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Aspiring photographer snaps up opportunity with the Port Adelaide Enfield Council

3 minute read

Coming of age is never easy, as it means having to think about what to do with the rest of your life. For many young people, this transition can feel incredibly overwhelming. With so many options available, where do you start?

Nineteen-year-old First Nations Job Seeker, Chyna, joined our services for the Transition to Work Program with this exact dilemma.

Having been unemployed for ten months, Chyna was unsure of what she wanted to do for work, however, through talking with Asuria Transition to Work Area Manager Marcy, Chyna disclosed that she’d always had a passion for photography.

In her appointments with Marcy, the two split their time between finding Chyna employment that she would enjoy, while simultaneously exploring her options to study photography.

It was in January of this year that our Woodville Team came across an exciting opportunity with the City of Port Adelaide Enfield Council (PAE), that would align perfectly with Chyna’s photography goals.

In collaboration with the City of Charles Sturt, the council launched the Art of Reconciliation Project, for which they needed an eager and talented Indigenous photographer to assist.

Stoked to be selected to join such a pivotal project, and excited to get a taste of the photography industry, Chyna supported professional Adelaide photographer, John Nieddu, in capturing and arranging the artists and sitters for their photoshoot, as well as helping set up the camera equipment.

“The opportunity to work with John and the council really helped me to learn the basics of photography, like shutter speed and how to focus on people and out focus on backgrounds. I was able to get a good understanding of what it’s like to be a photographer.”

Beginning in Reconciliation Week and concluding during NAIDOC Week, the project involved eight local First Nations people, as they were each paired with an artist to tell their stories and experiences of reconciliation through the creation of portraits. The portraits are now on a 12-month tour of South Australian galleries.

For Chyna, The Art of Reconciliation Project was not only a great entrance into a future behind the lens, but as a First Nations woman, the project gave Chyna the unique chance to reconnect and further explore her heritage, something she was grateful to have experienced.

On the support she received from the Asuria Woodville team Chyna says, “Marcy supported me by making the phone calls with the council to organise the volunteer work and they checked in with me a lot because sometimes I can lose motivation; the team helped encourage me to focus on my goals.”

Since assisting in the project, Chyna’s passion for photography has only grown. Through our support, Chyna has found herself in a positive headspace and is currently in employment and using this time to save money, as she chips away at her prospects as a photographer.

On her advice for young people who may be feeling overwhelmed and unsure of what direction to take, she says it’s all about not giving up.

“Push yourself to always ask for help and ask questions about employment and what areas you’re interested in.”

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