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Behind each art exhibition and gallery there lies a unique and at times unexpected reason for its existence. But for award-winning Australian photographer Ella Dreyfus, it was her interest in human beings that motivated her to build on her previously acclaimed collection, Under Twelve, to put forward arguably her most sensitive and profound work to date.

“I think essentially we are all fascinated by other people,” says Dreyfus, exactly one week before her latest series, aptly titled Under Twelve Under Twenty, opens its doors to the public in Paddington. “Despite the prevalence of people in the media, life moves at such a rapid pace that we don’t pause for very long to really look at them as much as we would like to.”

The collection of photos, which revisits the 12 boys of Under Twelve as they begin their lives out of school, is something that Ella admits is highly intimate. However, she believes it will be a celebration of growth as each off their transformations are perfectly portrayed through the power of image. “The boys let me into a private realm almost so it really shows what intimate space art can bring,” she continues. “I know that this exhibition will finally allow people to slow down and contemplate on the beautiful pictures before them. It will enable them to look for longer than they normally could.”

By Chelsea Deeley

Aug 29-Oct 6, Stills Gallery, 36 Gosbell Street, Paddington, free, 9331 7775, stillsgallery.com.au