Tim Page

Interview with war photographer Tim Page by Homer Nemenzo.

Tim Page in his home office 23/03/17. Photo by Jake Day.

In the early morning of March 30, 2017, two days after Cyclone Debbie hit the east coast of Central Queensland I found myself driving around through heavy rain and blistering wind. The visibility around me was so poor and I could hear the man on the radio advising all drivers to stay off the road as it was not safe. However, I was not about to stop or turn around and go home; I needed to meet a very special man, the man who escaped death numerous times to photograph the Vietnam War in the late 1960s, his name was Tim Page.

Tim Page was born on the 25th of May 1944 in Royal Tunbridge Wells, a large affluent town in western Kent, England. In 1962, at a tender age of 17, Tim left his family home and travelled across Europe; driving through Pakistan, India, Burma, Thailand and finally reached Vietnam in 1965. Due to his love for photography he found work as a press photographer in Laos stringing for the United Press International (UPI) and the Agence France-Presse (AFP). From there Tim had spent the next three and a half years photographing and documenting the Vietnam War. He became an iconic war photographer and was named one of the ‘100 Most Influential Photographer of All Time’. In the movie ‘Apocalypse Now’, the photojournalist Dennis Hopper’s character was based on Tim Page. Today the man who captured some of the most amazing images of the Vietnam war for all the world to see lives peacefully with his wife in a quiet suburb of Brisbane.  

 

 

Tim, you left home at a very early age, did you have an actual destination and did you plan to document the Vietnam War?

When I was 16 years old I had a motorbike accident in the UK and I was dead but I came back. I can’t really remember much of it but I supposed that when you have seen the tunnel and came back, everything else is free time. As for the war, I did not look for it, it found me.

Did you travel alone or did you travel with other people?

Oh no, I travelled with all sorts of people in a Kombi van which I later sold. I had no money so I sold watches, my camera, vehicles and even currency which was worth more in the other side of some borders. I’ve also smuggled hash over the border and pimped.

When you arrived in Vietnam in 1965 and started documenting the war, did it come across in your mind that maybe you’ll never get to go home again?

Well, at first, we did not know that it was going to get that bad and by the time it hit the roof, it was too late. I was also broke, I was always broke and the money was there.

Obviously, it must have been very challenging to photograph when you have hundreds, thousands of bullets flying around you, not to mention land mines and other hazards. Did you have a tactical plan before you went out in the field?

Because I was not a soldier I had more time to look around and assess the surroundings. You learn soon enough where everybody is and even the weapons that they were carrying just by the sounds they make.

Were you also carrying a weapon to protect yourself?

No, it was not my job. However, if I was travelling with a small group of soldiers and no one could watch my back then they would tell me to carry one but I prefer not to. A weapon is as good as the ammunition that they carry and they’re bloody heavy!

You were injured several times but you kept coming back for more, can you tell us why?

I supposed that if you get hurt and you live for another day then you start to believe that you can do it all over again.

But your last injury put an end to your participation in the Vietnam war, can you remember that day?

We jumped off the chopper to save some wounded soldiers. The sergeant in front of me stepped on a land mine which sent him 30 feet up in the air and lost both of his legs and I was hit by a two-inch shrapnel just above my right eye. I was basically pronounced dead but again I survived and spent the next year in the US undergoing extensive neuro-surgery.

Going back to the war, it must have been hard to relax and sleep after seeing the horror each day, how did you all cope after a long day?

I slept ok. After a day in the field we would go to the bar; drink some beers, smoke some joints and maybe visit an opium farm then sleep like a baby.

Were there occasions where you photographed outside the warzone area?

Yes, boring photos. Sometimes we were asked to photograph some ladies giving birth in the local hospitals or just random boring photos.

If you could go back time, would you do it again?

No, if I knew it was going to get that bad I would not be in there.

Lastly, what is your opinion of the Vietnam War?

I believe it’s all political and I believe America did not win it but it is what is. Many people have died; soldiers, civilians and even photojournalists.

 

Conclusion:

Before I left Tim, there was kind of sadness inside me. There I was sitting in a small room with a man who shares the same passion as me. Someone who I only just knew but still do not know. I have researched him, spent four hours talking to him in person but all I know is his work but I am now curious of him, what is in Tim Page’s mind?

I have a huge respect for all war photojournalists such as Tim. For some they may be crazy but to me they are soldiers without the guns, instead they carry weapons that freeze the moments so the world can see the horror in wars.

Resources:

http://www.timpage.com.au/

http://www.timpage.com.au/about/

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2015-09-18/legendary-vietnam-war-photojournalist-tim-page-on-his-career/6786642

Books:

Tim Page, Nam

Tim Page, The Mindful Moment

Joshua McDonald

Interview by Ruby Pascoe.

Joshua McDonald grew up in regional Northern NSW Australia. He changed schools at age fourteen, following an expulsion and moved out of home at age sixteen. Josh was in his second year of an apprenticeship after leaving school and living with friends when he decided to go on a holiday to Bali with a group. He made a last-minute decision to travel somewhere else entirely and at age seventeen, he booked a solo trip to Kenya.

Josh has now been working as a human rights photojournalist for the last five years in many different countries around the world.

When did you first start to show an interest in photography?

My sister is a well-respected photographer in the Northern Rivers, so growing up I was always surrounded by cameras, naturally, I was always interested in it.

