I captured this moment during the Rip Curl Pro Surfing competition at Bells Beach in 2018. Each day I was there I took about 1000 photos, maybe more, but this one was thrust back to the fore front of my mind today as we celebrated International Women’s day.
Steph Gilmore was crowned winner of the Rip Curl Pro in 2018 and she deserved every ounce of that win, it was gutsy and the crowd rushed her as she came out of the surf and onto the beach, hoisting her onto the shoulders to cheers of the crowd. A moment I won’t forget for a long time.
To all Women, may we Men recognize what you do is awe inspiring and we should hoist you onto our shoulders more often.
To all the women out there, Happy International Women’s Day.
2020 has definitely been a year that I, and I assume most of us, would like “a do over” if it was ever possible. We have witnessed so many terrible, tragic events such as the bush fires that ripped through the East Coast of Australia leveling thousands of homes, and sadly killing many Australians either trying to flee or fight the fires plus the unfortunate loss of up to a million native animals, COVID 19 tore through towns, cities and countries across the globe creating death and division amongst people, only to be followed by protests with many becoming violent pitching neighbor against neighbor. Death visited many families and took away loved ones way to soon, much like my Mum passing away, alone in a nursing home and her husband unable to be beside her due to COVID 19, only then to realise our family would not be able to attend her funeral due to state border closures and quarantine measures was gut wrenching.
Thankfully photographers and film makers from all walks of life documented many of these tragic, terrible and some times violent events and hopefully these millions of images and hours of video will serve an important visual record for future generations to look back and learn from our mistakes so they are not repeated well into the future.
The review of 2020 will be a little different this year. Its not just going to concentrate on the Top 20 photos of 2020but rather a reflection of what I photographed in 2020 and the year started off with a bang. The first collection of photos was captured during the Australia Day protest march, also known as Invasion day by Indigenous Australians. I often find the best way to capture that shot is to be in amongst the protesters where the emotion is at its most raw and that is how I captured the below photo of an Indigenous Elder who has nothing but sadness in his eyes.
Early February, I learned Flickr had been acquired by SmugMug and the CEO had written a letter about how they were losing money. After some research and rejoining Flickr and not wanting Flickr to suffer the same fate as Google Plus, I stuck my hand in my pocket and become a Flickr Pro member. For an Australian this is not a cheap exercise as the exchange rate fluctuates and Flickr only offers Pro Flickr accounts in approx. three currencies, and the Australian dollar is not one of them.
The Black Lives Matter movement in the US grew rapidly and unfortunately spiraled out of control with people losing their lives. Here in Perth, Australia the protest organisers refused to heed the state government’s warning not to hold the protest due to likely COVID breaches but the organisers went ahead with the protest whilst managing COVID safe practices, it was pretty much a peaceful protest with the majority wearing masks and observing social distancing. The protest also provided many photographers who had been stuck inside for quite some time an opportunity to get out and photograph the people and the event.
After a long period of lock down my wife and I had an opportunity to escape to the Australian outback and go camping, the best way to isolate is be in the middle of nowhere with no one else around. Apart from nearly running out of fuel…..twice during the trip we managed to four wheel drive our way to the most Western point of Australia, Steep Point. It took over 3 hours but it was well worth it. Also managed to sneak in a visit to Natures Window in Kalbarri National Park.
Visited the Busselton area where I spotted several young men jumping off the Southern Hemispheres longest jetty into the cold Indian ocean, asked if they minded if I took a few shots and lo and behold, one of them pulled out a kids scooter and lept of the jetty.
Early November, myself and a small group of mates attempted and conquered a remote four wheel drive track. It was an epic adventure with all but one of the vehicles sustaining some sort of damage but as it turned out it was a much needed getaway for our mental health.
And lastly I visited mates who are veterans struggling through 2020 and we walked through the bush and talked about the old times, mates who are no longer with us and how we hope 2021 will be better, for all of us.
If you have made it this far, from the bottom of my heart, Thank you
2020 has influenced the way many of us photograph our chosen subjects, with COVID safe plans in place to being watched, and some, fined by the police to being locked down and not leaving the house to pursue our passion for photography. To that end, I have been forced to take a ‘what’s happening in my city?’ and a ‘am I allowed out?’ approach to photography.
The came these bombshell comment from a colleague, ‘Your photos are very political!’ only to be further echoed by other colleagues leaving me scrambling to justify my choice of subjects. I noted as they scrolled through my Instagram feed none of them mentioned or commented on composition, cropping or even the editing technique etc. but rather commented on the theme behind each image.
I like to think that I’m the same as everyone else who enjoys photography, we are all, in our own way trying to tell a story with each and every single photograph and politics or a political theme is something I have gone out of my way to avoid by putting my efforts into capturing the emotions of people attending and the emotion around the event.
These comments stuck with me for quite sometime only to realise that you may inadvertently capture the politics surrounding the event whilst trying to capture peoples emotions.
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Whilst film photography is not my main method creating images but rather I find that helps to remain creative whilst reminding you to be cognizant of how many shots you can take. There is no snapping away unless you have a healthy budget to buy and develop film.
Nikon F75, FP4 Ilford, ISO 125, F8, 35mm B&W film
This gentleman is a lovely bloke and was really easy to chat to, which only made it easier to ask permission to take his photo.
Hope everyone has a great Sunday, until next time…..
The search to share my photography on a suitable social media platform has been ongoing for some time and along the way I discovered some unusual platforms like Vero and MeWe, only to realise they were either clunky or didn’t suit me or my needs. There are the usual suspects such as Instagram and Facebook but due to the ever-present privacy issues surrounding Facebook reminded me why I’ll never go back to Facebook.
Storage here on WordPress is also starting to become a problem where I will either need to upgrade my account or find alternatives such as cloud storage or share directly from social media accounts. Neither of these options interested me due to likely ongoing associated costs, quality control etc. It was about the same time that I learnt of the open letter from Don MacAskill, Flickr CEO about their financial situation.
Prompted by Don’s open letter to take a look at Flickr left me wondering why I originally left. Was there something else that was (perceived to be) better come along or was it because all of my family and friends were on platforms like Facebook, without any real answer I signed up for a free account.
This solved the storage problem and Flickr is a pretty good alternative to Facebook, not to mention the perks associated with a pro account like discounted Adobe products, camera bags and 50% off SmuMug Subscription so after a week or so, I signed up for a Pro account.
And I didn’t want to see a social media company such as Flickr fall only to leave Facebook owned platforms. That would be boring and quite frankly horrible.
But I have one gripe which hits me in the wallet, the true cost of a Flickr Pro account.
The USA – The price for an annual subscription is USD $59.99, plus tax
International – (where the countries currency is not yet supported) is USD $71.88, tax inclusive.
However what is not considered in the pricing structure is the exchange rate and for Australia, an annual subscription cost is normally over $100. When I signed up In February this year the cost was just over $108.00. At the time of writing, the cost of a Flickr Pro at $103.18.
I also know the folks at Flickr have as much influence over the exchange rate as I do but we live in a global online community where we should be all charged the same amount to sign up regardless of where you live.
Now before you go jumping on your keyboard sending me all sorts of angry comments, let’s look back to the past. For e.g. Adobe charged more for software (Photoshop) that was digitally downloaded. A considerable amount more which resulted in Australians becoming well known for pirating the required software and licenses. Thankfully, for the most part, this has changed as companies adopted a subscription business model.
So I would like to ask Don MacAskill, Flickr CEO to take a similar approach to Adobe, Nextflix and Spotify to consider charging the same amount regardless of where we live in the world. The result may be more people becoming a Flickr Pro members if we all pay the same ultimately saving the company.
Would love to know your thoughts so drop us comment below
Even though I have achieved any sort of real improvement shooting 35mm film, I find that I’m still drawn to the medium and continue to shoot but have become incredibly lazy having the film developed. Spending time at home provided an opportunity to have those rolls developed and it resulted in a walk down memory lane.
The old rolls of Kodak colour in the bottom of a box for almost 20 years ago encouraged me to have them and others developed. As I dropped them off, I was informed the very old rolls may have or may not have any photos due to the age and I shouldn’t get my hopes up but I was pleasantly surprised. They’re not excellent but just ok.
The Black and White rolls weren’t nearly as old as the colour and looking through the negatives I find that it’s taken me about 2 years to shoot 24 exposures. This may be because I want to make each frame count, considering you only get one shot at it. There is no instant confirmation your photo was exposed or even framed properly.
Now the task is to scan and process the remaining negatives and remember to shoot and develop more often as there are many forgotten moments.
I know it’s a clickbait title but more and more of us are spending a considerable amount of time at home so I thought I would share 3 of my favourite youtube channels as they have kept me entertained, informed and provide a huge amount of inspiration.
The first youtube channel comes with a warning. You need to have a sense of humour to enjoy this channel and I recommend if you’re easily offended that you don’t watch it. The Youtube channel in question is Fototripper by Gavin Hardcastle, AKA The Portly Prince. Amongst the humour, Gavin shares his knowledge on how he achieved his shot and the results.
