Made in collaboration with Tamara Searle, and with participation from Amber, Charlotte, Claudia, Coco, Ebony, Ella, Grace, Hayley, Jacintah, Jasmine, Leila, Macca, Maddie P, Maddie S, Mia, Nelly, Olivia, Shae, Sophie, and Tash.

for Back to Back Theatre

February 2021–March 2023

Install Geelong Gallery. Image Ferne Millen

Portrait is a participatory photographic project created by Tamara Searle (Back to Back Theatre) and photographer Gemma-Rose Turnbull with students in local Geelong schools.

This long term project was created with a foundation of self determination, in which existing photographic representations of disability, age, gender, and sexuality were challenged, allowing each of the students to reflect on and express their unique identities. Searle and Turnbull (and their collaborators) offered a safe space where young women could openly, authentically question their diverse identities, and analyse photographic forms of representation. These formative discussions, and the preferences and personalities of the young women, informed the processes and outcomes for each of the 17 portraits on display. They are presented in collaboration with the participants, who share a strong belief in the necessity and powerfulness of self representation by teenage women living with disability. 

This work was made with the support of set and costume designer Kate Davis, and studio photographers Mano Sidhu and Holly Borschman. Support was provided by Tara Lynch, Sue Angelovski, Nikki Watson, and Mindez Chua.

This work is exhibited at Geelong Gallery Saturday 18 March to Sunday 9 July 2023

Tamara Searle, Geelong Gallery. Image Ferne Millen
Install Geelong Gallery. Image Andrew Curtis
Charlotte and her mother with her portrait, Geelong Gallery. Image Ferne Millen
Install Geelong Gallery. Image Andrew Curtis
Geelong Gallery. Image Ferne Millen
Hayley and her mother, Geelong Gallery. Image Ferne Millen
Maddie P