[In Kenya] I teamed up with a local NGO, and started taking photos on my first camera – a Canon 7D my sister gave to me second hand. The photos were no good, but it allowed me the opportunity to feel I was doing something worthy.

You’ve worked in a range of different countries, how did you become drawn to these stories and issues around the world? Are there particular stories that you want to tell?

My first interest in the kind of stories I cover came from discussions with my father as a kid. Saturday was always our time together, he’d drive me to my soccer games, we would talk about the ancient world, the Sudanese famine, Afghanistan and conflict. We spoke about everything. In the years to come this would be my main interest. I never watched TV, only documentaries, I read lots of books. I spent most of my spare time just researching these topics.

My main focus would be conflict and human rights. Personally, I can’t understand how these topics go undiscussed in the public. I love people, I love taking photos of them, hearing and sharing their stories. I guess the stories I want to tell are just other people’s stories that I, as a kid, would’ve taken interest in.

How did you find yourself working as a photojournalist at such a young age?

The combination of my keen interest in history, traveling, politics, and photography really influenced my interest in photojournalism. Shortly after Kenya, I returned to Australia only for a few weeks to quit my job and say goodbye to friends and family. I took a one-way flight to Paris with the intention of pursuing a vagabond lifestyle. Most of my photos in the months after this were of the people I met along my travels and the places I went.

I, along with two friends had booked a trip through the Balkans [to] the Middle East and down the coast of Africa, we were only a few days away from Israel when the war [in] 2014 started. My friends pulled out instantly. I, at the time, felt drawn to go and see it for myself. I covered the bombings of Gaza shortly after my 18th birthday. I had no connections, no prior training and very ill equipment.

At the time, I felt very brave. My friends would tell me how awesome it was that I was there, but it is only now that I have covered conflicts around the world that I understand how naive it was of me to document those bombings. I not only put my own life at risk but all [of] those who I worked with. Overall, Palestine was a stepping stone towards my career but I was lucky, very lucky that I made it out alive.

You’ve worked during conflicts in Afghanistan and Iraq, mostly on the front line, how was this experience for you as a photojournalist?

I felt that I was ready for Iraq only because, as a naive kid, I covered Palestine. The reality could not have been more different. It was exciting, I loved it [and] I miss it so much but at the same time I have nightmares of what I witnessed in Iraq. I knew these places existed and I knew what to expect, but actually seeing it [and] feeling it was hard. I came so close to death several times, yet if asked today to head back to Mosul, I’d go.

You’ve also worked in Nicaragua, and have helped bring to light the disease CKDnT which has and is causing many deaths in the state. Now that these stories are being published, along with your images, how do you feel your work is effecting the public’s awareness of this disease and the people it effects?

Nicaragua was my first large investigate story. I lived in a village there for a few months and spent almost a year working closely with medical experts in London and Boston. I spent a lot of money and time on this project and wasn’t ever convinced I’d achieve much from it, as not many people are interested in rural Nicaragua, so to now see that my work there has won awards and secured me future contracts in Afghanistan and the Ivory Coast is amazing.

In Nicaragua, changes are being made to improve workers’ rights. And in neighbouring El Salvador we have convinced a sugar mill to implement a new work ethic which has been very successful.

In your experience, do you think photojournalism can change people’s views on an issue and therefore lead to change?

Yes, of course, For anyone who doubts this I only ask that they watch the film – Jim. It’s a film about a friend of mine who was killed in Syria. This film proves why photojournalism is so important. Storytelling, whether through photography or writing always has and always will be very important. I will stand by my belief that a camera, if in the right hands, is much more powerful than any weapon.

Where do you see yourself in the future in your line of work? Where would you like it to take you?

I don’t want to work for a large publication. I just want to cover stories that mean something. I can see myself covering conflict for the next few years then hopefully focusing on my own projects.

After spending some time back home in Australia, Josh now has assignments on child labour in coal mines in India, slavery on cocoa farms on the Ivory Coast and a trip to the Wakhan Corridor in Afghanistan. He is hoping to cover these stories before October this year. During a long connection flight, not too long ago, Josh wrote a list of all the stories he wants to cover, but these will have to wait for now, until next year.

http://joshuamcdonald.org/

 

 

Research:

Newton, Julianne H, ‘Photojournalism: Do people matter? Then photojournalism matters,’ Journalism Practice 3 (2009): 2, 233-243, accessed 21 March 2017, Taylor Fancis Online. Doi: http://dx.doi.org.libraryproxy.griffith.edu.au/10.1080/17512780802681363

Finkelstein, David, ‘Photojournalism: Arthur Fellig and Homai Uyawalla,’ Journalism Practice 3 (2009): 1, 108-112, accessed 21 March 2017, Taylor Francis Online. Doi: http://dx.doi.org.libraryproxy.griffith.edu.au/10.1080/17512780802560823

McKillop, Andrew, ‘Iraq War: Worth it or Not?,’ Sage Journals 24 (2013) 6, 1051-1056, accessed 25 March 2017. Doi: 10.1260/0958-305X.24.6.1051

Ordunez, Pedro, Martinez, Ramon, Reveiz, Ludovic, Chapman, Evelina, Saenz, Carla and Da Sliva, Agnes, ‘Chronic Kidney Disease Epidemic in Central America: Urgent Public Health Action is Needed amid Causal Uncertainty,’ PLoS Neglected Tropical Diseases 8 (2014): 8, accessed 26 March 2017. Doi: http://dx.doi.org.libraryproxy.griffith.edu.au/10.1371/journal.pntd.0003019

Source List:

Joshua Mcdonald: joshmcdonald.info@gmail.com

Website: https://jmcdonaldphotography.squarespace.com/

Heath Holden

Interview with Heath Holden a wildlife photojournalist by Jessica Dennis.

