Thursday, 29 October 2015

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Bleu de Bondi

Excusing my terrible and most likely flawed French - borrowed from an incredible scent courtesy of Chanel (that my boyfriend and I adore to bits), every year, Sculptures by the Sea pops up at the beginning of Spring/Summer at the Bondi to Tamarama walk. Ever since going the first time for a visual arts excursion in high school, it seems wrong to miss it. This day took place in the midst of a really hectic time period for me, and this morning after, every part of my body aches. But this is one of those aches that are worthwhile, and the exhaustion I felt when I got home at 10:20PM was the kind that pushes you into an incredibly deep and necessary sleep. I did wake up in the middle of the night to take earphones out of my ears - I had fallen asleep mid-conversation with Leo.

Overall though, I think this day out at Bondi - then UTS - then awesome warehouse party at Saint Peters - was a good day. I'm still exhausted, I still have exam notes to prepare, lessons to prepare, students to teach, assessments to complete, society errands to run, and many emails to send, but sometimes it is the right decision to throw it all aside and have one day to yourself. I admit my lifestyle is on the ruthless side. I wake up at 7AM every morning (no exceptions), pound through a 30-40 minute HIIT or pilates (or both!) session, sleep on the train in time for a 10AM start, and slot in every activity imaginable before I try to make it home for dinner at 6-7PM. But I'm okay with this. It works for me. But it's not the kind of thing that would work without a break once in a while. This day was one of those breaks.

I've been doing a lot of event photography lately. #selective is doing well, and every part of me sincerely hopes that we'll be able to build a sustainable business out of it. It's also a wonderful thing to be paid for using a skill you've developed in your own time and grown to love.

But love. That's an interesting thing to consider. Manjekah and I both spoke about this recently - and she wrote an excellent post about it too - photography is something we love. But event photography (general birthdays, and rowdy university parties especially) is by far one of the most dull forms of photography we have had the misfortune to encounter. The reality is, is that there is very little element of skill, or art involved. Alcohol-sodden people at parties are not going to be good models. They don't have the time to discuss your artistic vision, or pose and tell you what their good angle is. There is no discussion of how clothing moves in the wind, or how they might stand or angle their face to make the most of the light. Photographing parties is more mechanical than that, and a part of me resents it.

This isn't to say that one day I might like to capture a wedding, or a more elegant affair. Event photography is beautiful, is artistic, and is important. To be a photographer and have the responsibility of capturing an important moment in somebody's life is a lovely thing, and is in itself art. A combination of experience, skill, knowledge, and impeccable timing. It's something that I want to be capable of.

It's just that the clients and events we've covered so far don't require that kind of photography, so this is the situation we are in. This isn't to say that I'm going to quit. Like all careers, there is often a compromise between passion and mandatory grind. Of course, this isn't the ideal, but if I want to be paid for my photography, this is what I have to do until I land something bigger. Event photography pays my rent, everything else is what I'm really about.

This is why yesterday was something I so badly needed. Alice has always been incredibly supportive of my photography since we met in the beginning of this year, and almost every time we've met up, we've hammered out some really incredible shots that I'm incredibly proud of. Alice gets better at being a model for me every time we shoot - I attribute this to familiarity, to comfort, to experience, to trust - to friendship. I'm getting better at expressing what I want in a shot, and she's getting better at deciphering the mess that comes out of my mouth. It's nice to know that despite a drought of creative photography, I've still got it.

I don't really know when or what my next photographic adventure will be. I don't know who I'll reach out to next, or where the next location will be. Truthfully, I just want there to be a next time, and a next project. Currently, I've been thinking a lot about where my photography and a career might intersect. Frankly, I don't know how my photography would hold up in a more commercial setting, or if I'll even choose to ever combine the two. There's a lot that's up in the air. Maybe I should be thinking less about it, and just pursue the two separately, with the hope tucked away that one day these two aspects of me might have the opportunity to cross paths. I'm not usually the kind of person who would leave their passions and their future to the whims of fate. It's nice to know that I can control what I can do, and I can control what might happen to me. But I also acknowledge that in this instance, there might be a balancing point where I have to accept that there are some things in my power, and some not.

In the end of the day, I guess a lot of things in life come down to making the most of a situation you find yourself in. Just like all the exciting shoot locations we stumbled across yesterday, and making the most of the most exquisite blue that is Bondi.

It's funny, because I appear to be one of the least likely contenders for a beach-lover. I can't swim in open water to save my life (I can float though, which could help), I don't live anywhere close to the beach, and I can count on my fingers the number of times I've been in water in a year (not much). Still, like every Australian girl, I own several swimsuits and bikinis, and in the summer, I can't resist the pull of a beach. For every person, it might be a bit different. For true blue Australian girls, it's all about the water and being in it and moving through it. For me, it's more about just being there (alongside the being in the water thing that is almost necessary for survival in the peak of Australian summer).

The beach is probably one of the reasons I will never leave Sydney (I admit I've never been to Melbourne's finest, but I doubt in my stubborn, Australian way that they could ever match up). And I swear, if Sydney's array of beaches keep looking beautiful, and do so with the constant aid of an incredibly blue sky, I will have to be chained here forever. My camera lens deserves no less.

The same goes for the incredible mint-blue rooftop carpark at Bondi Junction Westfield.

Basically, blue is the most incredible colour ever, and everybody looks good in blue.

M. x
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