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Sevim Ozkan

11 Jun 2015

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By Louis Blake

Sevim Ozkan moved to Australia in 2002 and, after many years working in the hospitality and tourism industry, was desperate for a creative change.

“I had always been a writer back in Turkey,” says Sevim. “But the language was different so my skills didn’t really translate.”

Despite having very little experience of cameras and photography Sevim enrolled at Photography Studies College (PSC) in 2006.

“I wasn’t comfortable with the technical side. I just didn’t think I had the ability to learn all of that,” she said.

Despite these initial reservations, after a tour of PSC’s Southbank studio Sevim decided to take the plunge and sign up for the Advanced Diploma in Photography.  Sevim remembers that after “two weeks into it I was just fascinated”.

Sevim describes her photographic style as “sensitive, sympathetic, beautiful, natural portraiture”. When asked what her secret was to capturing incredible snapshots of human beings, Sevim said it was her ability to connect with people rather than any incredible skill with the camera. “I’m good with people, I’m very interested in them, genuinely interested,” she said.

In 2014 Sevim started a project called Migrant Mothers of Australia. This is a series of stunning, honest portraits involving over 80 women from diverse ethnic backgrounds. According to Sevim, she “wanted to build this photographic study of a long-forgotten generation.”

Her skills have not gone unnoticed. In 2015, Sevim was lucky enough to place second in the portrait category of The Australian Commercial and Media Photographers student photography competition.  “It was pretty amazing,” she said.

“It puts everything into perspective when you get that formal appreciation from professionals.”

Sevim has managed to accomplish all this even while working and looking after two young children.

After providing the tools to turn her from someone with the most basic knowledge of photography to an award winner, Sevim thinks extremely highly of PSC.

“It has been a very special place and provided a lot of support to many so I’m incredibly grateful,” she says.

The Migrant Mothers of Australia will be exhibited at Queen Victoria Women’s Centre in September 2015.

More examples of Sevim’s work can be found at www.sevimdogan.com.au

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