How Vulnerability Helped Me Find Myself

About two weeks ago my emotions ran wild and nearly overtook my normal crazy creative state of mind. How on earth could such a thing happen? Well, I allowed myself to express my emotions through my photography, and it was quite vivid!

#42 Tied Ham

To explain that statement, view the photo displayed to the left.

Yes, that is my head with string wrapped around it like a roast meat. It is experimental photography, based purely on an idea I had probably seen elsewhere, and probably a boring afternoon where I wanted to try something completely different. I don’t recall the exact day, but I can say this: It was not a state of mind, not anger or frustration.

But on the day that I published as my Facebook profile pic, a lot of people didn’t realise I had done so after both my wife and I had gone some fairly traumatic events with our baby boyIt is an image of a moment in time, in place of  poetry or prose, to explain the place in which my head ‘was at‘ at that time – because words were failing me.

I uploaded it to Facebook, made it my profile picture , then put a note on it saying something like “Wow, head spinning, sad moment, hard to deal with, getting me down, this is how I feel”. Which wasn’t a lie, but it seems my friends took my feelings a little too far. Not that I am complaining, I’m #justsaying.

My friends actually did the right thing: They were compassionate, empathic, considerate, kind, and asked what was going on. I cannot recall if I explained to my Facebook friends about the situation that compelled me to use this picture, yet enough of them got a general gist of, again, what my wife and I had gone through only days earlier.

Yet it was the words of just one of my many online and offline friend that actually ‘kicked me firmly in the nuts’ and convinced me to get my head into a ‘better space’.

Stephen, for Jai’s sake, put on a happy face, get it together man!

OK, That’s not the exact words, but that is the way I remember it! Soon after I’d deleted the picture from my Facebook gallery, so neither the image nor the responses are immortalised into Facebook history. Not that anyone was harsh, but I decided to delete that moment in time.

(#0014) MeltingWhy delete history? Well, some moments are best learned from, then we move forwards.

I composed, recomposed, refocused, found my direction and returned to the path I wanted to be upon: Photography. Making it work for me, not me for it. I enjoy photography. I don’t have to make money from it, that’s just a bonus.

(#0027) Rock Face

Why even the need to write this down and publish online? Whilst without history we have no path, without release and expression of our vulnerability, we so easily forget why we continue to exist.

How often do you let yourself go crazy enough to do something so strange and odd that people see another side of you? I did, and it was worth it to find out who noticed, who cared and who was also prepared to be vulnerable enough to reach out and help.

Postscript:  Names have been suppressed as I have not asked if they are OK with being published in this article. If they should read this and like to me, I will then amend accordingly.

PostPostscript:  All photographs in this image are very odd self-portraits.

#44 Cable Tied

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Seizing a Photo-Opportunity on New-Years-Eve!

Some days life takes unexpected directions! For instance…

Last night at 5.14pm I left a message on Twitter and Facebook that read …

In this heat, leave the house? I ain’t going anywhere! Forget the pubs, I am going to enjoy a few drinks at home in front the open fridge.

It was 42 degrees for a few hours yesterday afternoon, with the temperature never dropping below 30 degrees all day! So sitting in front of the fridge seemed like a logical place to be … but 34 seconds later I got this message from Tom Williamson at the TheHighwayHotel:

Do you fancy taking some photos?

Do I? Do I ever! As I said on Facebook a few minutes later …

Change of mind: I’ve just been offered a photo gig for tonight.

DJ at TheHighway

The time was arranged (8-10pm), everything was organised, my chauffeur/wife was cool with the idea, and I spent 3 hours ensuring all my gear was charged, primed, and ready for any event. I was told my attire should be professional yet casual. That suits me just fine! The wife was nice enough to iron my shirt for the night.

So, I spent New Years Eve of 2010 as the official photographer at TheHighway for their Casa Del Tequila NYE 2010 party! Of all the photographs I shot (over 300), these are the few that I shot for my own benefit. As you can see, they appeal to my eclectic style of photography.

DJ at TheHighway

So which lens did I use?

