2pm and our opening speaker author of ” Dancing With Wolves” Tim Watson Munro is speaking on May 13 at 2pm
Thanks so much
Australian photographer woman 43years
Shoots film and digital medium format
Travels from Darwin and up by sea
Interest in documenting the work medical people do in remote areas
Shoots functionally differently abled people in Australia
Known for “the boats” with Peter Banki PhD and the Festival of Death and Dying
Curated by Ellen Hewitt
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