Recent Queensland College of Art (QCA) graduate Eliah Lillis is living the dream, working as a photographer at Cambodia’s only international award-winning newspaper, The Phnom Penh Post.
Eliah graduated from QCA in 2016 with a Photography degree majoring in Photojournalism and Photographic Artistic Practice. This latest opportunity at The Phnom Penh Post arose after travelling internationally and practising his craft.
The newspaper has a long-standing connection with QCA, having employed several other graduates in the past.
“I secured the role through a perfect mix of networking, being in the right place at the right time, and hard work,” said Eliah.
Eliah captures stories for the PostWeekend, a weekly insert that covers art, culture and longer in-depth features. In this environment there’s no such thing as a ‘typical day at the office’.
“The work is so diverse. I could be attending an exclusive rooftop performance by the nation’s most regarded traditional dance troupe, or photographing food and drink at the city’s newest bar.”
“This position has provided me with so many experiences, whether photographing elephants rampaging in the jungle, or capturing the dangerous conditions that garment factory workers endure.”
Eliah has interviewed refugees who had spent years on Nauru, and covered breaking news like protests, travelling dignitaries, and State funerals.
“This position has afforded me glimpses into people’s lives that I would have never otherwise had.”
“My inspiration comes from many sources: artists, photographers, documentarians and journalists; they all make me want to take my work further.”
“The staff at the Queensland College of Art were incredible mentors, and I continue to stay in touch with my contemporaries after graduation. My fellow graduates are a hive of creativity and they continually motivate and encourage me to create work.”
Eliah cites photographer and staff member David Lloyd, who has since retired from the College, as a constant source of motivation.
“His passion for his craft, social justice issues, and his student’s success were vital to my development as a photographer.”
Eliah completed his three-year Photography degree over four years. He says the extra time spent studying has contributed to his unique approach to his photography work.
“Studying for an extra year meant I was able to hone my skills and experiment widely and wildly. The fantastic studio equipment and darkroom facilities at QCA allowed me to constantly create images in both documentary and artistic practice.”
“Learn by playing, and live photography! Surround yourself with your peers and be as passionate about their work as you are your own.”
Visit Eliah’s instagram profile to view images of his work and life in Cambodia.
Image 1: Nget Khun, also known as ‘Mummy’ poses in the Boeung Kak lake development area. The 78 year old has fiercely protested the development and refuses to accept land allotted to her by the government.
Image 2: Keo Kunthearum of the Sophiline Arts Ensemble poses after a performance in Phnom Penh, Cambodia