One Of The Boys

It is now the end of winter (well, almost), but an editorial that I shot at the start of the season has just been released. I’m proud to announce that I’ve been published in The Model Magazine, from the US. My most recent editorial, One Of The Boys can be found in both the print and online magazine, and you can even buy it! (Check out the August 2017 edition.) Here is the online teaser featuring my work.

I was working with models from GTR Global, who were amazing as per usual. Keegan I had worked with before, but Lorenzo was a new face. It was really different working with two models at the same time, but I really enjoyed it. Having two people to pose opened up more possibilities for composition and variation. I think Keegan and Lorenzo looked really good together.

I wanted to shoot at an athletics track, as I’d recently stumbled across one by accident and liked the graphic lines and bold red colour of the track. With that in mind, I got a bunch of ‘sporty’ casual wear from Myer and H&M to dress the boys in.

It was, as per usual, a really cold day in the middle of winter, so I was glad that I wasn’t having to get changed every few minutes, and got to stay snug inside my coat (sorry boys.) I had hoped to catch some golden winter light, but the clouds had other ideas. But one of the skills of a photographer is being able to adapt and “make it work” in any scenario, so that’s what I tried to do.

One thing that I noticed whilst shooting was the change in the way that Keegan worked in front of the camera. Having shot with him before, I couldn’t help but compare his current on-camera presence with that of our last shoot. I noticed that he had improved a lot since the time before, and seemed a lot more comfortable in front of the lens. That was really nice to observe. It really like working with talent on multiple occasions, so see how they progress, but also because it’s just nice to work with good people again.

Thank you Keegan and Lorenzo for being great models.

MODELS: Keegan Venturato @ GTR and Scene // Lorenzo Sandy @ GTR and Chadwick

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I’m Famous

Something different today- I’m on the other side of the camera!

In preparation for moving to Japan, I started working at KUU Cafe in South Melbourne to practice my Japanese speaking and listening. KUU is run by an entirely Japanese team (aside from me and one other staff member- the token “foreigners”) so every shift is a great chance to study without studying. I came across the job purely by chance, as I had eaten there for the first time a week beforehand, then saw the add on Seek. I was looking to mix up my photography a bit at the time, so it seemed like fate.

Anyway, long story short, is seems that some of my workmates and I have become instafamous on the KUU and the MishMelbourne instagram feeds. No autographs please haha.

I’ve Quit Photography To Become A Surgeon

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Everyone, I have an announcement! I’m proud to say that my hard work and rigorous study schedule have finally paid off, and I am now working through my placement as a Cardiac Electrophysiology Technician.

Although I wasn’t sure if I wanted to make the switch to medicine, I really do love helping people, and I think the challenges that this job will bring will make every week exciting and refreshing. Although I still really like photography, I think this is the right career move for me. Actually, my photographic background really proved helpful in the practical part of my assessment, as the role of a technician also involves medical photography (using different machines than your standard DSLR, of course.) So it hasn’t all been for nothing.

This is the team that I’ll be working the long shifts with…

Wait a minute….

What’s that Declan is holding….

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Lenses….??

Hold up….

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Haha fooled you all! I was actually working in a hospital alongside James Braund, shooting some scenarios and portraits. But I still got to kit out in scrubs (which are really comfy by the way!) I think the green hat suits me.

Had such a fun day with a great team. I can’t disclose details yet, but keep your eyes peeled for some fresh new photography at Homesglen. Final portrait is with James, sporting the latest in back support fashion. Will miss you when I’m in JP.

Shadow Play @ Testing Grounds

Melbourne’s winter light is one of my favourite things to experiment with when it comes to model test shoots. Having such short days, and having the sun at such a low position in the sky really allows you to play with light and shadow. There is also a kind of haze that falls upon the city, giving everything a glow that is hard to put into words. You also don’t have to wait as long for the golden hour.

The downside is, its heckin’ cold!

It’s been a while since I tested with a female model, so I was excited to shoot with Annabelle Curtain from GTR. I absolutely went to town on the styling, sourcing lots of shiny things, pinks, skirts, and metallics- things that just aren’t in the menswear ranges this season. I wanted to shoot at Testing Grounds in Southbank, because I walk past it on an almost daily basis, but had never stepped foot inside. I love the textures of the concrete in there, as well as the pink and mint colour palette. I knew there were also lots of interesting areas and different pockets of texture to work with.

It had rained the day before, so the ground was still wet. This also added some reflection to a few shots, which I really loved. I was so excited to shoot a few jackets that I got from Nana Judy- nothing is better in a photo shoot than an overdose of sequins. Nothing.

I think the garments went really well with the location, as I had a rough colour palette in mind when I was sourcing everything. Annabelle was great to work with too. She took direction well, and didn’t complain about the winter cold at all, despite having the beginnings of a cold. What a trooper.

Thanks for a fun shoot Belle! x

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Human Canvas

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Something that often raises its head in my mind is the topic of personal insecurity. Not in the financial or physical sense, but more in the way of a mindset or mentality. Being a photographer, my work is a visual medium, and therefore every job has infinite possible resolutions and outcomes (rather than one ‘correct’ answer). That makes it highly subjective, and very open to interpretation. I think that many artists are a little insecure about their work deep down, and I am not a stranger to doubting my own abilities or artistic vision. So when someone approaches me with praise for my style, I get very very excited (if not a little “aww shucks” esque.)

