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My Blog

Photo for Freedom Exhibition – 2 February 2012
2 February 2012

Attended the opening of Photo For Freedom by photographer Tom Goldner last night (2 February 2012) at YGAP in Grey street St Kilda – http://www.photoforfreedom.com/

The YGAP Photo for Freedom project is designed to focus attention on child slavery in the African country of Ghana. In early 2011, Melbourne photographer, Tom Goldner, conducted a photographic study of individuals, communities, landscape, daily life and work around the Lake Volta region. Tom’s images will be exhibited in 2012 raise funds and public awareness of child slavery in Ghana.

YGAP will use the proceeds from this project to continue combating child slavery in Ghana.

The exhibition is black and white photography – a mix of digital and film, and includes works 15×10, 45×35 and 49.5×18 (panoramic).

The exhibition was officially opened by Bernadette Alibrando after speeches by the CEO of YGAP (Y-Generation against Poverty), Reverend Tim Costello, the principal of the educational facility being supported and the photographer Tom Goldner.

The images are both beautiful and haunting.

Goldner wanted to capture the horror of slavery while creating art that would appeal sufficiently to be purchased to raise funds to combat child slavery and fund housing, educational opportunities and medical services – in his own words the images had to be sufficiently appealing “for people to want to hang them on their walls”.

In my mind Goldner has succeeded in his aim.

The images capture the the fun and playfulness of beautiful children on the one hand, but a closer look – especially the eyes – reveals something else – in at least some images – a sense of flatness or despair – even emptiness. In the images which include the children and adult fishermen – themselves quite likely to have been victims of the same child slavery – the camera is frequently focussed on the children, with the adults in the background. I felt he captured a weary almost suspicious look on the faces and in the eyes of the older fishermen – not threatening in most cases – but worried and concerned, and in some, there seemed to be a deep sorrow – a hollowness.

The landscapes also capture the vastness and are perhaps a metaphor for the emptiness in the lives of the children so cruelly taken from their families and destined to serve as slaves.

The subject matter lends itself well to black and white photography, and Tom Goldner has done a beautiful job of drawing the issue to wider attention and  capturing the horror, while somehow creating beautiful haunting issues. He is to be congratulated for the both the project and the body of work he has created.

I would stringly encourage readers to visit the exhibition – think about what you see – make a donation, or even better, purchase some of the limited edition images. Help fight this insidious child slavery.

Y-GAP is at 12-14 Grey Street St Kilda, and the exhibition is on display from 3-16  February, opening hours are from 12pm to 7pm. Tom will talk about his work and his personal experiences of Ghana and its people at 6pm on Fridays and Saturdays.

Its all too easy to be engrossed in our own world and not see what is going on in other places – visit the exhibition, judge for yourself – MAKE A DIFFERENCE!

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