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Dreams of Icebergs

April 9, 2015

Paddles down we sit in silent awe, listening to the echo of water crashing against the frozen island towering above us, watching as those of the sea enter the air and those of the air enter the sea. With each wave against the iceberg, our kayak rocks gently in the safety zone. Sea birds duck for fish around us and the human silence is broken by laughter, as slight wind carries the splash of a whale breaching, onto our skin.

And with a smooth movement of a single finger, the camera shutter is released, for this moment to be relived forever.

Personal

RAW: part 1.

April 9, 2015

I wanted to give you all a little background on how I got to where I am today. 

The beginning

People like me, those neglecting their base, roaming, from one place to another, itching to explore an empty forest or immerse themselves in foreign culture, are not this way due to sheer luck. Rather, we have a common understanding, that life can be altered or taken suddenly. Whether from personal experience, or from the witness of someone else’s, we have truly learnt to appreciate the present moment.

 

Personally, I can thank teenage illness. Not an ear infection or the common cold, but a disease that rips you apart. It starts with your physical self, creating intense pain in your legs, a pain you are unable to describe and which nothing relieves. It strips your energy, leaving you unable to wash your hair or hold a simple fork. And then, it moves into your head, creating unpredictable mood swings to rival a pregnant woman. It has you giving up on modern medicine and pushing away the people you love. And just when you think you have overcome it, it rears its ugly head as a reminded that it is still, 5 years later, undefeated. But those sporadic reminders, are almost necessary. They take you back to the darkest times of that first year, allowing you to see exactly how far you have come, a reminder to be grateful of every good day and to appreciate the small things.

 

So what are these small things? As I travel I meet amazing people, each with their own unique story. I watch their faces light up as they speak of the most magical sunrise they just witnessed, or they recall the smell of a coffee roaster they walked by. With each story shared I learn how personal this answer is. For me, it is not fancy shoes or new make-up. It is not 5 star hotels or giggling in day spas. It is simply fresh air and open spaces. It is my puppy licking my face or the smell of a horse on my hands. It is meandering through markets in Marrakech or conversing with hand signals over chai in Rajasthan. It is anywhere I could not be, while laying in my own bed, watching movies in 15 minute intervals- the extension the disease allowed my concentration.
Today, almost 5 years from the beginning, I reflect how far I have come and recognise my gratitude for the disease I hate. It is thanks to Ross River Fever that I believe, everything happens for a reason.
Personal

SA Professional Photography Awards 2014

July 2, 2014

Each year, at the Epson State Awards, members of the Australian Institute of Professional Photography (AIPP) enter their very best images into one of nine categories; Portrait, Wedding, Family, Landscape Commercial, Illustrative, Travel, Documentary or Contemporary, aiming to receive the ultimate award of State Professional Photographer of the Year.

For the first two years of your AIPP membership you are an ‘Emerging Member’, as I am. This gives you the opportunity to enter up to 9 images into the State Awards which puts you in the running for the title of State Emerging Photographer of the Year.

Each photograph is assessed by a panel of five judges. Each judge scores the print out of 100 and the panel’s average is the final score. The final score determines the following results:

95 – 100 Gold with Distinction
90 – 94 Gold
85 – 89 Silver with Distinction
80 – 84 Silver
78 – 79 High Professional Practice but not quite award standard
70 – 77 Professional Practice Standard
50 – 69 Below Professional Practice

This year, for the first time, draining my bank account but with some amazing support from Paul, Dave and Miriam at my local lab-Atkins, my mentor and the amazing photography tour goddess- Sue at Informal Photo Tours, and my family and friends, I put on my brave boots and entered the SA Awards (SAPPA’s). From my three photographs entered, all in the travel category, I received two silver awards, making me a Finalist for SA Emerging Photographer of the year and I would like to share them all with you!


The Jolly Man At Jobhai Palace

During my first ten days in India last year I was with Sue on her Live and Breath Rajasthan Photo Tour. She did an amazing job of creating a (very flexible) itinerary to incorporate the perfect balance of sightseeing amongst our street walks and village visits.

