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Connecting with community

08 May 2019

Connecting with community Image

Social justice and a desire to connect with people and our environment, are what drives Louise Chen.

Naturally, those same passions also inspire her photography. Having spent her life working for various not-for-profits and championing a number of causes, the Photography Studies College (PSC) student is currently working on a number of projects with the Wilderness Society as a volunteer photographer.

“I use my photography to give myself a voice,” Louise said. “For me it’s a no brainer. One of the things that is actually keeping the climate balanced is having trees and the more that we continue to clear the trees and deforest in such an aggressive way it is a pretty sort of bleak future. Once you’ve visited and been out to the logging coops it has such an impact.”

“We were asked to think of something that we were passionate about for our folio and I just hunted them [the Wilderness Society] down. I was invited to some forest tours a few years ago and then the relationship just grew from there.”

Louise said her passion for social justice stemmed from a young age. Raised by parents who cared deeply about issues affecting our planet, she said she was exposed to lots of protests and meetings early on in life.

She was just 15 when she first engaged with the Wilderness Society, when she attended the First Gulf War protests. Her upbringing has inspired a life of activism and campaigning, which has largely manifested through documentary film making and photojournalism.

“I came into photography because I was absolutely fascinated by documentaries,” Louise said. “I love learning and I love to change the way that people think about things and to give people an opportunity to get a broader understanding.”

“We don’t always get everything we need from the media and often you have to go a search for the answers and that’s what I’m doing. I’m on a journey of searching for the answers.”

While she’s covered a range of issues including homelessness, indigenous rights and LGBTQI rights, it’s the preserving the environment that is inspiring a lot of her current efforts through her work at the Wilderness Society.

Her current project, which focuses on putting on a stop to deforestation, captures images for the Wilderness Society’s campaign for the Great Forest National Park in the Yarra Ranges near Mt Baw Baw.

The campaign calls on the state government to create and add a new 355,000 ha of protected forests to the existing 170,000 ha of parks and protected areas in the Central Highlands of Victoria.

This would help to ensure an end to deforestation, protect endangered wildlife, promote tourism and aid in our efforts to mitigate climate change and Louise said she hoped her photography would help cast a spotlight on the issue.

“Deforestation has had a massive impact on our native animal species seeing many of those species critically endangered and extinct. It takes thousands of years for these delicate ecosystems to develop,” she said.

“Further to that, the logging takes place in our water catchment areas. To protect these areas, this will provide future water security for Victoria in a climate that’s getting dryer and hotter. Our clean air and water supplies depend on this park proposal going ahead.”

louisechenphotography.com.au

 

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