Getting Paid to Play

Freelance Jobs, Life in Sydney, Photographic adventures, photography

The other day I had to pinch myself because I suddenly realised I was getting paid to be at one of the world’s most beautiful vistas, doing what I loved to do.

_DSC1314

It was a huge change and a massive decision for me to suddenly be a full time uni student in my 30’s, and an even bigger one to sell, donate or throw most of my possessions, leave everybody and move to Sydney so that I could give myself the best opportunity to carve our a successful career as a creative.

It’s been challenging, often lonely and extremely humbling. I’ve spent more time on my own than ever before, but in that time I’ve learned to appreciate and pay attention to myself in a way I never have before.

_DSC1348

Now 7 month later and I think I’m starting to get into the rhythm here (Amen) my business is picking up, I’m living in a great place with awesome people, just a stones throw from one of the world’s best beaches.

I am more confident with asking to be paid more, and for the first time the other day I even turned down a freelance job because it wasn’t paying enough for me to put the others I have going on hold. It felt good! The best part is the feedback that I have received for my last three photography and graphic design jobs, which was so unbelievably positive & encouraging, that alone was more rewarding, and worth way more to me than what I was paid.

_DSC13292

I sacrificed my entire life in Adelaide to move here and start all over from the very, very bottom. (Living on a 2m x 2m curtained off shelf up a massive 16–rung ladder, just below the rafters of an old music studio in Alexandria for $125 p.w.) I gave up my entire house, family, friends… It was a huge thing and I’ve been working my butt off since, but now I am starting to see it pay off.

And it all very nearly didn’t happen. There have been many obstacles to overcome but the biggest one was the very first one, the initial decision to go back to uni, be broke for several years in my 30’s so that I could gain a degree & the skills to create a career in graphic design. I’d never known what I wanted to be when (if) I grew (grow) up, even though it was staring me in the face my entire life.

_DSC1330

All my life I’d always heard nothing other than you can’t make a living in the creative fields or any competitive industry. To make a living you have to WORK. And by work I mean you have to be miserable, grumpy and exhausted at the end of the day. It needs to be something where you can’t wait to leave, and dread going back to. That’s the only way you’ll get by, that’s life, that’s financial security.

It’s such a sham.

How can you get rich doing something that you don’t care enough about to excel at? That you don’t enjoy enough to put in the extra hours so that you can get the extra dollars?

_DSC1320

I’m just starting to see my dreams come to fruition and start seeing the rewards from all of the sacrifices I’ve made to change my entire life and take control of my future, and I can’t express the feeling of gratitude and joy I have at the knowledge that I will actually be one of those luckiest people who get to make a living doing what they love.

I’m a creative and always have been. I love art, I love language, I love people and solving problems. I love innovating, producing new things, making something from nothing or taking something and turning into something different.

I was always told my entire life that you couldn’t make money that way, or that it was too competitive an industry, too much work to get into. But people want to invest in passion, if you believe it, they’ll believe it, and if you love it you’ll be willing to put in the extra work to be successful because it never FEELS like work.

It took me 30 years to learn the two greatest lessons that have changed everything for me, and they’re two things I wish I could rip off the blindfold and make everybody see who hasn’t yet:

Hard decisions = easy life, easy decisions = hard life.

and

Passion makes you invincible.

 

Advertisements

Woolongong Waves – A Visual Narrative

Life in Sydney, Photographic adventures, photography

21 May 2017 – On an impromptu roadtrip to Canberra, we stopped on the way at the beautiful Woolongong and cheekily made our way down to the off–limits–due–to–storm–damaged–cliffs for some exploring/yoga/photography.

As the tide came up the waves started to crash against the rocks, creating some amazing opportunities for photos. My lovely housemate Sjusanna wanted some shots of her meditating on the cliff with the sea spray behind her, and we got some rippers.

Then this happened, and I have not been able to look at the shots yet without almost peeing my pants in laughter.

Sjusanna-wavenarrative

Not so zen now, hey Sjuzie Q?! Hahahaaaohhahahahahaaa ….uh oh

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

.

Final Assessment

Life Through a Lens

The brief:

“….Narrative surrounds us in momentary experiences as well as within a sequence of events. The challenge of this assessment task is to capture narrative moments within single photographs as well as (on a broader level) the series that the photographs make up. You are encouraged to explore the idea that in the realm of photography, the whole is the sum of its parts and the parts can stand alone: both aspects contain narrative…

…Choose your own phrase. It must be a phrase, not a complete sentence, past, present or future tense. This phrase will be the theme which drives your photography for this second assessment.”

title

Rationale:

The light after dark is a photographic narrative that follows a soul who is discovering the benefits of nurturing ones own light in the face of darkness. From a tiny flame that flickers and struggles to exist, to a blazing fire which lights up the landscape, and all of the steps of self discovery in between; her light is a subjective concept, one that is within the realm of the beholder to translate in a way that is easiest to relate to.

