Capturing the face of 3rd world rubbish

La Trobe University student Daniel Quinlan’s depiction of those who live and work in a Thai rubbish dump has been recognised at the Ossie Journalism Awards

The Ossie Awards are an annual event organised by the Journalism Education Association of Australia and are judged by prominent journalists and editors. 

Mr Quinlan received a highly commended in the Best Photojournalism category for his photographic essay ‘A Load of Rubbish’, which captured daily life in a rubbish dump in Mae Sot, a Western Thailand town near the border with Burma. 

‘Mae Sot sits on the Asia highway and is an historic and important trading point. As Burma opens up, Mae Sot  is experiencing an increase in both trade and investment, and looks set to fulfil its geographical potential as the cross roads of Asia,’ said Mr Quinlan.

However, Mr Quinlan said that the booming Asian economy has led to ever increasing problems with consumption, waste and rubbish.

‘My work was not only about that waste, but also an incredibly efficient recycling system and the people, often unseen, who survive and build a life around rubbish.

‘These people are trying to survive in desperate conditions, doing the best they can while providing a service more valuable to society than is reflected by the meagre money they are paid. 

‘It is about the people who, in this world-wide era of sustainability and “green values”, do the dirty work and reclaim/recycle the rubbish of those further up the socio economic scale.’

Mr Quinlan lives in Phnom Penh and studies La Trobe's Online Photojournalism course.

Senior Lecturer in Photojournalism Julie Millowick says that this is the third year in a row that a La Trobe University Online Photojournalism student has been recognised at the Ossie Awards.

‘What is rewarding for me as an educator is that we are enabling each of our students to “speak” with their own voice and giving them the technical skills to do so. Their work shows that they embrace our teaching with passion and commitment,’ she said.

Selected pieces from Daniel Quinlan's 'A Load of Rubbish'

Media enquiries

Tom O’Callaghan, Media Assistant 

T 03 5444 7415, M 0408 900 469