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Fashion photographer turns lens to bushfire disaster in moving collaboration with Greenpeace

Renowned Sydney music and fashion photographer Cybele Malinowski has turned her lens to the frontlines of climate crisis on the NSW South Coast in a moving video released today in collaboration with Greenpeace.

The video is a haunting and meditative piece on the lived reality of Australia’s bushfire crisis, and features a string of sobering interviews with survivors from the NSW South Coast region who lost their homes and fought fires. Describing the climate-fuelled bushfires as an overwhelming problem, the Sydney-based photographer and filmmaker said the project helped her overcome a sense of helplessness, allowing her to use her professional skills for something practical while posing the question: “The climate has changed, how will we?” “When we were talking about the future, the first thing that everyone said was the government needs to change things or we will change the government,” Cybele Malinowski said. “There was some anger, it was overwhelming. But through all the anger and pain there was a yearning for a better world. It was hard to talk about hope. They have just gone through hell, but these people, it was commendable that they could still find hope.”  In the video shot in February amid the ashes of the Clyde Mountain bushfire which tore through the Batemans Bay region on the NSW South Coast, locals tell of how they lost everything except hope.  

Rod Hayes projected Greenpeace's film Dirty Power: Burnt Country onto what remained of his burnt-out home last week.

© Cybele Malinoski / Greenpeace Bushfire survivor Lucy Marshall, a resident of Morton near Ulladulla, took part in the film project after nearly losing her whole house in January when a fireball blew up in nearby bushland.  “When people go through something, when they feel what it’s like to have your belly slit open, that feeling of losing everything, I think then you would be in a position to make change,” she said. Rod Hayes, a former lecturer in environmental architecture whose Termeil home burnt down in the fires, says: “Climate change is real we need to be able to look to the common good, and work toward that collectively.”

Above: Rodney Hayes at Termeil, NSW - Much of Rodney's 100 acre property was destroyed when fires reached his home in December 2019.

© Cybele Malinoski / Greenpeace Walbunja elder Bunja Smith says: “It’s going to take time, but together we can do it.”

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