Photojournalism students shine

An initiative by La Trobe University, Bendigo, has seen students from the online photojournalism course thrown into the midst of the action and excitement of the bi-annual Castlemaine State Festival.

Detail of photo by Christine Sayer at the Castlemaine State FestivalThe students spent eleven days documenting the event, working to real-world expectations providing images for use by the festival and media outlets.

The course has a heavy focus on providing students with industry experience and ongoing opportunities to develop their professional skills and networks.

In recent times students have undertaken work experience at the Bendigo Advertiser, worked for the City of Greater Bendigo and assisted numerous not-for-profit organisations.

Former student, Alex Ellinghausen, recently gained national attention for his images of Julia Gillard losing her shoe whilst being escorted by security from protesters in 2012.

Senior Lecturer in Photo-journalism, Julie Millowick, was delighted with how the students responded to the challenge and outlined what they experienced.

“The students work to very tight deadlines - their work has to be downloaded, renamed, resized and uploaded to Media Access Only Drop box within 1-2 hours of the event. Each event is a single, one off, with absolutely no question of re-shoot, and they cover everything - the Minister for the Arts making a speech and meeting and greeting, directed shots showing major sponsor signage, schools program/workshops [including directed images with our own added lighting], audiences enjoying events and performances in extreme low light.”

“The group really stepped up to the task. I was very proud of how professionally they conducted themselves and the quality of images they supplied. We work hard to ensure our students have a solid grounding in how to operate in the workforce. By the time they graduate our students are ready to hit the ground running armed with everything they need to start their careers and quickly become assets to their employers.”

Martin Paten, Director at Castlemaine State Festival, was also pleased with the professionalism and standard of work of the students.

“There are many prized images that capture the essence of the festival and we have already utilised them for state and national print media, reviewing national and international publications, supporting a film documentary, reporting for sponsors, philanthropist and government supporters, and as an expression of appreciation to participating artists.”

More from the students

Cassandra O’Keefe

“It was hard work, and incredibly exhausting, but well worth it when seeing the final product. It was one of the best experiences I have had and it really built up my confidence. We were always on the go, it was worth every second for the experience alone.”

Janet Barker

“Accelerated Learning would sum up the CSF for me. Learning to work instinctively, trying to use what I've learnt so far and apply it, learning how to be a photographer in a professional sense. I have learnt some of that, and much more.”

Elise Dutra

“Having to think quickly was challenging but necessary experience. The initiative highlighted which areas of my photography are stronger and others that need working on.”

Christine Sayer

The quiet before the storm, then BAM! In we go with cameras firing. Grab this shot; grab that one. Finish one show and onto the next. No time to live it, just keep shooting. Enjoy the frenzy of activity- the madness of it all. The moment when you know you’ve got it! The dread of perhaps missing it and relief when you see the images later on. Late, late nights processing and then... it is over. Our skills have been sharpened and knowledge expanded upon. Would not miss it for the world!”

Carl Dzinuka

“Being a photographer is a challenging job, photographing a festival is a beautiful challenge. Photographing the Castlemaine State Festival brought all my photographic expertise to the fore.”


Contact Jessica White, Regional Community Development Coordinator for more information.
PH: 03 5444 7766

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