Getting Paid to Play

Freelance Jobs, Inner–city Sydney, 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.


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 out 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.


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.


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.


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?


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 = a good life

Easy decisions = a hard life




Passion makes you invincible.




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.


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

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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.”



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.


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.


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.


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.



…so that it may grow…





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




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.


“SPLASH” Water photography Life Through a Lens – Assessment 1

Life Through a Lens