When the City of Ballarat put a call out in 2020 for art project pitches for it’s new initiative Continuous Voices I thought it was a brilliant move by the council. Ballarat has a long history of sexual abuse and a long history of sweeping it under the rug. So engaging the arts as a step towards healing, I loved, and knowing first hand the potential for photography to act as a healing tool, I sent in my submission. I designed the 6 week course to be accessible to anyone with a camera – phone, point and shoot or DSLR and the content centered around learning to see light, the way shadows celebrate the brilliance of light and rules of composition.
Participants created images in their own time and around their own themes and the subsequent photos were sent to me to collate into a photography book. It’s always such a test for me, these kind of projects. Just before the participants send through their images I start wondering if I’ve taught well enough, if I’ve given them all the tools they need. But as the photos started coming through, I was blown away. Not only by the images themselves – they were beautiful, showing a clear understanding of the magic of light; but the stories that came with them were powerful. One of the most important aspects of the project for me was the process. Giving participants a new way of looking at the world around them, noticing light and shifting perspective. Through their stories and messages that they were sending through, they had well and truly embraced everything I was trying to get across. It was a huge, heart filling moment to be able to put this book together, print it and then celebrate it publicly through our book launch. The first 50 copy print run disappeared by the end of the launch and I’m excited to have now passed on the book to Loud Fence, who have just done a second print run of 100 copies with all proceeds from the book sales going towards supporting their work to advocate for survivors of sexual abuse.