Reflections of 2012 Edge of the Outback students
The Edge of the Outback program has been one of the most challenging and rewarding experiences of my life. From Melbourne to Mutawintji I’ve made memories that I’ll treasure for the rest of my life. This program forced me outside of my comfort zone and I’ll be forever grateful for that. I’ve grown both as a photographer and as a person. I’ve seen some of the most beautiful parts of Australia, and I’ve met some of the most interesting people along the way. Broken Hill was the most influential place for me – that’s where I met most of the subjects of my photographs. Though I’ll most likely never see Esther, Paul, The Reverend or the Railway Workers again, I’ll always be thankful for their willingness to sit for my photographs and to share a little piece of their uniqueness with me. As I ended a conversation with Dez, one of the Railway Workers, I wished him a goodnight and thanked him for chatting with me. He responded with, “It was a total pleasure.” I couldn’t agree more.
This was an experience of a lifetime that I could never recreate. The opportunities that I’ve had I would never be able to plan myself. Not only could I not have gone to the places I have but I would never have met the people that I did. The EOTO group and its staff have made this experience incredible. I loved going out into the outback and getting away from all the technology that people are always surrounded by. It was definitely a journey that allowed me to find out who I was and what I was truly capable of. I am grateful that my first international journey was going to the Australian outback with the EOTO group. I loved how not only did we have in class instruction but we were able to be in the outback shooting and getting constant feedback on our photos and our techniques. It was very helpful getting feedback during the entire photography process. This trip has pushed me way out of my comfort zone and has made me a more confident person in both everyday life and in my photography.
The edge of the Outback program gave me the opportunity to photograph a new country and experience a new culture. My time in Australia has been a once in a lifetime experience, I've loved every minute. Our adventure to Mungo and to Mutiwinji were amazing. For me the aspect of the land that I found fascinating was the night sky. At Mungo we had a full moon and all the stars were out. Perfect for night photography. I loved taking pictures of the desert landscape in the dark with only the moonlight and stars to light the picture. At Mutiwiniji the entire Milky Way was visible every night, I used the playground at our campsite to frame the night sky. The images I produced form these night landscapes open up a world of mystery and intrigue that cannot be captured in a daytime photograph. The images I created of the night sky at Mutiwinji truly capture the essence of the dreamtime stories of the indigenous people. My pictures featured in the gallery above are of the night sky at Mungo and the night sky at Mutiwinji.
I am not sure I can put into words how much this program has helped me grow as a person. This was my first time out of the States, and I was really nervous. I am so glad I made the decision to come to the Edge of the Outback program. It really has been the adventure of a lifetime. The photography is very hands on and very fun. I really think my photography skills have gotten a lot stronger. The Outback is unlike anything I ever imagined. The kangaroos are probably one of my favorite parts of this whole experience. I really loved getting to see them in their natural habitat. Also, Mungo National Park is one of the most beautiful places I have ever been too. It was probably my absolute favorite place of the whole trip. Mutawingtji National Park was very neat to see as well. I loved seeing all the history in both national parks. The Indigenous people were so welcoming. They opened up their houses for us and taught us about their culture and traditions. This program is more than just photography. Its about experiencing something new, and putting yourself out there. I'm really looking forward to the response I get from my photos at the exhibition. I strongly recommend this program to anyone willing to take a chance.
Before I left for Australia, I expected two things out of this trip: to learn about photography, and to come home with some pretty pictures. Needless to say, I was caught off guard by the impact that the Edge of the Outback trip has had on me. As someone who had zero experience with photography, I was surprised by how much I learned about these “fancy cameras” and how much my photos improved over the duration of the trip. However, I learned infinitely more about the people and culture of the land. What I enjoyed most about this trip were the unique experiences – we didn’t spend our time in Melbourne, Sydney, or the Great Barrier Reef. Instead, we trekked to the Outback, slept under the stars, and were educated about the sacred lands by the people whose ancestors lived there for thousands of years. We didn’t frequent museums and the most popular clubs and bars in the big cities. Instead, we walked the streets of small, rural towns. We chatted with the locals and the tradies, ate the local food, and picked up on the local lingo. This trip gave me a once in a lifetime experience that I never would have come close to had I travelled to Australia as a tourist.