I spent the evening shooting with my Canon 50D attached to a new Canon EF-S 15-85mm f/3.5-5.6 IS USM lens.

The lens is brand-spanking-new, bought for my wife only 2 days earlier. She enjoys shooting both macro and people photography, yet wanted a lens that could cope with all types of scenarios. If you are keen to check out that lens, read this link to understand how effective the lens really is!

Want to see more photographs from New Years Eve 2010?

You’ll see more of my photographs on the Casa Del Tequila NYE 2010 Facebook page … before the end of this coming week. Watch for yourself, tag all photographs with those people you know!

There will be more of these interesting photographs, including more portrait and group photographs of people who were requesting photographs, upon my flickr gallery within the next few days.

So what did you unexpectedly do on 2010 New Year Eve?

5 Years and 6 South Australian Photo-Groups on Flickr

2011 may be my final year displaying photography upon Flickr.

I’ve been adding selections of my photography since early 2006, and I can actually remember shooting photographs around the back of nearby shopping centres, deliberately setting up shots specifically for adding to my Flickr portfolio. I even added scanned negatives of my photographs from the 198? Adelaide GrandPrix that includes Jimmy Barnes, Johnny Diesel plus one of the TinLids. Anyone remember them?

Rudolph goes to Church

I have planned to add our photographs from our 2001 holiday to New Zealand – which will mean scanning in over 400 photographs shot on a Canon 500D film camera!

What I have enjoyed most about being a part of flickr is the South Australian people I have met and befriended during MeetUps and exhibitions. Check out the six groups that have had the biggest influence upon my photographic direction:

1. SA Central

This is where I first connected with a lot of interesting photographers living in Adelaide. Back in the early days we all met about 3 times a year, often hastily or with very-long threads about the location and timing. Whilst exhausting, it worked.
It’s also the group that got me most interested in being in a photo exhibition. I was one of the participants in the July 5th 2007 FlickrSA ‘Refuge’ exhibition. I learnt a lot that year, particularly about image size, both in dimensions and DPI/PPI. I now print at 20×16″ at a minimum! Thanks to the people who pushed me that year, I have now appeared in 2 more exhibitions!

2. Adelaide Central Market

Whilst I have not yet been able to dare myself to fire my camera in such a public place, I would like to take a walk through there when nobody is around. Soon. Maybe in 2011. I love the work shot by fellow South-Aussies who have no qualms about shooting fruit and vegetables.

3. Architectural Architecture and Landscape

One of my biggest passions is Architecture. South Australia is filled with historic homes, churches, warehouses and multi-storey offices that are being encroached upon by modern concrete, glass and steel monstrosities. So we shoot to show the history and future of Adelaide’s city skyline

4. Adelaide

I’m in this group because their mantra is If you know what Farmer’s Union, a Pie Floater, Johnny the Aboriginal or Fritz are, you probably belong to us. I have lived and worked in South Australia here since 1986. I’ve visited many places around Australia, yet I come back every time.

5. All in Adelaide

For those of us who spend a lot of time in and around Adelaide, this group enables us to show off precisely what we see and find everywhere we visit.

6. South Australian Weather

Throughout the year, South Australians endure all kinds of weather. Sometimes all in one day.
We’ve seen droughts that drive farmers to insanity, floods that have destroyed crops moments away from picking, fires that have destroyed a landscape one day only to revitalise it by the following year, thunderstorms that wreak havoc upon flowering gardens, turning them into mud holes. This group helps to show you every possible scenario that mother nature can throw at us … and still we go on. Photography makes the perfect record of what man can endure.

But a few nights ago I discovered that flickr has changed its payment system. Whilst others might applaud Yahoo! for acquiring Flickr, I am yet to be happy. The payment method for upgrading PRO-accounts seems to have gone backwards not forwards. My form-of-payment seems unwanted, and I don’t have many other methods for paying for goods online. Deducting 1-cent from my accounts to prove I am real is not an ordeal I enjoy having to go through. (Disclaimer: Which isn’t to say I won’t, I just don’t like it!)

