13 Reasons Why & Mental Health

The so-called ‘psychotically depressed’ person who tries to kill herself doesn’t do so out of quote ‘hopelessness’ or any abstract conviction that life’s assets and debits do not square. And surely not because death seems suddenly appealing. The person in whom Its invisible agony reaches a certain unendurable level will kill herself the same way a trapped person will eventually jump from the window of a burning high-rise. Make no mistake about people who leap from burning windows. Their terror of falling from a great height is still just as great as it would be for you or me standing speculatively at the same window just checking out the view; i.e. the fear of falling remains a constant. The variable here is the other terror, the fire’s flames: when the flames get close enough, falling to death becomes the slightly less terrible of two terrors. It’s not desiring the fall; it’s terror of the flames. And yet nobody down on the sidewalk, looking up and yelling ‘Don’t!’ and ‘Hang on!’, can understand the jump. Not really. You’d have to have personally been trapped and felt flames to really understand a terror way beyond falling.
– David Foster Wallace

13_Reasons_Why_Character_Poster_Alex_StandallOn Friday, season 2 of 13 Reasons Why hit Netflix. This is a show that people seemed to either love or hate. Hate because it was too in their face and “glorified” suicide. I don’t think it does at all. It is very in your face and blunt, which is what we need as a society to wake up to ourselves, but let’s not kid ourselves that this show is going to be responsible for a string of suicides. We all knew how to slit our wrists before this showed aired last year. The point of this show is to be more observant of how you treat others and to look out for your friends. Reach out if they look like they need help. I rewatched 13 Reasons Why from the beginning and I’m currently half way through the second season (how great is binge watching?) and it got me thinking of my own battle with mental illness and the problem with social media. A couple of days ago I logged on and was faced with a giant pop up window from Facebook asking me if I’m ok. The only way to get out of this window was to click the button below which provided me with a list of services and phone numbers I could use. It made me laugh that people on Facebook don’t give a shit about what happens to you, people will go as far as to tell you not to write your problems on Facebook and how it’s personal and should stay that way, but Facebook felt I needed help over my last post which wasn’t even the worst I’ve ever written. I was bitching about Centrelink and used the phrase “suicidal ideation”. All of this got me thinking about writing about mental health issues but the biggest problem I’m facing is I fear the backlash from this post. There’s always backlash. How much should I share? How much is acceptable and who determines what is acceptable? But how are we going to get over the stigma if we aren’t allowed to open up and talk about it? I don’t know why I’m really writing this other than to make a point that many of us go through it undetected. Many people think depression is “you’re just a bit sad, have you tried not being sad?” or “you need to get some sunlight”. It’s not a chemical imbalance for everybody. Pills don’t work for everybody.

I’ve been battling depression, insomnia, anxiety and body dysmorphia since I was a teenager. Just before New Years I decided I was going to kill myself. I obviously didn’t since I’m writing this but I went to my GP and asked for a psych referral and why I needed one. My first visit with the psychologist she asked me why I didn’t go through with it and my answer was simply “I didn’t have enough pills”. It wasn’t that I had a change of heart, I just didn’t have enough to do it that night. I actually googled how much I’d need I was that set on doing it. I was a box short. My “rational” thinking for why I don’t do it now is quite morbid and I’m not going into that. Since then though I haven’t gone to the doctor to get any more pain killers which I actually need just so I don’t have the temptation lying around the house because the thoughts are still there, just some days they aren’t so loud.

Over the years I’ve met people who think depression is just a made up term by doctors for people who are “too weak” and can’t handle life but now it’s 2018 and not much has changed. Either people think you’re weak or they don’t want you talking about it. Either way you should just keep your problems to yourself because nobody wants to hear about them. That is until you kill yourself and these same people can stand there and say you should have come to them for help.

