Ripley Town Centre | Mother's Day Exhibition

01 June 2022
Ripley Town Centre celebrated mothers and their families with a photography exhibition, capturing special moments with the help of local photographer Richard McLaren.

Behind the lens: Ripley Town Centre to celebrate local mothers in pop-up exhibition

Ripley Town Centre celebrated mothers and their families this Mother’s Day with a photography exhibition, capturing special moments with the help of local photographer Richard McLaren.

The exhibition, a pop-up at Ripley Town Centre from Saturday 7 to Sunday 15 May — featured candid shots of mothers and their children to celebrate the incredible impact mothers and motherly figures make in our lives.

Richard, who is a proud South Ripley resident and Vietnam veteran, was diagnosed with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder in 1995 following his service in the RAAF and deployment, and since returning to home soil, has found empowerment and coping mechanisms through the practice of therapeutic photography, which has gone well beyond a hobby.

“Photography has helped me through some of the toughest times in my life and I truly enjoy those moments behind the lens, getting to know the subject, their stories and breaking down any barriers around mental health,” he said.

So successful was his therapy, Richard — a self-taught photographer — introduced a basic photography course in partnership with Disabilities Queensland, which has trained more than 400 people with disability and mental illness, and at-risk community groups. His photography is now used to help charities and not-for-profit organisations that provide assistance to serving and ex-Australian Defence Force personnel, first responders and those at risk of suicide. 

“I am keen to continue my research into the use of therapeutic photography for the benefit of the community’s health and wellbeing — it makes such a noticeable difference and I’m thrilled to be able to share this artform with others,” he said. 

In preparation for the exhibition, Richard photographed local mothers and their families over three days in late April, setting up his photography studio in a tenancy at Ripley Town Centre. Photography sessions were booked out well in advance and proved to be popular among locals. To celebrate Mother’s Day, Richard will be gifting his photographs to the mothers featured as a way to say, “thank you”.

“The Mother’s Day exhibition is a way I can give back to the fantastic community here at Ripley and celebrate mothers and carers, but also help raise awareness around therapeutic photography,” he said.

“The community at Ripley feels like one giant family and the mothers in particular are selfless to those they love — often routinely putting the needs and desires of their family above their own.

“I am honoured to be able to give back in any way I can, and showcase the identity, personality and inner beauty of local mothers and their families.”

The community supported the free exhibition over the Mother’s Day weekend at Ripley Town Centre.