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Aboriginal Australian’s cultural traditions avoid using names, photos, video clips, films relating to deceased people. Before a video is shown, there is a warning mention that people from one or the other country /language group/mob may be affected as the film may contain references to deceased persons.

With youth today, from my humble 6 months experience living in some remote communities of the Centre of Australia, photos, films and cameras can be fascinating.

Not only it is a mean of sharing their voice through songs, video clips and movies, it is also a way to be part of the life of those who own a camera and also those that live outside their community. Watch here the awards winning video clip song by one of my favourite groups the Desert Sevenz

Most adults spoke 3 or 4 aboriginal languages before learning English. Families there still interact in their local languages. English is used at school and for administrative purposes (shire, clinic, government agencies, land council meetings, etc). Children attend school in English and for the lucky ones in only too few communities, they benefit from a bi-lingual teaching environment.

can i camera you 3In the evening, rather than staying in my accommodation, I spent time at the local popular basketball court. Children and young adults gather there, play sport and have a yarn. I carried my android mobile phone of which they wanted to see the photos that I had taken. That way, they learned about my life, my family, where I come from, where I live, who I am. It is a good way of starting a friendship, pictures replace a thousand word.

They then all wanted to be ‘in my phone’, part of my circle of friends, in my mind, in my heart maybe, who knows – and many photos were taken together smiling and giggling. They had fun using my camera.

can I camera youTheir local sentence wasn’t the usual ‘Can I take a picture of you?’ – they questioned me with a beautiful genuine smile saying: “Can I camera you?” – logic after all isn’t it!

Today, each time I am ready to take a photo of someone, I now use ‘my’ new sentence: “Can I camera you?” .

I use their way, their words. It reminds me of all those beautiful children I met there. Their smiles will stay in my memory forever. I miss their spontaneity, I miss their purity, I miss them.

Words we use in our daily lives are important, choose them carefully 🙂

Roseline Deleu