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QLD student gathers images of the pandemic 2020

By April Murphy

We utilise cameras to capture special moments in life, to be a record of memory, and as the saying goes, “a photograph can tell a thousand words”.

We each have our own individual story to tell about our time during the pandemic. For most, what we haven’t endured ourselves we feel for those that have. What better way to capture the emotions felt during COVID-19 than with a photograph.

Dr Anne Smith completed her PhD at The University of Southern Queensland, researching resilience and wellbeing through photography.

“Images can be a powerful tool for people to express themselves, sharing and amplifying their responses to adversity,” says Dr Smith.

Smith’s research has inspired a South Australian Town to tell their COVID-19 story. The ‘Our Strength During COVID-19’ exhibition is underway at the Burton Community Centre located in Adelaide, where images of empty streets and grocery shelves sit along with heart-warming photos of families existing in a virtual world.

“From a drawing of a hug sent to a grandmother, to a screenshot of laughing friends donning a sunglasses filter in group chat, we were inundated with positive images,” she says.

Despite fear and isolation, each community member/photographer involved felt uplifted taking their images – there seems to be an inbuilt need in us all to look for the positive.

The project culminated in an exhibition called ‘Our Strength During Drought’, in which the goal was to empower people to share their experience via photos amid challenging times.

“Participants felt they had contributed to helping their community through the crisis by raising awareness around the country about what they had gone through,” she said.

‘Our Strength During COVID-19’ will be nominated in two states (Qld & SA) for a Federal Australian Resilience award 2021 and has been honoured as a finalist for the Communities SA Loneliness Cure Awards, with the outcome to be announced in December 2020.

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