Online photojournalism student excels

Paige HortinEntitled Our Beautiful Gift was Wrapped in Ugly Paper, Ms Hortin’s work documents the family’s initial grief and loss and their strength along the the road to recovery following the departure of the husband and father from the family home.

The photos taken by Ms Hortin have been compiled into a series of images accompanied by a voice-over by the deserted wife, which reflects the family’s journey.

‘Two out of three marriages end in divorce.  Each relationship breakdown often overwhelms and traumatises the lives of multiple people and my submission addresses that in an intimate way.  People coping with loss, grief, and deep sadness are expected to still function normally – to fulfill their usual roles despite crippling emotional pain,’ said Ms Hortin.

‘My neighbor and her children struggled to deal with the loss of their husband and father after he left the family to begin an affair with a 20-year-old woman.

‘I documented a part of their journey – the journey of the ones left behind, coping with their shattered lives.  I hope my images show the strength and commitment of this family as they faced this huge, but all too common, challenge,’ said Ms Hortin

La Trobe University Senior Lecturer and Head of Photography, Ms Julie Millowick, said that it's the first year that La Trobe has submitted entries for the awards and she is delighted with the outcome.

‘Paige has demonstrated an excellent understanding of the sound editing/track mixing and editing programs that we use in Unit 3 in the online photojournalism course at La Trobe University.

‘She has worked independently to produce a body of work on a subject that she feels passionate about and it was this assignment by Paige that was recognised with an Ossie award,’ said Ms Millowick.

While Ms Hortin didn’t attend the awards ceremony in Adelaide, it wasn’t long before she discovered she had won.

‘I found out the next day in the afternoon when I logged onto my uni email to see if my lecturer had got back to me about an assignment,’ Ms Hortin said.

‘I saw all of these congratulations emails… I opened them and could not believe what I was seeing. I didn’t think I would be one to be entered into an award, let alone be the winner!

‘I guess you could say I was in a state of shock. I am very grateful for being nominated and must thank my lecturers for this opportunity.’

The annual Ossie Awards, named after journalist Osmar S White, are organised by the Journalism Education Association of Australia. Senior journalists and editors judge the main award categories. This year’s winners of Ossie Awards were announced at the conference dinner at the JEAA Conference in Adelaide on Wednesday 30 November.

La Trobe University offers six online Photojournalism Units that can be taken as single subjects or as part of the Bachelor of Visual Arts offered at the University’s Bendigo campus.

More information on the course is available on the Internet at




For copies or to arrange an interview with Paige and/or Julie, please contact

Zerin Knight, Ph (03) 5444 7375 F +613 5444 7526 M 0428 463 161 E