How old were you when you first started photography and what influenced you to get into the industry?

I was probably about 23 when I first bought a camera. It was a basic point and shoot Canon, but it had enough features to learn what the manual controls were all about, this was the start of it. I had been riding BMX for a long time and it was a huge part of my life so it was a natural thing to start photographing riding and the travelling we did to ride new places. Also, I had always been interested in wildlife and wild places and when I received a book for Christmas it really inspired me to look a bit deeper into that.

Have you completed any qualifications or have you progressed from self- taunt talent? If so where did you study and what did you study?

When I was in school there was no option to study photography, well I don’t think there was anyway. I was more of a technically minded kid, I don’t really think of myself as creative or artistic. Before photography took over I worked as a Toyota technician (automotive mechanic) for about 6 years, it is a respectable job but it wasn’t too enjoyable being stuck in a workshop 5 days a week when all I could think about was riding or exploring the world. Photography came to me later on in life through that curiosity and exploring personal interests, I visualise a lot of my work before it happens and photography is the only way I can put it all together into a tangible object. So, I guess I am self-taught haha. I have attended a few workshops, festivals and speaking events over the years, and met some very influential photographers and editors. These are very inspiring and you can build great relationships with people who might be in the position to get your current or future projects off the ground or to the next level. Investing in yourself is the best thing you can do.

What type of struggles did you find along the way of finding success?

There are always weird little struggles popping up along the way but one obvious and very important one is money. Learning to charge correctly can be hard, you will lose jobs because you over quote or you will win the job but then realise you have under quoted because the job description wasn’t super accurate. It is just a learning curve and the way through it is with experience and mentorship. One important thing is to work out who you are as a photographer and steer your career in that direction, you can still be diverse but be focused on just a few select styles of work. If you love the outdoors, wildlife and nature you really won’t be happy shooting product photography for a teddy bear company, and vice versa.

What is your greater mission as a photojournalist? What is it you want to share with the world?

I want my work to make people think a lot deeper than they currently do, human attention spans have gone. For the most part is has turned into a LIKE-fest. Just double tap, “LIKE” then keep on scrollin’. I want viewers to look at my work and wonder, to stimulate some thought, read the captions or text.

What has been your biggest accomplishment and favourite piece of work and why did you decide to do it?

The past couple of years have been really great, I have been given the opportunity to shoot some amazing assignments. Photographically, my Tasmanian devil project has been the most consuming thing I have ever done, it has grabbed me and I’m a little scared I won’t be able to stop when the time comes. This body of work is special to me, it started as a personal project to keep busy after living in Singapore for nearly two years, I simply wanted to get some good shots of wild Tasmanian devils, it has since grown and I am working to document as many aspects of the devil’s life as possible. The work has been published with numerous stories including National Geographic and a 5-page feature in BBC Wildlife magazine.

Many of your works involve animals, such as ‘The life of a Tasmanian Devil.’ Are you wanting to spread a wider message about animals? Why is it important to you to capture the devils in their natural habitat?

I’ve always had a fascination with wildlife, it is that curiosity thing again and wanting to learn as much as I can. I worked for the Singapore Zoo for almost two years documenting the zoo operations and what happens behind the fences; educational content, medical procedures, breeding programs etc. I learned a lot during my time there.

Wildlife do not have the luxury of being able to stand up and say “no, please don’t cut our home down”. They need as much help from humans as possible just to stay in existence. If it were up to the big corporations and incompetent governments, the forests, jungles and rivers would all be chopped and dammed simply for more profit and votes from a certain demographic. There needs to be a healthy common balance, I don’t think I’m alone when I say I am very tired of the same old greens versus logging bullshit argument, especially in Tasmania. It is holding the whole place back.

My camera trap work with the devil is all 100% authentic, no baiting or captive animals. Ethically it is just the right way to do it, and I do like the challenge. I mean, anyone could setup in a captive situation and get shots with absolutely zero effort, what’s the point of that? The variety of shots would be very limited in a captive setup and I have seen shots of devils which people have baited and they are terrible. The wildlife parks do play a part in the complete story of the devil though, it allows me to photograph visitor interactions, studio portraits etc. For where I want this story to eventually go, it needs to be photographed at the highest level of professionalism. It has taught me valuable skills which are transferrable to the next assignment involving camera trapping and natural history photojournalism. Snow leopards? Who knows.

On your series Nepal, what was your main purpose of documenting the trip? What was the reasoning behind capturing their culture? And how long did the project take to complete?

My Nepal trip was a bit over a month long and worked in two parts. The first was to document an ultra-run from Pokhara to Kathmandu, about 220kms. It was a joint charity run to raise funds for kid’s cancer in Tasmania and to help Nepalese children with schooling and to try and help rebuild Nepal’s reputation as a safe tourist destination, ever since the 2015 earthquake the region has struggled with visitor numbers.