Just under an hour from Agra you will find Johbhai Palace, built by Akbar the Great for his favourite wife (for producing a son), Jodha Bai. Wandering the grounds of the beautiful palace we met this jolly character, who turned out to be the ‘cousin’ of our tour guide!

We couldn’t miss the opportunity to grab a picture or two of this expressive man with his one betel-nut-stained tooth! And didn’t he absolutely love the camera (and maybe the attention too)!

Agra, Jobhai Palace
Agra, Jobhai Palace
I entered the above black and white photograph which the judges believed to be of high professional practice, but not award level- scoring it a 78. The suggestion for improvement was to print onto a softer paper stock as the one I chose, in their opinion, made the blacks too rich. Different fine art papers can represent the same image completely differently and it’s an extremely difficult task (for me) to choose the appropriate paper. With that said, the image isn’t quite strong enough for Nationals so I’ll just enjoy it for the memories it brings back.

Windows Of Jodhpur

If you know me then you probably know I’m really bad at being a twenty-something year old. On Saturday nights when most our out partying or even just relaxing in general, you’ll find me in my office, probably researching a new photoshop technique or listening to a business podcast. The one thing I am good at to confirm my age is sleeping in. I love love love to sleep in. While travelling, no matter if I’m in a tent by the sea, the smelliest dorm in Prague or in a 5 star hotel in Kolkata- I enjoy rising early to explore in morning light. Rajasthan was no different, excited to get out with the others in the amazing golden light.

This particular morning I was so grateful for my travellers energy. It was early in our trip and it was the day I fell in love with India. We hit the streets as the sun had just risen. Woman sat among piles of grass, selling it to the passerbys to feed to the street cows. Men laughed at the Chai stands. Manged street dogs searched among rubbish for scraps. We tasted tradition street breakfast. We chatted with old men. We watched children heading off to school- all stopping to ask for pens!

I wandered from the group most of the morning. Always behind or ahead. Being alone, weaving the paths between the blue walls of the city, off a tourist track, opened many doors. Literally. An elder woman invited me down her path to introduce her family to the tourist. Fathers asked for pictures of their shy daughters. And young children surrounded me reaching for my hand.

Jodphur
Jodphur

I mostly enjoyed the experience but occasionally, an image would unfold in front of me calling my camera to my eye. This black and white image above was one of those. I was enjoying the architecture, following the columns up when I saw this scene. Six small children, completely oblivious to me below them, watched as others passed below them. The older boy held a toy gun, playing a game of his own. A younger boy nagged him to share. A girl with long braided hair giggled with the boy beside her. And at the other end a dad lifted a baby to see beside his sibling. For a little while I stood still, enjoying the scene. I’m a lazy photographer at times, and so with my long lens on I began photographing the little stories in each window- but the rest of the story got lost. I forced myself to change lenses- hoping the kids wouldn’t disappear in the meantime.

They didn’t


Fifteen Minutes In The Almost Darkness

Dzong Bhutan
I stood here, in the almost darkness, by a beautifully decorated column, in this Bhutanese Dzong for around fifteen minutes. Monks darted about, running by me in the corridor, laughing with their friends. I stood just watching the ever changing group of young, cheeky monks. I was just about to head up stairs when one monk left the group to take a phone call. Of course I quickly lifted my camera, changed some settings and waited, so patiently. I wasn’t sure what I was waiting for but I just knew it wasn’t the image I wanted yet. Then the younger monk twirled his robe as they do, and headed off- that’s what I was waiting for.To me, this image sums up the wonderful Bhutan- an ancient civilisation trying to live in the modern world without losing its traditions.
Bhutan Dzong
Overall I’m pretty stoked with my results as a newby to the awards scene, not only stealing a couple of silvers beside some of the industry’s best but also becoming a finalist for SA Emerging Photographer of the Year. Congratulations to all who entered and especially to David Sievers who was awarded 2014 SA Professional Photographer of the Year.
>>Did you see we have an online shop where some of the above photographs are available? Check it out here: Shop <<