IM­MI­GRANT STO­RIES SHARED

Book and pics cap­ture ex­pe­ri­ences

Isis Town and Country - - Front Page -

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.

PHOTO: MAX FLEET

FOR­EIGN LANDS: Pho­tog­ra­pher Sab­rina Lau­ris­ton was both ner­vous and ex­cited at the launch of her new book called For­eign Lands.

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