Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander viewers are advised that this exhibition contains the names and images of people now passed and resting in the Dreaming.
SACRIFICE brings together portrait photography and oral histories into a body of work that highlights contemporary social issues. Through the personal and often powerful stories, participants to the project contribute to an un-curated narrative that brings about universal notions of generosity, hardship, community, commitment, privilege and inequality.
SACRIFICE reflects the universal notations of sacrifice, be it big or small, life-affirming or limiting, tragic or slightly trivial. It explores universal notions of community, connectionless and personal struggle. It is an outlet for self-expression that is inclusive and non-judgmental, expressed through photography and oral histories. The portraits and stories captured and shared in SACRIFICE are told and received through diverse views and lead to conversations about our role and responsibility towards our community and society.
I have been working on this multi-year project since early 2020. During this time SACRIFICE has documented sitters with black and white film in front of a backdrop custom-made for the project, collecting the sitters' oral histories of sacrifice. Drawing its inspiration from the classic road-trip format, undertaken by many influential photographers before me, I have captured portraits of people met along the way, by chance or through recommendation. In my travels, I have met, listened to, and captured their visual and oral representations of sacrifice. A significant portion of the artworks were created during a road trip from Melbourne, Victoria, to Gladstone, Queensland, covering 1,986.4kms from February to March 2021. In each town, and for each shoot, I set up my rugged-looking backdrop, fabricated from an old military tarpaulin, photographing sitters using a classic Hasselblad film camera.
In this creative and personal process, the sitter is asked to share their reflections on the two questions:
What does sacrifice mean to you?
What sacrifice have you made?
Using the central theme of sacrifice, the project aims to illustrate the diversity of lifestyles, values and aspirations that define the Australian nation in 2021, reflecting the complexity of personal narratives.
A little bit about me:
My name is William Debois and I’m a photographer based in Gladstone, Queensland. My photographic career spans 25 years already and 4 different countries. I split my work time between commercial photography and art projects, which allows me to express my fascination for both the imposing nature industrial Central Queensland and the subtleties of documenting human life. Notable moments in my artistic career include multiple solo exhibitions, a book project and numerous awards, such as the Martin Hanson Local Artist Award (2019) and the People’s Choice Award (2020). I trained in France, England and Germany, when film photography was the only choice, and consider myself as a film and digital photographer.
Becoming a portrait subject for sacrifice:
If you would like to contribute your story of sacrifice and are available in the Gladstone Region, please click below: