Author(s): Luci DI PAOLO
"Fragile Black Heart is a collection of photographs and a short film about the people of Lighting Ridge, NSW. Inspired by my late mother, Marisol Torres, a former resident of 'The Ridge' I embarked on a personal journey to discover why the black opal lured my mother, just as it does so many others, to abandon the security and comforts of mainstream urban society for life in this harsh and remote mining town. After my mother's death in late 2005, she left her precious camp in Nebia Hill to me. I have spent two years from 2007 and 2008 interviewing and photographing the town and its people. This is my journey to understand my mother's passion for 'The Ridge', her fondness for its inhabitants, and her love affair with the mysterious black opal. The exhibition documents and celebrates the freedoms, cultures and characters. Each face tells a compelling story."
"Fragile Black Heart is 56 page coffee table picture book that represents Lightning Ridge, outback NSW, Australia. It’s a story of my personal journey to discover why the Black Opal lured so many to abandon the security and comforts of mainstream urban society for life in this harsh and remote mining town."
At the age of 16 I told my mother my ambition was to be a photojournalist. With the little money my mother had, she bought me a camera and I was overjoyed. I avidly studied photographers I admired who had documented history in one form or another, to get a feel for what I wanted to do, and to see how photography could help change people’s lives. Even at that early age, I wanted to make a difference.
I enrolled at Melbourne University and completed a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree, majoring in Photography in 1993. It was a great achievement as out of 2000 applicants to the course, only 21 graduated. My photojournalist career kicked off with work for various newspapers and foreign press agencies and I have been learning and documenting ever since.