We are thrilled to announce that Beyond Empathy photographer, emerging artist and visual storyteller Raphaela Rosella (Rosie) has received two prestigious awards for her creative work in just one night – First prize (Portrait Category) in the World Press Photo Contest and Momento Pro Australian Photobook of the Year.
For the past seven years Rosie has been documenting a Moree family while working with Beyond Empathy. Her World Press Photo winning portrait, Laurinda, was taken in Moree in May 2014.
“As she stood outside her family home, waiting for the bus that will take her to Sunday School, Laurinda draped her purple dress over her face as I took her photo” Rosie explains. “Laurinda is a bubbly energetic young girl and usually poses with hands on her hips and duck lips. But as she stood ever so still and gently covered her face. I knew this image was going to be special.”
“We are very excited about Rosie’s recent success and incredibly proud that we are in some way part of her successful journey” said Kim McConville, Executive Director of Beyond Empathy. “Rosie is an outstanding artist and I think this kind of recognition is only the beginning for Rosie”.
Rosie will be flown to Amsterdam this April to attend the award ceremony and her award winning image will be included in the 2015 World Press Photo exhibition which will travel the globe.
In additional to Rosie’s most recent wins she was recently one of 12 photographers selected (world-wide) to attend World Press Photo’s Joop Swart Masterclass, which was held last November in Amsterdam. The masterclass has established itself as one of the most prestigious events of its kind. For this, Rosie was required to produce a body of work responding to theme ‘Irresistible’.
Having grown up in a low socio-economic town, I experienced firsthand the difficulties of leading a life outside my community. While there certainly is hardship, chaos and dysfunction, I also experienced a strong sense of belonging, through an extended family and tight-knit community. Regardless of my community’s hardship, I am continuously drawn back to my hometown. Itâ€™s through this personal experience I was led to interpret ‘Irresistible‘ as a sense of love, longing and belonging. Although the majority of the work was not photographed in my own community I made a conscious attempt to continue working with families from my previous work. I have been working with Laurinda and her family since she was two years old, so it was important to me that I included them. During this time, I made the image of Laurinda.
Rosie’s full body of work ‘You’ll know it when you feel it’, is a reflection of loss, hope, vulnerability and resilience. By providing glimpses into the lived experience of young women, their families, achievements and struggles, it is clear love and belonging are irresistible in the face of adversity.
“Laurinda’s family have always welcomed me into their home with open arms so it’s a great feeling knowing that her portrait will now travel the globe”.
Rosie’s first-prize winning unpublished photobook (which was designed by Beyond Empathy designer Wendy Kimpton) is the result of a personal long-term project, which stemmed from the reaction she had when her teenage twin sister became pregnant. ‘We met a little early, but I get to love you longer’ challenges the stereotyping of young mothers.
“These awards are an incredible achievement for Rosie, but they also help her to share messages that are so important to her,” Ms McConville said. “Rosie’s profound images are not only beautiful, they tell a story that resonates with us all â€“ about what it is to be human.”
To see more of Rosie’s work visit: www.raphaelarosella.com