There were 97,912 entries by 5,692 photographers around the world in this year’s World Press Photo awards. There was one Australian finalist, Raphaela Rosella, and she won the highly coveted individual portrait prize for a photo called “Laurinda”. It is a remarkable feat that stunned the 26-year old photographer.
Do you know how I learned of her achievement? Because the headline that accompanied the story published by the ABC prompted three different people to send it through to me.
Why are we so wedded to defining women by their maternal status? Would a male photographer be referred to as a Dad in the headline? I sincerely doubt it.
Labelling Rosella a “Nimbin mum” is not entirely without context; the Brisbane-based photographer told journalist Samantha Turnbull that growing up in Nimbin it was expected that she would drop out of school, become a teenage mother and survive on a low income. That wasn’t to be.
Instead she followed her passion for photography and has worked fastidiously to carve out a distinguished career at just 26.
It’s not difficult to appreciate how she has achieved what she has. The Gold-medal winning portrait “Laurinda” of a Kamilaroi girl waiting outside her home in Moree for a bus to Sunday School is stunning.
Raphaela is undoubtedly deserving of praise and acclaim because of what she does and how spectacularly she does it, but I’m not convinced that being a mum required top billing in the headline.
What do you think? In any case congratulations Raphaela Rosella on your already-stellar career.