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Jane Cowan  Seeing the light, feeling the feels. Former foreign correspondent. Writer. Photojournalist. This is my visual notebook.

http://janecowanphoto.com/

To grow up in Frankston North is to know nobody expects much from you. A place where it can be easier to take a job at McDonald's than pursue a career. They call it The Pines, an enclave of ex-housing commission homes nestled between forests and seaside, 38 kilometres south-east of Melbourne. Bounded by a golf course, a flora and fauna reserve and a major freeway, it's an area listed as one of the most disadvantaged in the state in the 2015 Dropping Off The Edge report, which compares locations around the country. High rates of unemployment, criminal convictions and disability combine with low education, child maltreatment, family violence and psychiatric admissions to make adolescence an obstacle course, degree of difficulty high. Add in being Sudanese and it's a minor miracle that Akang is about to graduate with plans to become a park ranger. “It's actually pretty difficult especially nowadays with all this gang-related stuff going around," he says. #strive #youth #sudanese #african #aussie #multicultural #australia #highschool #education #graduate #teenager #year12 #vce #achieve #inspire #vcal #student #teachersofinstagram #frankstonnorth #frankston #victoria Link to full story in profile.

Every thought, every feeling, every firing of the synapse is energy. The only way to attract good is to first be good. #magic #lawofnature #light #sun #ocean #beach #sparkle #water #yogaeverydamnday #yogainspiration

Weekends in. #light #boxersofinstagram

My own personal double 🌈 on four legs. #rainbow #colour #fur #texture #light

In honour of Australia finally starting to get with the program on same sex marriage, sharing a moment between one of the coolest couples — and most nurturing parents — I ever had the pleasure of spending time with. Love is love. Of course it is. [Liz and Anne fell in love and moved to Appalachia with notions of living a back-to-the-land lifestyle. These days they're falling in love all over again with their son Linden, a highly verbal 4-year-old. Motherhood is a trip. Especially when you're doing it bare bones, living in the woods in a half built house with no electricity or running water, as winter approaches. But sometimes, when you strip life back, what you find is the pure joy of being.] #loveislove #ssm #appalachia #ohio #athens Link to more in profile.

Wantirna Caravan Park is a community slowly dismantling itself. It's hard to escape the sense of a neighbourhood razed by natural disaster. Of lives abandoned mid sip of the coffee cup. This is what happens when a developer buys your community. Those who've lived here, some for decades, were homeowners who invested their life savings. Now many are walking away with almost nothing. And it's all legal in the state of Victoria. #housingaffordability #housingmarket #development #wantirna #caravanpark #homelessness #socialjustice #tenant Link to full story in profile.

I've always considered myself a city person. Less and less. #bluedogs

This dog knows a good spot when he finds it. #postwalksnooze

My monstera. Because his heart-shaped leaves go all holey over time. It just happens. #plantsimitatinglife

When the beach is finally ours. #breathe #equilibrium #summeriscoming

Maggie hears voices 24/7. It's been going on since she was 13, her Maori family just absorbing the behaviours that came with what's since been diagnosed as paranoid schizophrenia. Sometimes the dogs talk to her, tell her to do terrible things. Off her medication she says she can become quite dangerous within days.
For the entirety of her 40s Maggie was hospitalised three times a year.
Yet the child she raised was virtually unaware of her illness, so successfully did she keep it from him. At 28, Scott is just learning how schizophrenia has buffeted his aunt's life.
I learned a lot making this piece to coincide with mental health week. As well as Maggie, I met Xenia, a high powered consultant living with anxiety and depression and Hilary, a retired doctor who's been living with bipolar disorder since she was 18. And I met those who live with and love them. If 45% of Australians will experience a mental illness in our lifetime, many more are touched by the ripple effects. Respect to these folks for sharing their stories. They are love stories, really. #mentalhealth #mentalhealthawareness #mentalhealthawarenessweek #mentalhealthsupport #mentalhealthrecovery #anxiety #depression #bipolar #schizophrenia #worldmentalhealthday Link to story in profile.

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