Adam Gibbs – Landscape Photographer of the year 2018 and one of the judges in 2019 has an incredible body of work on YouTube. His vlogging style is easy to watch, listen, learn and be inspired to get out and shoot landscape photos. Adam is also a pretty good drone pilot and he incorporates his drone footage into his videos. I highly recommend Adam’s channel even if landscape photography is not your thing.
The next YouTube channel is Sean Tucker. His Vlogs are polished, extremely well presented, well thought out covering topics such as consistency, legalities on the street to finding time to get out and shoot. Sean also interviews other photographers and videographers who have inspired him. Well worth every minute watching Sean’s videos.
These are just a few of the YouTube channels I’m addicted to and I’m going to need a YouTube diet at the end of this crisis but in the meantime please drop me a link to your favourite YouTube channel.
WARNING: Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people should be aware that this blog post/website may contain images or names of people who have since passed away.
Australia day is celebrated on the 26th of January with a National public holiday, many Australians go to the beach, cook barbecues, play backyard cricket, watch fireworks and generally enjoy themselves, but there are also protests by Australia’s First Nations people who call the day ‘Invasion Day’ or ‘Survival Day’. These protests occur every Australia day, in every Australian Capital city and are growing in not only numbers, but also growing louder every year.
Trying to tell this story with words was not only difficult due to the amount of emotion and politics surrounding the day forcing me to procrastinate over what I had written. After several days I came to the conclusion that a story can be told through the power of a single photo, and there are thousands of powerful photos out there. One photo that immediately comes to mind is ‘Tank Man‘ (Jeff Widener, 1986) who attempted to stop tanks leaving Tiananmen Square by standing in their path. That single photo told a story to the world of a lone man standing up against something bigger than him and believing in it enough to risk his life. With that in mind, (and no more procrastinating) I’ll let the photos do the storytelling and leave the emotional and political charged comments to others.
A proud Indigenous woman stares down the barrel of a TV camera
I am interested to hear your thoughts on how you photograph difficult situations including those that may have emotions attached to them and how you overcame those challenges.
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I’m always on the lookout for new and interesting blogs to read and 2020 will be no different but today I want to share with you three blogs that produce great content and have kept me coming back throughout 2019. They are different from others and are a pleasure to view their photographs but to also read and be inspired or question why you have so much gear.
The first blog is all about street photography, which does not only interest me but also comes with many challenges, physical and technical not to mention the fear of photographing people you do not know however there is one person who has conquered many of those challenges. Pagepics, curated by Chris Page, is about his trials and tribulations overcoming the challenges he has faced whilst pursuing the art of street photography. Chris also discusses some of the challenges he faces and provides tips when making street photographs, in particular in new cities and environments. Chris’s blog is also a space where he showcases an ever-increasing body of work and its always a pleasure to follow his work.
On occasions, we photographers hit creative blocks which prevent you from making great photographs and the next blog is the place I go to be inspired or challenged. Frank Jansen’s blog titled Dutch Goes the Photo has a weekly challenge called the Tuesday Photo Challenge with themes that will provide that bit of inspiration to get those creative juices flowing again. The Tuesday Photo Challenge has definitely helped jump start my photography after putting the camera down.
Dan from 35Hunter raises many questions and discusses a wide variety of subjects from why you should continue to blog to just using one camera a month. His frequent posts force you to reconsider all the photographic equipment sitting idle and inspires you to try a different approach to your photography. Dan also doesn’t like “likes” and to the point, he has disabled the like button on his blog. Dan would rather you leave a comment creating discussion around the subject, which is not an easy task with social media platforms having a like button everywhere. So if you after conversation, be engaged and read thought-provoking content, check out his blog. You won’t be disappointed.
I hope you enjoy these blogs as much as I did in 2019 and I ask if you have any blogs that you really enjoy and follow regularly, please drop a link in the comments below so I can follow their photographic journey.
Jim encourages all photographers to join in and all the details can be found by clicking on this link. Even if you don’t participate this year, go and have a look at what other photographers have created. It may just provide that little bit of inspiration for 2020.
So without further a due, these are my (favourite) moments in time for 2019.
The 13th Horse – Barwon Heads, Australia
Speed Demons, Melbourne, Australia
Kelly Slater, Rip Curl Pro, Bells Beach, Australia
Niagara Falls, Canada
The Comet Windmill, South Australia
If you have a favourite photo from 2019 and would like to share it, please leave a link in the comments.