This time last year, I was in the US attending San Diego Comic Con; the biggest pop culture event in the world – and, this year, I’m home enduring a Melbourne winter. But I keep hearing all this wonderful news from San Diego via Twitter and Facebook, and I’m actually really surprised by how much I miss being there (with my people). So I guess attending another San Diego Comic Con is on my bucket list. But, in the meantime, to keep me sane, I thought I’d share this article that I wrote for Mufti, the magazine I edit for the Victorian RSL. Who would’ve thought that I’d be able to find such a fun link between my geek life and work life?
“It may be true that portrait photography cannot really describe a subject’s personality in any significant way. Snapshots work only because the viewer is a friend or family member and is thus being reminded, not informed. What portraits can do however is evoke humanity, they can allow a contact, a recognition of human experience.” Greg Neville
I remember examining the question “what is portraiture” at college back in the early 1990s and I came to the conclusion that this was entirely up to the person creating the artwork. And I think my early photographs were just as much self-portraits, as they were portraits of my friends and families. Whatever the result, the experience of creating these portraits holds a lot of meaning and joy for me.
“Everyone just pretend to be normal.” Little Miss Sunshine
You know that film Little Miss Sunshine? The one with the dysfunctional family travelling across the countryside in a Kombi Van to get to a beauty pageant in time! That film made me cry with laughter because it reminded me of my travels in a Kombi Van with my brother Ross, 30 years earlier. He picked me up from JFK Airport in New York (after I’d been travelling for three months in Europe) and we headed north. Our goal was to travel for a few weeks in eastern Canada, after which he’d drop me in Wisconsin – so I could spend a couple of weeks visiting a friend – and he’d continue on to Vancouver. We visited Halifax, Peggy’s Cove, Cape Breton Island, Quebec City, Montreal, Niagara Falls, Chicago and Madison; but it wasn’t so much the places, as the experiences along the way, that made this trip so damn memorable.
“Everything was an adventure, at night, when you were where you shouldn’t be, even if it was somewhere you could go perfectly well in daylight, and it was then only ordinary.”
Robin McKinley, Pegasus
This year I attended my fifth consecutive White Night Melbourne! It’s an event I adore. The lights. The colour. The noise. I even love the crowds. Because this is a predominantly happy group of people who love delving into the artistry and creativity that is on offer; non-stop entertainment for 12 hours from 7 pm to 7 am. It’s sublime. It’s weird and wacky. It’s so imaginative. If you haven’t yet been, put it in your calendar for 2018.
We began our White Night adventure at the stunning Royal Exhibition Building and made our way slowly south to Flinders Street Station. Here are some of my photographs from the night, with accompanying text from the White Night Melbourne website!
“Departure of a year welcomes so many new memories” Munia Khan
This blog was inspired by my friend Jules Wilkinson, who today posted on Facebook her ‘Top 18 things of 2016’. She later commented: “I worry that the ‘2016 sucked’ narrative is not letting people value the year they had on its own terms. I hope it was a good one for you and 2017 is even more sparkly!”
“Life is short. Spend it with those who make your soul happy.”
I can remember a time, early in our friendship, when Danielle and Mike came over to my place so Mike could help me out with what was, undoubtedly for him, a very simple computer issue. He wandered around my house, delightedly pointing out all the out-of-date technology I owned. My video recorder. My Windows 98 computer. My walkman. “You live in a museum”, he said. And it made me laugh.
Mike was good at that. He always knew how to make people laugh.
I don’t have any words this week. Except to say that when the world becomes too much for me, I like to escape into created worlds. Those of film, television and books. I can also easily lose myself in my photography, so today I’ve taken photographs from my recent trip to the Canadian Rockies and put them with inspirational words from artists whose creative works I’ve loved, at one time or another. If I could, I would head out into the wilderness right now – without a television, without a phone, without any access to news – and just breathe.
“Keep close to Nature’s heart … and break clear away, once in a while, and climb a mountain or spend a week in the woods. Wash your spirit clean.” ~ John Muir