_DSC0185

The story behind my choosing of this phrase originally was that after shooting water in a very high shutter speed for my first assessment, I wanted to experiment with something that was the complete flip side. Under pressure to choose a phrase by the deadline, and with the knowledge that I had the option of changing it later on, I chose ‘the light in the dark’ with the vague idea that I might do something to do with long exposures.

The idea went through a few twists and turns since then, and I got a semi complete series of the knife makers at Eveleigh works, but was unable to finish the series in time in a way that made sense. Besides, I had already had another idea, one that carried a lot more meaning and significance to my my own recent life experience.

After talking with my lovely new housemate Sjuzannah about the irony that in a city as teeming with people as Sydney, how you can feel so completely isolated when you are new, and people and places are all unfamiliar.

LAD1_DSC0106

I shared with her my experience of overcoming this, in which I changed my own perception and attitude, from one of self–pity, to acceptance and gratitude, wherein I embraced my own feelings of vulnerability and insecurity.

I decided to reach out where I could, and spend the time I normally would spend on social pursuits on myself instead. I chose to pay attention to my inner feelings and take time to meditate and reflect in a way that was compassionate to myself.

_DSC0303

This has been an important lesson for me, and Sjusannah could also relate to the  experience. She agreed to be my model, and together we developed the concept to suit the original phrase, as I was too doggedly stubborn to cop out and change my theme again like in the first assessment.

To get the shots we spent an adventurous weekend which involved getting lost dozens of times and accidentally going over the Harbour bridge twice; hiking through the undergrowth to get our sunset shots at the last possible second, several cheeky & illegal parking spots on inner city sidewalks, setting steel wool alight at Carriageworks and both getting drenched in the fountains in front of a Saturday night crowd… And incredibly, no parking tickets, police, or security attention whatsoever!

So ‘The Light After Dark” as I see it, is a series which illustrates a personal journey. It is my hope to show how for a couple of girls who felt alone, found the rewards of nurturing your own light, being your own support network, confidante and partner. How spending time listening to your inner self and paying care and attention to your thoughts and emotions, facing challenges head on with courage and calm, and overcoming obstacles with positivity and self compassion, is the best thing that one can do to nourish ones own flame so that it can burn bright from within, – authentic, unquenchable and unique.

 

_DSC0002

…so that it may grow…

_DSC0016

_DSC0028

_DSC0022

_DSC0027-2

..into a beacon of light that will guide and protect you, all of your days.

 

 

 

Lesson 11 – Output

Life Through a Lens

EDITING TECHNIQUES IN CAMERA RAW

For lesson 11 we learned about output and printing, and focused mainly on RAW image conversion and editing in Camera RAW.

I had learned to use Camera RAW just by trial and error, and usually would only use the sliders to edit my images, and never switch tools in the top toolbar. Lachlan’s demonstration has demistified these tools and I followed along eagerly, amazed at the results I got before even opening the image in Photoshop.

The first thing that we were shown was the spot healing brush. As the name suggests, this tool is mainly used in beauty retouching of portrait images.

I opened up another photo of the lovely Teya, and proceeded to effectively edit all of the character out of her image. Not something I would normally go so far with, and being an authentic kind of soul, probably not something she would entirely approve of herself, but for the sake of demonstration, here is what resulted:

BEFORE:

Teya_before

AFTER:

Teya_after

The spot healing brush in Camera RAW is here on the toolbar:

Screen-Shot-2017-05-03-at-8.55.46-pm

By selecting this brush, resizing it by using the square bracket keys [+] so that it is just a little bit larger than the spot or blemish you want to edit out, adjusting feather etc and clicking, the software automatically samples an area of surrounding skin. If you do not like the effect, undo and try again.

Screen-Shot-2017-05-03-at-4.27.19-pm

By turning on the spot visualiser option you can get a very scary and very clear visualisation of where the spots are

Screen-Shot-2017-05-03-at-4.27.57-pm

The red circle is where I have clicked to edit, the green circle is where the software has sampled the ‘replacement’ skin from

Screen-Shot-2017-05-03-at-4.29.13-pm

Screen-Shot-2017-05-03-at-4.29.26-pm

Uncheck the ‘visualize spots’ and ‘show overlay’ to see how things are looking

Screen-Shot-2017-05-03-at-4.30.08-pm

Spot healing brush is not just for spots, you can also drag it to adjust scratches and lines

As well as spot healing, we discovered a host of other capabilities I was previously unaware that Camera RAW had:

BEFORE:

surfer_DSC0039

BEFORE: The original RAW file

AFTER:

_DSC0039

AFTER: Edited solely in Camera RAW

white-balance

Selecting a sampled area of neutral grey in the clouds by looking at the RGB values under the histogram. HINT: Neutral grey values = R:119 G:119 B:119 so try and find a sample point as close as possible (within 5 points) to these values

An excellent article on finding neutral grey, or how to colour correct an image that does not have any neutral grey can be found here

