Category 'Art'

A few months ago I saw a call out on Facebook looking for creatives to join a dark 'Alice in Wonderland' themed shoot. It was like all my Christmases had come at once so I quickly applied and was stoked to be asked to join the team which included five models, three hair and make up artists, four photographers, a headpiece designer, and an effects specialist. We all met one Sunday in the middle of a pine forest on the very outskirts of town. Digitaliss Demiwolf and her partner, Rob Nealson, had already spent hours setting up four mini locations as well as the main tea party table, which was laden with the most incredible treasures. I could have spent all day shooting the table alone. The amount of work they put into creating pieces, organising the shoot, transporting everything on site and setting up and packing down was just mind-blowing. [envira-gallery id="4718"] [caption id="attachment_4671" align="aligncenter" width="600"]Alice in Wonderland, photoshoot, tea party Image courtesy of Mark Lynam[/caption]   While the models were being styled I helped the incredibly talented Belinda, from Husk & Vine, collect pine cones to use in one of her marvellous horticouture creations. I'd been following her work for awhile and was just thrilled to meet her and assist in the creation of one of her pieces, even in the smallest way. [caption id="attachment_4677" align="aligncenter" width="600"] Image courtesy of Mark Lynam[/caption]   Once the hair & make up artists were finished doing their thing the models and photographers split off into groups to start capturing the mini wonderland. I was super excited that the footwear designers, Pendragon Shoes, supplied shoes for the photo shoot. I've been a fan of their fairy tale creations for almost 20 years (they've even made shoes for Neil Gaiman and Amanda Palmer!) and I was so happy to have them share their shoes and creative suggestions. I tend to still get a wee bit overwhelmed on photo shoots and only wish I'd had more time documenting their shoes in the way they deserve. [gallery columns="2" size="full" ids="4681,4680"] [gallery columns="2" size="full" ids="4678,4679"]   I first teamed up with model Tiffany Lesley, made up by Ashlee Finnigan, in an area with a small table and an even smaller tea set, which had strong vibes of the scene where Alice grapples with her size and first meets the caterpillar. Tiffany has been recommended to me several times over the years and she was great fun to work with. [gallery size="full" columns="2" ids="4682,4702"]   Alice in Wonderland, caterpillar, photography, photoshoot   Next I photographed Taylah Jay, made up by Mellissa Johnston, in a kind of outdoor living room set decorated with vintage props. Taylah looked a lot like the Red Queen so I tried to play up that vibe. There were several vintage furs included in the sets, which I grappled with morally to the point that I nearly pulled out of the shoot, but I tried to make these part of the story. In one image I photoshopped a bunny into Taylah's lap while off to the side you can see a rabbit fur draped over the chest of drawers, giving the indication that perhaps the Red Queen isn't so fond of rabbits. It's a pretty dark concept but these are the places my mind goes ... [gallery columns="2" size="full" ids="4684,4685"]   Afterwards I got to work with the superstar of the day, Digitaliss Demiwolf, made up by Ashlee Finnigan, who posed at the end of a trail of teacups. She was great to work with, needing little direction, and able to pull off several poses and moods. In my head I gave each of the models characters and, although I can't explain why, I had strong Cheshire Cat vibes from this set. [gallery columns="2" size="full" ids="4686,4688"]   [gallery columns="2" size="full" ids="4689,4687"]   By this time the sun was starting to set creating the perfect lighting for the group tea party scene. We all crowded around the table trying to snap what we could as the models played with the props. It was a tricky situation to shoot, especially trying to get the models to look the same way at the same time, but I ended up with several images I'm happy with. Husk & Vine did such a stellar job with the headpieces and Chloe's worked perfectly for this scene as it resembled the Mad Hatter's famous top hat. I've no idea if this was intentional!   [envira-gallery id="4714"]   When I was 18 I had this dream about walking in a forest at night and stumbling upon the Luminaries (heavenly bodies) having a dinner party. I became obsessed with the idea and have since written both a short film and a short story based on the premise. Without having any creative input into conceiving this shoot I was shocked and moved to see it come to life for real. tea party, photoshoot, alice in wonderland, photography, photoshoot   With the sun disappearing fast I grabbed Chloe Vnt, made up by Mellissa Johnston, and we headed to the last mini set made of mirrors attached to trees. Although my flash started playing up (user error perhaps) the images I took during this small window of time were my favourites from the whole shoot, as Chloe is a natural and I really loved her look. [gallery columns="2" size="full" ids="4694,4695"]   As we began to pack up I saw the final model, Jocelyn Lothian, made up by Mj Nolan, standing among some long grass looking divine while she waited for another photographer to grab their gear. I was fast running out of time and hadn't had a chance to work with Jocelyn yet so I used the couple of minutes I had to capture Jocelyn's regal look and posing. [gallery columns="2" size="full" ids="4696,4697"]   Throughout this whole process Mark Lynam, assisted by Rob Nealson, was running between the sets creating special effects with his smoke machine and hot ice to add something extra to each scene, while also snapping behind the scenes images himself. [gallery size="full" ids="4699,4698,4700"]   Everyone was so professional and great to work with. My practice is fairly solitary so it's always a joy to work with other creatives and while it wasn't always easy with such a big team I'd happily do it again to capture a little piece of magic during an ordinary day. [caption id="attachment_4701" align="aligncenter" width="960"] Image courtesy of Warwick Davies[/caption]   I've chosen 16 images from this shoot for my 2019 calendar, which you can learn more about here.   CREDITS: Concept / Styling / Creative Directors: Digitaliss DemiwolfRob Nealson Photographers: Hayley Roberts, Warwick Davies, Adrian Forster, JD Suarez Models: Taylah JayJocelyn Lothian, Chloe VntTiffany LesleyDigitaliss Demiwolf Hair and Make Up: Ashlee Finnigan, Mj Nolan, Mellissa Johnston Headpiece Designers: Husk & Vine, Digitaliss Demiwolf Shoes: Pendragon Shoes Special Effects & Behind the Scenes Photography: Mark Lynam    

