"I am proud to have used photography to create even a small bit of happiness in someone’s life."
We recently caught up with PSC Alumni, Rochelle Hansen who is using her documentary photography to help communities in remote places.
You graduated from PSC in 2016?
Yes, I graduated in 2016 from the Bachelor of Photography.
What inspired you to study photography in the first place?
I was first exposed to photography at high school. I attended Bendigo Senior Secondary College which had an incredible art/ photography course and after my first photography class I knew that it was all I wanted to do.
Why did you choose to study at PSC ?
I went to visit a few different photography universities, however, PSC really suited my personality. It was intimate with small classes, which allowed me the chance to work closely with teachers. This isn’t common in other universities. I decided that PSC was the only uni I wanted to go too, so I only applied here - luckily I got in!
Did you have a vision about the type of photographer you wanted to become?
I was set on being a fashion photographer for my first 2 years at PSC. It was on my trip to Malaysia for the Obscura Festival of Photography, that I was really exposed to documentary photography and started to pay attention to the world around me. With the guidance of Bangladeshi photographer Sarker Protick I realised that documentary photography would make me think about, and question, the world.
It only took me 2 months to then buy a plane ticket to India. This completely changed who I was as a photographer and also a person.
So, I take it you selected the Photojournalism major in your third year?
Yes, definitely. After travelling to Malaysia and India, it wasn't really a choice for me anymore. All I wanted to do was to travel and experience new cultures; photography was my way of doing this. Documentary photography offers me the chance to photograph topics I really care about and that are personal to me. I believe that the most important thing in photography is working in an area that really means something to you.
What did you like the most about studying at PSC?
My favourite thing about studying at PSC was definitely the teachers and my classmates. Everyone was very supportive of each other and this really helped me to grow as a photographer.
Did you feel equipped to begin a career in photography when your graduated?
Although I majored in Photojournalism, throughout my time at PSC I learnt a lot about commercial work. My classes such as studio, videography and photoshop have been really instrumental in my career as the majority of my work is in these areas. While at PSC I also met fashion photographer Ed Purnomo and I went on to assist him for 4 years; we are now great friends.
Tell us about your career since graduating?
Last year I travelled to Nepal to work with a local charity called The Small World Organisation. I trekked for 10 days through the remote Solukhumbu region, photographing the schools and houses that have been rebuilt since the Earthquake in 2015. I stayed in peoples’ homes and really got the chance to learn about their culture and way of life off the beaten track. Following this, I also travelled around Europe before I was selected as one of 10 international artists to go to Iceland for a 2 month art residency. I worked in collaboration with Melbourne based poet Tahlia Russo and we created work based on the relationship between man and nature. We showcased the work in an exhibition at the end of the 2 months, including; poems, stills and video work. For the past few months I have been working as a freelance photographer/ videographer and I am about to start a full time job.
We understand that you are running a photographic tour to Nepal? Can you tell us about it?
While in Nepal, I created a fantastic relationship with The Small World Organisation and we have decided to run a photographic tour. The tour runs for 14 days and will begin on February 1st 2019.
We will follow in the footsteps of Sir Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay as we make our way through the breathtaking villages in the Himalayan mountains. We will be fully immersed in the traditional lifestyle of the Nepalese people, experiencing their rich culture and warm personalities. There will be the opportunity to photograph the projects developed by The Small World and witness the positive effects the organisation has on the communities. We will share tea with monks in a monastery nestled amongst the soaring mountains and be welcomed into the homes of the local villagers. There will be nightly feedback sessions and reviews in order to create the most amazing photographs possible on the trip. It is a wonderful opportunity for photographers to get off the tourist path and really experience remote Nepal, all whilst supporting a great charity and creating jobs for the local Nepalese people.
What are you most proud of?
While I was in Nepal I also worked for Focus on Humanity, a Melbourne based organisation run by PSC alumni Sarah Lynch. I took a small printer around the remote regions offering printed images to people who had never seen photographs of themselves before. One lady was so happy she believed it was ‘an act of god’. Sharing my love for photography with others and offering family portraits to people is really rewarding and something I will always remember. I am proud to have used photography to create even a small bit of happiness in someone’s life.
For more information about Rochelle's Photography Tour to Nepal visit The Small World website
Follow Rochelle on Instagram @rochellehansenphotography
At PSC we believe that photography is an exciting medium offering endless possibilities and discoveries!
Become a Documentary Photographer like Rochelle with a Bachelor of Photography in 2019 and see the world anew….
Applications are now open.