The second part of the trip was trekking to Everest Base Camp via remote villages and photographing the local life. The Sherpa culture is still strong in the Himalayas and without their knowledge of the mountains the success rate of western expeditions would be very small. It was my first time to Nepal so I wanted to dig a little deeper than the common tourist snap and come away with some strong work I can put together as a photo story. I am already working on getting back to the Himalayas, I have been talking with some organisations and planning how we can work together to document some of their work in the Himalayas.

What type of projects do you see yourself wanting to capture in the future?

My goals are to keep pushing my way into shooting the interesting stories, wildlife conservation, cultural and adventure type features, ideally commissioned assignments from magazines, organisations and agencies. Similar to the Tasmanian devil and Nepal documentary work. I especially want to get back in the Himalayas, after my first trip there I knew it wasn’t the last.

http://www.heathholdenphotography.com/

References

Lyford, Amy, 2005. “Stan Honda: An Interview.” Visual resources 21 (2): 147-154.

Accessed: 16/03/17

http://hy8fy9jj4b.search.serialssolutions.com/?ctx_ver=Z39.88-2004&ctx_enc=info%3Aofi%2Fenc%3AUTF-8&rfr_id=info%3Asid%2Fsummon.serialssolutions.com&rft_val_fmt=info%3Aofi%2Ffmt%3Akev%3Amtx%3Ajournal&rft.genre=article&rft.atitle=Stan+Honda%3A+An+Interview&rft.jtitle=Visual+Resources&rft.au=Lyford%2C+Amy&rft.au=Payne%2C+Carol&rft.date=2005-06-01&rft.pub=Taylor+%26+Francis+Group&rft.issn=0197-3762&rft.eissn=1477-2809&rft.volume=21&rft.issue=2&rft.spage=147&rft_id=info:doi/10.1080%2F01973760500074158&rft.externalDocID=9658730&paramdict=en-AU

Mason, John Edwin,2014. “An interview with George Hallett.” Social dynamics 40 (1): 199-214. doi: 10.1080/02533952.2014.896116

Meir Wigoder, 2016. “Revisiting the Oslo Peace Process and the Intifada.” Journalism 5 (4): 500-518. doi: 10.1177/1464884904044207

Meiselas, Susan and Stutesman, Drake, 2010. “Connectivity: An Interview with Susan Meiselas.” The Journal of Cinema and Media 51 (1): 61-79.

Accessed: 16/03/17

http://www.jstor.org.libraryproxy.griffith.edu.au/stable/41552567?pq-origsite=summon&seq=3#page_scan_tab_contents

Christian Nimri

 

The Argus’ Holly Knight interviews Christian Nimri, who works as a freelancer photographer, covering; events, portraiture, music, and fashion, whilst also studying photo media at Griffith. Holly asks Nimri about his personal style and the impact of social media on photography as a career choice.

 
 

How did you get into photography?

My whole life I’ve enjoyed photography, mostly street photography. I did some graphic design on forums and would occasionally find some really, really nice photos people have taken. I would roam the albums of Flickr and Photobucket going through street, portrait, and concept art. Though I mainly started when I was creating Youtube videos (I know… so embarrassing). One day I posted a photo I took and people actually liked it, the rest is history.

What is your photographic style?

Over time my style has transformed constantly and to be honest, I’m still trying to figure out something that I can stick to, and develop into my own. I can say right now my main styles are Events, Music, Fashion, and Portraits. Especially with portraits, I love to emulate the look of film. Though I’d really like to better my skills with concept photography.

 
 

Where do you get inspiration?

I follow a bunch of Facebook groups and photo forums (Flickr, 500px, etc…) that bring a lot of inspiration to my work. There are so many communities that are so positive and help you progress much faster through proper critique. However, my biggest inspiration is a friend from Melbourne, Jackson Grant. He mostly does wedding photography, his editing and continuous progression of style is something that gets me to do the same.

I’ve known Jackson for years, so we’ve both had the opportunity to see each other develop and progressively become stronger in our fields.


What do you want to say through your photographs, and how do you do to achieve this?

A funny thing I’ve noticed, previously I never had a story behind my photographs. I would just go out and shoot and see what I can come up with. The past me would think the ‘in the moment’ an improvised photo shoot. Now it’s different; my photographs can have themes, stories, emotions, previously thought out. I want my photographs to tell people the story of the subject.

For example, the photo of my father and my grandmother shows the trial and struggle behind being a caretaker. It’s an all-day, all night gig.

In my music photography, the passion behind the artist and how they’re performing. It’s a whole self-image that their performance is creating.

 

 
 

If you could only shoot one thing for the rest of your career what would it be?

Festivals and music for sure!

It’s so exhilarating. Especially as I’m a massive fan of a lot of the musicians I photograph - it’s a win-win. There is also something about being amidst the action and having to fight for the best area, photo pits are bloodbaths!

As well as music photography being so much more. You get to go to music festivals, concerts, and if you’re good enough or know the right person, travel with the bands. It’s all a memorable experience, I can retell the stories of every single shooting experience I’ve had with music.

Do you think that with the current age of social media and selfies that photography as a profession is losing traction?

I don’t think it’s losing traction. As a profession it’s becoming a lot more mainstream, however, it’s still got the grit behind it. Like you can’t just purchase a camera and start taking self-portraits and have it automatically become your job. There’s so much work that goes behind successful photography businesses and personalities. Especially those built through social media. Social media is bittersweet, it’s given selfies and narcissism a big pay rise- but that doesn’t halt photography as a profession.