[caption id="attachment_4516" align="alignright" width="121"] Thomas Petrie <3[/caption] Throughout the history of Moreton Bay there is one person who shines more than most, and that is Thomas Petrie. I read all I could about his life but I couldn't find the right story to portray for this project, mainly because he was so heavily involved with the Aboriginal communities and I'm unable to tell their stories without specific consent. Instead I went searching for locations that were important to him which still exist in a natural form today and that's when I found Sweeney Reserve and was immediately taken by its incredible trees. When I learned that it was once THE weekend destination for Brisbane residents I knew I had to include it in 'The Land and I' project which you can see at the 'Stories of Sweeney Reserve' page. I decided that I wanted to photograph a picnic scene as a throwback to the time when it was a popular picnic destination, by including as many picnic baskets as possible, but with no one around, to show the transience of recreational spaces. I studied what picnics looked like during the 1920s and set about collecting as many picnic baskets as I could from op shops and friends, as well as sheets, historical looking hats and crockery. It was a costly process. This image was my problem child and I ended up shooting it EIGHT TIMES. The first was to test what angle I should shoot it from. [caption id="attachment_4517" align="aligncenter" width="300"] My darling Koda, may she RIP.[/caption]   The second was to test if I'd have enough baskets.   The third was in my backyard to see how it would all look. [caption id="attachment_4519" align="aligncenter" width="960"] Say hi to Fudge who we were dog-sitting.[/caption]   The fourth was to test various spots at Sweeney Reserve to find the right location. [gallery columns="2" size="medium" ids="4521,4520"]   The fifth was to shoot my chosen location thinking I could then photograph the picnic baskets at home and composite them together. But I decided during this shoot I'd need to photograph everything in the one place.   The sixth was on Anzac Day. I spent the evening before buying picnic food. I watched the overcast weather all morning and when I decided there was the perfect amount of cloud cover to diffuse the light my Mum and I drove to Sweeney Reserve to set up. Immediately the sun came out and refused to go away again. We set everything up and then I realised I'd left the food at home and had to go back and get it, leaving Mum stranded with a sea of picnic baskets for 40 minutes. We set up the food and waited and waited for the sun to go away. We were stared at A LOT. Despite all this, when I got home I decided the images were too busy and I'd need to shoot it again.   The seventh was in my backyard. I changed the shooting angle. Recreated the basket setting from my first image and waited patiently for the sun to dip behind the clouds. I decided to simplify the scene by using no food.   The eighth was during pouring rain when I had to go back to Sweeney's and find a less busy scene. I sat in the car and waited for the rain to stop and then ducked out and shot panoramas of my chosen areas as quickly as I could.   Then I spent weeks combining the baskets from the seventh shoot and the scene from the eighth into one final image. I was amused by these flying carpets as I added in extra baskets at the back.   The process was a pain as I had to cut out each picnic basket individually, replace the grass underneath which I cobbled together from many different shots, and then painted in shadows under each setting. I added the emu and kangaroo from different zoo photos and the rainbow was created within Photoshop. I spent even more weeks massaging the colour and then at the last minute decided to fade the edges to black and white to give it a historical aspect. [gallery columns="2" size="large" ids="4514,4515"] As you can imagine I am really glad this one is over. The final image: sweeney reserve, sweeney's reserve, emu, dalaipi, kangaroo, picnic, rainbow, park, abandoned, history, travel, the land and i, fine art

