What even is a "best of" list?
Whatever it is, this isn't one.
Writing a “best of” list is fraught with danger. I don’t necessarily think this is a comprehensive list of my best work this year, because I love so many photos that aren’t themselves ‘photographically wonderful’. I’ve delivered so many images this year to people, and some of their favourites would be in that same category too. Things aren’t meant to be perfect because then they’d be boring.
This is more a journal of the year, mixing in some good-times, some stuff I’m really proud of, and some stuff that I loved being there for.
To all the people who trusted me in 2015 - thank you.
Thank you for seeing yourself in my work.
The more these interactions happen, the more it’s normalised for me and others who see the work we make together, the better all the wedding and family albums of the future will be.
Here’s to next year and the one after that too.
May the Force be with you.
Wedding photographers usually slow down in the winter. I love to make sure I shoot for myself and enjoy the process, without any ultimate agenda or expectation. Here are some images that I've also posted on my tumblr, so if you're in to that stuff please follow me there. These were all shot on a Fuji X100 or my D3s with the Sigma 35mm.
Some dear friends of mine had a baby, so they invited me around to document an afternoons activities!
I've been wanting to write something about the importance of photography for a while. A whole bunch of other people have done it, photographers and non-photographers, talking about how they got started, what it means to them, all that. Some describe how they picked up a camera and 'I was hooked, and didn't look back'.
As creative humans we romanticise things like that. It's actually what photography is about for me, after all I'm here writing a big 'thing' about it. Anyway, that simple statement isn't enough. Whenever I hear that, it's like someone is glossing over a much larger period of time where they discovered they loved something so much they had to make it their life.
It's never just one moment.
I assume people just say that to simplify. Perhaps to efficiently explain to others. I'm guilty of it too, but nearly every day I see something that perpetuates the notion that photography is simple, photography being the act of picking up a camera and pressing the shutter release.
Photography isn't fucking simple.
I'm a pretty simple person in many ways. I love sleeping in, playing xbox, beer and football (soccer...) and cricket, I love travel, fancy cameras, pretty girls. I married a pretty girl. We made a gorgeous kid! Relatively simple things one would talk about over a drink. I don't take myself seriously.
But... that photo just above of my son, see it's not about being taken with a Nikon D3s and a Sigma 35/1.4 and processed with VSCOFilm to make it look like I shot it on Kodak Tri-X film (all correct stats, FYI). To some, photography is all about that. It's all about them saying that I needed more than 12mp to make that photo, or that VSCOFilm is just a fad for hipsters, or that the lens isn't as sharp wide open as their brand, or that the AF is... you get the picture. Pun not intended. Just for the record, 12mp is plenty and my lens is fucking sharp.
This photograph is about family, childhood, growing up, memories and love.
People sometimes forget that when we had film we had to write down our exposures if we wanted to remember them all. Film stock was a creative choice that was as much about feeling as it was technical. We didn't have all this data on hand to compare how big our apertures could go, how many megapixels we had and how my brick-wall-lens-test photo is sharper than yours, and why don't we just whip our genitals out and compare them while we're at it?
Technology has both democratised and commodified photography more than ever. We can't change this. But people who explore photography, amateur, professional, beginner, whatever, need to understand that there is more to it than data.
I'm a simple person. I love fondling the latest f/1.rediculous lens that someone brought out, and I love camera porn, and I love new toys. It's ok to have just that little bit of Gear Acquisition Syndrome. But I've discovered in myself that once I agonise over gear choices and methods that I just forget about it all. I use it to make photographs that are about how I see the world, and how my clients want their world to be remembered, even for just one day.
For me, photography is about memories first and foremost. Just like it was to my parents, and my grandparents, and even my great grandparents. When my Great Grandfather died I had a photo of him that I wanted to print for his wife. He was sitting in his lounge room on the chair he always sat on. It was fucking beautiful. It was the first roll of Ilford Pan F I had shot, iso 50 film that had the most beautiful subtle and soft tones. I was at photo school at the time and I was planning to print it in the darkroom. She asked me at the funeral when I was going to be able to do it, and I said soon, and smiled.
I never 'got around' to making that print. She's gone now too. She didn't know what Ilford Pan F was.
If that was a digital photo perhaps she would have received her print... film is not better or worse than digital, it's just different. The point is that I was lazy about photography, and as a result there was a place on a wall where a frame was meant to go that never was filled.
Every day we get our fill of noise on our facebooks, twitters, RSS readers and instagrams. I make plenty of it and receive in kind just the same, but most of it is just noise. Photography is amazing because even though an image is totally silent it has the potential to scream. It has the potential to speak to you and tell you that even though there's a lot of shit going on, some things are ok. Life is ok. Your family is ok. There is still good in the world.
Or something like that.
This is what love is about.
I was so excited to go see this little guy. I photographed Brigette and Steve's Hobart wedding in January last year, and one year on (nearly to the day) Oliver was born. He turned one month old over the weekend, and it was a great opportunity for me to spend some time documenting another milestone in their lives.
I didn't get to do one of those seemingly obligatory "2013 - A Year in Pictures" posts, for which I'm sorry. It was an amazing time, with amazing clients and lovely people who supported my work. It makes sense for me to share a few right now though...
I might start with some street photos.
I obviously love my street photography. I also love hanging out with people who love each other...
I photographed some really cool actors, musicians and other creative people.
Also hung out with some lovely families and made photographs they will treasure for a long time to come.
There were many other lovely moments for me, and most of them were due to these two people being in my life.
2014 is shaping up to be a really great year. I've already met with many lovely couples who want me to hang out with them on their special day, and can't wait to meet more!
Here's to the new year.