 
 

Where do you see yourself in the next few years?

Hopefully graduated, that’s for sure, ha! In all seriousness, I’d really like to see myself being able to travel for photography. I’ve been getting into fashion, but also very well integrated into the music scene. It’ll be some blood, sweat, and tears, but it’ll be worth it later.

 
 
 

Delly Carr

 

By Lina Frunk

 

 

 
 

Delly Carr is Australia´s top freelance Sports photographer. His 30 years of ethics and lifetime list of clients reads like a who´s who of the Australian sporting scene.

Delly Carr loves Star Wars, collects old toys, and has a big box filled with years of scrapbooks. They are, he claims, the essence of himself. He hates his cat, Peaches, and she hates him. This isn’t the side we usually see of the acclaimed sports photographer; we see the images, not the man.

His photographs blur the line (usually thick) between sports photography and fine art in a nuanced and creative way. It is Delly’s personality that really has something to offer aspiring photographers. Luckily for us, Delly is not afraid of sharing his success.

“Sports photography is part of my life, I’m obsessed by it,” states Delly Carr.

 
 

‘Obsessed’ is a word that keeps popping up when you listen to Carr speak about his photography. Along with the words ‘compulsive’ and ‘perfectionist’. He claims it´s these descriptive words that make him difficult to work and live with. However, it is also those words that have enabled Delly to create a magic formula in order to become a great photographer. At an Adelaide swimming event, Delly noticed the shapes of light on the pool, how it moved when a swimmer swam beneath it. He came back the next day; checking the swimming schedules, and the light. He waited for hours before everything lined up the way he had imagined.

“I ended up with an angel, I ended up with wings and a halo,” Delly explains. That image wouldn’t have been possible without Delly’s fascination and patience. Sometimes, however, patience needs an acquaintance, courage, to take over.

 

 
 

Delly recalls his three-day trip to capture San Fermin, running with the bulls, in the Spanish city of Pamplona. He spent the first two days behind the safety of the fence where all other photographers were, but those photos turned out to be “shit”, according to Delly. On the third day, he decided to go to the edge of the cliff, or in this case, climb under the fence. He was in the direct line of the bulls, in order to capture that perfect moment. He got it, but it didn’t come without a price.

“The bull’s hoof hit my camera,” Delly says. He admits that it easily could have hit his head, landing him in a Spanish hospital with an expensive bill or worse.

 

 
 

“The more seasoned bull photographers thought I was an idiot, and they were very close to being right.” Delly argues that courage, with a bit of recklessness, is a key element to get the best images.

Based on the great shots Delly produces, he could easily be arrogant and get away with it. Instead, he comes across as incredibly humble. With most of his best images, he applies a notion of luck. If the bull hadn’t jumped at that precise moment, you wouldn’t be able to see the runners in the background, and the image wouldn’t be the same. Delly advocates being cocky about your images. If you’re not, who will be?

 

 
 

Japanese fashion designer, Minori was inspired by Delly’s style of photography. Delly made such an impression Minori, that she made a dress in his honour: the ‘Delly Dress’, capturing his recurring theme of earth and sky in the design. An accolade for any artist is to be commemorated in someone else’s work.

 

Eliot Dudik

 

The Argus’ Magnus Westerlund interviews photographer and storyteller Eliot
Dudik about his work. Giving an insider look on how he creates his content.

 
 

Where do you get your inspiration?

My inspiration comes from many places, I teach photography at The College of William & Mary, in Williamsburg, Virginia. So much (of my) inspiration comes from my students and colleagues there. I surround myself with a non-stop deluge of imagery from the past and works currently being created. I do a lot of research by way of, art books that I enjoy dissecting. In terms of problems, the artist faces and how they went about forging a path toward completion.

 

How do you find your stories?

When I'm not driving, I'm running from task to task without much time to ruminate. But once I'm on the road, I have the time and space to pick through all sorts of things that have been coming in and out of my consciousness. I'll dissect an idea while I'm driving, from start to 1000 finishes. And often by the time I step out of the vehicle, I'll have the motivation and initial direction to create.

 

What do you look for in the stories?
Nothing specific, other than questions that I don't already have answers to.

 

 
 

What made you want to be a photographer?

I suppose it was the realization that photography holds the potential to communicate ideas, to change the way people think and understand the world. It can be a difficult but rewarding endeavour.

 

How long have you been doing this?

About 16 years

 

How many stories have you done?

I've done about 11 projects, published 7 books, including 2 collaborative projects/books.

 

Where do you go to get your stories?

I go wherever the story takes me. So far that has been through 49 of the 50 States (U.S.A). I'm anxious to start looking outside The United States, but thus far I've remained very busy exploring and trying to make sense of cultures, history, and current circumstances within the U.S. I've gone back and forth on whether I need to better understand cultures at home in order to understand cultures abroad, or whether traveling outside the U.S. and trying to understand other cultures would help me understand my home.

Australia is one place I'm excited to explore one day.

 

Adam Bradford

 

Don’t Judge Me

By Zara Lynette Tansley

Adam Bradford considers himself a contemporary pictorialist. Staging images and working primarily with fashion and portraiture through a conceptual lens. He harnesses the potential of the photographic medium, exploring the complexities of the human form and mind.