This project is supported by the Regional Arts Development Fund (RADF) which is a partnership between theQueensland Government and Moreton Bay Regional Council to support local arts and culture in regional Queensland.

 

It was an experience I had at Cedar Creek during an artist retreat that really inspired 'The Land and I' project so I decided to use it as my test location. If you haven't seen the project already, please visit the 'Stories of Cedar Creek' page. After researching the historical history of the Cedar Creek area I knew I wanted to portray the fertility of the region by covering a dress with flowers and scattering flowers around the rocks. I scoured all my nearby op shops and finally found a tattered wedding dress for $20. I have a supply of fake flowers I planned to pin to the dress but I noticed that if they didn't have distinguishable centres (like daisies) it was hard to tell what they were, so after spending more money on fake flowers than I care to mention I safety pinned flowers all over the dress as you can see in the time-lapse below. I created the headpiece by carefully pinning flowers to a hairnet.     [caption id="attachment_4200" align="aligncenter" width="960"]moreton bay, samford The dress[/caption]   I was unable to get permission from the land owners to access the Cedar Creek waterfalls and I wasn't prepared to cart this massive dress 20 minutes up the creek bed so I visited a number of times to find another spot to use, eventually settling for a small waterfall to the left of the private property gate. To get the right angle I had to climb down some tall rocks and rock hop over to the other bank which I must have done 40 times on shoot day! [caption id="attachment_4067" align="aligncenter" width="960"]cedar creek, samford, moreton bay Shoot location near last bridge - I was standing on the light grey rock in the middle, looking back at the waterfall[/caption]   None of this would have been possible as a self-portrait so I recruited a friend to model the dress but because I was about 20 metres from her and with the noise of a waterfall between us there was lots of yelling and hand signals to direct her poses. We shot between 3-5pm on a somewhat overcast weekday as weekends see an influx of visitors and I wanted as much privacy as possible. There was a small softbox with a Speedlite to the model's right just to spill some light onto her face. I shot long exposures to get the flowing waterfall, expanded the frame to show more of the scene, and replaced the background to include the creek bed extending into the distance. [gallery columns="2" size="large" link="none" ids="4203,4204,4206,4201"]   I took along some fabric to try and make the dress blend into the waterfall. samford, moreton bay   My mum kindly acted as assistant, stretching fabric, flicking hair and taking behind the scenes video. Model: Aliesha Kissener Assistant: Jennifer Roberts samford, moreton bay     The final image: cedar creek, samford, moreton bay, flowers, land and i, fine art, travel, history  

This project is supported by the Regional Arts Development Fund (RADF) which is a partnership between the Queensland Government and Moreton Bay Regional Council to support local arts and culture in regional Queensland.

