January 31, 2020
Pic: Photographer Blaze Pilgrim with participant, Hayley.
The Photo Voice Project run through our Hackham Community Centre, in partnership with Woodcroft Heights Children’s Centre, recently culminated in an exhibition at the Port Noarlunga Community Centre. The initiative provided women who have survived family and domestic violence to learn photography skills and share their stories and imagery, while encouraging the community to become active bystanders against violence and abuse – physical, emotional, sexual and spiritual.
The seven-week program was led by Blaze Pilgrim, who owns art and design business Digido Studios.
“It’s about taking women through their experiences and working with them to demonstrate that,” Blaze, 25, said. “I try to support them to find a way to articulate their story.”
Blaze brought her own camera equipment to teach participants but also encouraged them to use their phone cameras as much as possible. “There is a technical aspect but it’s really about capturing the emotion and the message they want to convey.
“I believe that all the experiences we have in life – good and bad – are valuable. Our lives aren’t defined by what we go through but how we choose to respond and that by sharing our stories, we empower and educate others.”
Program participant Hayley said she previously felt “silenced”.
“It was so good to be supported and encouraged to explore and express my experience. Photo Voice helped me work through the shame I felt from being involved in domestic violence. It was fantastic to learn new skills and to be empowered."
“I went from not knowing how to use a camera to selling four pieces of work in an exhibition – in a matter of weeks. It was liberating to realise I had a story that could be heard.”