First Sight: emerging Indigenous photographers on identity – in pictures

Interrupting stereotypes: My two girls are so different in personalities, and I can see it even more as they get older. I just liked the seriousness. They’re beautiful, but they don’t know it. I shot it in black and white because I love that it gives you raw emotion without being distracted by colour. And you can ponder, what are they thinking at that time? Photograph: Milly Hooper
Lore Keeper – spirit
A shot of the dried mud flats from a walk up the creeks looking for a fishing spot. The interesting part about this photo was that I shot it in colour; it felt very ordinary. As soon as I made it black and white, it brought out the details in the cracks and the shading across it and gave it more meaning, purpose, and emotion.
Photograph: Luke Barrowcliffe
At the centre
Uluru is just off the side of this photo. Dad wanted a photo with Uluru in the shot. I told him I couldn’t get both him and Uluru in the photograph without changing the way he looked in the frame.
Photograph: Tace Stevens
Holding onto the past
This photo was taken at New Norcia Mission about an hour and a half outside Perth, where our nan was taken, I went there with my mum and two younger sisters. Nan spent seven years there as a child; it was the first time my sisters and I visited the place.
Photograph: Tace Steve
Mourning the souls that drift amongst the calm, she cries for those on shore who listen to the incoming tide for her song.
Photograph: Michael Torres
Saltwater Cleansing
Created on Wathurong lands at Barwon Heads near Geelong, this artwork represents my relationship to the ocean and saltwater Country. Being connected to the ocean and having the water rush over my skin is like a cleansing process. I often refer to this cleansing feeling and process and try to describe it as how people might experience a smoking ceremony in the same way.
Photograph: Lowell Hunter
Telstra phone booth
I just saw it there; it was sort of on its own, nothing else lit up around it. The telephone and the building/store next door will be pulled down for a highway and holds significance to our community. I was thinking of history, location and communication.
Photograph: Tamati Smith
Butterfly dreaming
This was at my parent’s house up home. I noticed butterflies flying around that morning, so I put the camera outside while helping my dad clean up the backyard. Just as I stopped for a break, these two appeared on one of my favourite posts in their garden.
Photograph: Pauline Clague
Blood of my blood
Blood of my blood binds us; her glowing warmth illuminates the void as I give sanctuary to her evolving soul. I shot this the week before Melbourne’s first lockdown. It was part of a series I was doing that I had to change drastically because of the lockdown. I changed the whole theme around colour and negative space, just using that blue to portray depression in that dark, cold space. Limitations can make you more creative.
Photograph: Michael Torres
WingspanKnown for her love of sport this is another iconic photo of Buddy Franklin.
Photograph: Aunty Barbara McGrady
Waves of LuminescenceI was getting some B role for another shoot, and I was waiting for the first light to start filming. I had my stills there, and I just thought, look at this amazing skyline.
Photograph: Brendan Blacklock

For the first time, the Head On photo festival will feature an exhibition consisting exclusively of Australia’s emerging First Nations photographers. A mentorship program will culminate in a final exhibition of Indigenous work from all over the country, seeking to explore identity and culture.

First Sight will be on exhibition from 19 to 28 of November at Paddington Reservoir Gardens

Sun 21 Nov 2021 08.46 AEDT