 

“Don’t Judge Me” is a photographic series that examines how an individual’s perception of self is not definite and that one’s identity can be distorted by an outsider looking in. Using a combination of still life and portraiture, the work draws upon symbolism that relates to themes of sexuality, drug use, and body image.

The presence of this imagery outlines, that it is often the practices that an individual engages with, that stimulate an outsider’s assumption of their character. This notion is furthered through the covering of the muse’s eyes (or part of). Essentially these factors of the work demand the viewer to ask the question, ‘how do we define identity?’

Due to the size of the girl pictured with the measuring tape, do we assume she is lazy, insecure or has a lack of self-control? Each and every one of us have been influenced by the expectations that society has crafted, expectations that leave this girl stripped and bound by an identity that we’ve predetermined without even knowing her.

 

 

Ilana Rose

The Argus’ Alexandra Gonzalez-Mendoza interviews photographer Ilana Rose about her career covering social justice work with organisations such as World Vision.


Alexandra: As a teenager, what inspired you to begin taking photographs? Aside from the idea of being able to capture a moment in time.

Ilana:

I have had photography all around me from a young age. My father and my uncle were both keen amateurs. They both had all the gear, so it was just happening around me all the time. I loved looking through all the old photographs and trying to imagine the stories behind them, so I had a keen interest from early on.

I was fortunate that my Dad bought me a nice camera when I was 12 or 13, I managed to learn how to use it all. I think that’s what started it. Also, my mother was a painter and I could never really paint or draw, so it [photography] was my way to express myself and show my world.

Times Square, New York
Signs of the Times – Ilana Rose


A: When did you start to delve into video?

I:

It was my minor at university, and I was really fortunate we had some amazing teachers back then who went on to become really well known film directors – so one of them was John Ruane who did a famous one called ‘Death in Brunswick’, and we also had Paul Cox who was sort of still just on the edge of leaving Prahan [College of Advanced Education – known as Victorian College] then so it was at the time that he was bringing out one of his really big movies.

So the interest was there, I was taught really young, but then it sort of got packaged away and I only did photography. In the early 2000’s there was much more of a need for producing multimedia pieces. I think the first really big multimedia piece I did was for SBS.

It’s just that thing about being a jack-of-all trades these days and having a really good eye and also for me having that technical understanding from university made it a really easy jump. Then of course with my work with World Vision there were often these very small teams. So again you just have to do a bit of absolutely everything. And a large portion of my work was often used as multimedia which involved combining my video and stills to tell the stories. But again I find it pretty easy to jump across [mediums], watching videographers they seem to have more trouble taking stills I think.

Backstage with Tina Arena as she prepares for her performance in “Cabarat” at the State Theatre in Sydney
Backstage with Tina Arena – Ilana Rose (2002)


A: Have you ever had issues turning down potential projects? If so, what is the hardest aspect of it?

I:

No, the only issues have been that I’ve had too much workload. Having always been a freelancer, before World Vision, you just take on everything and then work it out later. I think that has been of great benefit to me.

As I’m really diverse in what I can shoot and it’s definitely an advantage, I’m pretty comfortable in all areas. I never turned down a job, unless I just couldn’t physically manage it or wasn’t available.

Valiant Ron with one of his 8 Valiants, Ararat,  Victoria
Valiant Ron – Ilana Rose (2007)


A: You’ve clearly completed many projects over the years, what are some of the most impactful or meaningful to you?

I:

Well I was looking at this question and thinking, “it’s like asking to pick your favourite child”, they’re all incredibly impactful and meaningful when you’re actually in the process of creating the work. In the past I used to spend huge amounts of time on anyone project.

The first one that comes to mind was a documentation on everything in Melbourne – the train gangs, the graffiti artists. That was at the beginning of the 90’s and it was my first major magazine piece. It’s that whole thing about spending the time building trust to be able to get good imagery and the understanding of it.

When I was a UK correspondent I did an impactful [story] on the child leukaemia death rate in Sellafield in England. That was absolutely horrendous. Not only were there well above the average rates of leukaemia, but they copped a lot of the Chernobyl fall out. So you couldn’t drink milk, you could have any fresh produce. People couldn’t move out of the area because they couldn’t sell the houses, it was a big story. British Nuclear Fuel tried to threaten to sue us, we had told the truth and they just weren’t happy with that.

For five years I was the inaugural photographer at The Big Issue. I did an ongoing photo essay around social justice, mostly in regards to homelessness. The project gave me a great vehicle to be able to tell people’s stories.

Then I went on and did about a 5-6 year documentation in the Indigenous unit at the justice department here in Victoria and that was all about the roll out of the Koori Court throughout Victoria. Once again amazing programs that the justice department were doing, with the support of the then Attorney General Rob Hulls. I felt really privileged to meet everyone, get to know their stories and be able to represent them and give them voice. Again having the opportunity to meet the community and collaborate with them, in order to give the general public a better understanding of issues. Particularly social justice issues which are pertinent at the moment. Visiting things like youth detention centres and farms that they were putting the youth in, to avoid [them] going to jail.

The work that I did with World Vision was incredibly impactful. In 2014 I covered the 10th anniversary of the tsunami and travelled with the CEO Tim Costello to Sri Lanka and Banda Aceh, looked at the programs and how the people recovered in the last 10 years.

