IMMIGRANT STORIES SHARED
Book and pics capture experiences
EXPLORING her own journey about what it means to be an immigrant in Australia, photographer Sabrina Lauriston chose to connect with other migrants who also call Bundaberg home.
Her exhibition Foreign Lands is now showing at Childers Art Space. It’s a stunning collection of black and white portrait photographs of those she met.
On Monday, Mrs Lauriston released the accompanying book of the same name, which teams those photos with each immigrant’s story.
Mrs Lauriston’s own story began when she moved from Italy to Australia to marry her husband, Graham, in 2007. Together they now have a daughter called Megan.
“My project was born because of my need to share my experience as an immigrant with other immigrants,” she said.
“When I finished the project I decided to keep a
Sabrina Lauriston My project was born because of my need to share my experience as an immigrant with other immigrants.
permanent record of their stories in a book.
“The book is black and white photography, the images taken with medium-format film camera because of my passion for film photography.
“All the prints are developed in my darkroom.”
The book contains 36 portraits with 36 unique stories that span more than 60 years.
“The first is a man from Malta who came in 1949 and the last is Karen from China, who came here in 2012,” Mrs Lauriston said.
“They’re displayed chronologically because if you look over 60 years, immigration in Australia has changed – different people from different countries and the different reasons they came to Australia.
“The first people who came in the 50s after the Second World War, they had nothing.”
Despite being completely in love and happy when she moved, Mrs Lauriston said every immigrant experiences difficulties when they move to a new country.
“Even though I was a happy immigrant and happy to be here, I found my first year difficult because my English was very little,” she said.
“I couldn’t understand people at the shops if they asked me something. I was alone. I had no friends, so it has been very hard.”
Picking up her camera after the birth of her daughter, instead of focusing on landscapes as she had done in Italy, Mrs Lauriston found a new interest in portrait photography.
“I had an interest in the faces and the multicultural faces of Bundaberg,” she said.
“I could explore this need to share my experience with them and at the same time document their diversity.
“But the common thing is you have to close the book on the way it was before and start a new chapter.
“They came to Australia to make something of their life that they couldn’t in their own country.”
Mrs Lauriston believes Bundaberg has only benefited from those who chose to start their Australian lives here.
“I think it’s a positive thing because people here are tolerant. We can always learn from each other.”
The book is available by phoning Mrs Lauriston directly on 0438 425 792 or from Childers Art Space.
FOREIGN LANDS: Photographer Sabrina Lauriston was both nervous and excited at the launch of her new book called Foreign Lands.