Portraits at National Apology {canberra documentary photographer}

TRIGGER WARNING: Images, though just simple portraits and text may trigger some viewers.

I stood in Federation Mall outside Parliament House watching and listening to the PM Scott Morrison’s national apology to Australian survivors and victims of child sexual abuse. Full speech can be read here

It was a sombre and sobering speech.

I watched the people in the audience who sat outside Parliament House. There were tears. There was anger, when one fellow walked through the event shouting abuse at the PM’s speech. The feeling was palpable.

I meet, talked to, and photographed these few survivors. Some told me stories, others just grateful for me approaching them and acknowledging their story. I have emailed them all their images and have been overwhelmed with their kind words. Duncan Storrar (seen below) from the Victorian Kids In Care, even tweeted the image I gave him with a lovely message. Thank-you Duncan.

For me, I have absolutely no idea what these lovely people have gone through, their trauma though felt visceral, close to to the surface and something that they live with every day. Every voice needs to be heard, and they weren’t, but let’s hope that hearing and seeing real people affected, hearing their stories all helps stop these heinous crimes. The full Royal Commission Report is Here

Canberra documentary photographer hilary wardhaugh
“Alexis”
Canberra documentary photographer hilary wardhaugh
James
Canberra documentary photographer hilary wardhaugh
Duncan
Canberra documentary photographer hilary wardhaugh
Chris and Lesley
Canberra documentary photographer hilary wardhaugh
Bruce
Canberra documentary photographer hilary wardhaugh
Ben from Muzzled Screams
Canberra documentary photographer hilary wardhaugh
Paul and Barbara
Canberra documentary photographer hilary wardhaugh
Les and Ann and son Martin
Canberra documentary photographer hilary wardhaugh
Allan and Barry

Lastly, I am unsure how to express this but I class my self as fortunate. I am a 55 year old white woman with grey hair. I am often unseen, as in today’s western culture we celebrate youth and beauty (not saying I am not beautiful!) BUT, I feel I was allowed to make these portraits, as I am classified as unthreatening. My “Invisibility” allowed me to get so close to the PM, I could touch him. Not one person there questioned me why I was there. In hindsight, I recall the way I was dressed with a pink cardi and my rainbow hat, not that was a deliberate choice, just what I had on.

I would also say that my demeanour always respects the occasion. I approached people, introduced myself, told them what I wanted to do and why, we had a conversation and I got their consent to make their portrait and to publish it here. THANK-YOU to you all.

Paul tells the PM Scott Morrison his story
Paul is hugged by the PM Scott Morrison
Darryl Braithwaite
The Volunteers

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