PHOTOGRAPHER Belle Garfath wants to celebrate Canberra’s little fighters.
“You know, the kids that have had to fight for life, that have been through so much,” she says.
“They’re so inspiring to me. We talk about strength in grown-ups but these kids are truly amazing.”
Belle, of Belle Photography, is using her skills to honour 14 Canberra kids who’ve done it tough. The results will be on display at RAW: Revolution, an indie arts showcase of creative talent on May 28 at the Uni Pub.“I wanted to do something touching, something different from what I usually do,” she says. “My style is vintage-inspired and I love doing pin-up photography, but taking photos of kids and families is another one of my favourite parts of the job.”
Mum-of-three, Belle says her initial plan had been to select eight kids from whoever responded to a call-out for little superheroes on her Facebook page. She’d then photograph them dressed as old-school superheroes.
“I got 14 responses, and was just bawling my eyes out reading each one,” she says.
“The children were all absolutely beautiful, with humbling stories of severely premmie births, epilepsy, cerebral palsy, disabilities and other disorders.
“There was no way I could choose eight, and I told my sister and a friend that my instinct was to include them all – they told me to go for it. It’s lucky there weren’t any more or I’d really have had my hands full!”
Belle says she loves to take bright, colourful photos, and that she wanted to photograph the kids as backyard superheroes, not wearing your average shop-bought Superman or Batman costume.
“I wanted it to be like when I was a kid with a tea towel and a peg as the cape,” she says. “So I sewed superhero capes in primary colours with a friend, to create that playful, retro feel.”
On the day, Belle threw a superhero-styled picnic with Swish Vintage Canberra, and arranged for another friend to bring his Harleys (ridden by superheroes!).
“It was lovely to make a little day of it, with the picnic and fun things for the kids, like face painting and a play in the park,” she says.
“It was also a great chance for the mums and dads to meet each other and chat while the kids had their photos taken.”
Belle has a younger sister with neurofibromatosis, who she says has struggled her whole life to feel normal.
“I’ve seen her work so hard without ever complaining, and my parents worked tirelessly to keep her moving and helping her through surgery after surgery,” she says. “I’ve seen how hard it is, and I know what these families go through.
“I wanted to make a fuss of our local superheroes – they’re little fighters and they deserve to be celebrated.”
RAW: Revolution, Uni Pub, 17 London Circuit, Civic, from 7.30pm-midnight, Wednesday, May 28. Tickets from rawartists.org/canberra/revolution/?artist=210744