November 20, 2014

An Adventure To Lake Elizabeth

Yesterday five photographers ventured into the thick of the Otways to do a photo shoot.
I have had an idea since August that I've been sitting on for quite a while. At first I thought no one would be interested in participating but slowly I found more and more people who were willing to come along on some adventures and capture some magic.
I wanted to create a new kind of camera club. I wanted to gather a collaborative group of photographers together exclusively from the Geelong region to learn and grow from each other. I've had to wait to put my idea into notion because of the busy exam period and yesterday we finally found half a day to go for a drive to one of the most secluded places I've been to.
I'm not going to be able to share the actual images I shot for a couple of weeks due to work commitments so I thought I would string together some behind the scenes photos. I don't share what actually goes on at my photo shoots enough! It's often not very glamourous. Yesterday we were sweating like pigs walking, in total, around 4kms to the location and back again with tripods, reflectors, clothes and props. 
Although we met some unexpected friends along our way (scroll down to the second last image to meet one of them!), the trekking was absolutely worth it. We worked with some of the most beautiful light I've seen all year. I'm so happy this shoot went ahead as I was very close to cancelling it due to not having a model.
Thank you to Leiko, Daniel, Zoe and Clare (our model and a talented photographer in her own right), for coming along yesterday and being so down for all of the physical requirements to complete the shoot!!
I'll hopefully have a shoot from last weekend to share on Monday with you but until then, have a great weekend everyone! :)

I probably should have brought a chair for this shot, I'm so short! :)
After walking another 800m on sloaped gravel paths, we stopped at the 'beach' for a rest and some junk food!! 

Doing some Yoga and interpretive dance to the new Flight Facilities album
Our little tiger snake friend that interrupted our shoot by swimming out of the lake (!!!) and right past Clare! We all froze for about five minutes while we waited for the little guy to pass us.

Thanks to Leiko's self timer for taking this shot of us all. From left to right: Clare, Daniel, Zoe, Myself (told you I'm short!) and Leiko!

November 15, 2014

Where Is This Even Going?

Get yourself a cup of tea (or coffee, if you're so inclined), a nice blanket to make you feel fuzzy inside and sit down, today I'm going to tell you a story. This story will be told through words, gifs, pictures taken by others (and some by me).

This story is partly personal, it might have some sort of anecdote in it, or it might just be dribble. Let's see shall we?

Earlier this week I read two articles that have partly inspired sharing this story. You can read these here and here. The first article is about the power we each have to 'choose our own adventure' in life and the second is a Reddit thread from a 46 year-old man explaining his mistakes in life.

What I took away from both of these articles is, as human beings, we often get caught up in categorising ourselves and what we do. Stereotyping, if you will. When you're in high school, you're a student and when you begin working full time, you're whatever profession you decide to take up, right? I thought so too, until last year. 

Almost two years ago I got the best email I've ever received. I had gotten into art school. 

I felt pretty damn good about myself and my work. Knowing that actual respected artists viewed and validated my work was one of the most amazing feelings in the world. It was also great because I knew that all of the time and energy I had injected into my work wasn't for nothing. 

I had made it, I thought to myself.

When orientation started, I was so, so, so young. I was excited to learn and eager to meet other people who were also going to be studying fine arts / photography. People were creative in their clothing choices, their haircuts, their accessories. I remember being spellbound by a girl doing sculpture who had made a headband out of barbie dolls. So awesome.

But then, I felt the pressure to also dress to match my personality or mood. I found myself picking things out of my wardrobe thinking, this will make me fit in. Don't get me wrong, I love dressing up, I'd love to have crazy pink, purple, turquoise blue hair and wear everything from Gorman, but at the time (and even now), I didn't have the money to look the way I wanted and that made me feel very awkward.

Like I said before, we get into the habit of stereotyping ourselves and others.

But it's hard to do what you love. I became so obsessed with a very one dimensional image of what I was supposed to be because I attended an art school that I constantly questioned, what's wrong with me? Why am I this way? Why can't everything just be easy for me?

