Documenting Aboriginal Culture With a National Geographic Photographer

On assignment for National Geographic, photographer Amy Toensing was on a mission to document the culture of the Aboriginal people. Her work on the project is a beautiful display of the Aboriginals’ history and modern life, including their struggles and celebrations alike. Listen to her moving talk on the subject as she shares some of her favorite images and stories from the assignment:

Expanding over the course of 60,000 years, the Aboriginals’ culture is the oldest known culture on earth. Given that information, Toensing knew that she would have her work cut out for her in her attempt to portray the Aboriginals through photography. On her initial visit, she was so moved by the culture’s long-running history that she proposed the project to National Geographic. To her delight, they accepted, allowing her to spend an extended amount of time covering the subject.

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Aboriginal history is full of struggle.

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Toensing looked for connection in the Aboriginal community.

While Toensing documented the story of the Aboriginals’ struggle, she also wanted to “celebrate these indigenous people’s unique way of life and their connection to their ancestral lands.”

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Children who are connected with their Aboriginal culture are less likely to use drugs.

national geographic aboriginal story

“[That] visual record will be a bridge across time just like the story in the cave by the ancient storyteller with the hunting scene and it will offer a pathway for this community to speak to their future generations about their culture and maybe somebodies grand son or better yet someone’s great great great great granddaughter will watch this visual record and she will learn something about herself and her people and her homeland.”

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