 

Having worked there for three years, Bribie Island is close to my heart, and I've noticed how the local's faces light up when they talk about its history. It was impossible not to include Bribie Island as part of 'The Land and I' project since it has experienced such pivotal historical moments and once I'd learned of the uniqueness of Red Beach I knew I had my location. If you haven't seen the project already, please visit the 'Stories of Bribie Island' page at Visit Moreton Bay Region. [caption id="attachment_4485" align="aligncenter" width="960"] Red Beach[/caption]   Like many I was quite taken with the story of Bribie the Basket Maker and initially wanted to portray the convict with his Indigenous lover but was advised against it by the historical society who understandably are sick to death of the myth. As I was already pretty sold on the concept I decided to keep the idea but shift the focus to Thomas Welsby, the story's creator. I think the notion of this enduring myth having been hotly contested and written about excessively for generations is just a captivating as the original story itself. When studying the few existing photos of Welsby I realised he kind of looks like my dad, so that was my model sorted! We had to leave around 5am to make it to Bribie by sunrise so it's lucky my dad's an early riser (although not so lucky for me who needs my sleep). We walked for a few minutes in the dark to my chosen spot where I set up my camera and lights (which kept blowing over) while he shivered away in his secondhand suit. Thanks Dad. Eagles circled overhead to see what we were up to. [gallery size="large" ids="4488,4484,4486"]   I always envisioned the Welsby character writing the 'Bribie The Basket Maker' story in the sky with an oversized fountain pen because a normal sized pen would be too difficult to see. I tracked down a historical looking font for the the text which was a challenge to make fit in a pleasing way. The koala was added from shots taken at Australia Zoo as many believe Bribie's name actually came from the Indigenous word for koala, 'Boorabee' or 'Borobi' (which you may recognise from the 2018 Commonwealth Games' mascot) but this word originates from the Gold Coast region so no one is sure. The crab and basket are stock images and their significance is explained further in the main post.   It was very difficult for me to get any form of Indigenous approval for this project as none of the elders I reached out to responded, which meant I had to be very careful including any Indigenous content. I decided to show the couple strictly as small silhouettes which I created by finding stock images of an Aboriginal woman and colonial man and filling their shapes with black. I wanted to include other references to Indigenous culture of the time but could not do so without permission. The final image: [caption id="attachment_4483" align="aligncenter" width="960"]fine art, thomas welsby, bribie the basket maker, myth, koala, crab, red beach, skirmish point, history, travel, moreton bay, pumicestone passage, bribie island (Apologies as my website has a terrible habit of making images look fuzzy)[/caption]  

This project is supported by the Regional Arts Development Fund (RADF) which is a partnership between theQueensland Government and Moreton Bay Regional Council to support local arts and culture in regional Queensland.

 

I chose Lake Samsonvale as a subject for my 'The Land and I' project because the history of Samsonvale has virtually been erased by the creation of North Pine Dam so I wanted to pay homage to the community that one stood there by compositing houses rising from the water. If you've not seen the project already, please visit the 'Stories of Lake Samsonvale' page at Visit Moreton Bay Region. Lake Samsonvale provides a number of visitor areas so during my initial site recce I chose 'Tukuwompa Park' as the most picturesque to photograph. I came back one evening at sunset to photograph it as I wanted to use the symbolism of the 'sun setting on the community'. I visited a second time on an overcast day to capture images for the travel blog and figured I might as well shoot the scene again with moody clouds just so I had some options. I also took some panoramas at Bullocky Rest because, as it's the main visitor area, I figured it would also be the most recognisable. After much experimentation I ended up using the photos from Bullocky Rest in the final image because I liked the banks on either side. [gallery columns="2" size="large" ids="4455,4456"]   The houses were all photographed at Old Petrie Town as I really wanted to include authentic historical houses from around the region and felt it was important to include the few remaining houses that were moved from Samsonvale before the dam was built. It was extremely tough organising a time to shoot there as it's a very busy place, complicated by weeks of rain which continually hampered my plans. As the deadline loomed I decided to shoot at 6am on Good Friday. It was raining as we drove to Old Petrie Town but thankfully it eased for the few hours I was shooting and began again just as I finished. Thank you weather gods! Each house was photographed from the top of a ladder because I needed to get the angles right. Many thanks to my assistant, Mum, who is always a trooper in these situations. And also to Nicholas Dodd for his help providing background information on Old Petrie Town.   [gallery columns="2" size="large" ids="4457,4458"]   In Photoshop I stitched the panorama of Lake Samsonvale, cut out each of the houses and created their reflections, then added the fisherman, flying geese, trees and sunset sky. The colouring took weeks of experimentation to get right and I'm still not convinced (I even made three new colour variations today even though I "technically" finished this image weeks ago!). The final(ish) result:   history, samsonvale, moreton bay, lake samsonvale, north pine dam, radf  

