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Playing in the Hill

Wednesday, 25th September, 2019

‘Unsupervised’ by photographer Alexandrena Parker. ‘Unsupervised’ by photographer Alexandrena Parker.

By Emily McInerney

A photo taken in Broken Hill was a finalist in the Australian Life photography competition.

‘Unsupervised’ was captured by Alexandrena Parker last year when she travelled to Broken Hill for a week-long photography shoot.

The picture is described as ‘children at play, alone, without any adult supervision is simply not seen anymore. Do we live in an era where we are too afraid to leave our children to play by themselves? Set in the streets of Broken Hill, outback NSW, this scene explores the relationship between landscape past and present’.

Alexandrena is from Melbourne and has been a photographer for about 10 years.

“I studied and then started working in commercial photography in 2010,” she said yesterday.

“I work in the commercial industry with advertising and it is primarily based around children.

“I’m also keen to develop my own style and aesthetic with photos that are different to what I would normally do. I wanted to explore something different.”

Alexandrena said she’d always wanted to come to Broken Hill and decided to take a week-long trip here.

She said she had her first daughter in 2017 and with some time off in 2018 thought it was the right time.

“I wanted to something personal to reinvigorate my work.

“We were initially going to Broken Hill to capture the landscape and the red dirt but as I looked around I was inspired by the buildings which seem to be in a time warp.

“They capture a simplicity and appear to be just as they were.

“We pared back the colours and used block colours on the children to bring out the background.

“We did the series which each shot focused on a different colour.”

Alexandrena said local Jason King helped find families who let their children take part in the shoot.

“He was super helpful. All the kids in my photos were from Broken Hill and they gave up their time in the school holidays for it.

“Some kids had filming experience but most of them hadn’t done anything like this.

“They were fantastic to work with. We had a really good time and I enjoyed the experience. I think the kids did too.

“I would love to come back and do more. Broken Hill has so much to offer from a creative standpoint.”

While Alexandrena missed out on the top prize of $10,000, Australian Life is one of the nation’s biggest annual prizes for amateur and professional photographers. 

It has been running of 15 years, and the winners are chosen by a panel of professional photographers, artists and curators. 

Australian Life is part of Art and About, a year-round program of temporary art projects produced by the City of Sydney.

The images are on show in Hyde Park, Sydney until October 13.

(Head to https://city.sydney/aus-life-finalists to view the winner and finalists).

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