Throughout this trip, part of a poem by E.E. Cummings keeps drifting to the front of my mind. As my time in Australia is drawing to a close, I believe it most adequately describes what the experience has meant to me. It will forever be a part of me; the experiences, people, and memories of my trip will shape everything I do from this point on to the Outback. It will always be in my heart.
i carry your heart with me (i carry it in my heart)
i am never without it (anywhere i go, you go, my dear; and whatever is done by only me is your doing, my darling)
i fear not fate (for you are my fate, my sweet)
It is amazing what can happen when you venture outside of your comfort zone. I left the hot summertime of South Carolina. I left my friends, my family, and my life as a business student to study art in another country, in the winter, with nobody I had ever met before. It is impossible to prepare for such an experience. I enrolled in this program with the intention of exploring a new country, meeting new people, and learning a new skill. While I have fulfilled all of those expectations, this trip has become much, much more. I have found myself. I have learned more about who I am and who I want to be. Every person I have met- Australians, Americans, and Indigenous people, alike- have changed and influenced me for the better in the short time I have been here. The sights have been breathtaking, the places have been incredible, and the hikes have been beautiful, but it is the people, more than anything else, that I will remember. With that said, the incredible night sky and the traumatic experience of not only eating, but also preparing kangaroo are not things I will forget anytime soon. Still, it is the people- it is the long, crazy nights at Stopover, and the teamwork of pushing a bus through the mud- that have made this trip unforgettable.
This adventure has been something that I will never forget. I left everything that was familiar for a chance to be thrown into a place I have never been, with individuals I have never met, and I am so grateful that I did. I have seen some of the most beautiful landscapes, and encountered some of the most kindhearted people in the world.
This experience has taught me a lot about traveling—I have realized that traveling not only opens our eyes to new places, for it also adjusts our eyes to see the place where we come from in a different way, taking into account every new place we visit. Most importantly, I have learned to embrace every delay, every detour, and every diversion. Sometimes it’s the things that one cannot predict, that leave the biggest impact. I say just keep moving forward, and enjoy every minute of it. Although, Jack Kerouac says it best:
“What is that feeling when you’re driving away from people and they recede on the plain ‘til you see their specks dispersing? It’s the too-huge world vaulting us, and it’s good-bye. But we lean forward to the next crazy venture beneath the skies.” -Jack Kerouac, On the Road
“Every time you leave home, another road takes you into a world you were never in… When you travel you find yourself alone in a different way, more attentive now to the self you bring along… When you travel, a new silence goes with you. And if you listen you will hear what your heart would love to say” John O'Donohue “A Blessing for the Traveler”.
This entire journey for me was about immersing myself in something foreign: a foreign country, a foreign culture. I wanted to explore a part of myself that I hadn’t been able to see before because I was stuck with my hometown perspective. What I found was peacefulness, fullness, and simplicity in this land. I love the mark this trip has made on me through the people and experiences. And I am hoping in some way that I made a mark on Australia. The theme for my pictures then became the mark that people are leaving on the world. I truly enjoyed my first photography experience, looking through the lens, looking for the different marks that people have left on this wonderful country, this inspiring culture.
I am a Chinese girl who was born and raised in Venezuela. After high school I moved to New York City for college. Currently, I go to the Stern School of Business at New York University. Previous to NYU I earned a full scholarship at St. Francis College that led me to this wonderful study abroad experience in Australia.
The edge of the outback program was not exactly what I expected. I am an international student in the United States of America and I am usually around international students like myself. I did not expect so many American students. Therefore when I first arrived I felt a little left out. However, after a week everything turned out to be excellent. As an international business major this trip really helped me expand my cultural knowledge; I had the opportunity to exchange ideas with Americans, Australians and Indigenous people from this marvelous country.
