Raphaela Rosella


Is it correct to assume that all young mothers are doing a bad job?

Throughout Australia young mothers are presented as a type: low social economic backgrounds, poorly educated, lazy and without ambition.

Even though Australia’s fertility rate among teenagers is low (17 births per 1000 women) in comparison to the USA (51 per 1000 women), and Britain (27 per 1000 women) (The Sydney Morning Herald, 2010), the rate of teenage pregnancy in rural or disadvantage areas is up to 50 per cent higher than it is in Australian cities (ABC, 2006). Furthermore the fertility rate for Indigenous teenagers in Australia is over four times the rate of all Australian teenage women, with 78 births per 1,000 women (Australian Bureau of Statistics, 2009).

With teenage pregnancy normal in my hometown, each story is close or personal to me in some way. ‘We met a little early, but I get to love you longer’ is a collaboration with young mothers from Indigenous and/or disadvantaged backgrounds from my neighbourhood or local area. By investigating and individualising the complex range of issues that lead teen girls to early pregnancy and the challenges they face, the collaborations seek to show that each mother is different, and there is no ‘uniform’ type. By listening and telling the stories of others, we come to understand that there are no stereotypes and we stand as individuals.


RAPHAELA ROSELLA is currently picture editor of The Australian PhotoJournalist, a not for profit publication dedicated to giving voice to the voiceless and casting a critical eye on journalism and mass media practices. Raphaela also works closely with organizations  Slippry Sirkus, and Beyond Empathy on art based projects, across communities facing recurring hardship, in a hope to use photography to influence change.

In 2011 Raphaela was awarded ACMP Student Documentary Photographer of the Year, The Godfrey Rivers Medal and The Fuji Film Photographic Award, a scholarship that recognises a significant body of work documenting aspects of the human condition.

Raphaela holds a bachelor of Photography majoring in Photojournalism from Queensland College of the Arts, Brisbane, Australia.  Her work has been exhibited in New York, the UK and throughout Australia. Raphaela is currently represented by ET AL. Photo Collective and Obscura Photos.

View more of Raphaela’s work here.