On the upside: For the last three years my primary focus changed to Redbubble where I continue to submit the best of the best of my photo-artwork, where I continue to be the head-moderator for the ‘Art of South Australia’, plus where I find myself more comfortable.
But I still need Flickr, there’s no denying it. Flickr is where I add work that I want the world to appreciate the interesting places around Adelaide, the abstract and the eclectic that need not a dollar-value to be appreciated. It’s where I show everyone that there is art in everything and everything has some intrinsic value, despite its ugliness.

Flickr enables artists to stop from getting overly big-headed about their photo-skills, brings them back down to earth when they see how the rest of the world lives yet continue to photograph their worlds. Which is why I’ll ride this wave for now until it all gets sorted out. I won’t be leaving Flickr just yet. I hope.

Postscript: Photographs from my side of the universe…

Festival Centre Panorama

From Adelaide to Balaclava

Yonder

Yoono Makes Social Networking Easier!

A few days ago I got a quick message from The Adelaide Tech’ Guy (Richard Pascoe) that simply said: Give yoono a try.
Having never heard of it before, I simply typed it into my browser and hit CTRL + ENTER. That added the www and .com to the respective ends of the word and searched for the domain. Within minutes I realised the potential and had added this cool application to Mozilla Firefox. Thanks Richard, you’ve changed the way I see and interact with the internet!

This is how I now see the internet: With Yoono upon Mozilla Firefox

ScreenDump of Firefox using Yoono

I utilise the four main social-networking sites currently available via Yoono: Twitter, Facebook, Flickr and YouTube. Integrating them into Yoono is a simple series of steps: Follow the prompts provided. Keeping on top the constant incoming tweets and messages can be painful, yet you can create groups within the Twitter option to limit whose tweets you see.

Yoono sits to the left of your browser and will expand/contract easily using little arrow [>>] at top left of window.

Adding networks is a simple process: Right-click on the header bar where the [all] button sits. The first option on the pop-up menu is [Add Social Network/IM] . Click that, and follow the prompts.

Yoono has so many additional features, it is difficult to list them all here. Whether you integrate this into your browser or Apple-product, you’ll surely have fun finding them all!

Thanks to Yoono, I can social network via many different forums, read and respond to articles from all around the world, view and comment on my friends flickr photographs, listen and enjoy music – all without leaving the main window and within a few seconds.

PS: Yes I no longer place bookmarks in the toolbar.
Mozilla Firefox now searches your bookmarks to fill URL’s as you type them, and I find this system easier. Being a keyboard person, this means I simply start typing the domain into the search field, then the browser finds and fills the surrounding text. Then I use the arrow-down key to choose which one I require. This is good when you have multiple Facebook or Twitter accounts!

PS2: Yes, I still use Bloglines.com to view your articles and photographs. Big thanks to MerchantCircle for hosting and continuing this great RSS-reading service. RSS isn’t dead!

PS3: I get no financial kick-back from this article. I just love Yoono and Bloglines!

I Eat, Breathe and Sleep Photography

I’ve had a long and fruitful weekend, loaded to the brim with photography! From shooting, to editing, to uploading, to appraising, to critiquing, to choosing, and learning new techniques for ideas, I pretty-much eat, breathe, and sleep with photography!

It’s now 9pm (after watching 2 episodes of TBBT) on a Sunday night, and I still have stuff to complete before retiring back into the working week at my day-job. (And this week is going to busy with interviews, appointments plus catching up with a friend I haven’t seen in over 12 years!)

[1] Last Friday night was spent photographing attendees at the ‘Taste Furniture Store Launch’ at Payneham. Karen Foster offered me the opportunity to both be a guest and to photograph her event. But I don’t think she realised how involved I would become.

For two hours on Friday night, I either shot interesting images of the furniture around the shop or approached anyone who was standing alone and asked to take their photograph. Towards the end of the night, I stopped asking. It helped that during speeches, Karen told people who I am and that I would be the ‘professional photographer’ for the evening. (I still get a ego-boost whenever I hear it said by other people!)

[2] After a good nights sleep (yes, I managed to descend into the bed at a respectable hour, around 10.30pm), I spent a sunny Saturday going through my many photographs, picking those that would be perfect for online display.

