Travel

Virtual EAL New Arrivals Program by Glenn Dixon

In April we travelled to four schools in regional Victoria to document the stories of three students who receive specialist English language support as part of the Virtual English As An Additional Language (EAL) New Arrivals Program. 

I was commissioned by the EAL and Multicultural Unit of the Department of Education and Training to create films promoting the program. Our objective is to raise awareness of the program within regional school networks and encourage more families to take up this valuable offering.  

I invited my father to join my on the road to share the driving and support the production. In the first week we visited Albert, a Nepali student attending Mitta Mitta Primary School. Next we drove to Murrayville to film Micaela, a South African student attending the Community College. The following week we were in Apollo Bay to capture the story of Art, a year 9 student recently arrived from Thailand. Once back in Melbourne we filmed at the Victorian School of Languages where the program is hosted and interviewed the teaching staff.

Students dial in to receive their weekly lessons via a video conferencing unit. When we arrived back to Melbourne, it was a surreal experience seeing the students again on screen during the lessons. Only days before I had been standing in those now incredibly distant rooms filming. For the teachers at the VSL, this webcam perspective is the view they typically see of their students - they don’t usually meet in person. I felt privileged in being granted a unique perspective, I know what lies slightly beyond view of the webcams frame. I have a modest insight into the contexts of the communities in which these students have recently settled. I know how the main street glows under light from the setting sun, I know the smell of the dust and the taste of the food at the only restaurant in town. It was a privilege to be invited briefly into these regional communities, to hear their concerns, empathise with their circumstances and celebrate their victories. 

Maptia - A world of stories by Glenn Dixon

Maptia_EditorsPick

I am very excited about the new Maptia platform. This service allows you to view stunning articles published by some of the worlds most inspiring writers, photographers and adventurers. There is no cost associated with creating your own profile and publishing your own stories. I am blown away by the quality, depth and diversity of the articles I have read so far.

It was a wonderful surprise to find my Antarctica story, An Offering from the Wanderers, featured as an editors pick!

Maptia_Editor

I am particularly impressed with the interface in which you compose your articles. It is simple, minimal and precise. I love the way photographs can be presented full screen or integrated into the body of the article. There is a small selection of carefully considered text formatting options which results in consistent formatting throughout the website. As a user, you appreciate the fact that the designers have put a lot of thought into this. They do not overwhelm you with superfluous formatting options or style palettes. You are free to focus on making your story as powerful and emotive as possible while Maptia takes care of the rest.

Here are a few stories that have inspired me; James Morgan's Last of the Sea Nomads, David duChemin's My Name is Akeno and David Lazar's Visions of Myanmar.

Papermakers by Glenn Dixon

Euraba Artists & Papermakers are a group of Northern NSW Indigenous artists specialising in handmade paper art. Euraba Artists and Papermakers is situated in the border town of Boggabilla. In the Goomeroi language euraba means place of healing, coming from the healing leaves of the Eura tree and ba meaning place. Euraba Artists & Papermakers embrace the healing nature of art for the local community and all those who appreciate fine art.

This short film was crafted from footage captured during the Oral History project. This footage while initially intended as visual overlay, was strong enough to sustain its own short story. On subsequent visits throughout the year I hope to interview additional artists to form a deeper study of the individuals and processes at Euraba.


Text courtesy of eurabapaper.com.au
A film by Glenn Dixon Visuals
Produced by Left Field Business Solutions
Music licensed from The Music Bed

Autumn in Kyoto by Glenn Dixon

It is hard not to be completely seduced by the colours of a Japanese Autumn. As you look toward the mountains the trees retreat in a mosaic of crimson tones. Some species of tree remain green throughout this brief seasonal change resulting in a wonderful colour contrast. As you meander through the narrow streets of Kyoto, you catch glimpses of quiet Zen Temples and Buddhist Shrines hiding behind a patchwork of foliage.

My intent was to explore colour and photograph it detached from the environment. Removing line, sharpness and depth from a photograph moves you closer toward a study of colour. You are less distracted by perceivable objects and drawn in through subtle colour gradation. The photographs in this series were created using a long shutter speed and panning the camera through the trees.

The reflective lens by Glenn Dixon

Nishi Hongan-ji

Kyoto, Japan 2013

Some people feel more comfortable behind a camera lens than within its field of view. Be wary though - behind the camera you cannot hide. When you create a photograph or piece of moving imagery, you cannot escape being represented within. We may not see your physical form but we can certainly gauge how your presence is received in the immediate environment. When photographing people your manner and emotional state is reflected inside the subject's eyes. If you are awkward, disrespectful or rude it will show in their expression. The camera is a mirror.

For me, image creation is as much about cultivating relationships as it is about exposing celluloid to sun. If you are tentative or reluctant to get up close and engage with people your images will be equally as distant - physically and emotionally.

A portrait captured through a wide angle optic has a sense of inclusion and intimacy that the identical scene framed through a long telephoto optic lacks. The photographs above, Nishi Hongan-ji, were created using a mid-long optic. To me, they feel less intimate than the proceeding photographs captured up close with a very wide lens. The diagonal lines are exaggerated, pulled and strengthened by the wide angle perspective. As a result your attention is pulled dramatically into the heart of the story.

Wood carving workshop

Nara, Japan 2013

I find approaching someone who does not share a common language easier than requesting a photograph of an English speaker. With limited oral language you are forced to communicate warmth and respect through your body. This can be a lot of fun as you can turn your lack of language into an amusing joke at your own expense. You are vulnerable, on unknown ground and at the mercy of a stranger. More often that not people will warm to you if you are politely inquisitive and genuine.

If you do not wish to be emotionally exposed and represented in a photograph, perhaps the safest place for you, rather paradoxically, is to hide in front of the lens.

The man represented in the photographs directly above was a dentist. For him carving teeth is second nature. Just after taking his portrait he admitted in a hushed tone, 'The mouth was easy. The other parts very difficult'.