Unlike my peers, being away from home and my parents was not a new experience to me. The new experience for me was the lack of comfort I am used to which made me felt really homesick. However, that is what made this trip positively unforgettable; I learned not only to appreciate the comfort I usually obtain but also to live in a more humble lifestyle and be less “posh”. I can now say I have grown as a person with this study abroad experience that I will always have in my heart as a treasure.
No amount of information or paperwork can thoroughly prepare someone for this kind of experience. This course will change the way that you see the world, the people around you, and most importantly, yourself. If you are open to it, you can get more out of the opportunities that this trip will present than you can ever imagine. If there is one piece of advice I can give you, it is to soak up every second that you can, learn everything that the brilliant people you will meet have to offer, and get as much out of the experiences as possible because they will pass by quicker than you think. This is the experience of a lifetime! There will be good times, bad times, hilarious times and times that you cannot define but there will never be times like the ones that you will have here. To all taking this course in the future, you will love it and it will be like nothing you have or can experience elsewhere so take the leap, come to Australia, change your life, and do something that you really love! You won’t regret it and you won’t forget it, I can promise that!
My experience in the “Edge of the Outback” program was nothing less than thrilling. From the talented and supportive staff to adventuring in the Outback to having a photograph in my first gallery exhibition, I grew and enjoyed myself every step of the way. As a student from the busy Northeastern United States, studying for a month in Australia was eye opening. I had an incredible time building friendships from across the states and across the world. I want to thank La Trobe and the entire faculty for helping my peers and me every step of the way and providing this opportunity.
In the two images I’ve included in the gallery above I chose to examine wet and dry through similar patterns and textures. I was able to put together a final portfolio I was extremely proud of with the guidance and shared wisdom of the combined faculty.
Here’s to never pushing a bus again!
What can I say about this place? It’s just as beautiful and mind blowing as I always thought it would be. All the wonderful, spiritual places and the incredible animals just make you look at everything in such a different perspective. I never would have thought that I would be here, and even though I’m here now, I still find it hard to believe a bit, but now I hardly even want to leave, I just feel so at home here. We had some wonderful and amazing experiences, like pushing a bus (that we went off-roading in) through a ton of mud, we evacuated a hotel (though that was mostly my fault), and met tons of wonderful people.
Even besides all the laughs and trouble we had, I learned so much about myself, my fellow peers, and the very country itself by exploring through its rich history and culture. What started as a studying experience turned into something indescribable. It was truly a beautiful experience that I will never forget.
G’day! I want to start by saying that in the beginning I was debating on if I wanted to apply, but once I did and I was accepted, I knew that I would never get another chance to go to the Outback and learn about Photography. I am very blessed to have experienced the Edge of the Outback program. EOTO has been a learning experience not only in the classroom but outside as well. Being my first time abroad with no one I knew, I was nervous about meeting new people and how I would adapt to new things. I found the biggest challenge was the change of weather, food, and Australians way of life. But, in the classroom I learned right away many things. For example I now shoot images in the manual mode, where I used to always use the automatic setting. This program really is a once in a lifetime experience that very few get to experience. My favourite part of the trip would be getting to know Peter, our tour guide, and hearing his stories. For example he told us the reason he has a gap between his teeth and all about his family. He taught us how to make Johnny Cakes, and we helped cook dinner every night including cutting up kangaroo and grilling it on the fire outside. It is a part of my life that I will always remember and look back on with a smile, treasuring it forever.
When one sees a map of Australia, the first thing that comes to mind is usually the infamous Opera House or the Sydney Harbour Bridge, kangaroos in the streets and koalas on every tree. Guilty as charged, this was close to what I was expecting. The Edge of the Outback program proved that this stereotypical image is merely a surface layer of this rich and ancient land. Driving miles away from the commercial structures of Australia, I was able to enjoy the beauties of the land and its ancient ancestors, the dramatic clouds that float across the turquoise sky, and the boundless galaxy that lights up at night. Walking along the paths the indigenous peoples left 40,000 years before opens your mind to see life in a less conventional way. The campfire that was lit each night in Mutawintji brought everyone together creating friendships that remain even when the fire goes out. These sights, accompanied by stories and historic landmarks allowed me to experience the real Australia, not just its concrete counterparts.