Whilst I had told others that I would have them online before midday, it was closer to 5pm before I had finished editing and uploading!

Here is a sample of the many beautiful women who allowed me to photograph them:
View them at FULL size within my Facebook gallery.

But wait, that is not all!

[3] Between all of this, I uploaded a dozen photographs of furniture to my flickr gallery. Here is one of two stitched panorama’s of the interior of the new ‘Taste Furniture’ store at Payneham.

Panorama Interior 1
This is now being used in Mia’s article about the store launch (on Facebook).

[4] And between all of that, I helped my wife design and build her labels for her new honey business. More about that soon!

Whew, what a weekend! It took me an hour to compile this post! Yet I wouldn’t have it any other way!

What Happened and Why I was not at the StartUpClub Discussion

Earlier tonight I was at the ‘Brunswick at 5.30pm for the Startup Club: Internet Marketing – Community Discussion. I had my first drink at 5.32pm. I sat upstairs for thirty minutes, starting this article. I left at 7.00pm, so had to complete it late tonight with suitable imagery.
Read on…

Birthday Gift - FOSSIL Watch

After chatting with people, a few good friends, and a few interesting people whom I only chatted with for a mere few minutes, I left. Why? I had a schedule, and other things to do tonight.

I half-expected the night to get under-way a lot sooner, at 6pm, as indicated in the event-description. But before I could blink (or finish my first drink), it was 6.45pm. Which was 15 minutes short of my scheduled departure.

So I gave it a few more minutes. During those minutes, the attendees started descending into the chairs provided. It’s only now I realise that my sitting-down to check my Apple-time might have instigated people’s decisions to sit and get the show started. So be it.

Just before 7pm, just as the organisers started their session, I said goodbye to those that mattered most to me, and promptly left, almost sprinting for my next appointment.

Whilst waiting for my next appointment (because nobody is ever on time, but that is part of business), I started writing this interesting story. See, there are so many things that happened tonight that I just would not have experienced if I had not gone to the StartUp Club meeting, and a few things I would not have seen had I stayed.
Again, read on…

If I hadn’t attended tonight’s StartUp-club meeting:

Lesson

1. I wouldn’t have had the fun of ‘walking’ on GoogleMaps to find the Duke of Brunswick pub. They might have a small geographic location, yet they are a big presence in the Adelaide CBD.

2. I would never had the chance to see Mandi Whitten’s SALA exhibition in Crompton Street. I knew where it was located … yet stumbled upon it when I realised what street I was walking through. I have photographed the shop across the road a few years ago and had always intended to re-shoot. Pity I didn’t have my camera with me!

3. I wouldn’t have had the pleasure of meeting both Monica Bayer and Simon Tiddy. Yeah, I met a lot of other great people, but these guys are like old friends whom I enjoy meeting and chatting with at every opportunity!

4. I wouldn’t have discussed HTML, CSS, google algorithms and life experiences with Monica Bayer. We compared notes, thoughts and ideas. Simon is so lucky!

5. I wouldn’t have enjoyed my first Coopers Premium Light. I did ask for a Coopers Lite, but I meant a Pale. The ‘Lite is much better than expected. Yet I will ask for a Pale next time.

6. I might not have walked so fast across the city. A fast walk at 5.10pm from Pirie street got me to the pub at 5.30pm. A slow-ish walk back at 6.45pm got me back to the rendezvous point to meet my wife at 7.00pm. Go figure.

7. I would not have seen the roller-blader skating down Pirie street like he was in the Olympic long race.

I wish I could have stayed to listen and contribute to the event. But it wasn’t going to happen. No matter because I had a great night!!

Startup Club: Internet Marketing – Community Discussion

My Week in Social Media Circles

Social Media Club Tshirt (on Lee Hopkins) I left last night’s #SOCADL/#SMCADL meeting wondering why I was getting involved with this group. I have been asking this for quite some time.

Even with the amazing people, the interesting conversations, the aqueducts, the roads that can take me along new paths in all aspects of my life, I still was having trouble understanding why I had chosen to get involved with this group and not others that I have been following and visiting for the last 2 years.

