June 09, 2017

Photojournalism Now: Friday Round Up - 9th June, 2017

This week on Photojournalism Now: Friday Round Up - photojournalist Martine Perret's new work draws focus on Australia's Indigenous languages, Lumina a new photographic collective launches with an exhibition in Sydney and Melbourne photographers take to the streets in a one day shoot, print and hang challenge to raise funds for youth homelessness.

Ngala Wongga (Come Talk) - Cultural significance of languages in the Goldfields - Martine Perret

(C) Martine Perret

I first met French-born photojournalist Martine Perret almost a decade ago when she was working with the UN and based in Timor-Leste. While she still occasionally works with the UN on international missions, today she lives in Margaret River, Western Australia and is focusing her storytelling skills on examining the interconnectedness of people with the land and the significance of language in creating that bond.

For some months she has been working with the Elders of the Aboriginal community in the Goldfields in Western Australia creating a collaborative multimedia work - Ngala Wongga (Come Talk) - Cultural significance of languages in the Goldfields. This project combines documentary and photojournalism tropes with audio recordings to present a unique and immersive installation that addresses an important issue: the survival of Australia's indigenous languages. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander readers are advised that this story may contain images and voices of people who have passed away.
In Australia there are about 120 Indigenous languages, but only 13 are spoken by enough people as to not be endangered. The rest are in peril of disappearing and the Indigenous languages of the Goldfields are among those at greatest risk.

Perret says, “If you lose your language, you risk losing your culture, your oral history, your identity”.

Ngala Wongga features evocative multimedia portraits of Elders who share the significance of their experiences and stories through image and audio recordings. Perret’s Gungurrunga Ngawa (Look Above) series of aerial photographs capture the otherworldly visage of the Goldfield’s salt lakes adding another dimension to the narrative. Together these bodies of work present a compelling narrative. 

Keneisha and Levi – the grand-children of Glenys Williams pictured below
(C) Martine Perret

Glenys Williams (C) Martine Perret

Perret says, "as a young child, Glenys Williams (above) used to speak Putijarra language. She now speaks Mardu language. In 2004, there were estimated to be four speakers of the Putijarra language. It is a highly endangered language". 

Nyapala Morgan (C) Martine Perret

Nyapala Morgan (above) was born in Patjarr (Karliywara) in the Gibson Desert. “When I was young, my mother took me from rock hole to rock hole,” she told Perret. “We survived on bush food, digging the wichetty grub. We used to sit down under the wilja with my sisters, brother and my parents. In those days, we ran around naked. One night, I thought someone was throwing a spirit with a light or a flame, but it was the lights coming from a car. I saw white fellas. I was worried of being grabbed. They were standing around taking photos. It was the first time I saw white fellas”. This is an excerpt from one of the stories that Perret has recorded, and features in the audio installation.

If you're in Carnarvon or nearby, mark this show in your diary. Let's hope the show can also tour to the east coast to engage with an even larger audience.

June 15 to July 23
Carnarvon Library and Gallery
18 Egan Street

The Lumina Collective

(C) Sarah Rhodes

(C) Aletheia Cassey

(C) Anna Maria Antoinette D'Addario

(C) Donna Bailey

(C) Jessie Boylan

(C) Morganna Magee

(C) Lyndal Irons

(C) Chloe Bartram

This week a new Australian photography collective launched in Sydney. Lumina is the brainchild of
Morganna Magee and Aletheia Casey who were inspired to create the collective to provide a vehicle for newer voices to work alongside established, award-winning photographers. 

The initial group comprises eight women - Magee and Casey along with Donna Bailey, Chloe Bartram, Jessie Boylan, Lyndal Irons, Sarah Rhodes and Anna Maria Antoinette D'Addario - who are all recognised practitioners in the documentary genre.

To coincide with the collective's launch is a group show featuring work from all the members and curated by D'Addario at Sydney's Black Eye Gallery until 18 June.

I asked D'Addario what the thinking was behind the formation of Lumina, if it was intended to be a female only collective and what the objectives were for the immediate future.

"Initially the group was started in an attempt to bring together documentary photographic artists who are exploring new ways to tell stories and engage the public with them. We feel there is a real urgency for this right now and wanted to offer something different in regards to our approach. Traditional visual documentary practice exists within every one of the member's work but all of us are developing various long-term projects that combine different methods including art practice. each member is really trying to push the boundaries of the genre. And we aim to support this movement with the collective.

"Morganna and Aletheia contacted everyone at the beginning because of the unique approaches and it turned out we all happened to be women. We are proud of this fact as it is unusual for a collective in Australia to be founded completely by all female members and we feel it brings a different voice to existing groups.

In discussions member Lyndal Irons said about Lumina: 'I think the most interesting thing about the collective of eight female voices together, is that you have a real opportunity to see the nuances and variety in the work women are making. By coming together we are indirectly inviting comparisons in what and how we approach our personal projects. And this is pretty powerful especially when you collect women together from across many states of Australia.'

It creates a unique national voice. We did question initially if the group should remain a female exclusive collective in the future but we have decided that who we are in regards to gender is not the main focus (although still an exciting one), It's how we tell stories and what we push for in the community to help develop the cultural landscape. We will remain open to a wide range of members down the track and eventually also not specifically Australian based artists, although there will always be a healthy dose of national members in the group. The idea as we evolve is to really support practitioners looking to push the boundaries of storytelling worldwide.

When we talk about the community we are talking on one hand about the community Lumina is creating within the collective, the support each individual practitioner will give to the other to help us push out work we feel is important. Yet on the other hand all of us really want to push Lumina to become a dynamic force in the community. We want to create projects in collaboration with other groups and platforms to expand the work we represent. We really want to build on the cultural community within Australia and internationally with our projects.

We'd like to engage other practitioners outside of the collective to develop projects with us also, to try and weave out and push forward some of the really great work out there that just does not get seen enough. Education and mentorship is a big aspect of our vision as well.

It is rather incredible to have such an amazing group of women to work with and there is some pretty powerful energy in the group right now," D'Addario concludes. 

To find out more visit Lumina Collective.
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Project Street 7:30

(C) Julie Ewing

Last weekend, 30 Melbourne photographers were given a few hours in which to shoot, edit, print and hang their image in an exhibition at Fox Darkroom & Gallery, where the photographs were auctioned off to raise funds for charity.

The challenge, posed by photographers Craig Wetjen and Steven Scalone, was enormously successful, raising almost $12,000 with all proceeds going to Kids Under Cover, an organisation working to prevent youth homelessness. What a fantastic effort Melbourne!! And what a fabulous initiative, one the pair hopes to take further afield.

Here are a few images from the day, which are now on show until 25 June. 

(C) Nicola Bernardi

(C) Don Chu

(C) Roland Dempster

(C) Silvi Glattauer

(C) Sarah Louise Jackson

(C) Glynn Lavender

(C) Ken Spence

(C) Michael Teo

(C) Craig Wetjen

(C) Andrew Chapman

To find out more visit the website here.

Until 25 June
Project Street 7:30
Fox Darkroom & Gallery
8 Elizabeth Street

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