Photo censorship embarrasses nation: Nimbin photographer

Raphaela Rosella self portrait.
Raphaela Rosella self portrait. Raphaela Rosella

NIMBIN-based photographer Raphaela Rosella has said she is "shocked" and "disgusted" at the censoring of some of her photographs on exhibition at the Vivid Festival in Sydney.

Her photos are among many that have been pulled in a controversial decision made by Destination NSW, the body behind the event.

The censored photographs will now not be projected in Circular Quay as part of the Vivid Lights program, but will still be part of indoor exhibits if the artists choose to proceed.

Ms Rosella knows that at least two of her photos have been pulled.

One is of a pregnant woman's baby bump, entitled Tamara's Pregnant Belly.

She said she understands more of her works are being censored.

"It's beyond a joke," Ms Rosella said.

"It's silencing the stories. I think it's wrong."

"I was mostly shocked when I saw it was Tamara's Pregnant Belly that was being censored because I was told they were censoring photos that weren't family-friendly. I find it hard to comprehend how a pregnant belly is not family-friendly."

Tamara's pregnant belly. One of the images organisers of the Vivid festival have deemed not
Tamara's pregnant belly. One of the images organisers of the Vivid festival have deemed not "family friendly" and removed from a planned projection display of photographic award entries. Raphaela Rosella

She said many other photographers who are in Sydney for the festival are feeling the same shock from the censorship.

"There's a lot of embarrassment for the Australian photography community because this is such a massive festival and we're having international photographers coming here and then they're experiencing this," she said.

"It doesn't give our photographic community a good name."

One of the hardest things to comprehend is that she understands the decision to pull photos wasn't made by a board, but by one person from Destination NSW: "It's not like she has a degree in what children should and shouldn't see."

Photography lecturer from Southern Cross University Raimond de Weerdt said it was an example of how powerful a still image can be compared with a moving image.

He said something that is shown on the televised news every day can sometimes become a different proposition when shown as a still image.

"Images get censored every day. Censorship is a big word; images get censored for all sorts of reasons," Mr de Weerdt said.

Organisers of the Vivid Festival have been invited to comment.

Being a single mother means Mimi has to shower with her son because she doesn't have anyone to watch him when she showers. From the series We met a little early, but I get to love you longer. Photo Contributed Raphaela Rosella
Being a single mother means Mimi has to shower with her son because she doesn't have anyone to watch him when she showers. From the series We met a little early, but I get to love you longer. Photo Contributed Raphaela Rosella Contributed Raphaela Rosella


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