I’m also in another SocMed group, ‘The StartUp Club’, and I have made a few interesting friends with them. But that fizzled, both from my side and somehow so did they. Or maybe I am off their mailing list, I ain’t sure what’s going on.

Anyhow, after finding the correct elevator out of the Deloitte building, I discussed my thoughts with Richard Pascoe. Mostly I talked and he listened, which was probably a wise thing as I can ramble on. (Proof in point displayed here).

Despite being still quite unsure how I was to remain part of this group, I decided just to upload my portrait photographs onto flickr from the night and think nothing more of it all. Can you find your face amongst these portraits?

SCMadl Attendee SCMadl Attendee Sarah Thomas Ric Hayman and Mal Chia SMCadl Attendee David Eades Sarah Thomas

Mal Chia Mal Chia and Lee Hopkins Mal Chia, Unknown, Michael Millard & Lee Hopkins Steve Davis SCMadl Attendee Steve Davis

Richard Pascoe (@AdelaideTechGuy)

WOW! Seems the whole world found these photographs appealing. The stats have been interesting. It appears all my flickr, twitter and facebook contacts must be checking them out. Thanks! The traffic has surpassed my expectations and continues to jump. I’m not sure where this takes me, but it does remind me why I choose to be involved. Let me expand…

I love photography.

I really like shooting portrait photography. Always have, always will. Facial emotions are the most amazing features to capture with a camera. And it’s never easy. But it is fun. Shooting with a Canon 50D and 580exII flash gun enables me to make your face jump off the screen. And capture a few details that would not normally be seen. (Sorry Lee!).

If nobody minds, this is the only reason I am involved with the #SOCADL/#SMCADL: To capture our journey through photography. And maybe get a few photo jobs along the way. Want me to shoot your portrait, either for your web site or online avatar? Yes, I am available. See you at the next meeting!

On that segway, here are a bunch of interesting images I found via google: I typed in “social media logos” (for another project I am doing), and up popped these amazing images. Which are now linked through my tumblr blog. Check ’em out!

  1. The CMO’s Guide to the Social Landscape. View at full size to read the fine print.
  2. This image is an interesting way to categorise all the SocMed sites we frequently visit, chat at, add images into, make new friends and generally leave links to our articles and work. Includes a lot of sites I bet you never heard of before!
  3. A Timeline of Social Communication devices . Somewhat incomplete, yet probably complete enough for the kids of the ‘norties. (Yes, you, the post-Y2K noobs.)
  4. PRELUDE: As the first person to arrive for last night’s meeting of the #SMCADL / #SOCADL minds at the Deloitte building in Adelaide, I watched as many an Apple or other handheld device was brought out from bags. Seems getting first dibs for Mayor of Deloitte on Foursquare was the most important issue. So I had hoped the devices would be put down once that issue was covered. No, that was not to be the case. Many of these people, whom I call very sociable, continued to nose-dive into the glass bowl that held their lives. Look, I am not complaining, I too wish I had one of the devices. I only want an iPad, but I want one WITHOUT an internet connection. Why? I want it to connect through to my home wifi, plus the wifi of any cafe or pub I visit. That way, I only use it when I can, not at every moment of the day and night. It’s bad enough now with my Apple Touch. Finding this image that explains how mobile phones are changing social media is interesting. Read it and understand how your life is being controlled by the very device that you thought would help you control your life. What an Interesting twist of irony!

Let’s get back to where this article started … with those photographs of the Apple Tower:

The Apple Tree The Apple Tree

Wow, what a post! I haven’t written in such long sentences for quite some time.

Do you remember life prior to Twitter? Didn’t we all write essays, stories, articles, tutorials … in sentences LONGER THAN 140 characters? I remember these days fondly, yet, sadly, I don’t remember how I managed to do it. I am sure I can return to these times, but fear it may take a little more time. On the upside, I like succinctness. I like refining my sentences to say more with less. I like that twitter is teaching some people to listen more and speak less.Yet here I am, writing more than I have before.