First Nations youth photography exhibited at the Ferntree Gully Library

Ferntree Gully Library displays First Nations work in Deadly Mirring exhibition. Picture: FERNTREE GULLY LIBRARY.

By Gabriella Vukman

Almost 60 photographs are situated at the Ferntree Gully Library, exhibited there until the end of January 2024.

Following on from the state government-funded photography program for First Nations youth, the library’s display showcases the new found photography skills of the young people.

The program, titled ‘Deadly Mirring’ took place in 2023 over a series of workshops.

Children’s services officer at the Ferntree Gully library Melissa Bilston said “at the library we are now exhibiting a selection of the printed photographs from the program”.

“The photographs are featured in the middle of the library and they’ll be available for people to come and view during the library’s open hours,” Ms Bilston said.

Together with the library exhibition, the ‘Deadly Mirring’ program not only provided an opportunity for first nations youth to take on the new skill of photography but also offered a chance for them to share glimpses of the world through their eyes.

Participants learnt from professional photographer and Wiradjuri Woman Jacinta Keefe.

“It was really, really good and the work’s amazing,” Ms Bilston said.

“They’ve all got an individual style and you can really see their expression in their images.”

The exhibition is free to all library visitors and feedback on the photography is welcomed.

Ms Bilston said, “My role along with Ferntree Gully Library was offering a safe space for the children to be able to do some of their workshop sessions and access photography books and magazines.”

A launch for the exhibition was also held for the collection of photographers along with their family and friends on the 19 December.

“On the evening of the launch and the presentation the feeling in the room was amazing and being able to see the participants feel proud was just a moment that money can’t buy,” Ms Bilston said.

“You could see they felt really proud of what they had achieved and so they should.”

The photography program participants were all local and first nations young people and the photographs were taken locally.

“A lot of them were actually taken in the area surrounding the library and in the library and I believe they did some down near the quarry too,” Ms Bilston said.

“It is so important for these youths to have a voice and be able to express themselves.”