Feb 07 2015
Camilla Duffy was born to an artistic mother and grandmother and so the odds were that she would be artistic herself. She chose photography. The following is an article by writer and award winning poet Robyn Sykes
PASSIONATE ABOUT BINALONG
By Robyn Sykes (Courtesy Yass Tribune August. 26th 2014 )
Camilla Duffy is passionate about small communities in general, and Binalong in particular. “We have something very special here and we want to keep it,” the professional photographer says.
Camilla’s childhood was full of horses, sheep and helping Dad (Andy Winterflood) around the family property “Laverstock”, near Bowning. There was also visual art, music and poetry, especially as Mum (Robin Winterflood) and Grandma (Helen Winterflood) are both artists.
“I grew up surrounded by readers and people who love writing and the spoken word,” she says. “There was always a Banjo Paterson book somewhere around the house. I especially remember the Geebung Polo Club book on the coffee table in the living room. Banjo Paterson seemed to capture a world I understood and bring it alive.”
Photography entered her life while in Year 6, when an uncle gave her an old camera. While she was at high school at Mt Carmel (before her boarding school days) she worked at was then Irvine’s supermarket to save money to buy a Minolta film SLR camera. It would probably have been cheaper for her parents to pay for the camera than keep driving her into work and home again, but the budding photographer learned the lesson that things don’t just fall into your lap, you have to work to make it happen.
It’s a philosophy she still puts into practise, as a contributor to a host of community organisations and events around Binalong, including as Secretary of both the P&C and CWA as well as official photographer and committee member of the Binalong Bush Poetry Prize.
Camilla wasn’t always sure she would settle in the area, but fate had its own ideas. In 2003 she married Joe Duffy, son of Tom and Marilyn, and in 2005 the young couple built a new house in Binalong. Their children Thomas (7), Maddie (5) and Amelia (3) are past, present and future attendees of Binalong Pre-school, held twice weekly in the CWA building that the CWA committee, lead by Joh McColl, is raising money to renovate.
“Binalong is a great place to bring up children, but we can’t take what we have for granted,” Camilla explains. “I’m lucky enough to have active friends and we all pitch in to get things done.”
Camilla is keen to keep services in the village and to increase the cultural activities available. She was one of the instigators of the Binalong Junior Band, in which she plays trombone (although she learned the flute at school) and is very involved in bringing the NSW Bush Poetry Championships to Binalong on September 12-14.
“The NSW Championships will be good for Binalong,” she says. “The locals will enjoy it and people are travelling from all over the place to be here. It’s a great way to celebrate our links with Banjo Paterson.”
And of course there is still her photography, which has gone from strength to strength. “I spent a lot of time in the dark room at Abbotsleigh,” she says with a laugh. After school she took courses at the Australian Centre for Photography and at CIT in Canberra. Then it was back to saving up again for professional gear.
“I wanted to make sure I had the right gear and knowledge before I set up professionally.”
So what drives a young woman to spend so much time in a dark room?
“I love capturing people’s emotions… faces… and the land. I have a strong attachment to the land around here.”
There will be plenty of emotions on show at the Binalong Bush Poetry Prize and Camilla will be on hand to capture the moment. She’ll also be busy with her coffee cart, packed lunches and generally helping out. Because she knows that you have to work for what you want, be it art, music, poetry, photography or whatever.
It’s the kind of commitment that gives the village of Binalong hope for the future.