One such kind soul was Alex Nixon, a student studying makeup. Alex had seen my work online and asked me to document one of her projects, which involved body painting. She sent me some references, and noted that she wanted to create a piece that was inspired by Chinese and Japanese traditional paintings. This was, of course, right up my alley, so I agreed straight away. We organised a date and time, as well as a gorgeous model – Chervil Tan from Vivien’s.

On shoot day, Alex pre-painted Chervil’s back before arriving at the studio. The references she sent me had been quite well-lit, with a pale grey background, so that is what I started off with. I wanted to ensure that I documented Alex’s work clearly, so that you could see the brushstrokes and fine details.

But after that, I wanted to have some fun of my own.

I thought that the concept and subject would really suit some darker, more moody lighting. So once we had the lighter shots captured, I changed the lighting to something more directional, to really accentuate texture and form. I love the way that the light falls on the body (in the image above), as the physical 3D nature of the back and shoulders blends with the painted landscape. I was also careful to keep the face in shadow, so that the emphasis was still on the painting, and the image had a sense of anonymity about it.

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Of course, I took some portraits as well, and some shots to show the makeup on Chervil’s face (not just her back!) How gorgeous is the kimono? Alex whipped it up herself the night before. So much skill! The colours were also really gorgeous, especially against the hues of the cheeks.

I wanted to capture a quiet, almost still mood for these images, and I think they came out well. Alex was absolutely stoked with the shots, which I was really pleased about. All the best with the folio Alex!

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Tokyo Film Scans

The feeling of picking up your developed film is so exciting, and has a certain air of nostalgia to it as well. I was really excited to pick up two rolls that I had shot in Tokyo last year, because I couldn’t remember what was on them.

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These frames are all from test shoots with models from Folio Management in Tokyo’s Minato ward. They were taken on 35mm film that I rolled myself back in highschool, but had not yet shot. Hence the little imperfections like dust, scratches, and leaks. I actually love these features and think they give extra character to the frames. Because the film was so old, I had no idea if it had been exposed, or if it would even look any good. These shots were digitally scanned, but no retouching or adjustments have been made. Not even exposure or contrast adjustments. They are completely raw.

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I find that there is something really ‘real’ about film photos. I tend to look at them for longer, rather than skim over them quickly as I might with digital photos. There seems to be a part of the subject’s soul in these frames, as if they are really looking at me. This might sound weird, but that’s how I feel. I think film also has a timeless sort of look to it.

When I was in Hokkaido earlier this year, I went one step further and purchased a disposable camera from the convenience store there. I’ve been shooting single frames on it, but still haven’t finished it. So I’m really interested in what is on that camera. The suspense is all part of the excitement. I also like the way that having such an “ammeter” camera removes a certain barrier when shooting. Nobody seems to notice or care if I put the $10 disposable to my eye, whereas they may change their behaviour or shy away if I raise my DSLR. Observing the difference in psychology is interesting.

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Strangers at F1.8

In Tokyo last year I challenged myself to walk up to random strangers on the street and take their portrait. I had a roll of black and white Ilford, and a plastic 50mm lens. I am inherently shy, so asking people if I can take their portrait is pretty intimidating. With my lens choice, I had to be close, and I also wanted to capture engaged (rather than candid) portraits.

These are a few of my favourite ones. I spent quite a while talking to the man in the glasses, after taking about 15 minutes to work up the courage to approach him. He was dressed very eccentrically in bright colours, and was sort of pacing on the spot in Akihabara. He seemed like a real character, but from the way he was moving I wasn’t sure if he had been drinking for a while or not. But I knew I’d kick myself in the butt if I didn’t at least try to ask him. He ended up being really really lovely, and I talked to him for a good 20 minutes. He told me about how he made his own earrings out of metal and bottle tops. He had a very calm, gentle nature and complimented my terrible Japanese. I’m so glad that I got to speak with him and learn a little about his life.

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This girl is one of the many school kids who approached me at Asakusa shrine to ask “what is your country” and “what is your favourite Japanese food?” If you have ever been to Asakusa shrine, you will know that being bombarded by school kids is to be expected if you are a foreigner. I think that the English teachers all take their classes there, as this happens literally every time I go. In any case, this girl was part of a group of 5 that were asking me the aforementioned deep and philosophical questions. Because the ice was already broken, I took the opportunity to ask her to take a picture.

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I kind of cheated on the last one, it’s my friend’s son. Isn’t he just a nugget! Gorgeous light from the balcony door.

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Finally, a non-portrait. This may look like somewhere in developing Asia, but it is actually a game arcade in Kawasaki that is designed and fitted out to look this way. The design is actually more interesting than the games themselves (in my opinion.) It is meant to look like the slums of Hong Kong, and the attention to detail is amazing! To get in you have to cross a misty aqua body of water, carefully stepping on rocks. The doors also make noises as you go through. It’s called Anata No Warehouse (あなたのウェアハウス). I loved the hanging chickens.

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