You see, while I enjoy creating art and looking at art, I'm not an artist stereotype. I'm not always mysterious, I don't always dress differently. I'm not achingly thin nor do I consider myself to be vulnerable. I like exercising and running and to me, that doesn't fit within the artist aesthetic that I have in my head. I felt like a fraud and despite whether that was true or not, that thought ran through my head day in day out.

source: 1 / 2

Both of these women I admire for different reasons. I love Kusama's artwork, her idiosyncrasy. I love Lorna Jane's philosophy (move, nourish, believe) and her commitment to her health and her dreams (two very important parts of my life). But at the time I was in art school (and even a little bit now), I felt like these two amazing women just don't go together. You cannot be both Kusama and Clarkson, can you?

Around this time, I re-watched Tavi Gevinson's TedxTeen talk from 2012.

This quote was like a warm hug. It reassured me that I don't have to be what people expect of me just because of my job or what I'm studying. I have the choice to be whoever I want to be. If I want to be an artist and run marathons, then there's nothing wrong with it. As long as it makes me happy, then that's all that counts.

That's fine for every day life and all, but when you're trying to market yourself / your work, projecting yourself as a multifaceted being is difficult.

One minute I'm inspired by the delicate, sensitive work of someone like Laura Makabresku.

Or by the intricate journal drawings by Gemma Topliss.

And in complete contrast, I'm inspired by popular culture, television and films, nostalgia and internet culture.

Emoji meets Easy A by Emoji'd Screencaps

RIP MSN Messenger

Le'gogh by Nismo4banger

After I think about all of my interest areas and inspirations my head kind of becomes a big whirlpool and everything gets mixed up and confused. I don't know what I like and I don't know where I stand.

I end up feeling torn between two worlds; the soft, sensitive aesthetic and popular culture, and I just don't know how to market that. How do I pick a Tumblr theme for that? How do I show both of those worlds in my work?

Eventually I just forget about it and change my Tumblr theme regularly or my ideas for projects go out the window and the circle begins again. I'm inspired by something, I think about how this could work within my current aesthetics and interests and then get overwhelmed because everything is just a mishmash.

And now I'm here, writing this blog post of how I would like to embrace my multifaceted-ness but how difficult I find it because of marketing and my personal budget to spend on clothes, make up, hair / my general appearance, and how annoying it is that I feel like a blend of everything I've interacted with in life rather than a solid shape that fits in a cookie cutter like everyone else seems to.

Don't get me wrong, being fluid and open to different briefs in my work is a seriously important skill but I often feel as though I haven't found my niche yet, like so many other people seem to have and that really frustrates me.

Visual representation of my mind when I feel like this

If you experience this at all, please feel free to vent or share your suggestions of how I can harness the best of both worlds in the comments below.

And now I'm going to go and watch some Lizzie McGuire because we all know how much better it is than Hannah Montana.

Hope you enjoyed your blast from the past,

August 19, 2014

Almost Forever by Minna Gilligan

(All hail our 70s psychadelic mafia lord, Minna!)

Chuffed is probably the apt word to use when Minna approached me last week to take some photographs of her and her exhibition at the Windsor Hotel. Almost Forever was the perfect installation, juxtaposing the grown up vibes from one of the fanciest hotels in Melbourne with the crudeness and multicoloured world of a teenage girl. It was almost comical, walking into a room that you expected to be sophisticated and classy only to find the inner contents of a girl's imagination vomited up onto every surface. The space had all sorts of really cool knick knacks and hot pink glitter lava lamps. It was kind of an embodiment of the vibes and aesthetics that Minna uses in her work which was super awesome to experience. It felt personal, as though I was inside her own oasis!

We messed around for about an hour playing with the sparkly tassels hanging around the room and jumping on the bed (me trying to awkwardly not hit my head on the chandelier). It was so lovely to work on a professional level with Minna! It was also equally as fun to photograph in a curated space that was so atmospheric and different to what I'm normally used to shooting in. Photographing in a hotel room has surprisingly many challenges but luckily I was able to use the yellowed light to my advantage! 

Thank you so much to Minna for trusting and believing in my work, let's create something together again soon, okay?! :)

You can see Minna's work here and also on Rookie Mag!