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The problem I find with Facebook is that everyone loves to share the RUOK? Day posts and the suicide hotline posts so they can feel like a supporter for 30 seconds and everyone likes their post and they get a virtual pat on the back. But where are these people when someone clearly is having problems? They’re nowhere to be found. The problem with these posts is that they always seem to have the focus on the person reaching out to others for help. The whole point of RUOK? Day is for YOU to ask someone else how they’re doing. There’s even a section on their website all about it – https://www.ruok.org.au/how-to-ask. Not to share a generic post to your Facebook wall. A person with depression, especially when they are at their darkest, doesn’t feel like they have anyone they can talk too. They feel like a burden or abandoned depending on how their friends treat them during that time. Why would they ask you for help if they don’t feel like you’re there for them in the first place? The first time I made any sort of a remark about depression was back around February on Facebook and I was met with a joke. It wasn’t even a good joke. I’d made a completely serious question of “Do depression and suicidal tendencies come under the same category?” I was trying to fill in disability paperwork and I didn’t know if they were separate illnesses. With how many people like to openly talk about being depressed on Facebook I figured someone might have an answer. That was my first mistake. Thankfully someone who was studying psychology private messaged me to give me an adult answer. Not everyone depressed is suicidal. That was when I decided I’d had enough of Facebook and deleted my account. It’s fake. Nobody really cares about anything. Nobody knows how to communicate anymore. People feel like they don’t have to speak to you because they saw you make a status update so they think they know what’s happening in your life. It’s just a great way to feel like you have a heap of friends or pretend your life is perfect. Nobody even notices when you leave Facebook. How to feel like you made no impact at all on people!

For all the years I’ve dealt with depression it’s been in the last two years that I have found out it actually goes further than that. That’s just when my suicidal ideation – which is the fancy doctor term for it – kicked in. I’ve had friends over the last 10 years all convinced I’m some undiagnosed ADHD kid because I can’t concentrate on anything and for other reasons. All of my primary school reports say the same thing – that it looks like I’m 100% paying attention but really I’m somewhere else. Turns out that’s also a sign of depression because you’re so anxious about what’s waiting for you when you get home you can’t concentrate at school, which makes me wonder how many kids are misdiagnosed with ADHD each year.

In under three years I’ve seen two psychologists that have come to the same conclusion: I’ve had depression since I was a little kid. I was bullied at school and at home. Home life had it’s own box of issues with domestic violence and emotional/mental abuse lasting 17 years but relatives would let me know constantly I was fat as well. Then it was all about how I didn’t stand up straight because I allegedly made a conscious decision to slouch at the age of 8 (this was when I was misdiagnosed as having scoliosis which isn’t a self inflicted disease). I overheard a family friend one night say “She’d be pretty if it wasn’t for her back”. This is why I don’t accept compliments for those who have ever wondered. They are always followed by “if”. By year 11 and 12 I had a borderline eating disorder and was self harming. I was bullied relentlessly because of my spine. I honestly believed I looked like the elephant man from the constant narration of my appearance. I was quite obviously hideous, everyone kept saying so. The next three years my depression and anxiety escalated so much I ended up sociophobic and all I did was stay locked in my room or cry. My anxiety was so bad I wouldn’t even walk to the letterbox and back if I saw a neighbor outside. I only started to overcome that after the death of my mum. It was thanks to her that I loved music and getting into the local punk scene was the first time in my life where I felt comfortable around people and could be myself and enjoyed going out. I loved taking photos of all the bands. It took a while for it to sink in that these people saw me as a friend and not just the girl who takes photos but in the last two years I just feel like a stranger in the room. Someone felt the need to start some rumours and with a string of health issues at the time I’ve just never bounced back. I’ve tried. Last year was the hardest dealing with my back problems and thanks to an injury at a gig not 2 weeks after I had seen the spine specialist I now have arthritis in my neck which fucked everything up. To be blunt: he ruined my life. I’ll never know if these anti-inflammatories would have helped me get on with life because the arthritis killed my ability to do anything. Doctors have told me there’s nothing that can be done. I had to cut back on gigs I shot per month because I couldn’t physically do it, I had to give up my studio space as well that I had barely a year. I was so excited to get that space and had so many plans for it and I never even got to use it properly because of how much pain my neck would have me in. That is how I ended up on codeine. This is how I ended up in my current headspace. Do you have any idea how hard it is to give up the one thing that gives you any joy or purpose in life? It was the one thing that kept me sane and it’s gone and suddenly so were the people I talked too. People were starting to act strangely around me and I wasn’t sure if it was something I was doing or if they just didn’t want to be near me. When people ask you how you are they don’t really want to hear anything other than “fine” and my life is far from being fine but I say it just to get the small talk over with. If you dare to say life is crap they just look awkward and walk away. I try to limit how crap I have to feel in any given situation.