This project is supported by the Regional Arts Development Fund (RADF) which is a partnership between theQueensland Government and Moreton Bay Regional Council to support local arts and culture in regional Queensland.

 

A little over four years ago I was standing in the kitchen and noticed how lovely the light was hitting my mother's desk so naturally I had to climb under it and take some self-portraits. It was only the second time I'd ever taken artistic self portraits and I was pleased that there were some really beautiful poses among them. I love the glowing skin, the pop of the pink and my face hidden in darkness. [gallery columns="2" size="large" ids="4395,4397,4396,4394"]   However those photos, along with many, many others have sat on my hard drive all this time, unseen by anyone but me. A couple of times I've tried to make something of them but the ideas never really took off. [gallery size="large" ids="4399,4400,4398"]   I actually really like that third image but I could never quite work out why an angel would be trapped in a jar. If my stories don't make sense I will abandon them. It's frustrating because I've seen plenty of beautiful images from other photographers that have no story or make no sense, but I personally need my images to be believable, despite their strangeness. Recently I thought I'd have one more go at it and by giving the image a more renaissance toning it began to go in a direction I was happy with. My mother loves angels so I've grown up surrounded by them. She even pins an angel brooch to her outfit every single day. Only natural then that one would eventually creep into my work. For me, the story here is about an angel who feels overburdened by modern society. No one is truly good or truly bad and I feel like those lines blur even more as time marches on. If we take the seven deadly sins - pride, greed, lust, envy, gluttony, wrath and sloth - I know that I, personally, commit at least one of these sins daily (mainly gluttony thanks to chocolate) but fundamentally I believe I'm a good person despite this. I'm not religious at all but I'm well acquainted with the bible and if there IS a heaven and hell, how difficult would it be to unravel the complexity of a human mind and proclaim it either good or bad? Particularly when the decision results in an eternity of either reward or torture. So yes, I feel like this angel is trying to hide herself away from the overwhelming burden of her position, hence the name 'A Burden Too Big To Bear'. The ground was photographed at Mt Cook in New Zealand. I chose it because of the golden tone of the grass. Her wings are from a swan in London's Kensington Park. The sky is a mixture of several layers. [gallery size="large" ids="4401,4402,4403"] The end result! fine art, photography, photograph, angel, halo, night, shield, field  

For some time now I've been feeling the call of the wild, a desire to run off into the woods and shack up in a log cabin away from society. As urbanisation consumes the natural world and disillusionment with consumerism and 'stuff' grows I've noticed that more and more people are sharing this desire. I've been reading about people with similar interests, starting with Barbara Newhall Follett's, 'A House Without Windows', a novel about a girl who leaves her family to live in the forest. The book was published in 1927 when Barbara was just 12 years old. At 35 she walked out of her home and was never seen again. Currently I'm reading 'The Nature Fix: Why nature makes us happier, healthier and more creative' highlighting the studies of leading scientists into nature's effects on health, crime and productivity. It's fascinating stuff and I hope to explore it further in a forest based series I plan to work on next year. Lacking the funds and the means to find a forest home of my own I decided to book into O'Reilly's Rainforest Retreat in Lamington National Park. Here I spent four days alone wandering by waterfalls and through ancient forests in an effort to soothe my soul and unload some of life's burdens. Forest bathing, or Shinrin-yoku as it is called in Japan where the term was coined, truly is magical and I long for a time when I have a little forest of my own. I hope the intent of the image is obvious in that, by spending time in nature, it causes us to bloom ourselves. This image was photographed in two spots. The pose was taken from me draped over an Antarctic Beech tree estimated to be thousands of years old.   antarctic beech, tree, lamington national park, o'reilly's, photography, moss, green, forest, rainforest   The location was photographed near one of the waterfalls along the Box Forest Circuit.     A really cool little feature of this image is that if you look closely between the two centre rocks and behind the middle one you'll see streaks of white and blue. This is the Lamington Spiny Crayfish which only lives in this part of the world. [gallery columns="2" size="large" ids="4366,4365"]   I've released the image to coincide with Earth Day, the focus of which for 2018 is reducing plastic pollution and being mindful about your consumption of single-use plastics such as plastic bottles, cling wrap, food containers, cups and straws. We have lost so much of the natural world but as governments start to realise the healing benefits of green spaces we can all do our part to preserve what remains.   forest bathing, shinrin yoku, forest, rainforest, woods, plant, grow, earth day, o'reilly's, lamington national park, waterfall, river, ecotherapy, nature therapy, nature, healing  

