Bobbi-lee Hille is a newborn photographer and mother of three based in Western Australia. Bron Bates asked about her love for her family and why she’s passionate about her beautiful new project, Milyali Art. This is what she told her.
I’m an Aboriginal woman and my family originates from Ngarluma Kariyarra (Pilbara), Nyul Nyul and Yaw-uru (The Kimberley). I was born and raised in Port Hedland WA. I’m so proud of my culture and heritage because despite everything we’ve faced, we are standing strong. My great grandfather was killed in WW2 and my grandmother was part of the stolen generation. But we have a strong sense of family and connection. I love how beautiful my culture is.
My children are my constant source of inspiration. I was always into art and photography as a kid, but studied graphic design in college. When I had my first baby, I fell in love with photography all over again and knew that was what I wanted to do (photograph babies). Every turning point I can think of in my career has been because of my three wonderful boys. Becoming a mother absolutely influenced my work and creativity because I had a reason for it. The reason is my children.
The best creative advice I’ve been given is that comparison is the thief of joy. It truly is. Once I stopped comparing myself and my work to everyone else I admired, and getting upset that I might not have been good enough, I finally found ‘me’ and ‘my style’.
I’m so proud of my culture and heritage because despite everything we have faced, we are standing strong.
The best parenting advice I’ve been given is to trust yourself. A lot of the time we get caught up in what is the ‘right way’ to parent our children. But there’s no right or wrong way – do what works for you and your family, for your children. Always follow your mother’s intuition I say.
My children all have a strong bond with each other and my hope is they never lose that, that they’ll always be there for each other. They already talk about how they’ll all live together when they’re adults. My oldest boy Sebastian is seven, he loves to draw, paint and play basketball. He’s such a ‘mother hen’, always fussing over the younger kids and he loves babies. He’s my sensitive caring guy and the best big brother in the world! My middle child Zenith is four and all about super heroes. He loves Spiderman, Iron Man and Batman. He can tell you every fact there is to know about superheroes from the old school comics to the new Avengers. He also loves to draw and can be found sitting quietly drawing for hours at a time. My baby boy Lawrence turned one in November and is very cheeky. Walking around everywhere, getting into everything, as babies do.
Growing up, I realised that mainstream schools and media etc. do not show much about Aboriginal culture. I wish there was more focus on Aboriginal studies in schools and more cultural awareness.
I wanted to photograph indigenous babies and bellies to create awareness of our beautiful culture and people. I first had the idea for Milyali Art a few years ago, but it wasn’t until last year that I decided to actually step out and do it. I set out purchasing beautiful indigenous props and tools to photograph the babies in and started my Facebook page Milyali Art. ‘Milyali’ means ‘newborn’, so my page is ‘newborn art: Celebrating Indigenous culture and new life through photography.’ Eventually, I’d like to open an exhibition of my work. I’m also aiming to have a book published.
It’s very important to me to keep our culture alive, to promote awareness and show how beautiful the traditions are. Growing up, I realised that mainstream schools and media etc. do not show much about Aboriginal culture. I wish there was more focus on Aboriginal studies in schools and more cultural awareness.
Bobbi-lee Hille is a 29-year-old newborn photographer who lives in Western Australia with her husband and three sons, Sebastian (seven), Zenith (four) and Lawrence (one).Visit her website and like her Facebook pages Blee Photography and Milyali Art.