“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.
“White Night Melbourne is the city as you know it, turned on its head in a dusk ’til dawn celebration of culture and creativity. A night where the surreal seems real, White Night Melbourne is a rare opportunity to experience the city in a different light.”
Four years since the inaugural White Night Melbourne, I’m still very much in love with this festival. For one night, the buildings are a kaleidoscope of illuminated colour. There are buskers on every corner and a myriad of artworks/projections on display. The crowd throngs; sauntering and oft-times dancing down Swanston Street. There is so much laughter and singing; even on the train ride home. For me, it’s almost the perfect time to get lost in the vibrant streets and laneways of Melbourne.
“There’s an exact moment for leaping into the lives of wild animals. You have to feel their lives first, how they fit the world around them. It’s like the beat of music. Their eyes, the sounds they make, their head, movements, their feet and their whole body, the closeness of things around them – all this and more make up the way they perceive and adjust to their world.”
This year I’ve decided I want to get back into my photography by going on an ‘artist date’ every couple of months. Fortunately, I have a wonderful group of creative friends and it’s usually not too difficult to convince others to join me in these types of outings. First up this year was a trip to the Melbourne Zoo to photograph the wildlife. I was joined by Megan Jackson (whose wonderful photographs can be seen at Stardust and Melancholy) and we had a brilliant day. We patiently observed the wildlife, took lots of photographs, and enjoyed our stroll around the zoo.
“Mere color, unspoiled by meaning, and unallied with definite form, can speak to the soul in a thousand different ways.” Oscar Wilde
I have a lot of luck when it comes to being in Sydney for the Vivid festival. For the second year running, I happened to be in the harbour city for other [slightly more Supernatural] reasons, but then I found myself accidentally, and luckily, wandering around a Sydney that had been completely transformed by colour – and I loved it!
White Night Melbourne cloaks the city with an artist’s palette for one night only; the drab buildings and lane-ways transformed into a strange otherworldly place. Imagination abounds. We experience astounding creativity, and a kaleidoscope of colour. We witness the downright bizarre, and I love it!
This year’s White Night Melbourne took place on a stiflingly hot summer’s day. I had this brilliant idea to go to the movies at the Kino (in downtown Melbourne) to stay out of the heat until about 9pm, by which time I was sure it would be cooler. But it was one of those balmy nights, with not much of a breeze, and I stepped out of the cinema into a hot and bedazzling world.
“Are there any mythical beasts which aren’t simple pastiches of nature? Centaurs, minotaurs, unicorns, griffons, chimeras, sphinxes, manticores, and the like don’t speak well for the human imagination. None is as novel as a kangaroo or starfish.” William Poundstone, Labyrinths of Reason
If there’s one place in Australia where you’re pretty much guaranteed to see a kangaroo in the wild, it’s the Grampians National Park. I’ve been there dozens of times and seen kangaroos on every occasion. On my most recent visit, in July this year, we set off on a short hike to Venus Baths – cutting through the Halls Gap camping ground – and immediately saw kangaroos hanging around. On our return, there were even more of them foraging in the grass.
“The trail is the thing, not the end of the trail. Travel too fast and you miss all you are traveling for.” Louis L’Amour 1908 – 1988
A procession of hikers winding their way up to Dead Woman’s Pass
I took this photograph when I was almost at the top of Dead Woman’s Pass (Warmiwanusqa), which is the highest point on the Inca Trail (at 4215 metres above sea level). You can see the procession of hikers winding their way slowly up the mountain. The air is thin, it’s difficult to breathe, it’s fairly steep, and you feel like you’re never going to make it.
But for me, this was such a memorable moment, because I’d contemplated quitting at 3000 metres above sea level. I had been struggling with the altitude, to the point where our porter gave me oxygen. So, those last hundred or so steps to the top of the pass gave me a great sense of satisfaction and it was one of the happiest moments of my life; standing with my sister at the top of Dead Woman’s Pass.
Reaching the highest point of the Inca Trail in Peru
If you’d like to read the full story on my Inca Trail trek, click on the links below:
Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Machu Picchu