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My psychologist asked me if I pull away from people and maybe I do, but I don’t see anybody else trying either. Why is it again on the depressed person to have to reach out to people? I tried to talk to a friend about suicide and was met with total silence and a topic change. You’re left feeling like an attention seeker when you really just want to be able to talk about what’s going on inside your head. What god are friends if you can’t have a serious conversation once and a while? It makes me feel weird talking to my psychologist about it for that very reason but at the same time I feel like she shouldn’t be the only person I can talk to about this. Who do I talk too once my sessions are over? My last session she stopped me to ask if I’d been hurting myself, so clearly I’m nowhere near ready to stop sessions yet. But that’s the other stigma of mental health issues, if you haven’t actually attempted suicide are you even that serious about it? Obviously you just want attention, but what attention am I getting if nobody is around to hear it?

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This is why I love 13 Reasons Why as a show. It perfectly depicts how the most trivial of things to some people can set off an avalanche for another. A few small things start going wrong and I fall apart. It feels like the entire universe is against you every day. Nobody anywhere at school or at home sees the pain you are going through. You’re invisible (or the world’s greatest actress) and it’s a daily event. There’s no escaping it. My final two years in high school were spent being bullied every single day and I was self harming, thinking about killing myself and thinking about how I could kill my school bullies. I admit if my parents owned a gun I probably would have used it. This is why I used the Columbine school shooting as inspiration for my “Wrath” photograph for my 7 Deadly Sins series because it was something I could relate too. This is probably the one and only time I’ve put something of myself into my artwork. I even saw the school councellor one day who didn’t take anything seriously and rang my mum as soon as I left the office. I got yelled out when I got home for trying to get out of class. Over the years not much has changed, I’ve just watched friends come and go when all they’ve noticed is “you talk less” or if I can’t focus on only them anymore. I can understand that it’s hard for some people to deal with the topic of depression and suicide but do you really think ditching the person is the best answer to this? How is that really going to help a person who clearly needs help and is on the edge already? So all these years later, somehow I’ve managed to trust psychologists more but no I won’t ask friends for help. Why would I? People love to tell me how strong I am but what choice do I have? It’s not like anyone is around to help. Despite how many people try to talk about it on social media there are more people who don’t want to hear it. A person shouldn’t have to pay someone to care about them and listen to them, especially when those sessions are limited. Medicare only covers 12 sessions a year and not everyone can afford $160 per visit. I honestly believe people have forgotten how to be decent human beings to other people. If someone needs to talk they’re not necessarily after advice, then just need to get it off their chest. They need to know somebody cares about them. If you care just sit and listen. If its hard for you to hear, think about how much harder it is for the person trying to reach out and share their problems.

I won’t be sharing a whole bunch of links or hotlines on here because let’s be honest, we’ve all seen them multiple times a week on social media. We know how to look up a phone number.

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Hey Stud! – Ashaylerella Photo Shoot

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The first look we did using the Hey Stud! accessories was a kitsch space girl. While makeup was happening I decided to stick alfoil over half of my balcony screen/wall/thing because I thought it would be a cool backdrop. This was the beginning of my inner frustration because apparently half way through the roll it stops coming off like it should and tearing at weird angles. It did this on both rolls of alfoil paper. Then I chose to have an epic brain leak for the first 30 minutes of the shoot using my own equipment. No matter what I did every photo was half dark which also happened to be the side the light was standing on. I know right, makes no sense! I was suddenly thinking I’d forgotten how to do photography. In frustration I went to change the light to my softbox but couldn’t find the cover for it, ran downstairs when it hits me my shutter speed is probably wrong. Sure enough…it was. Now for those of you sitting there wondering what the fuck I’m even talking about: Your shutter speed needs to be at 125/second for flash photography, you can’t shoot at a faster shutter speed unless you’re doing high-speed sync somethingorother which I don’t know how to do, otherwise generally it’s too fast and you only capture half of the light which was happening in my photos. I’m really explaining this badly. I should have saved a photo but how was I to know I’d out myself as sometimes incompetent in my own blog?!

