Rarely does a 12-year-old get to see one of their pictures among the historic photos and paintings in one of Canberra’s national sites.
That was the privilege Melburnian Sophie Deane had on Tuesday, as she stood in front of her image of former prime minister Julia Gillard, displayed in the Museum of Australian Democracy at Old Parliament House. And she took a photo of it to mark the occasion.
The portrait of a smiling, at ease prime minister – still used by the former leader as an official Twitter and Facebook profile shot – went viral after it was put online by Sophie’s parents in May.
Stephanie Pfennigwerth, a curator at the museum, has been responsible for recent additions to the Prime Ministers of Australia gallery, and said Sophie’s picture stood out for its humanity.
‘‘It’s really a nice picture, it captures the warmth, the connection – there’s no pretence there,’’ Ms Pfennigwerth said.
‘‘She’s saying hello to someone she knows.
‘‘First of all it’s a good photograph, beautifully focused, I quite like the framing of it, but also because it just shows her as a person, a well-meaning, decent, hard-working person in a difficult job, and I chose all the photographs for that reason.’’
Sophie, who has Down syndrome, took her photo of Ms Gillard on the day the Victorian government agreed to sign up to the national disability insurance scheme in May.
It was the pair’s second meeting.
On the first occasion, at a function earlier that week, the talented young photographer had climbed onto the knee of the then prime minister and ‘‘just hung out with her’’, said Sophie’s father, Joel Deane.
Mr Deane said the spontaneous photo – taken using his Nikon D3000 – was one of many portrait-style pictures his daughter had taken. ‘‘It was not a fluke, because she’s taken a lot of interesting, if not startling, photos,’’ he said. ‘‘She has a style, she gets in tight.’’
Kirsten Deane said her daughter’s photo captured an important moment in the lives of Australians with disabilities.
‘‘I think it will be forever associated with the NDIS – [the scheme’s] going to fundamentally change people’s lives, thousands of people’s lives, people who have struggled and been locked out of the community are now going to get the support they need,’’ Ms Deane said.
‘‘We have been very worried for a long time about what would happen to Soph when we weren’t around – we worried that it would be the responsibility of her brother and sister ... And now with the NDIS we know her future is taken care of ... knowing she’s going to get a chance – whatever she chooses to do – to get out there and do it.’’