On Photography and Giving Something Back

I’ve been running around various Australian cities and towns with my camera for nearly ten years. Throughout my teens and early 20’s it was all fun and games, music and friends and love and lust, sun and beach and desert and forest, concrete jungles and punks responding to low incomes and conservative governments, booze and booze and drugs and ciggies.

As I headed towards my late 20’s, I got sick of photographing young people and parties, stopped seeing it all as fun and games and freedom. I was still photographing musicians near obsessively – for posterity – but outside of that, I almost lost my passion for photography completely, feeling a distinct lack of emotional or intellectual satisfaction in the situations and environments I was finding myself in. I was getting sick of drifting without intention, as I had done for years, because as I went I was learning more and more about the realities of this country I was exploring, this country I was born in, and it was all organic learning, intuitive learning; a curious and open minded pale skinned girl with a long lost indigenous ancestor and a voracious appetite for historical and political understanding, with not a single trusted intellectual mentor or guide in sight. I have felt lost in an overwhelming sea of colonial genocide, capitalist greed and exploitative globalized industry and trading.

I have been told many, many times throughout my life that I over-think these situations, these things, but I entirely disagree. There is a deep truth about this land that should be acknowledged, engaged with, discussed. Analysis is important to allow yourself to do if you have the capacity for it. It is very, very hard to think about Australia’s black history if you’ve never been encouraged to before, of course it’s going to hurt, it is a brutal history, and sad one, but the pain is necessary to feel in order to move on and wholeheartedly support the power of positive political, social and environmental movements that are sweeping through our collective consciousness.

I’ve written about these truths for Cool Perth Nights many times over the last few years, responding with a passionate frustration at the treatment of this land’s indigenous people. First Nations people are continuing to be treated as if the Australian government gives not a single shit that we signed the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples in 2009. 2015 has seen a lot of people learning these same facts and responding with similar indignation, as is evidenced by the recent numbers of people marching through Australian streets on the 1st of May this year, over 25,000 protesting government funding cuts to communities on traditional homelands.

These protests have rekindled my passion for documentation photography, and after a little while of working on painting and poetry too, I have started to develop some exciting ideas about the direction I want to take my work in the coming months, years. Changes are happening. Information is spreading. I want to be involved, part of the conversation, part of a positive future.

So I’ve decided to do something small to start me off on this journey.

This week I have launched a little collection of photographs from 2011/12 available for printing, with 10% of profits to be donated to SOS Blak Australia.

This collection is a little uncharacteristically soft in nature; an experiment in offering colourful tidbits to an unknown audience, but even the “pretty” photos have something deeper behind the lovely colours or subject matter, an intention that relates to my understanding of this Australian truth, the darker side of everything we do cities, everything we do in towns. Always was, always will be Aboriginal land.

Over the coming months I will be piecing together further collections for sale online (including but not limited to live music, protests, Australian landscapes), with donations continuing to be made to SOS Blak Auastralia, as well as putting the cash back in to my own work to fund equipment acquisition, research trips and time spent with people who can teach the stories you can’t find in books.

You can find this first collection of prints for sale on my photography Facebook page

To order prints, or to have a chat, get in touch at: tahliaisabel@gmail.com

To learn more about SOS Blak Australia, have a read of this article

Click on this link this link if you’d like to donate directly to SOS Blak Australia.