The Telepresence Logo

The Telepresence Diving Man is a photograph of an Australian Aborigine, David Japangari Seela, gliding into his shadow in a creek, not only into his own image but into a world vastly different from the one he inhabits. It was taken in 1986 by David's teenage brother, then known by his nickname James Duk Duk, but now -- as an initiated man -- he is more appropriately called James Japangari Seela.

The photograph was published in After 200 Years: Photographic Essays of Aboriginal and Islander Australia Today, a handsome volume that grew out of an extraordinary documentary project. In 1985, the Australian Institute of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies embarked on a three-year photographic effort to capture the essence of Aboriginal life 200 years after the establishment of the first European settlement in the country. Photographers lived and photographed in 20 communities and, when possible, added a feature unusual in a documentary project: they made cameras available to community members in order to involve them in the way they and their lives would be represented.

Nowhere did this prove to be more prolific than with the Kundat Jaru people in Yaruman, a small township on the edge of the enormous desert of Western Australia. There the community camera was in constant use, particularly by the teenagers. James Duk Duk was one of those teens. Despite the fact that none of the town residents had had previous experience with photography, fully 25% of the 3000 photographs that emerged from Yaruman during the three-year project were taken by the locals.

The animated version of the logo was designed and programmed by Angelique Anderson at the School of Visual Arts, New York City.

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Revised: 12-10-98