Yuendumu is a remote Aboriginal community approximately 3 hours northwest of Alice Springs and is one of the largest of such communities here in Australia with a fluctuating population of 900 predominantly Walpiri-speaking Aboriginal people and roughly 100 non-Aboriginal residents. Yuendumu is internationally recognised as a prolific and important centre for the desert art movement. The community has been in the news recently due to what the locals refer to as “the trouble”. A prominent family there has been unable to carry out traditional payback punishment for the death of their brother who was murdered near the end of last year at the hands of another well-known family member. This situation has been the cause of continuing social unrest including numerous riots.
Vanessa Bertagnole, 1983, United States, is a freelance photographer who currently resides in Australia. After completing a Masters degree in Visual Culture Research from the Australian National University in 2011, Bertagnole relocated from Canberra to Brisbane where she is based with her husband. When she is not taking photographs, Bertagnole works as an arts consultant for remote Aboriginal art centres. Bertagnole's passion for photography began ten years ago when she inherited her grandfather's old Canon AE-1 SLR film camera. She has been taking photographs ever since, although has since embraced digital technology. She chooses to document people in a photojournalistic style that conveys people's personalities, culture and lifestyles. For Bertagnole, photography is a means of self-expression as well as story-telling. Her curiosity is the impetus for exploring new places with her camera and challenging herself to dig deeper to locate the stories that are not so obvious. Longer-term personal projects focus on cross-cultural issues and the ways in which cultural and social identities are expressed in everyday remote and rural community life.