Wanderlust, that deep desire to travel to a place far away, is a familiar feeling in so many of us. What if you had the opportunity to travel overseas and do a workshop with renowned photographers, then sit down and have a drink and chat with them afterwards, all the while improving your photography? Of course you would go! That’s exactly what some of our second year Bachelor of Photography students did. We recently caught up with Monica Wilmott who went to Malaysia’s premiere photography festival; Obscura.
What did you learn about photography?
When I was in Malaysia I learned that photojournalism is something that I wish to explore more in my work. I had some interest in PJ before the trip, but after being there and meeting with (Leonard) Pongo, it is definitely something I want to try out more in the future.
What was your favourite moment?
I had lots of great moments but my favourite would have been seeing my work at the screening, it was really short but I just had this great feeling of pride.
Who was your workshop teacher?
Leonard Pongo, he was great at giving feedback and I feel like I clicked with him a lot.
Did it change your perception on anything?
Being over there made me realise how big the photography scene is in other countries, especially in Asia. Photography is more main stream and in a way more accepted and celebrated over there which I found really cool.
What was your work about?
My original plan before I went to Malaysia was to do a documentary series about a turtle sanctuary in Penang National Park. However Leonard gave me the challenge “Can you make it look post-apocalyptic, like turtles took over the world” which was something I really ran with in my series.
What were some of the challenges you faced?
The main challenge I think I faced was just time and navigating my way around an unfamiliar city. I also found it challenging to just focus on photography for an entire 2 weeks, but also being surrounded by like-minded people 24/7 was something I found really exciting; it was really good to have them around to bounce ideas off at all hours of the day.
Now back in Melbourne, in your second half of second year (over half way through the degree), what are you working on?
For this folio I am currently working on a photojournalistic series focusing on abandoned farm houses in northern Victoria. I came to this idea because I live in an area that is constantly expanding, I often see farm houses that are full of history, being knocked down and replaced with new estates. My aim with this project is to show people how lovely some of these old houses are and in a way presvere them before they are gone. To find some of the houses I had to do some digging, I focused most of my research on looking at local reports, newspapers, some tourist information brochures and heritage listings for diffrent councils.
To see more of Monica’s work, follow her on Instagram.