How Nathalia started photographing all her residents

“Then hopefully they’ll slow down and notice the familiar faces and wonder about the people they haven’t met yet,” she said.

Schapper said she was especially happy that photographers were able to capture images of workers at a local slaughterhouse.

Regina Pawlowicz and Mohamed Muhamed at Ryan Meat Company.Credit:John Donegan

“We were very keen to have access to the slaughterhouse because it’s a large population of workers that you don’t necessarily see in town,” she says. “What is striking about them are the different ages, the different colors. There are older women working very hard there.

On Wednesday evening, the gallery will project portraits of residents who died during the pandemic onto a water tower on the city’s main street in a ceremony set to music.

Schapper said the ceremony would be of particular significance to the city because many residents have been unable to attend funerals for the past 2 1/2 years due to COVID-19 restrictions.

Averil Kennedy, who lives about 15 kilometers from Nathalia, submitted about 230 photographs to the exhibition.

Pauline Westley with her duck.

Pauline Westley with her duck.Credit:Philippa Schapper

She has done many individual and workplace portraits, including staff at the local IGA supermarket.

Kennedy visited an aged care facility to photograph people who were participating in a planned group activity and who were generally happy to pose for photos.

“They were great to photograph. They have very interesting faces,” she said.


Kennedy photographed a man who worked in the lumber industry in his dining room at a table he built himself.

The annual general meeting of Nathalia Senior Citizens provided rich pickings and she made 41 portraits there.

A man, whose wife had died suddenly, asked if Kennedy would take his photo next to a photo of him with his late wife.

It was one of the many intimate moments Kennedy shared with his photographic subjects.

“They cling to your heart. You have to try to make sure you’re doing a really good job.

At the end of the exhibition, the people photographed will be able to take home the photos printed in A4 format.

Kristen Retallick with her children Darcy and Meabh near Broken Creek.

Kristen Retallick with her children Darcy and Meabh near Broken Creek.Credit:John Donegan

John Donegan, former photographer of age who moved to Nathalia about two years ago, helped train photography enthusiasts and contributed many shots himself.

“People are discovering that there’s a whole community there that they didn’t know about. In a small town, you think you know everyone,” he said. “The community is more complex than it appears from the outside. It’s quite refreshing to see.

Donegan has worked as a photographer for 40 years, including 12 years at Age. He also worked in Jerusalem in 1991 where he covered the Middle East.

He said the project in Nathalia helped him build connections and relationships in the city, and also brought great creative satisfaction.

“This project is just as amazing as any other work I’ve done.”

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Michael E. Marquez