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Australian Press Photographs and Refugees: the power of visual images


Darian-Smith, K, Australian Press Photographs and Refugees: the power of visual images, Global Histories of Refugees in the 20th and 21st Centuries Program, 6-8 October 2016, University of Melbourne, pp. 8-9. (2016) [Conference Extract]

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The 2015 World Press Photo of the Year was awarded to the Australian Warren Richardson, whose grainy image of a father passing his infant through a barbed wired fence documents refugees crossing the border from Serbia into Hungary. This international jury described this work as CtimelessD, CclassicD and Cincredibly powerful visuallyD in conveying the specific and universal plight of refugees. This paper considers the political and emotional power of press photographs in its examination of how Australian newspapers have portrayed refugees, at home and abroad, from the mid-twentieth century to the present. It draws upon ARC-funded research on the history of Australian press photography, including over 50 interviews with photographers recorded for the National Library of Australia. From the arrival in Australia of displaced persons after World War II, the Vietnamese Cboat peopleD of the 1970s, and more recent refugee movements, press photographers have been documenting these events. For some, this has been personally difficult, particularly in relation to photographing people detained in on and off-shore detention centres. Kate explores these experiences within the wider context of government policies and the official use of photographs; the issue of media access and ethics; the influence of press photography on public opinion; and the power of photographs in narrating the histories of refugees in our time. Biographical Information Kate Darian-Smith, FASSA, is Professor of Australian Studies and History, School of Historical and Philosophical Studies, and Professor of Cultural Heritage, Faculty of Architecture, Building and Planning at the University of Melbourne. She has published widely on Australian history and culture, and her current research includes leading an ARC project of cultural diversity, migration and Australian television.

Item Details

Item Type:Conference Extract
Research Division:Language, Communication and Culture
Research Group:Cultural studies
Research Field:Cultural studies not elsewhere classified
Objective Division:Culture and Society
Objective Group:Other culture and society
Objective Field:Other culture and society not elsewhere classified
UTAS Author:Darian-Smith, K (Professor Kate Darian-Smith)
ID Code:125598
Year Published:2016
Deposited By:College Office - CALE
Deposited On:2018-04-24
Last Modified:2018-04-24

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