Thursday, December 31, 2015

About Choices

Today is the last day of this year. I have no idea whether I am going to pick up my camera and snap a shot or two. But whatever I choose to do, I am going to be content.
The one thing I learned about making a choice in art is this:  - in most cases - there aren’t such things as good choice/bad choice. It all reduces to what makes one happy.  Go with what you feel that is right for you. For instance: colour or black and white? It is all a matter of taste.  And of considering the finality of your artwork.

If you are a close friend & family, or if you are following my work, you probably know that I have started a big project, getting people to talk about following their own dream, about ideals, aspirations and what keeps them motivated when the going gets tough.  (You can find about it here: A Hat of Many Dreams)

In my case, I want to use minimal props and interventions because my project is meant to be a social experiment: an honest incursion into people’s souls, witnessing their own dialogue with themselves. I just guide them from the sides, with a couple of questions.

I chose to devoid my setting of any colour, because I want to “see” my sitters through their emotions. Therefore it is going to be black and white all the way. Again, if you know me well, you’d know that I am fascinated with people and their ways of life. I find surprising and strong characters from all walks of life on daily basis, just by chatting to people. Which is a wonder in itself, because deep down I am quite the introvert.

But I have to admit, in certain cases, my sitters are beyond fascinating and I find myself facing the dilemma, whether I want to preserve the colour, maybe change the brief of my project and allow those bright colours to take over and shine. The answer is no. Much as I’d like it, I think it is important to keep my brief consistent. I have already made one concession from the initial brief, allowing myself to a wider range of portrait sizes, erring from my initial close-up portrait set up.

Luckily, digital photography makes it easier for me to have my cake and eat it. Recently, I have had the privilege and honour to photograph and meet in real life a lady whom I have admired from the sides for quite a while. She proved to be more interesting than I could have ever dreamed of. We got to know each other a little. We found lots of things in common. We had a giggle or two. We shared a spectacular sunset over my beloved grasslands.
She is unique, intelligent and fun. She has a great sense of humour,

magnificent eyes and a custom-made shade of red hair.

Seeing how the 3 primary colours worked so remarkably well in defining her portrait, how could I not take these gorgeous shots? And incidentally, doing this series of portraits gave me the best of both worlds - I got to work in one of my favourite places in the world and we literally were photo bombed by the kangaroos, who are so used to see me with my camera that they started to run towards us and lined up behind Tara.
(You can also see the black and white series by clicking here)
Until a year ago, I wasn’t much of a portrait photographer; not in a true form anyway; as I was too busy chasing the kangaroos and the light around the grasslands. But one time, in a discussion forum over a National Geographic Assignment, Marie McGrory, one of the National Geographic photo editors gave me one of the best advice ever when she challenged me to take more portraits. Sure, I always liked people and their stories but what if I started to go more in-depth and do more portraits? So this year I have challenged myself and I have worked really hard to find out just how good I could be at unearthing their stories through my images. I had some failures but I think I had quite a few great experiences too. The most rewarding thing about pushing my boundaries and doing portraits is forging new friendships, learning new things and finding extraordinary stories in the most ordinary places.



Thursday, December 24, 2015

Merry Christmas!

2015 proved to be big. Not necessarily in a brilliant way. It was wild, frustrating and trying - I am sure I am not the only one feeling that way.
This year, I didn’t want Christmas to be overdone; nor overshadowed by the commercial, consumerism-orientated way it seems to keep going. I didn’t go wild with the presents. I didn’t even make a wish list for myself.  I didn’t listen to Christmas Carols on repeat since November. I did the shopping well in advance and I didn’t have to face the crowds these last few days.
Tonight I took a walk in my beloved grasslands. Facing the grasslands, in the last few hours of this Christmas Eve, I felt Peace.
On my right, the Sun said good-bye to the day. On my left, the Full Moon smiling to the one coming.
And everything went quiet during those last moments of flickering light.

I thought of the way this year spined - fast like a carousel, with ups and down. I lost some friends. I gained some really amazing ones.
I lived and laughed. I cried at times, too. I was amazed and - to a few some - I was amazing too.
I kept calm or I lost my plot. It’s just life.
But I am lucky to have the love of my family and the kindness of some very good friends. Some unexpected presents made their way under my tree, reminding me to never forget that I am loved.

There are but few minutes till midnight. Life is good. Merry Christmas to all of my friends in all 4 cardinal points.  Have a great one and however you choose to celebrate it, make sure that it is meaningful in every single way.

End of the Line



This is where all unfinished hopes have come to lay
They dream of broken dreams within one final dream
Then fade through skies of amber, rocks and clay
And lay to rest along the quiet stream. 
The broken trust, unfinished thoughts and love, unchained
Have finally found a final place to rest
Forgotten passions, not enough sustained
Great paths - all lost in remnants of a nest.

One day you'll find them waiting all along for you:
Long silences within the echoes of those dreams
One day you’ll find the strength to bring them through
And you'll come back from depths of deep blue streams. 




Tuesday, December 22, 2015

A Monday Rescue Story

This is a rescue story with a happy ending - just in time for Christmas.
You know those Monday morning when you show up late for work with a wild excuse to make up for it? Well, this is actually not of them.
However, I would have thought it wild, had I not witness it myself.
At first glance, there is nothing wrong with this car. Or is it?

What would your boss say if you were to show up late telling him a Galah bird got caught in your car while driving to work? This is exactly what happened to one of my neighbours.

Luckily, the Wildlife expert lives just next door and the entire complex got mobilised pretty quickly in an improvised rescue team.
Two of my neighbours worked diligently to free the bird tangled in the car front.

We are all anticipating the sweet moment when he is finally freed: will he be all right?
Understandably distressed, the little fellow is very lucky to be alive and seemingly unhurt.

I've saved the best for last: a few words about our wildlife expert in residence.
Emma is the sweetest soul. She is very passionate about her work as a wildlife volunteer. Under her expert eye, the bird was kept under observation for a short while. He settled pretty quickly and then he flew away as soon as Emma opened the cage.
He sure has a tale to tell to all his other peers who aren't bothered much to move away from the road when cars drive past them.