Another handy technique for finding neutral grey in your image in Photoshop can be found in this article here

saturation

Targeted adjustment tool – click and drag up and down on a colour to adjust, click HUE SATURATION and LUMINANCE tabs on the right to affect these areas

adjustment-brush

Here I have used the adjustment brush to target the green on the surfers wetsuit so that I could dial down its saturation to a point where it was not so overbearing to all the other colours

parametric-curve-and-adjustment-brush

The targeted adjustment tool also works on the parametric curve, which is the second icon on the toolbar underneath the histogram

radial-filter

The radial filter – hold OPTION to draw from the centre, SHIFT to draw a perfect circle, and both to do both simultaneously

graduated-filter

The graduated filter – hold the SHIFT key to keep it horizontal

surfer_DSC0039-copy

 

WIP

Life Through a Lens

My phrase was chosen as: ‘The light in the dark’

I chose this phrase because honestly, I had no idea again what to plan ahead for, as I am always more inspired by what I photograph as I go along, as opposed to what I have planned ahead for.

Nonetheless, this is what I chose with the thought that for assement 1, I photographed something that I am fascinated with, – the moment frozen in time of water splashing, a moment that could never be seen with the naked eye. With this is mind, I thought I would for assessment 2, photograph something else that would not normally be seen with naked eye, and that is photographs under the cover of darkness. – How things look as they are captured in the dark over a long exposure, or when a light source suddenly pierces the darkness in some way, be it fire, a lightning flash or what have you.

I also like the idea of doing some tricky portrait shots, and have the stirrings of an idea based on isolation where a girl is going around carrying a frame that could also be an iphone and finds herself isolated even amidst the crowded city. This could be recreated in photoshop or done with props, the idea was inspired by this shot:

e933d099a127d7f0c101be74226b80e0

I am still unsure as to where I am going to take this assessment, and may still completely change my mind, but so far I have been shooting for this assessment at Eveleigh works. I have been able to take some great shots of light after dark as it is at a steel works, but I am not sure exactly what the narrative will be yet, as I will hopefully be allowed to visit again soon to capture the rest of the story..

Eveleigh_Damascus1

_DSC0392

_DSC0425

Eveleigh_Glenn2

Eveleigh_Glenn3

Eveleigh_Glenn1

I am thinking that I would like to try and get a view of Eveleigh from above, as it is in the cityscape after dark, perhaps zooming in periodically on a view of the  place until we entered the place to see what goes on in there on a daily basis.

I still have to return and get some shots of the final steps in the knifemaking process, and would like to get a long exposure of the premises and the train station behind it at night.

I have my doubts about the narrative options of using Eveleigh as my subject, as much as I love the photos so far, I also have the option of using my lovely housemate as a subject and have a vague idea about using some hand held light sources such as sparklers and her in the city and have experimented a little bit with this already:DSC_6362-2

DSC_6336-2

Portraiture Photography

Life Through a Lens

Here are some examples both past and present, of portraits I have shot. (See captions for details) I very much prefer a natural or action shot as opposed to a studio photography shoot, and love natural lighting and genuine smiles.

An example of beauty retouching using photoshop:

Here is a portrait I recently took of Teya which I have retouched for the purpose of example here. The first is the original unedited photograph, the second with all freckles and blemishes absent, the third, keeping her looking like her natural self with freckles intact, but skin smoothed, eyes and teeth brightened and lips plumped. These effects were achieved using a variety of techniques including the clone tool, dodge and burn, layer blends, the paintbrush/eyedropper tools and gaussian blur.

 

Lesson 9 – Narrative

Life Through a Lens

A visual or photographic narrative tells a story through a series of images. The series can be either linear or non linear.

The example above is from a non–linear photo essay by David Wells. His thoughts on the subject are very concise and a great read.

He says of the series:

“…The photos shown here are from my project: The relationship between Israelis and Palestinians. My project proposal for that project says: In 1990, before the first Madrid peace conference, I started photographing the relationship between Israelis and Palestinians. In my experience, the relationship between Palestinians and Israelis is best viewed as a spectrum. At one end of the spectrum is conflict, at the other end of the spectrum is cooperation, intentional attempts at understanding one another through dialogue groups, summer camps, etc. The middle of the spectrum is co-existence, day-to-day interactions in shared working, living, and playing spaces. Coexistence is the heart of the relationship and the part of the relationship that is most ignored in the media at large. Much of my work has been an effort to humanize (sic) both sides. My photographs of the occupation and the forced interaction between Israelis and Palestinians highlight the problems, while images of their intentional, chosen interactions show the positive possibilities. It is very telling that when I disseminate my work, in and out of the Middle East, viewers are surprised by their inability to tell Palestinian from Israeli, reminding viewers of the similarity between the two. My goal was to put a human face on the struggles for Middle East peace and to educate people both in and outside of the Middle East…” Read the whole article here.

Here is an example of a linear narrative by Duane Michals:

andywarholeatsbanana

For my photo narrative, I have included a scene which occurred the other weekend on Good Friday, when a group of friends who are still getting used to the encroachment of kids on their lives, bore witness to a miniature scene of bullying play out before them. I was photographing willy nilly and a little bit tipsy at the time, but found it intriguing that I did not fully realise what had actually happened until later, when reviewing the shots:

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

…Poor kid!