“The candle symbolises light in the darkness of life; especially individual life, illumination. It is also the symbol of illumination of the spirit of truth.” White Night Melbourne
Thousands of LED lights float in the moat of the National Gallery of Victoria (NGV). It’s beautiful. Mesmerising. But, then it’s heartbreaking. As you hear the voices of refugees.
“This is for us who sing, write, dance, act, study, run and love
and this is for doing it even if no one will ever know
because the beauty is in the act of doing it.
Not in what it can lead to.” Charlotte Eriksson
Recently, I read this gorgeous poem by Charlotte Eriksson… and it really struck a chord. Writing and photography have always been my passions (along with travelling). I can lose myself in those worlds… I’ll be writing or working on photos, and time evaporates… I forget to eat… but it dosen’t matter… for in that moment, my soul is satisfied.
“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!