Knowing the pandemic would be another critical milestone in the lives of Queenslanders, QCA photography program director Dr Heather Faulkner pulled together a group of accomplished Griffith alumni to capture 100 portraits across the state.
“We knew we were in the middle of a significant moment in history, something that was vital to document for future generations,” Dr Faulkner said.
“We gathered a really impressive group of alumni who hit the ground running.
“I think they were surprised at how many people were willing to share very deep, personal stories – it was an emotional journey for all of our photographers, and many of them have said it was the best professional experience of their lives.”
Faulkner said The Way We Live Now was inspired by images of the impact of the Great Depression in rural America in the 1930s.
The alumni photographers included award-winning adventure snapper Krystle Wright, who spends most of the year documenting extreme sports and the planet’s most remote landscapes.
Since graduating from the Queensland College of Art with a Bachelor of Photography in 2009, her work has graced the pages of National Geographic and Outside magazine.
“When COVID hit, I was forced to cancel all of my international work. I’m usually on the road 11 months of the year – this is the longest I’ve been home,” she said.
“I think our kids and grandkids will look back on this and wonder at what a strange time it was.”
Krystle headed out to the bush to document the impact of the pandemic on the state’s rural communities, travelling west from St George to Cunnamulla, Quilpie and Charleville.
“You don’t often hear stories from people outside the big cities, and most of the communities welcomed me with open arms,” she said.
“A lot of these small towns have already been hit with drought and bushfires, and the pandemic restrictions have crippled their economies.
Fellow QCA alumnus Lachlan Gardiner is used to being on the road in pursuit of the perfect shot. Since graduating in 2012, he has carved out a successful career as a photojournalist and adventure photographer.
Lachlan documented the impact of the pandemic in communities across the Scenic Rim and Darling Downs.
“It was pretty intense seeing the impact that the pandemic has had, but people were really happy to share their stories for posterity,” he said.
The photographs will be featured in a digital exhibition at the State Library of Queensland and form the centrepiece of an exhibition at the Queensland College of Art Galleries early next year.
State Library of Queensland State Librarian and CEO Vicki McDonald said the project captured a unique moment in Queensland’s history.
“This collection of images and interviews will help future generations gain important insight into this landmark time,” she said.
“They will help us reflect on the unique Queensland response to the coronavirus – just like we look back at events like the 1918 influenza pandemic.
“We thank Griffith University for coordinating the project and all the photographers involved – they are now among many important contributors to our vast and comprehensive collections.”Jump to next article