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Photographer William Yang speaks at Massey University

Friday 14 Sep 2012 10:04 p.m.

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By Laura Frykberg

An Australian photographer visiting Wellington has given a lecture at Massey University.  His message?  How a picture is truly worth a thousand words.

Australian-born photographer William Yang says he has been documenting the sociology of sexuality for almost forty years.

“I've got a very good collection of the gay movement you might say, the modern gay movement since its early inception in Sydney in the early seventies,” he says.

From snapping Sydney’s annual Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras to capturing the Australian AIDS epidemic in the eighties, Mr Yang says his camera has captured and explained more than words ever could.

“During the AIDS epidemic I didn't even have to try very hard to get wrenching photos, but now I’m probably more restrained,” he says.

Mr Yang calls his past and current work gay activism, and while he has seen attitudes towards homosexuality radically change during his career, he says even some of those closest to him still struggle with the idea.

“Within some Chinese circles it's almost scandalous, that you'd say you were gay, and that's a cultural thing,” he says.

But he remains passionate about his work, and says there is never a dull day at the office.

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