Raphaela Rosella is an Australian documentary artist working in the tradition of long-form documentary storytelling. Her work explores the lived experience of several young women facing social disadvantage in Australia.
Blending the conventions of photography, documentary practice and advocacy, Raphaela has spent over a decade documenting women in her life as they grapple with the complexities of motherhood, bureaucracy and turbulent relationships. Raphaela is committed to telling these stories in the hope that audiences begin to consider the complex and cyclical nature of social disadvantage, and acknowledge the resilience of young women who share this lived experience.
In addition to her personal work, Raphaela works as a community artist and youth mentor with non-profit community arts and cultural development organisation Beyond Empathy. BE uses art to influence change in the lives of young people and communities experiencing recurring hardship.
Raphaela has exhibited extensively including: Photoquai (France), Noorderlicht Photofestival (Netherlands) and Photo Ireland (Ireland). In 2014 she was one of 12 photographers selected worldwide to attend World Press Photo’s prestigious Joop Swart Masterclass held in Amsterdam. Furthermore, her work has received many distinctions including: First Prize (Portrait Singles Category) World Press Photo Contest (2015) and Australian Photobook of the Year (Momentro Pro) (2015).
Raphaela holds a bachelor of Photography with first class honours from the Queensland College of Art (2012 and a diploma of Community Services (Case Management) (2014).
Is it correct to assume that all young mothers are doing a bad job?
‘We met a little early, but I get to love you longer’ is a collaboration with young mothers from my neighbourhood. By investigating and individualising the complex range of issues that lead teen girls to early pregnancy and the challenges they face, the collaborations seek to show that each mother is different, and there is no ‘uniform’ type. By listening and telling the stories of others, we come to understand that there are no stereotypes and we stand as individuals.
Through exploring relationships between social class, stigma and gender, ‘You didn't take away my future, you gave me a new one' seeks to explore the lived experience of three young mothers; Nunjul, Tammara and Rowrow.
‘You’ll know it when you feel it’, is a reflection of loss, hope, vulnerability and resilience. Providing glimpses into the lived experience of young women, their families achievements and struggles, it is clear love and belonging are irresistible in the face of adversity.