Dr Ayesha Sheikh bought her first camera when she moved to Far North Queensland for general practice training a few years ago.
‘Work has offered me the opportunity to visit some unique places around Australia, and I picked up photography as a hobby along the way,’ Dr Sheikh said.
Now a GP Fellow in Bourke, in north-west New South Wales, Dr Sheikh has been announced as the recipient of the RACGP’s ‘This Rural Life’ photo competition, created to showcase the experiences of members working in rural or remote Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health, and to inspire others to consider a career in rural general practice.
Dr Sheikh’s winning photo, entitled ‘Back O’Bourke’, was taken on Ngiyampaa land in Bourke.
In her description of the photo (above), Dr Sheikh said the rock art is ‘nestled under large boulders and represents an early teaching site for Ngemba and Kurnu-Baakandji people’.
‘It’s surrounded by unscathed plains, shrubs and red soil, which, when standing atop Mount Gunderbooka, create an illusion of a vast deep blue mass of water,’ Dr Sheikh wrote.
‘The unshaken landscape entrenches history and emphasises our unbreakable bond with nature.’
Running through July and August, the competition was open to all RACGP members, with a judging panel made up of members of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health and Rural faculties.
RACGP Rural Chair Dr Michael Clements said ‘This Rural Life’ helps to celebrate GPs’ connection to the communities in which they live and work.
‘We should all look at the community around us and understand why it’s special; talk to the locals about what makes it special to them,’ he said.
‘What we’re trying to do is share those stories through imagery – and it’s not just about sunsets and vistas, it’s about community, connection and heritage, and the GPs’ role in the community.’
The winning entry received a free digital registration to GP21 and will be showcased on the ‘This Rural Life’ website alongside all other entries, following the official launch on 6 October.
‘I’m excited and grateful to have won the award and I’m really looking forward to attending GP21,’ Dr Sheikh said.
‘It was difficult to decide which photo to send in from Gundabooka and Bourke. It’s such a vast area with mountains, plains and wildlife. There is so much energy.
‘I decided on this photo because it reminded me of our enduring connectedness to one another and our environment.’
Alongside her hobby as a photographer, Dr Sheikh aspires to continue her journey in rural general practice.
‘I enjoy the diversity of people and medical issues within remote communities,’ she said. ‘I’m hoping I can be a rural generalist in the future.’
Dr Julianne Leckie was runner up in This Rural Life for her photo, ‘Old Mowanjum’, taken in Broome (WA), or Rubibi, on Yawuru land (pictured above).
RACGP Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health and RACGP Rural will officially launch ‘This Rural Life’ via webinar on 6 October, showcasing the entries and background stories to inspire others to consider a career in rural general practice.
More information on the launch is available on the RACGP website.