In 2021, Head On Foundation worked closely with Indigenous photographer Michael Torres to create a mentorship program to develop and promote the careers of emerging First Nations photographers. Photographers had the opportunity to be mentored and gain fantastic insights through online workshops with leading industry professionals.
Indigenous mentors Michael Torres, Aunty Barbara McGrady and Pauline Clague supported them through the weeks, giving valuable feedback;
This exhibition is the culmination of this project and includes fantastic work by emerging First Nations photographers, alongside the work of their incredible mentors. The work explores their identity, culture and artistic vision.
Michael “I’ve got the belief that you got to help people as you’re rising up. Otherwise, it’s too late afterwards…. And as I get opportunities for myself, you got to pass it on, and you got to share that knowledge.”
Moshe “And I’m really glad we did it. With all the difficulties, with the short time, with COVID, there were plenty of challenges. But at the end, we got a series of workshops and quite a number of people that got inspired by that. And as Michael says, this is something that is the beginning of a process.”
Head On is thrilled to introduce a new generation of First Nations photographers and welcome them into our photography community.
This exhibition is outdoors. Please check what COVID-19 restrictions are in place before you visit.
Michael Torres – Djugun, Yawuru
A professional photographer and media professional from Broome, he has worked in media for over 20 years
Barbara McGrady – Gomeroi
Legendary photojournalist Barbara O’Grady is best known for capturing Sport and important Indigenous events around Sydney and NSW.
Pauline Clague – Yaegl
A film producer for over 25 years, she plays with her photography and merges her art with her work.
Lowell Hunter – Nyul Nyul, Bardi
As a Dancer, artist, storyteller, Lowell got his first DSLR about 11 years ago. Always having a keen interest in country, and the relationship that we have with country. He interwines his many talents to create work that is often richer than just the photo, the process of the artwork and cermeony and dance on the sand is a layered approach to his work.
Melinda Hooper – Ngiyampaa, Muruwari, Kooma (Ngiyampaa)
Melinda set up Milly Moments to capture Indigenous Family portraits a few years ago. As a kid I’d always liked taken photos and I think more so, because there weren’t that many photos of me, I think I have five of me growing up. I think it just makes it more important particularly now that I’ve got my own kids, because I don’t ever want the kids to have those memories. And I’ve got so many photos of the kids now and it’s just capturing that moment. I started doing photos for families and have built on this.
Tace Stevens – Noongar, Spinifex
Currently completing her BA in Screen Production at AFTRS, Tace first did a short course at Flashpoint which led to an apprenticeship and then a job for three years working her way up to lead photographer on a few commercial jobs.
Tamati Smith – Yamitji, Maori
After 6 years spent in service in the Navy, he brought a camera after watching a friend take some great photos, he wanted to try and see what could become of the photos he took. First Sight was important as he journeyed out of the navy and saw potential and support from the people and works he was learning from. New to the industry he has jumped by leaps and bounds, filming at the AFL grandfinal in Perth and experimenting with portraits in his community.
Brendan Blacklock – Ngarabal, Biripi
Photography was as late career change for me. I Studied Environmental Science and worked in the National Parks. When I had an injury and moved back to Armidale I started working with youth. I did a media course thinking I could get the youth involved, but once I picked up the camera and had a mentor that assisted me moving into stoytelling, I have never looked back. I love playing with the light and colours.
Luke Barrowcliffe – Butchulla
I’ve always been passionate about photography, and that was brought alive to me the day I picked up a camera. So ever since then, I’ve always just tried to have a camera on me wherever I go. Once I started my multimedia business, I found it difficult to make money out of just photography. I’ve probably spent more of my time doing videography, the main passion that comes to me is the storytelling element of the work. First Sight mentoring program, has made me think more about why I take photos, and what the story of the photo is.
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