When I look at the image, I see a whole person, I don’t just see Lila as other people would view her from that image. I see so much more.
Lila is the striking 12 year old girl gazing out from the TEDxAdelaide > Zoom Out poster. She’s also the daughter of Karen Waller, esteemed Adelaide photographer and the woman behind the arresting TEDxAdelaide > Zoom Out visual identity. Lila’s teenaged outlook was the inspiration for this year’s theme, focusing on viewing the world through others’ perspectives.
“She’s a gorgeous girl—sweet, funny, very happy-go-lucky. I’m very proud of her. But for this image, I wanted a unique angle. I asked her to take on the role of teenager, and me the annoying parent.”
There’s a sense of challenge in her eyes. A fierceness, but also a connection.
“This idea of ‘zooming’ fascinates me. I tend to think of myself as travelling through the world and observing people from afar. But then something about someone will catch my eye, and I’ll be so intrigued that I have to take their photograph to try and figure it out.”
Karen’s intuitive selection of her subjects has refined her art. She sees each moment of connection as a tipping point, an opportunity to learn from people, to make new friendships, and to change her life for the better. It’s a philosophy which hinges on an awareness that there is so much more to life than what we alone perceive.
“It’s a moment of vulnerability, but also of bravery. Recently I met a Maori lady from New Zealand in a pet shop. I was drawn to her amazing chin tattoos—I’d never seen anything like them. She looked so beautiful, and I knew that I was being presented with an opportunity to learn about her culture. We’ve worked together on several occasions now.”
“Sometimes we have to take a step back in order to really see a person. Her story. Her culture. The big picture, rather than a single detail.”
Pictured: Karen’s daughter Lila (left, middle) and Shirley (right)
TEDxAdelaide 2017 > Zoom Out is happening on 2 November at the Adelaide Town Hall.
Find tickets and more event info here.