About Ray Drew
Academic Quals: BA (Hons1) Communication Media and Professional Writing (Canb), MA Communication Professional Writing (Canb), Grad Cert Psychoanalytic Studies (Deakin)
Pro photographer, journalist, writer, community development officer, press relations advisor, etc.
Following an early interest in photography, Ray Drew began his photographic career at 21 as a cadet press photographer. After four years at The Canberra Times he went to The Australian newspaper. He then worked as a contract freelancer for several national publications, including Vogue Australia, Home and Garden, and the National Press Gallery at Parliament House in Canberra.
|In the early seventies, he worked as Chief Photographer and Pictorial Editor of the Sunday
Observer, Melbourne, and subsequently, for three years as the Chief Photographer
in the Australian Womens Weekly Melbourne office.
The psychedelic revolution of the late sixties and early seventies did not leave him untouched, and eventually he abandoned commercial photography to work on a new project which he felt more relevant at the time -- an independent crisis intervention service for the Melbourne public. Link-Up, a small telephone referral service, became a crisis intervention service under his direction. He obtained government funding. At its peak, the organization had over 100 trained volunteers who spoke to 30,000 callers a year, 24/7. An outreach service for suicidal people followed.
In the early eighties he spent a year with his partner, Carol, and their young son, living in the bush in central Victoria, with a donkey to assist them with supplies as they moved around the Great Dividing Range. The experience confirmed a love of wilderness and wildlife: 'a certain fellow feeling with wildlife further developed when we - and the kangaroos - were shot at by boozed-up hunters.'
Returning to Canberra (after escaping devastating bushfires) he worked as a community development officer with the ACT Health Department for a year, followed by coordinator work at a Canberra community service. In 1987 he resumed freelance press and magazine photography.
In the early nineties he studied full time at the University of Canberra, gaining a first class Hons degree in Communication and Media. He went on with a scholarship for his MA in Communication, specializing in Professional writing, winning the Heinemann Prize for writing, and reaching the final of the National Short Story Competition for three successive years.
He taught Introduction to Cinema Studies at the ANU Centre for Continuing Education.
He began a PhD, intrigued by the subject of ideology and the history of Western man's notion of self, which was never a static thing. At this stage he realized that the dominant ideology consistently sought to distance human beings from nature and other species, and from any realization of similarity between human beings and animals -- for example, men were eventually construed to have souls or a divine 'nous', something apparently absent in animals. That 'distantiation' - reinforced by propaganda in mythology, religion, and the dominant ideology from Greece to Rome to the present day, also came to permeate orthodox science. The matter of methodology for the thesis proved a thorny issue and although approved to complete the degree, he put aside his project in the second year.
He went on to complete a Grad Cert in Psychoanalytic Studies at Deakin university, and continues study for a Masters in that field.
Ray currently specialises in photographs of animals. He wishes to convey his realisation that they are sensitive beings, with feelings and personalities.They have their distinct means of communication. Unfortunately many human beings exploit their fellow animals, and see them only as objects or commodities. "It is a sobering experience to see how wild animals flee in terror when humans approach."
"It brought it home when, on a magazine assignment, I visited a lab where I saw dozens of animals - sheep, rabbits - force fed from saline drips to determine the effect of salt on their systems. (No cameras were allowed.) The animals, heads clamped into position, were trembling - in great distress - and many were covered in suppurating sores. The attendant was keen to remind me that 'they felt nothing at all.' I realised then that here was a perfect case of projection: he felt nothing at all. Of course, the truth is that human beings, despite their civilised veneer, are animals as well, and inseparable from nature -- only the dominant ideology we have unthinkingly embraced for centuries has prevented us from seeing that fact."
With Carol Drew, he has composed a philosophical statement proposing an end to the anthropocentric ideology dominating scientism, in which animals are perceived to be objects and commodities solely for man's use, experimentation and 'management.' This statement has been endorsed by many animal care organisations, individuals, and academics.
Ray Drew can be contacted by e-mail at email@example.com
Web sites: http://www.raydrew.net (main site) Wildlife photography of Ray Drew and selected fiction and non-fiction writing.
http://www.kangaroolives.com (a photographic record of the kangaroos and their human predators at the BNTS, Canberra 2008)
http://www.australiananimalphotos.com (General animal photography)