Photography course

Wodonga TAFE and AWAHS Team Up for Indigenous Photography Course | Border mail

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A photography class targeting First Nations mothers culminated in an exhibit of “powerful” photographs of Indigenous mothers and babies on display in Wodonga during NAIDOC week.

Seven indigenous women learned to use digital cameras as part of the Albury Wodonga indigenous health service project and the Wodonga TAFE “Mubal and Bali” project (which means “moms and boyfriends” in the Wiradjuri language).

AWAHS Indigenous health promotion officer and project participant, Ngarrindjeri’s proud wife Brittany Wright, said the group used photography to explore Indigenous culture around childbirth, motherhood and babies.

“We wanted it to particularly lead to NAIDOC week as a celebration of our expected babies and babies from the previous year to the new year,” she said.

Ms Wright said it was also an opportunity to help Indigenous women enter or re-enter the education system, provide families with quality photographs at an affordable price, share cultural knowledge and practices and promote positive health behaviors in mothers.

“Photography is quite expensive to do and do, for families in particular,” she said.

“So for those who don’t have that money, we want to give them a free service to give to their families.”

Over the course of 15 weeks, program participants took more than 1,000 photos with models in traditional clothing and face or body painting.

Trish Cerminara, wife of Gamilaroi and program participant, said it was a “powerful project” for photographers and models.

“It didn’t become like a class, it became like a family affair that we all did together,” she said.

“For the models, it was an opportunity to learn a little more about the country, childbirth and traditional styles, traditional clothes.

“It might be nine months, but it’s actually only a short time and women usually don’t take photographs of their stomachs and especially when painted, which connects them to their culture.

“So it gave them the opportunity to have really good prints of themselves and their babies.”

After positive reviews and offers to buy, Ms. Wright was hopeful that the program would run again.

“People who want to buy the photos and use them for more culture in their business, I think it’s amazing,” she said.

“It’s really powerful for people who are not indigenous and want to integrate more culture into their organizations.”

The exhibition is on view at the Eddie Kneebone Gallery in Wodonga TAFE.

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