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Worlds Greatest Backdrop Set-Up vs Actual Photo

Once I had that brain fart over with it was all systems go! The alfoil worked really well with Ashayla’s silver getup and it’s all super shiny and awesome. I bought myself some lens-flare presets because I’m addicted to an app on my phone that can create them and I came close to just editing the photos on my phone. I’ve quite literally hurt my left arm from playing with lens flare presets. They’re adjustable so I can move them to different areas of the photo (some have like 20 dots I can move around) and I can change their size/shape/exposure. It’s all very exciting trust me. Basically I sat at the laptop WAAAAAAAYYYYYY too long yesterday and got some sort of laptop elbow weirdness going on. Worth it.

LINKS!!!!

You can find Hey Stud! on Facebook, instagram and you can buy their goodies on Etsy.

You can follow Quinn.tessential Effects on Facebook and instagram.

You can find model Ashayla Webster on Facebook and instagram as well!

Hey Stud! Ms Krueger photo shoot

Last weekend I had a day of shooting on my balcony because we’ve declared my balcony a makeshit (haha where’s Freud right now?) I mean makeshift studio. Somehow I fit 6 people, 3 flamingos, a tree and my studio gear out there.

We were shooting some super cute accessories by Hey Stud!, a melbourne biz making acrylic and wood earrings and brooches. I came across them on instagram and tried my luck at doing a collab. I was pretty happy when they said yes and once the stuff turned up at my place myself and Nic from Quinn.tessential Effects worked on ideas for shoots.

The first photos I’m sharing I’ve dubbed “Ms Krueger” and you’ll see why here…

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There were some Jack-o-lantern earrings and a “I love horror” badge so obviously the only idea I had was horror girl – with my skeleton – some popcorn – and one of my t-shirts. Thanks to Horror Block and Teevillain I have a collection to choose from. I left the makeup completely up to Quinn.tessential Effects.

I didn’t know how I wanted to shoot it (the cinema would have been cool but I’ve done that once before and didn’t want to ask to do it again) so decided to try doing the shoot so it looked like they were watching tv and the photos are ok but it was hard to see the jewellery because arms or hair were in the way. We did some more shots on the balcony for clearer closeups and then pretended that I work for Vogue magazine and made a layout. Obviously, graphic design isn’t my strong point..

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You can find Hey Stud! on Facebook, instagram and you can buy their goodies on Etsy.

Chucky t-shirt is from teeVillain. teeVillain is a t-shirt site where you’ll find a killer limited edition shirt being sold for $11 for only 24 hours. The following 24 hours will feature a new design and so on and so forth. We choose the most ingenious designs that reflect everything eVil & Villainy, as well as works pertaining to anything Artistic, Pulp Style, Low-Brow, Pop Culture, TV, Movies, Music, Video Games, Comics, etc… all things cool & eVil basically. Tshirt design is by Paula Garcia.

You can follow Quinn.tessential Effects on Facebook and instagram.

You can find model Lamia Emilia on Facebook and instagram as well!

 

Thanks for the mansplaining, I’ve got this.

It seems 2018 is carrying on the strong tradition of crapping on music photographers which is super cool but I’m getting over it fast. I’m definitely reaching a point where if I never photograph a gig again I just wouldn’t care because the attitudes from all corners of the industry suck and any fun in it is long gone. In the past three weeks I’ve had some guy photographer be faux-concerned over my camera while I’m busy taking photos because apparently I don’t know what I’m doing, someone dumped their glass in my camera bag – yes IN my bag – so I came back to find it wet from the ice that melted in it freaking out over the state of my gear inside it, got slammed so hard that I almost dropped my camera and last night some ass stuck his cigarette butt in my camera bag. I’m pretty sure we’re going backwards as a society because who the fuck does this?! Just how little respect do you have for other people and their belongings that you think this is ok behaviour?

