School life captured through camera lens

Claudia Aalderink chats with her photo subjects at Horsham Downs Primary School.

There’s a fly on the wall at Horsham Downs Primary School, by the name of Claudia Aalderink.

The third-year Wintec Bachelor of Media Arts photography student has been taking photographs of the school’s students since February.

She says because she used to work there, she blends into the background.

“I am very familiar to them. When I come into a classroom, they think ‘oh, that’s just her’.  They don’t mind me around.”

For her assignment she chose to photographically capture the spirit of a rural school in the 21st century.  She chose Horsham Downs because, quite simply, she loves the school.

“We came here five years ago from Holland.  My daughter had been at a small school of about 60 children and we wanted to find somewhere with the same feeling because it was all strange to her; a new country and she didn’t speak the language.  We got that feeling straight away when we came to Horsham Downs School.”

Claudia has taken more than 1200 photographs so far, and intends to have them published in an A5 landscape book as a photo essay.

“There are 86 pages at the moment, but it’s not finished yet.  You can shoot forever because there’s always something happening here, every day is different.”

The photos range from special events such as sports days and the recent visit to the school by Education Minister Anne Tolley, to every day situations – “the dropping off, the picking up, morning tea, kids in the classroom, kids amongst each other, things like that.”

She also has a photographic record of the school from 2006 onwards, showing the recent remodelling.  “I was a librarian and a teacher aide here, and I always had my camera with me.”

Now Claudia is concentrating on finishing her assignment, but she would like to turn the book into a fundraiser.

“That would be nice, we could donate the money to the school.”

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