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Miners to get drag makeover for Pilbara photography project

Pilbara mine workers are being asked to shed their inhibitions and try dressing in drag for a day for a lighthearted photography project exploring gender in the mining industry.

Dragged from the Mines is a photographic art project that gives hardworking miners the chance to be “a queen for a day” with a drag makeover, and is the brainchild of House of Phoenix Eleven photographer and make-up artist Jamie Barber.

Barber, who moved to Karratha several weeks ago, said she had developed the project as a fun way to explore male and female representation in today’s mining industry.

“It’s a lighthearted look into the local mining industry and some of the characters who make it operate from day to day, while subtly including topics such as toxic masculinity and femininity and equality in the workplace,” she said.

“Mining seems to be a really male-dominated industry, though there are more and more females entering it, so I wanted to know … how the females feel in that male-dominated industry, and how the males feel about female jobs in it.”

Each participant in the project will do a short interview on their role in the mining industry, a customised drag makeover and a photo shoot.

Ms Barber said she had received an “overwhelming” amount of interest in the project just days after advertising it on social media, though had so far received a far greater response from women than men.

She said drag could be a particularly effective vehicle for making people question their assumptions about the opposite sex by prompting them to take a walk in their shoes.

“I’m a make-up artist and drag is one of my favourite things to do, because it’s fun and it takes people out of their comfort zone,” she said.

“The way people react in their new characters is quite interesting —they take on this new persona, even if it’s just for a little while, and just become a different person.”

Photo shoots for the project will begin in the next few weeks.

Barber said once finished, she planned to exhibit the photos locally. For more information or to express your interest, email houseofphoenix eleven@gmail.com.

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