Thankfully it’s not too often compared to the general crap us girls get off guys at gigs (You might have seen this Wall Of Sound article ‘Don’t Be The Scum Disrespecting Women At Gigs..) like egomaniac security, bitchy doormen and arrogant promoters who think it’s ok to yell at the photographer (he didn’t want to have a go at the reviewer who also wasn’t on the door) but not the people responsible for screwing up the media passes or the fact that most guys see a girl at a show and just assume you’re the girlfriend of someone or want to be (because girls can’t possibly like music, what nonsense!), but men need to stop telling me how to take photos. This probably pisses me off the most out of everything. Fun Fact: Girls can do more than photograph babies. I’m pretty sure I know what I’m doing, I’ve been taking photos of bands since 1997. I’ve won things. Girls don’t feel the need to tell me what I’m doing (until they want a photo of themselves and 20 photos later they still aren’t happy..it’s not me, it’s your face) so why do men?

I’ve had this for years online from male photographers who felt the need to belittle everyone else so they feel good about themselves. Whatever gets you through the day but maybe try another hobby. I had a guy tell me my airbrushing was “shit” and so were my lecturers. My lecturers were all ex medical/cinematic/photo journalists and one is still a wedding photographer…but yes, they are terrible. It was my first ever go at airbrushing and she didn’t look like Barbie so I wasn’t sure what the problem was, but this was coming from a guy who thought buying an L lens made you a better photographer and proudly proclaimed it took him 20 hours to edit one photo. If a portrait needs that much work sell your camera dude. You clearly don’t know what you’re doing with it.

So you tend to expect it from male photographers because any forum has at least a few with their heads so firmly wedged up their own asses they need to remind everyone how much work they get and let you know how crap you are, when everyone started that way. It took me six months to grasp the point of the aperture just in time for my final assessment at tafe. Fine Arts is not the place to learn photography in case you’re wondering. At gigs it happens and at most men there should only be discussing the music and which beer is the best. I’ve had men tell me where I should stand to get “the shot” after having done just that, how to take photos while grabbing my lens (by the front) attached to my camera IN my hands! Fellas you aren’t a 3 year old in a toy store that needs to press all the buttons that makes all the noises and shiny things happen. Keep your fucking hands to yourself! This is up there with touching a girls ass uninvited in my opinion, don’t touch what isn’t yours. It’s really simple!  My favourite is when they look at my gear like I don’t possibly have the first clue what I’m doing and the prime example of that was just recently where some guy stopped taking photos to let me know mid-set my lens had a shattered filter as if I possibly had no idea. I smashed that thing with a hammer on purpose. I’ll have you know it makes for epic photos. Amazingly nobody has questioned when I’m using the Lensbaby but I figure it’s only a matter of time.

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Last night was no exception. I’d already shot one gig at Badlands and was down at The Boston to watch some mates play and casually taking photos. Keyword there was casually. Nobody asked me to take photos but since my cameras were there why not take a few. Some guy leans in to tell me I’m in a prime position to get good photos of the bass player then offers to use my camera for me because I didn’t rush to use his advice and take a photo. I’d only been standing on that side of the stage half the night taking photos. There’s more to standing in the right spot to get a good photo and I tend to think mine are medicore at the best of times but you need to capture the right second to get an amazing shot. Plus some of my best shots are of Matty, that guy is nuts onstage and after 5 (probably more) years I have a pretty good idea when to aim my camera at him.

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The moral of this tale is I really hate people and don’t leave gifts in my camera bag.

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Off With Her Head!

Having been using Patreon exclusively the past year (until dropping it’s useless ass last month) I’ve completely neglected my blog it seems. Sorry to whoever actually reads this thing!

