ALOUD & IWD2012 present SHE RAW – A Photo Essay by Lilli WATERS.

ALOUD. was recently contacted by Lilli Waters, a Melbourne based photographer and initiator of SHE RAW, a collection of portraits dedicated to the prevention of violence against women. Lilli’s photos are breathtakingly beautiful, animated with an inner life and movement so palpable that they have an almost cinematic quality. I could not think of a better day to publish these than on International Women’s Day 2012.

The complete collection of photographs is exhibiting at the Blak Dot Gallery in East Brunswick. Opening night is Thursday the 3rd of May, 6:30pm, and entry is by gold coin donation going to White Ribbon. “I wish to dedicate this project to preventing violence against women and will be donating 50% of profits made from the published book which will be launched on opening night to anti-violence charity White Ribbon”. A White Ribbon ambassador will be present on the night and speaking about the initiative.

Early prints from this collection were chosen to be part of a group exhibition at ‘off the Kerb gallery & studios’ in December of 2011, and also won the People’s Choice Award for the Focus Project 2011.

Visit to view some of the images.

My name is Lilli Waters and I am Melbourne Based Photographic Artist who has always been involved in music and the arts.

In 2000 I was awarded best short film by the Diegesis and Atom Awards and continued on to study at the Photographic Imaging College in Hawthorn where I was awarded best folio in my finishing year 2002. I began my career photographing independent musicians producing press shots and have been specialising within the music industry ever since, recently working alongside several Melbourne based fashion designers.

As a young girl, I would sometimes find myself overwhelmed and frustrated whilst witnessing something beautiful when I wasn’t able to share it or hold onto it. My camera has become my time machine.

I’m not quite sure how my passion for photography began, I think because unlike everyone else in my family, I couldn’t draw, so I had to find a way to express myself. Making short films and capturing these things with my camera has allowed me to transfer my thoughts and often dark, dramatic imagination. I’ve always loved music, I played violin for fourteen years, loved to sing and write, dance and play guitar, but I never made it as a musician. That’s probably why I love to photograph musicians so much, it’s my way of getting closer to the music that I feel is such a part of what makes ‘me’.

I guess my creativity comes from many sources, including being born into an artistic family, my grandmother was a photojournalist, my mother is a botanical scientific artist, my dad in antique restoration and my sister is an illustrator and graphic designer. Both of my parents used to take beautiful photos during my childhood years which I often relate to my work. I find a lot of inspiration from listening to music, and I drive a lot so I am often playing my favourite songs too loud and daydreaming, finding myself smiling at a dog walking himself down the street, the way dusk reflects off the tram tracks, or a lonely chain-smoking old man waiting for the bus, things that no one else in the surrounding cars seem to notice, and it makes me feel lucky that I get to witness the beauty of everyday ‘life’ through a peephole without being seen. I am very often staring up at the sky, admiring the painting-like clouds that peak and pinken at the end of the day, when I should be concentrating on the road. My biggest ideas for photos emerge just before a big thunderstorm arrives, when the winds pick up, the roads go dead and the darkness starts circling, it’s one of my favourite, most exciting feelings. Love affairs, red wine, dark films, and fields of wild flowers also add to the overflow of vision.

The SHE RAW project has allowed me to grow and delve deeper into recreating my dreams, even if I’m still not sure what they are, I’m still inspired to follow them somehow.

The SHE RAW project aims to document everyday women within a state of fantasy whilst drawing directly from their real-life experience and context.

This series of photographic portraits uncovers fascinations of the many engaging mysteries and hidden truths which lie, often undiscovered, beneath a woman’s skin. By drawing intimacies and challenges, self-reflection propels us into the untold relationships we have with ourselves and the women around us, giving us further insight into the contrasts of external beauty and internal sanctums.

As with “women who run with wolves” these women roar.

© All photos are copyright of Lilli Waters Photography.

SHE RAW Website:

Lilli’s Website:

Follow Lilli on Twitter

If you are an artist or designer and have found ways to turn your passion into your livelihood, I would love to hear from you and help you get the word out there. Email me at

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