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Wellbeing in the light

Wednesday, 30th December, 2020

Carly Smith and her son Jeffrey (5) with Carly’s photograph entry ‘Got this one Dad’, which was the winner of the ‘People’s Choice’ category.  PICTURE: Emily Ferguson Carly Smith and her son Jeffrey (5) with Carly’s photograph entry ‘Got this one Dad’, which was the winner of the ‘People’s Choice’ category. PICTURE: Emily Ferguson

By Emily Ferguson

This year Western Landcare and Local Land Services partnered with the Royal Flying Doctor Service (South Eastern Section) Mental Health Team to bring a wellbeing focus to this year’s Life and Light Photography competition. 

The highly regarded Life and Light Photography Competition has been running for over 20 years and showcases the talent of photographers of all abilities as they capture the beauty, diversity and uniqueness of the Western region, the people and flora and fauna that live in it. 

The theme for this year’s competition was ‘Love Our Outback’ and aimed to showcase the different aspects of the region that locals and visitors love so much. The exhibition launched at the RFDS Wellbeing Place (Blende Street) last week and is open for the whole of January.

Photographers won a share of $3,400 in prize money split across the following categories: Open age - colour, Open age - black and white, Secondary school age, Primary school age and People’s choice (all photos automatically entered into this category).

Carly Smith snapped her entered photograph of her son Jeffrey who was four at the time of the photo at their home of Cootawundi Station. 

They were in the middle of sheering and on that day Jeffrey sheared his first sheep. She said she decided to enter the Life and Light Photography Competition after looking at everyone else’s photos and she thought “Why not.” 

Carly said she grew up in the bush and has always carried a camera around with her, and since having kids she’s been even more inclined to take photos. “You can’t get a better backdrop than the outback, the outback can throw so many different views at you and you can take so many pictures and not get the same one,” she said. 

Western Local Land Services General Manager, Erlina Compton said it was wonderful the competition was still able to go ahead this year and be an outlet for people to enjoy the great outdoors and beauty within Western NSW. “Everyone should keep their cameras out and take plenty of photos, who knows you might have the winning photo on your smartphone already.”

Western Landcare NSW Executive Office, Louise Turner said this competition continues to go from strength to strength and having the Royal Flying Doctor Service on-board this year was a great inclusion for the competition.  “We are already underway planning next year’s competition and are looking forward to seeing that launch in the first half of next year.”

RFDS SE, Mental Health and Alcohol and other Drugs Manager, Vanessa Latham said the RFDS provides Mental Health and Alcohol and other Drugs support, wellbeing workshops and community-based events throughout the Far West. 

“The Service recognises the positive impact art, and in this case the practice of photography, has on health and wellbeing,” she said. 

“Through partnering with the Life and Light Photography Competition this year we were able to encourage our community to explore their own backyard and continue practicing art and photography in a time when we weren’t able to hold our usual to face community based wellbeing activities.”

The RFDS extends their congratulations to all participants of the competition.

“The RFDS is proud to host the exhibition this year and we encourage the community to pop into the Wellbeing Place to view the display and also see what is on offer at the Wellbeing Place over the holiday period and into 2021.”

The Wellbeing Place is the first stage of a multi-year project, providing mental health and therapeutic services. 

“We have a growing schedule of wellbeing activities open to the community, including yoga, meditation practice, African drumming and a ‘shed’ for skills building. There’s also an expanding library full of books and resources to enhance wellbeing, and comfortable air-conditioned lounge and sitting areas to take time out, or meet and connect with others.

“Although our hours and activities are reduced in between Christmas and NY, we are open and welcome the community to visit.”

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