Queensland College of Art photojournalism students have teamed up with the Wesley Mission Queensland for a new photo exhibition to mark Anti-Poverty Week.
Six Bachelor of Photography students headed out across Queensland to document life below the poverty line, spending a week in communities from Mt Isa to Rockhampton and Charleville.
Their work will be exhibited in The Power of Community at Maud Galleries, Newstead from 19 – 22 October and displayed at three of Brisbane’s largest train stations until the end of the month.
QCA Photojournalism Convenor David Lloyd said the project allowed students to dig deep.
“There are a lot of amazing untold stories in these communities and our students are helping to bring them to light.”
Documenting the homeless community in Mt Isa
Pran Kositthanakorn, 21, and Tahlia Stehbens, 23, headed out to Mt Isa for a week to document life at Arthur Petersen’s Centre, a dry out centre that provides services for the local homeless community.
“The theme of this year’s exhibition is the power of community and we wanted to document the people behind the scenes who go the extra mile to help people suffering hardship,” Pran said.
Tahlia said despite the tough lives the mostly indigenous interview subjects had led, they had no conception of poverty.
“What struck me was that none of the people we photographed and spoke to had any real conception of what poverty was,” she said,
“They have been living off the land their whole lives, many with no roof over their heads – for them, that is just the way things are.”
Tahlia attended high school in Mt Isa, but said she saw a different side of the city while working on this project.
“It was a real eye opener, but the people we spent time with were so open and honest and really welcomed us into their community.”
Students capture the Royal Flying Doctors in action
William Xu,27, and Shaun Singleton, 54, visited the Royal Flying Doctors base in Charleville.
They spent a week documenting the medical team and their patients, as well as the local indigenous community.
“It was an amazing trip,” said William.
“I got to ride along with the RFDS on a trip out to the border with the Northern Territory to airlift a boy from a remote property to Charleville.
“It was great capturing the work of the doctors – they give back so much to these remote communities.”
Shaun said the trip had made him a better photographer.
“I like being under the pump and having to just get out there and do it,” he said.
Turning lives around in Rockhampton
Madeline Begley, 24, and Libby Best, 52, spent time at the Walali Drug and Alcohol Centre in Rockhampton.
Madeline said it was inspiring to see the positive impact of the community workers and volunteers.
“We met people who had lived through incredibly tough experiences, but with practical help and compassion, they were able to start turning their lives around,” Madeline said.
“It was great to spend time with them and help tell their stories.”