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William Yang

“I began taking photos in the 1970's in the documentary tradition, earning a living taking social photos for the glossy magazines and doing freelance work. It's been mainly people. I photographed the modern Gay Community since its beginning in the early seventies, and in the eighties I photographed my Australian Chinese family. Since 1989 I have been doing monologues with slide projection in the theatre. This unique form of performance has become successful for me and I have toured my pieces all over Australia and the world.

Alter Ego is about anxiety caused by living in a community where body image has undue importance. I had a friendship with Patrick White during the last 14 years of his life. Patrick White #1 was taken at Kate Fitzpatrick's lunch in King's Cross. Brett Whiteley had arranged the session as he wanted me to take some photos for his portrait of Patrick. I took Roasted Echidnas while visiting an aboriginal community at Enngonnia in NSW.

My mother had a dignity which came, I think, from a position of humility. I never noticed this when she was alive (heavens there was the whole relationship between me and my mother to obscure it), but eleven years after she died, as I print up these photos in the dark room, I notice it. Dimbulah, a little tobacco growing town on the Atherton Tableland, is the place where I grew up. The landscape around Dimbulah is central to my concept of home.”

(William Yang 2006)