With the Weekend Australian Magazine, I did a Rwandan story about the 20th anniversary of the genocide. Again the stories were just heartbreaking and the recovery was really slow.

Then I went to Ethiopia and did a story about the 30th anniversary of the famine, that was actually a really uplifting and positive story. It was lush, it was green and the people were empowered – they had an understanding. I have no doubt that Ethiopia are more prepared now with much better knowledge of water supply and planting. Along with the support of organisations like World Vision and other NGOs (non-government organisations). I think there’s huge gains that are being made.

The hardest story of that year was when I went to South Sudan, again for the Weekend Australian Magazine. South Sudan, it’s just an absolute tragedy, it’s our youngest country only 5 years old and the civil war has been raging for almost all of those 5 years. Everyone’s got so much attention on Syria, that there’s not a lot of concentration on South Sudan. There’s atrocities being made against the people and I met many unaccompanied children it was devastating.

Rachel and volunteer teacher Mary  both refugees from war-torn South Sudan, skip in the safety of the Child Friendly Space in Adjumani in Northern
Rachel and Mary – Ilana Rose (2015)


But when I was there, I think one of the saddest things was when I went into the university, which was just this magnificent building and it looked completely trashed. You’d see things like student ID cards on the floor and all the exam papers and it really brought home, the huge loss that South Sudan were going to face in losing all of that education, I found that devastating.


South Sudan, Juba PoC (Protection of Civilians)
You only live once – Ilana Rose (2014)


I visited a lot of different refugee camps, there’re called POCs (Protection of Civilian camps). The circumstances that people were living in, the fact they didn’t know where any of their family were and they couldn’t see any future, it was devastating.


A: How do you handle coming back from locations like Africa, Indonesia, and South America, when there is just so much going on and it can be quite a shock when returning back?

I:

I think, I wouldn’t have done as well earlier in my career. When I’m in the moment, I tend to be able to do my work. It’s finding the way into the story, and listening, and being respectful to people. I always feel that what I’m doing is really positive, so I feel that it’s my job to be able to tell people’s stories.

When I get home we would often do post trip counselling. I’m really verbal, so I talk things out a lot. When I come back it’s really difficult for my family, because I’m quite dislocated. I’m used to working 20 hour days and being on the move and having my head elsewhere, so I think that’s hard for my family.

Because you’re moving so fast, when you get back as there’s so much work to do the moment you hit the ground, it’s not until weeks after that you actually get the opportunity to reflect what you’ve seen and done, and put it into perspective and just be hopeful that every little bit [you do] can help in some way.


A: When did you discover that you had a passion for social justice issues and giving a voice to people who would probably not have any, and how did you begin to enter that area of photography?

I:

Well I think I’ve always been attracted in the unseen. So in my early twenties, I was really into documenting youth culture and subculture.
I was really interested in telling stories of what I thought were amazing artistic accomplishments, like with the train gangs, which were driven about community – similar with skateboarding. And I loved all the fashion and everything that goes with subculture – the combination of music and all of those things.

Skate bowl in outer suburban Melbourne 1990
Skate – Ilana Rose (1990)


When I was a foreign correspondent in England I had never seen homelessness like that before, it was completely shocking and unbelievable. It wasn’t long after I returned to Australia, I became involved with The Big Issue. Down in Melbourne people were being sacked from their jobs and there was all of these people that were all of a sudden finding themselves in really hard predicaments. The mainstream press just wasn’t picking it up, so basically I just made it a bit of a mission. I think it’s just what I’m interested in, if you see something that you don’t know much about, it’s that curiosity to know more. And I figure that if I’m curious and want to know more I think other people will be.


Hoopaholic Bunny Hoopstar, Bondi, Sydney
Bunny Hoopstar – Ilana Rose (2010)


A: Do you collaborate with other photographers on projects?

I:

Not very often, it’s a pretty solo enterprise. There’s a group in Melbourne called MAPgroup (Many Australian Photographers). A good friend of mine started that up, his name is Andrew Chapman and he’s just the most amazing person just to bring photographers together.
I was a part of a big project documenting a rural area of Victoria called Ararat, and a friend of his was a teacher there and the town was going into decline. Andrew gathered about 20-30 of us and we went to the town for a weekend. We pretty much did a day in the life and we donated it to the township. Then the Mayor launched an exhibition for us at the gallery and it was a fantastic collaboration but unfortunately they [collaborations] don’t happen that often.

I’ve been part of quite a few group exhibitions but in day-to-day work you tend to collaborate more with writers because a lot of my work in the past has been in mainstream print; in magazine or newspapers, collaborating or working with journalists as well.

I also worked for 10 years with a journalist and that’s how I managed to get a lot of footage. We gained a lot of ground, because we could supply both text and images at a high standard.

Motor bikes rule the roads of Hanoi, Vietnam 2010
Hanoai Motorbikes – Ilana Rose (2010)


A: Are you currently working for any news publications or organisations at the moment or do you work on your own personal documentary projects?

I:

Well I’ve always been freelance, I’ve never worked for anyone. With The Age I worked on ongoing columns and things, but I was never on staff and I never did shifts. I used to be able to go to individual editors and just pitch ideas.

I’ve never really had that relationship [in regards to working for someone], I did a lot of work with the Weekend Australian Magazine and World Vision, I have a great relationship with them.

I’m currently not working with any one organisation, I work on a personal project and then I pitch it, that’s usually how I go.