When I was 16 I overheard someone in an elevator say ‘why waste the emotion’.  At the time I was riddled with teenage angst and thought this was the most profound thing I’d ever heard. I adopted it as my mantra, my security net against the world, and slowly taught myself to repress the messy and unnecessary emotions that come from not only being human but also an empath. After two decades of practice I’ve become a fairly unemotional person. I am an INTJ anyway, the type of introvert who prefers reason to feelings (hence why I like to categorise myself), and I’ve learnt to avoid situations that require emotional expenditure. I refuse to watch sad or scary movies, I have little to no desire for a relationship let alone children, and I keep my friends at an arm’s length. I do these things unconsciously and I’m certainly not proud of them but I’ve had to make peace with the way I am. Naturally as a black hearted ice queen I’ve built up a fairly impenetrable fortress with bricks made of cynicism and distrust. So you can imagine my surprise when I found someone had snuck through my defences. This series is about a heart that starts to feel again and the tidal surge of emotion that comes after decades of repression. It’s also, in part, about the need for an artist to bleed to create meaningful art. I want the images to portray something beautiful, about broken and hardened hearts that begin to heal and awaken; about that delightful moment when something or someone touches your heart profoundly. These are the messages I will send these images out into the world with. The reality though is much darker. The reason the security of my fortress failed is because it was not equipped for the small percentage of people who operate differently from the rest of us. This is how I became briefly entangled with my first and last narcissist; that particular breed of toxic human who feeds on the emotions of others. When you’re cautious about guarding your feelings there is no worse person you could invite into your life than these masters of manipulation. But empaths and narcissists are drawn to each other because they both have high emotional intelligence, it’s just that one uses this skill to heal while the other uses it to destroy. Thankfully I quickly realised what I was dealing with and was able to escape with only slight emotional bruising. That story might inspire my next series. I read a lovely quote on a blog that said ‘narcissists can be like angels in disguise. They are catalysts of change in people’s lives: they stir up all the old wounds, scars and shadow elements in a person and force growth.’ This sums up perfectly what this work is actually trying to convey. [gallery size="medium" link="file" ids="4312,4314,4313,4315,4318,4317,4319,4316,4320"] [caption id="attachment_4311" align="aligncenter" width="300"]love, heart, digital manipulation, coming to life, fine art, composite, color, dark, photography, photograph, valentine, romantic, steel, guarded, protected, metal When I realised it was all lies[/caption]  

How I created ‘All the times my heart awoke’

