Drawing on her experience of living with a life-threatening disease, RMIT photography graduate Alexandrena Parker is shedding light on the challenges faced by the siblings of sick children.
In a competitive industry, Parker has held her own as a commercial freelance photographer and has specialised in children and lifestyle imagery since graduating with a Bachelor of Arts (Photography) in 2010.
She recently partnered with Rare Voices Australia Foundation to host her first solo photography exhibition, The Forgotten Ones¸ which opens in Melbourne next month.
The photographic project focuses on young Australians who have a sibling with a rare disease.
Born with cystic fibrosis, Parker knows first-hand the impact her illness had on her younger brother and sister and was able to bring that unique perspective to the work.
“The project seeks to celebrate and recognise the unspoken and often forgotten support that siblings provide to loved ones who are suffering,” she said.
The series showcases 16 portraits from 11 Australian families, representing 10 rare diseases.
The portrait series was first exhibited at Customs House in Sydney, and officially opened by the New South Wales Premier, Mike Baird.
Since leaving RMIT, Parker has won the Capture Magazine Top Emerging Editorial/Fashion Photographer award, twice been a finalist in the National Head On Portrait Prize (2009 and 2014), as well as being shortlisted as a finalist for the SOYA Qantas Spirit of Youth awards.
She said her studies at RMIT really shaped who she is today and formed the foundations of her knowledge.
“Before studying at RMIT I knew very little about photography and after 3 years of studying I had developed a folio that allowed me to work instantly,” she said.
Pauline Anastasiou, Program Manager of the Photography degree, said RMIT students were encouraged to engage in the production of photographs that would speak to the cultural threads of contemporary society.
“Alex Parker has very successfully entered the commercial world, but she has also used photography as an expression of her personal need to visually represent the people that this disease affects,” she said.
The Forgotten Ones opens in Melbourne on Tuesday 1 March at FortyFive Downstairs in Flinders Lane and runs until Saturday 5 March.
Story: Wendy Little