Mounted Police patrol the city early on a winters morning during the BLF blockades 1990. Story about Police horse training for The Sunday Herald Magazine
On Patrol – Ilana Rose (1990)


A: What sort of stories did you cover for welfare organisations such as The Brotherhood of St Laurence, The Smith Family and World Vision? Were they part of any awareness campaigns that the organisations held?

I:

Yeah always, so they were clients of mine and as a photographer, I would be shooting annual reports for them and brochures and publicity campaigns, all sorts of different things.

My style is pretty documentary and those sorts of agencies don’t do a lot of PR, as I said it’s much more for the annual reports and documenting.

I used to do a huge number of events, I was the Women’s Affairs photographer in Victoria for 11 years, and I used to cover talkfests and photograph speakers.

But on the other hand I also produced a lot of exhibitions for the government. For human services I did a huge documentation of the roll out and upgrade of all the homeless shelters. I was known for social justice, so I used to get a lot of social justice that work, but a lot of it ended up for exhibitions. It was the same with the Koori work that I did, I ended up having an 80 photograph show in Federation Square, here in Melbourne, for Reconciliation Day. The Koori work was 5 or 6 years of documenting.

It was wonderful to get public conversations happening. As well as engage the community, so that they gained understanding. Having the visuals was just such a great connector that way.


A: I really loved your images from when you captured women of the world which was featured in Vice. How long did that work for World Vision go for? What were some of the common problems that would pop up throughout your journey photographing?

I:

I did 14 trips, basically to everywhere that you can think of, whether it was for media jobs or campaigns or social media trips. But really what struck me as I travelled around was the strength and integrity of the women, the way they held their families together. In 2012 I had a show on at Head On Photo Festival, I wanted to be able to again tell these people’s stories.

The thing that I was most passionate about, was women being the pillars in their community, the ones that held it together. The amazing women that I met, just had so much strength while living in the harshest circumstances you can possibly imagine, looking after their families.

It was something that as a mother I could relate too, because my child was about the same age as the children I was photographing. It was just incredible, especially to have that bond, between myself and these women, and that depth of understanding. Not that you could ever understand what they go through.

But once again a lot of the things they talked about, the worries for their children’s future and education were things that just all Australians can identify with.
So it’s just a massive picture-editing job, just going back and thinking about all these incredible people, then putting it together as a cohesive story. The entire project happened over four years.

South Sudan,
Refugee Camp South Sudan – Ilana Rose/World Vision (2014)


In a lot of countries the common problems the people faced included lack of food, lack of water, education, and gender issues. I was in India not long after a horrible rape case. So talking to women about the challenges there, and talking to women that were HIV+ and had lived in villages that had been prostituted for generations. How they changed the way the men think and in fact how the women themselves think.

So gender issues are a big issue along with maternal and child health, trying to stop children dying under [the age of] 5. Education overall was a big one too. It was surprising that you’d go to a lot of places and the environment was so harsh that they couldn’t grow vegetables, they didn’t understand the importance of balanced meals or they couldn’t get anything. Trying to get your head around why people in Peru eat Guinea Pigs is a hard one.

But there’s no meat in these countries, they’re deadly poor. Deforestation and what people have done to the environment, becomes quite apparent when you start going into these third world countries. And you start realising that because of the deforestation nothing grows, the rain run-off is shocking and has damaged the land. A lot of countries like Indonesia still do mass burning.

It’s actually quite scary when you start adding up all the problems.


A: If you could give some advice to your younger self, regarding photography and multimedia, what would it be?

I:

I think the main thing for a young photographer starting off, and for me when I was starting off, was the idea of being really tenacious – following things through and being a good listener.

You need to do good research, so you know what you’re talking about. Making relationships with your subjects is really important, but you also need to get a balanced view. Therefore, you’ve got to make sure you talk to a lot of people about any issue, and I didn’t quite catch onto that until later.

Making sure that when you’re in the moment that you cover things well. Including lots of wide and close shots, things that can be utilised across all mediums. Whether it’s online or on print just having that diversity of most styles, so that you can be run in high-end magazines, but as well it can run on Facebook. Also, so that you can differentiate what sort of content you need for different applications. Another big thing is trying to collect past images, so have your [work and project] filing done in ways that you can actually keep it under control.

To an extent digital is much easier, negatives and transparency were much more difficult to handle in some ways. Also metadata, that’s the one thing I’m finding is very important now. A lot of my work has become historically important, not necessarily because they are great photographs, but as the time passes people gain interest and want to collect history.

A member of the Guardian Angels confronts crack dealers in Turk St, Tenderloin, San Fransisco, 1989 “Some critics view the Guardian Angels with suspicion, seeing them as vigilantes who like to throw their muscle around. But Tenderloin habitues say they have not felt so safe in months.”
A perspective – Ilana Rose (1989)


So, I don’t have all my information because they were just negatives. My advice now, would be to make sure any scrap of information you receive is placed into the metadata, so that you actually know and remember what you’re talking about.

At the end of the day it doesn’t matter if no one else sees it, just put as much in your metadata as possible, because you might lose your journal. Just make sure you’ve got the who, what, when and why. And the other thing, backup all your information on hard drives and make sure you’ve got one [hard drive] at your mum’s as well, in case your house burns down.

Overall, you’ve got to have a strong self-belief and just be passionate.