Stanley photographer Stephen Routledge photographed Beechworth Family Album’s 2004 edition with ‘Through the eyes of our youth’ as its theme.
He worked with young people, their school communities, parents, carers and peers in the documentation of their world.
Stephen conducted workshops in the six participating schools, as well as an extremely successful major workshop called ‘Click, Click Beechworth for the wider community. He passed on his skills and knowledge of digital photography to a great number of young people and others.
The artworks Stephen produced were wonderfully insightful. Large-scale, finely-detailed photographs of 20 of the students involved in the project with their siblings form a collection called ‘Brothers and sisters’. The images are breathtaking. Stephen’s ability to capture the essence of each teenager with indigenous plants and trees as background is evidence of the unique trust between artist and subject. The works are moments captured in time and technically faultless.
The project provided an exciting visual insight for the community: the past and contemporary culture and environment of Beechworth and district. This multi-media projection on the giant screen hung from the Town Hall was a special feature and attracted keen interest from the community. Six photographic collages were compiled from a selection of the digital images taken by the participants. These events consolidated the arts as a catalyst for recognition of identity and place.
Links and connections were strengthened between young people, families, schools and communities. Existing community partnerships were reinforced and new partnerships developed. Many in the community participated in this innovative arts initiative and developed the visual literacy skills to use new technologies and create images of artistic merit.
Mark Selkirk co-ordinated the schools component of the project. Mark was instrumental in ensuring that this major component ran smoothly and efficiently. No easy feat with six schools involved. The Principals and teachers from each school in the cluster deserve congratulations and thanks for their support of the project.
This new collection of Family Album images from 2004-2005 will provide an ongoing resource for education, learning, research and civic pride. It is a collection of unique historical interest, adding to the previous Family Album projects in 1984 and 1994.
The Regional Arts Fund provided a substantial grant to enable this project to come to fruition. Indigo Shire Council supported the project both in the form of a grant and the help of arts and cultural officer Chris Dormer and tourism development officer Felicity Hillis.