This is a rare glimpse into one of many Remote Aboriginal communities in Central and Northern Australia which are struggling under what has been euphemistically referred to as the 'Intervention' or the Northern Territory Emergency Response which was instigated by the Australian Government in 2007 after claims of widespread child abuse were reported to the media. These claims have been proven to be unsubstantiated and while many of the communities have significant issues that involve 'petrol sniffing' and alchohol abuse many Aboriginal people believe that the Australian Government has created draconian laws to further remove Aboriginal people from their land and to prevent them controlling or benefitting from the huge profits made by mining companies in the region. So called 'Hub' towns have been created to which traditionally nomadic Aboriginal people have been relocated. These artificial areas create a sense of separation and often perpetuate age old tensions because opposing clans now live cheek to jowl. Underpinning these tensions is a sense of loss of traditional culture, isolation and purposelessness.
Lisa Hogben describes her relationship to photography by saying,
“I think that the camera is a very simple tool. People seem to have the impression that great photographs are just the result of pressing a button at the right time, perhaps even at a random time. But I think that the art is the empathy that you have with your subject and the personal vision that you take with you when you point a camera in a particular direction. The immediacy of the medium is what separates it from all others, it’s a very powerful connection that you can make when you communicate and react with your subject in the here and now. The fact that you can document that process while it is happening is the unique thing. I guess there are always going to be stylistic revolutions, I mean that when certain theories reign supreme you are always going to see adherents to those theories. But to me it’s all about being there, the photo is just the by-product of the encounter. If I was a writer and I had nothing to say would I bother writing? So if being a photographer doesn’t involve me in the process why would I bother taking photos?”
Lisa Hogben has made the search for ‘little truths’ her life’s work. The daily lives of her subjects are intertwined into our own, spilling out with the ‘little truths’ of our being. Her photographs are a testament to her ability to see with tolerance, honesty and love.
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Sydney Street Choir
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