Monday, December 28, 2015

The Leader

"I dream of making Belconnen the best place I can".
“When a woman is talking to you, listen to what she says with her eyes” – it’s one of Victor Hugo’s most popular quotes for the simple and powerful truth it harbours.

And Tara’s eyes certainly tell tons of stories. She is a natural-born leader and she draws attention pretty quickly when she enters a room.  Her presence is imposing without her even trying and we had a quick debate whether it’s due to her charisma or to her red hair, which quickly became her Canberran presence trade mark. I personally think it’s both – and particularly the charisma. But Tara confessed that the red hair contributed a great deal to her self-confidence and to defining her public persona.

I ask everyone the same question: “Who are you”?
It is a simple, 3-word question which may seem confronting for the simple reason that we are facing ourselves, in a mirror exercise, taking down any self-protective or social masks we may have, denuding our souls to ourselves and find an honest answer.

“Who I am now is a tricky question! I think you've seen that I'm many different people. I'm a boss, and I'm bossed around. I think I naturally take leadership positions. I'd like to be a politician; I hope I can be the best politician for this area. I think asking the public to vote for me and to accept me as their representative is a pretty big innermost dream that I've now had to come clean with”!

 “My earliest memory of wanting to 'be something' was probably during Grade 2, I think. I said I wanted to be a nurse and I remember telling that to my father. He said that I didn't just have to stop at being a nurse, that I could be a doctor; if I put my mind to it, I could be anything. When I was leaving high school I thought I wanted to be a journalist. I think I wanted to be a politician but I was scared to admit it, so I thought that being a journalist was a good match for my skills at the time”.
The one really important thing that Tara wants to achieve is for people to recognize that she made Belconnen better while she was a member. The first initiative that she would like to take as a politician is to improve the policies around waste in the ACT.

Through these portrait series, I am trying to get a true glimpse of my sitters and in the midst of all the hats they juggle at any given day, the “hat of many dreams” is meant to find a dimension where they are themselves, comfortable and unguarded from the social clichés or expectations.

Tara feels most at home when she is out bushwalking on her own (with a dog!). “There's something about the self-reliance of it all - even when I'm just a few hundred meters from houses” – she confesses.
So we set the stage for our portrait in one of the most peaceful places around: the grasslands in the suburban fringe, just before sunset, when the whole world prepares to rest.
Incidentally, it is also the only place I know where one gets photo bombed by kangaroos.
If you would like to find more about Tara, you can read her amazing posts on her blog, In the Taratory


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