Documentary Month 1st - 31st July 2023

Language of Light Season 1

Language of Light Season 1


Jacqueline Mitelman 

·      portrait photographer

Born in Scotland and migrating to Australia as a child, Jacqueline has lived and worked in Melbourne apart from a period living in France. She has worked as a freelance photographer focusing primarily on portraiture. A wide range of private commissions has resulted in an extensive collection of portraits of culturally significant Australians, described as “fusing the intensity of the moment with stillness of icons” (Dr Vivien Gaston). Jacqueline was awarded the National Photographic Portrait Prize in 2011. Her works are held in public institutions and private collections in Australia and internationally.


Emmanuel Santos 

·      art and documentary photographer. 

Born on an island in the Philippines, Emmanuel was a photographer for the UN when he met and married an Australian. He migrated to Australia, finding an affinity in East St Kilda with the Orthodox Jewish community (about whom he authored the book Observances). He subsequently produced another book photographing the Jewish diaspora throughout the world (Israel; one land, one people, one dream).  He has had his art photography exhibited throughout the world,and considers photography to be ‘learning the language of light”.


Ashley Gilbertson

·      photojournalist & war photojournalist

Born In Melbourne, Australia, Ashley now lives and works in New York. In his teens Ashley started photographing his skateboarding friends. He had a good eye and was subsequently mentored by Emmanuel Santos (above), becoming very involved in filming Kosovar refugees in Australia – he thanks John Howard for starting his career by making him so angry about the refugee issue! 

Ashley headed overseas to film refugees in other parts of the world and ended up in the Kurdish enclave of northern Iraq just before the Iraq war started. When the war began he became embedded with US marines, eventually publishing a book of his time there called Whiskey Tango Foxtrot: 

A Photographer’s Chronicle of the Iraq War. During his time there a marine assisting him was shot in the head directly in front of him and he had to be flown back to the US with PTSD. In the US he subsequently made another emotional book– Bedrooms of the Fallen - using photographs of the bedrooms left behind by 40 fallen soldiers.

Since this time he has photographed many subjects for the New York Times, and has recently been back in Melbourne for the launch of his exhibition at NGV about the COVID-period in New York, titled Requiem to New York.

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