Diving head first into a job

Not many working days start with a jump into the surf, but for Sylvia Liber it has been part of the job for the past 17 years as a photographer for the Illawarra Mercury.

The Newspaper Works joined the PANPA-winning photographer on the road for a day and has assembled an audio-visual presentation of her work.

Her first job was at Bulli Beach, near Wollongong, south of Sydney, to photograph Sharn McNeill, a local registered nurse. Ms McNeil is in training for an ironman event, despite being diagnosed with motor neurone disease. Her friend and teammate, Craig Gruber, towed her in a kayak as Sylvia swam alongside them, camera in hand.

“It was a bit of a workout – but I enjoyed it,” she said.

Ms Liber has built her 22-year career on finding powerful images in everything from daily surf checks to the extremes of the human condition. It is capturing these moments, and connecting with her subjects, that inspire her every day.

“I think the key to a good photo . . . is being able to talk to someone, making them trust you, so that they can open up to you,” she says.

Read more on Sylvia in the March edition of The Bulletin, out now.

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