In the front line of protest action
I COME from Palmwoods and went to school at St Joseph's Primary School in Nambour before finishing high school in 1993 at St John's College.
I was adopted by the Fry family at four months of age. My indigenous birth family is from Cape York.
I began a Certificate IV in Photo Imaging at CATC Design School in Melbourne, before transfering my studies to RMIT. It was during my studies at RMIT that I worked as a freelance photojournalist and documented many protests marches in the city.
I have met photojournalist Megan Lewis, who used to work for Reutuers, at one of RMIT's photojournalism conferences in 2016. She has inspired me, as a freelance photographer, to go out into the world and capture political events in major cities.
Photographing protest marches was definitely an eye-opener for me as I grew up on the Sunshine Coast and had never experienced anything like them until I attended the very first Reclaim Australia protest in Melbourne's Federation Square.
I have always been interested in protests and civil disobedience and this opportunity arose when I witnessed violent confrontations in nearly all the anti-racist campaigns held in Bendigo and Melbourne.
In June 2016 I also attended an event where a group of protestors followed a True Blue Crew rally through Melbourne, then assaulted photographers and set a few Australian flags alight.
Capturing emotion at a protest is very challenging.
In the two years I lived in Melbourne I covered about 90 protests and events on topics such as indigenous rights, refugee rights, student rights, workers' rights and marriage equality.
In protest photography, I was always looking for a memorable scene as pictures always mean more if they have a unique, historic context.
I wanted to get into the thick of things and I ended up buying a helmet, camera vest, goggles for capsicum spray and comfortable clothes to keep me warm during those cold wintery days as some Melbourne protest's lasted for 10 or 15 hours.
I think the worst protest I documented was in the multicultural suburb of Coburg where seven people were arrested after scuffles broke out between rival groups of anti-racism and anti-immigration protesters.
Two people were arrested before the protest for carrying weapons as police were monitoring and searching peoples' bags at the train station in Coburg.
About six photojournalists and I were capsicum sprayed by the police as we documented the protest in which a massive brawl broke out at an intersection near a school.
After documenting the very first few of the anti-racist campaigns, I became more aware and vigilant with my surroundings as the conflict over multiculturalism was becoming more daunting.
When things got a little bit rough out in the field I always maintained a close relationship with other photographers for protection and kept an eye on fellow photographers in case they needed help.
I had always done my research on upcoming protest always made sure I told people where I was going and when I was planning on coming back home to the university student hostel.
I have found the experience of documenting protests to be emotional but also very fulfilling.
I am now studying at the University of the Sunshine Coast and will hopefully get into the Bachelor of Creative Industries course and study my major subjects such as photography and journalism.
I am planning to move back to Melbourne to cover more protests.
I have a long road ahead of me in studying at the University of the Sunshine Coast but at the same time I am confident that this will be a benefit for me as an individual and as an indigenous freelance artist or photographer.