I didn’t realize when I first stepped off of the plane in Australia, that I was about to begin one of the best experiences of my life. I had no idea that while I was expanding my knowledge of photography and the country I was in, I would meet the best group of people as well. The trip obviously had some moments of frustration, but it all disappeared when I would just take a step back and see all the beauty of the area around me. There is no way to possibly thank everyone who helped make this trip as amazing as it has been and they are one of the main reasons I will remember this trip forever. I know that from now on, Australia and the Edge of the Outback program will always have a special place in my heart, and there are truly no words that can describe how amazing this trip and all of the people here have been. I don’t want to leave this place and all the new people I have met, but I know that I have grown as a person because of it and we will all share this bond for a lifetime.
Australia. I’m not really sure quite where to begin. I’ve been in love with the country for quite a while now; this is actually my third time here. Each experience, however, is different. I’ve seen different places, experienced different things. This trip has been great for me in that I’ve been able to further explore a country I love, and begin finding my own photographic style. I originally thought I would be shooting exclusively landscapes, but my portfolio does not reflect that at all. It was an interesting and very fun experience to be able to explore that side of my creative ability.
For those considering the course, this is not simply a photography course – it is so much more than that. It is an experience in which you will be immersed in a truly unique culture, experience the unforgettable, and leave the course with images that will captivate.
Edge of the Outback is one of those events in life that you know you’ll cherish forever. Entering to program, I had little experience with photography and now I have a folio and an exhibition under my belt. Traveling around parts of Australia that most Australians do not ever get the chance to see has been nothing short of exhilarating. Socrates once said ‘an unexamined life is not one worth living,’ and I believe that fits very well into everyone’s life. I could’ve spent another summer working crazy hours at my job and living at my parent’s house or I could come to Australia and make new lifetime friends, see little Joey’s, eat lots of mandarin oranges, and learn about photography. Needless to say, I chose to exam life this summer, and it’s been life changing.
Studying abroad in Australia’s outback was such an amazing experience. I learned so much about myself, about other people, about this land, and of course, photography. I enjoyed taking beautiful photos in a country I have never visited before. There were so many stunning landscapes and I don’t think any one from our group could depict the beauty through a photograph, although we tried it could not be done. It is true that a picture is worth a thousand words but Australia is just one of those places that cannot be described, with pictures or words. I also enjoyed hearing the stories of the land and learning of the people who were here millions of years before us. Going on this wonderful journey was just amazing, I would have never expected to see things not even Australians get to see. Being a part of this ultimate experience was incredible and a step in my life that, I believe, will get me out into the world and seeing things the way other people would not see them. I will never forget my time abroad, all the things I learned and all the people I met. I love you Australia.
The Edge of the Outback experience allowed me to really get a sense of not only myself as a novice photographer, but the culture and landscape of the “real” Australia—the Outback. 3 weeks ago, pushing a bus through slippery and sticky red clay would not have been my idea of a great time, but I know that incident alone left us all with many wonderful memories of this trip. Another favorite memory of mine happened a few days later, on our last night in Broken Hill. We went around in a circle, all having the opportunity to tell what we had learned and what our experience on our field trip meant to us. For me, it was about being pushed both creatively and personally, to develop my skills not only as a photographer, but also as a human being through exposure to places and cultures few get to experience. We then listened to Peter, our Aboriginal guide, sing and play guitar before teaching us traditional Aboriginal dances. I think this ceremony of sorts was intended to be shared around the campfire at Mutawintji, as that is usually the site of the final night for the field trip each year. However, I think there was something to be said for holding it in the breakfast room of the worn but lovely Palace Hotel, among vivid murals, with the restaurant in the next room preparing for evening diners, because I think it served as a reminder of our unique experience of the Outback, one that I doubt another group will ever be able to duplicate.