I started taking photos when I was 13 years old. My father gave me a black-and-white camera to play around with. I’ve never been to school to learn photography, but I learned a lot about photography from library books when I was studying medicine in China. I’ve taken lots of photos in the Naracoorte area in SA, where I’m based. Last year, I had a patient with a history of four different types of cancers. She felt very down because she had been fighting these cancers for 20 years and couldn’t get out often. I said I would print one of my photographs, and she could put it at home — it made her so happy. She carried the photo everywhere. At the end of her life, she kept the photo next to her bedside table until she passed away. The photo was of a tiny hill that became golden in colour in the late summertime, and there was a whole group of cows on the hill. It’s a reflection of the local beautiful scenery in Naracoorte. People here are very proud of their town and proud of the environment they’ve got. I started putting some prints of my photos in my consultation room. I must have given out hundreds of photos to my patients. My older patients are really happy about it, but the kids really like it too. Many kids are scared of needles, but after they come in and I give them a photo, I make them really happy and they’re not so scared of needles anymore.

Dr Yao Zhang
Naracoorte, SA