In ‘Getting to Borroloola’, Yanyuwa Garrwa artist Charlie captures her return to her hometown in the Northern Territory. The instantaneity of the Polaroid process gives Charlie complete agency over her image-making, and she depicts both intimate, off-hand familial moments and the vast expanse of the landscape, as witnessed during her journey.
‘These photos capture me getting back to my Country after time spent in Covid isolation. I wanted to document how it felt being free again – and reconnecting with my family and Country.’
Charlie’s photographs show the reality of her lived experience in a form traversing documentary and art photography. ‘Getting to Borroloola’ documents Miriam’s journey back to Country after her time in isolation while recovering from COVID-19. The intimacy of her photos is reminiscent of familiar photographs, reframing the experience of life in a remote community through the lens of compassion, dignity and respect. The Polaroid’s low-fi technology removes the need for bulky equipment and editing, retaining complete agency over her projects.Each Polaroid is an individual object – not to be replicated but original and unique with Charlie’s handwritten notes. The intimacy of her photos is reminiscent of our own family photographs, reframing the experience of life in a remote community through the lens of compassion, dignity and respect
A proud Garrwa / Yanyuwa woman, Miriam Charlie has lived her entire life in Borroloola, 1,000 kilometres south east of Darwin, documenting community life with a Polaroid camera. Charlie is telling a contemporary, remote community story through her unique perceptive, representing a turning point in documentary photography. Her work has been exhibited across Australia, and is held in a range of collections, including the National Gallery of Victoria and the Monash Gallery of Art.