Prior to my realisation I had started storyboarding ideas around the concept of someone who is reluctant to give their heart away. I found that many of the ideas revolved around physical representations of a heart coming to life from a state of stasis and so I decided to explore this theme by applying different creative treatments to one heart image to try and tell the same story in as many ways as possible. I thought about photographing a real heart but naturally this came with its own set of icky complications and so I decided to use a stock image from Pixelsquid. Pixelsquid is brilliant because their images are 3D renders which can be rotated 360 degrees. This allowed me to use the same heart image from a range of angles to add variety to the series. [caption id="attachment_4321" align="aligncenter" width="300"] Human heart from Pixelsquid[/caption]   I wanted this series to be a Photoshop project instead of photography one and so I didn’t shoot a single image for this series, using only stock I’ve purchased or photographs I’ve shot before. With much experimentation and the help of YouTube tutorials I applied different effects to give each heart a unique look. At the moment my focus is on creating work that, while still dear to my ‘heart’, is faster to make, cheaper to produce and more affordable to buy. After much soul searching I’ve decided to spend 2018 focusing less on pursuing a fine art career and more on creating collectible art pieces for my Society6 and Redbubble stores and so this series is in that ‘vein’. [gallery size="medium" ids="4324,4325,4323"]   I created the first nine images with the intention of portraying something romantic and uplifting. After much deliberation I then created the tenth image that puts a whole new spin on the series. Since it was partially inspired by real life events the last image was necessary in sticking to the truth. While it’s difficult to talk about the exact circumstances that inspired it, the beauty of art is that it allows you to abstractly express the things you’re uncomfortable saying with words. It’s the best kind of therapy. I loved the challenge of telling a story in this way and recommend the exercise of using one object to tell a story for other creators who are feeling stuck or looking to hone their skills. What does this series stir up for you?

When I was a child the neighbourhood kids and I would spend our free time riding bikes among the surrounding bushland. Although our street was branded a dead end if you ventured beyond the road signs you’d find yourself in wild terrain full of life where brumbies roamed and snakes slithered across your path. Inspired by the features of the landscape I used to make up stories for the other kids about how the land came to be. I wouldn’t say I was a natural storyteller but something about that place worked its way under my skin. Ever since I’ve wanted to travel around Australia with a dream of creating stories in our iconic landscapes to give the landscape a voice and inspire others to share and build their own stories in these natural settings. Australians have a long history of storytelling whether it be Dreamtime or “spinning a yarn”. It’s a framework we create to feel a sense of connection, both to the land and to other people, to the past and the present. Our Indigenous ancestors felt a deep spiritual connection with country fostered through the sharing of stories yet people of the present day experience a disconnect between themselves and the land; it’s merely something to plunder and urbanise. ‘The Land and I’ project is a photographic series that brings stories inspired by local history and Indigenous culture to life using iconic Australian landscapes as a backdrop with the intention of highlighting places of natural beauty to instil a sense of community pride that ensures these spaces will be protected and treasured. We need to be educated about and reminded of the histories, memories and stories our landscapes contain and keep a record of not just people but also place. I intend the works to become talking points for the community, inspiring others to visit these locations and make or share their own stories, photos and artworks, ultimately encouraging a sense of belonging and promoting reverence for our natural environment. These will be collected in an online cultural repository that attempts to capture the sights, sounds, smell and feel of these natural environments throughout time from a variety of viewpoints for the benefit of future generations. Initially I will flesh out the concept using locations within the Moreton Bay Region, experimenting with lighting, framing and set design, working with amateur models and costumes created myself to establish the look and feel for the series. In the long term I plan to expand this project all over Australia, working with locally sourced talent in partnership with sponsors, government funds, and tourism boards to raise awareness.

