REAL: Deborah, aged 68, in the Beautiful Boilers project.
REAL: Deborah, aged 68, in the Beautiful Boilers project.

Invisible women: Noosa photographers' work up for UN award

WHAT started as a request for models on the Noosa Community Board for a side project has now seen two Noosa photographers' work nominated for a United Nations award.

Local photographers Giselle Peters and Phill Jackson's work Beautiful Boilers, a collection of photos of women over the age of 55, is now a finalist in the prestigious media competition in the world's most respected humanitarian organisation.

Ms Peters said she was still coming to terms with her idea from such humble beginnings now having a chance at being awarded the best in Australia.

"I read an article, a woman was talking about how women over 55 are socially invisible," she said.

"The article said things like they disappear from the media. I thought I'd really like to explore that idea.

"It was just a random idea I had on a Saturday afternoon. I posted on the Noosa Community Board (on Facebook) asking if any women would be interested in being photographed, and it (the post) went ballistic."

Ms Peters gathered 35 local women aged over 55, and teamed up with distinguished Noosa photographer Mr Jackson to have a photo shoot at historic Queenslander the Tait Duke Cottage in Tewantin in July this year.

Ms Peters asked the women to share their experiences of being "invisible" to go along with the photographs as quotes.

"As we met these women, it blew us away," Ms Peters said.

"Some burst in to tears and said 'I am invisible'. Others said 'I love being invisible'.

"One woman said 'I could walk down the street with my clothes on inside out, and no one would notice'."

The project garnered national media attention from the ABC and Channel Seven program The Daily Edition.

The latter required Ms Peters to be interviewed live on air, an experience that "petrified" her.

"It went from a Facebook post, to the ABC, then being interviewed by Channel Seven on a show in the afternoon," she said.

"Then (last week) the UN emailed me and said 'you're a finalist, you have to come to Melbourne for this big gala awards night on October 27'."

Working primarily as a fashion photographer, Ms Peters said it was important to her the photos were edited as little as possible to show the raw beauty of the women.

"I'm always editing and always adjusting photos before they can go on the front of a magazine or be printed," she said.

"I really wanted to show women over 55 are beautiful the way they are."

Beautiful Boilers is a finalist in the category promotion of empowerment of older people and is up against work from media outlets the SBS, ABC, Fairfax, Four Corners and 60 Minutes.

Ms Peters hopes to photograph more women to collate enough pictures for a book.