Fridays at Oasis – Hopes and Dreams, One Step at a Time Hardcover –
includes 47 duotone portraits plus stories of these young people in their words
Oasis is a Sydney refuge for disadvantaged youth. I was fortunate enough during 2006-2008 to be given permission by the young people at Oasis to take and publish their photographs, accompanied by their own words.
To me portraits are about revealing ‘aspects of self’, how you want to be perceived, how you perceive yourself to be, and who you really are. It’s not about the veneer. My portraits are about looking inside to capture the truth of where that person is. In this space. At this time.
It’s a two way process that involves trust. As a photographer I need to be “present”, then get out of the way to allow the individual to be seen.
At Oasis I found authenticity. These are tough kids. They’ve learnt to be, in order to survive their experiences. But they are also regular kids with a need to belong, with hopes and dreams just like the rest of us. In many cases, I was astounded by their level of maturity, self-understanding and wisdom at such a young age.
Many clients continue to come back and visit years after leaving there. It gives a sense of family and a place to belong, that recognises their inherent value.
It’s a “safe place”. An oasis. A place to rebuild lives.
2008 by Kate Baker