[caption id="attachment_3358" align="alignright" width="300"] 'There Was' by Charles Blackman[/caption] If I haven’t mentioned it before my favourite artist is Charles Blackman and, in particular, his Schoolgirls and Angels series. He manages to imbue his simple paintings with this lonely darkness that I just adore. And it’s a theme that all my favourite art pieces seem to have in common. Lonely darkness. Anyway, recently I learned how to make a photo of day look like night. It’s really simple. Basically you drop your exposure and blacks and add an overall blue tone, but for some reason I’d never been able to figure out how to do it, and not for lack of trying. Sometimes the simplest Photoshop tricks completely elude me. But now I finally have the tool I need to create my own lonely darkness.   [gallery columns="2" size="medium" ids="3361,3360"]   ‘The Stars are Falling’ was initially inspired by an episode of 'Angel' I watched long ago that featured a storyline where the sky rained with fire. It got me thinking about the moment of peace the world would experience when everyone looked to the sky wondering what was going on, before everything erupted into chaos. With all that has gone on in 2016, political upheaval, the deaths of so many icons, as well as personal struggles such as losing my job, alienating friends, and reaching a plateau with my art, it’s impossible to ignore that everything is changing. All of which has manifested in this image, ‘The Stars are Falling’. I started the year with an image that symbolises rebirth, ‘Metamorphosis’ and I feel as if this new image metaphorically completes that “circle of life”. [caption id="attachment_2869" align="aligncenter" width="300"]bird, conceptual, art, phoenix, baptism, reinvention, photograph, fire, flames Metamorphosis[/caption]   The rooftop in the image is from the bakery of my favourite restaurant, ‘Harvest’, in Newrybar and was photographed during a road trip I took exactly a year ago. The ‘meteor’ is a stock photo sourced from Unsplash and is attributed to NASA. The girl is, of course, a self-portrait, photographed, as usual, in my backyard. [gallery columns="2" size="medium" ids="3354,3357,3356,3355"]   Happy New Year and here's to 2017 and whatever it shall bring. :)

11
Nov

Alice in Wonderland – a dark ‘tea party’ themed group shoot

A few months ago I saw a call out on Facebook looking for creatives to join a dark ‘Alice in Wonderland’ themed shoot. It was like all my Christmases had come at once so I quickly applied and was stoked to be asked to join the team which included five models, three hair and make […]

22
Jun

How I created ‘Sweeney Reserve’

Throughout the history of Moreton Bay there is one person who shines more than most, and that is Thomas Petrie. I read all I could about his life but I couldn’t find the right story to portray for this project, mainly because he was so heavily involved with the Aboriginal communities and I’m unable to […]

16
Jun

How I created ‘Cedar Creek’

It was an experience I had at Cedar Creek during an artist retreat that really inspired ‘The Land and I’ project so I decided to use it as my test location. If you haven’t seen the project already, please visit the ‘Stories of Cedar Creek’ page. After researching the historical history of the Cedar Creek […]

13
May

How I created ‘Bribie Island’

Having worked there for three years, Bribie Island is close to my heart, and I’ve noticed how the local’s faces light up when they talk about its history. It was impossible not to include Bribie Island as part of ‘The Land and I’ project since it has experienced such pivotal historical moments and once I’d […]

13
May

How I created ‘Lake Samsonvale’

I chose Lake Samsonvale as a subject for my ‘The Land and I’ project because the history of Samsonvale has virtually been erased by the creation of North Pine Dam so I wanted to pay homage to the community that one stood there by compositing houses rising from the water. If you’ve not seen the project […]

7
May

A Burden Too Big To Bear

A little over four years ago I was standing in the kitchen and noticed how lovely the light was hitting my mother’s desk so naturally I had to climb under it and take some self-portraits. It was only the second time I’d ever taken artistic self portraits and I was pleased that there were some […]

22
Apr

Forest bathing

For some time now I’ve been feeling the call of the wild, a desire to run off into the woods and shack up in a log cabin away from society. As urbanisation consumes the natural world and disillusionment with consumerism and ‘stuff’ grows I’ve noticed that more and more people are sharing this desire. I’ve […]

7
Jan

New series: All the times my heart awoke

When I was 16 I overheard someone in an elevator say ‘why waste the emotion’.  At the time I was riddled with teenage angst and thought this was the most profound thing I’d ever heard. I adopted it as my mantra, my security net against the world, and slowly taught myself to repress the messy […]

26
Jun

‘The Land and I’ project

When I was a child the neighbourhood kids and I would spend our free time riding bikes among the surrounding bushland. Although our street was branded a dead end if you ventured beyond the road signs you’d find yourself in wild terrain full of life where brumbies roamed and snakes slithered across your path. Inspired […]

31
Dec

The making of ‘The Stars are Falling’

If I haven’t mentioned it before my favourite artist is Charles Blackman and, in particular, his Schoolgirls and Angels series. He manages to imbue his simple paintings with this lonely darkness that I just adore. And it’s a theme that all my favourite art pieces seem to have in common. Lonely darkness. Anyway, recently I […]