Mikey Hook spent eight hours trapped on the top bunk of his bedroom as floodwaters swirled below.
Mikey Hook spent eight hours trapped on the top bunk of his bedroom as floodwaters swirled below. Tanya Love

Labour of Love shows flood story

TANYA Love has been working her magic behind the lens for the past 11 years, but since the floods this year she has taken that magic to a new level.

The mother-of-five, who grew up in Clermont, has spent the past four months with the locals of Grantham hearing and photographing their stories of loss, hope and courage.

“The work I’m doing out there is a world away,” Tanya said. “Every time I go out there I hear another story.”

Drawing on her photography skills, Tanya has compiled a very special financial year calendar to aid the Lockyer Valley’s flood appeal.

Initially Tanya wanted to offer free portrait sittings for the people of Grantham who had lost all their irreplaceable photos and memories.

“I found it was too early for them to think about things like that,” she said. “They had already been inundated by the media so I wanted to stress I was actually there for them.”

So instead, she got to know them and they let her into their homes and their hearts.

“It’s bittersweet really. It’s great to see the community spirit, but at the same time there’s a lot of community politics going on,” she said.

Tanya had never been to Grantham before the floods and said it was the images on the news that urged her to take a part in its recovery.

“I was just mortified,” Tanya said.

“It dawned on me there were people sitting in the dark on their roofs waiting to be saved. It really got to me.”

The 14-month calendar, titled the Constellations Project, features photos of the community as people rebuild their lives.

Its theme is “only when it’s dark enough can you see the stars,” which Tanya said signified the optimism of the locals as they struggled on with hope.

Each photo is accompanied by an inspirational quote and a short story about the person or family’s experience.

“I haven’t chosen shots that show any devastation or destruction,” she said. “It shows that even though there is destruction there is also a lot of beauty to be found.”

Even the Wiggles have a special appearance in the calendar, as Tanya was lucky enough to be in Helidon when the group made a special unannounced visit and performance.

“I was just lucky to be there at the same time with my camera,” she said.

The Constellations Project calendar can be purchased at www.theconstellationsproject.com.au or the Wiggles website for $30. All proceeds will go to the flood-affected families of The Lockyer Valley via the Grantham Flood Support Fund and the Hope On The Hill Association.

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