So I have some pretty major health issues which means I can’t do as much photography work as I like and I had to give up my studio space last year. To be completely honest I fail at being a functioning human in general some days and everything has gone to shit. My spine hates me and thanks to a douchecanoe last year I now have arthritis in my neck as well. It’s just fun times all round. So there’s been a lot of “what am I doing with my life?” mid-life existential crisis type crap so my neck results sort of made that decision for me: I’m going to focus just on getting back into my art. I started this off my taking a trip down memory lane and re-editing a photoshoot from 2011.

Death to Alice

2010-2011 I bought myself an Alice in Wonderland costume for a photoshoot. I had a Snow White costume so I wanted to work my way through my fav Disney princesses. Not that Alice is a princess..but let’s not get technical ok? I put out a casting call for an Alice shoot. A model was keen but then she goes and does the shoot with another photographer and somewhere along the lines I was “jealous” because she jumped ship. Sure thing. The Tim Burton film came out around that time and nekminut every camera owner in Perth was doing an Alice shoot. There was overkill on girls all wearing the same costumes, all sitting in parks (or studios) with the exact same props..it was so monotonous I declared I was killing off Alice.  No fucks given.

I found myself a model (Zoe Lovage) and makeup artist (Eclectic Styles) keen on the idea in mind and got my friend to help assist which translates to “watch my bag”. At the time I was ok with my photos but I wasn’t “OMG WOW” over them either. This was 100% on me though because I hate myself if think I failed the team and I didn’t really know how to use my flash (some might say I still don’t know). Going back to them now and having another go at editing them I’m so much happier with the photos. It also helps that my editing has improved quite a bit since 2011.

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Wrath

Last night I was watching Hello Herman simply because Norman Reedus was in it. Norman Reedus is one of my fav people to watch talk on my television. He’s one of those actors that it doesn’t matter how terrible the movie is, I will watch it until the credits start rolling at the end. Anyways, the movie is about a 16yr old boy who shoots up his school and wants to tell his story to Lax (aka Norman) for his blogger site. Watching it got me thinking of a photo I took in 2006 that barely ever saw the light of day because whenever there was an opportunity for an exhibition or anything everyone would tell me it’s “too soon” to submit it. Well it’s now 2017, can I show it yet before I die?

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Wrath: Anger is manifested in the individual who spurns love and opts instead for fury.

In 2006 I was in my final year of photography and working on my big project which was on the Seven Deadly Sins. The idea was for one set of photos to be in black and white and to be serious and the other set to be colourful and more tongue in cheek. The colour side sort of failed me, and that’s probably because most of what I’m thinking tends to be more dark in nature. That’s just who I am.

For wrath I didn’t need to think too hard about what I was going to do. The concept was a school shooting. I wasn’t trying to be sensationalist with it, it was just something I identified with. This was one of those moments where my Fine Art lecturers would have been impressed with me finally, because I irritated them for two years with never having a reason behind my artwork and finally here I was with all my social commentary!

The photo itself was simple to put together. One of the tafe “studios” was actually a classroom and I used a couple of people in my class and my brother who was in Year 12 at the time came in with a couple of his mates to be students. The only downfall was that tomato sauce doesn’t stick to whiteboards so I had to photoshop that. This was the only time I had a clear idea of how I wanted a photo to look and how I wanted it lit. I didn’t want the shooter to be visible and I’m not sure if I consciously knew why at the time I did it but looking on it now I’m realising just having a hand there makes the viewer the shooter and maybe that’s why people found it uncomfortable? Good.

So why did I do this?

In high school I was bullied profusely because of my back by two boys that I seemed to be in every class with. There was really no escaping them and their chanting and in one class the teacher would always walk out which meant an hour straight of tormenting until one day I ran out of class and didn’t come back until lunchbreak. One of the boys told the teacher what happened when he came back and asked where I was. The vice principal said if it happened again they’d be expelled. Luckily for me one of them left school not long later, I couldn’t really recall what happened to the other loser but he grew up to be a photographer and one night outside Fringe Festival heard someone yelling “goat fucker” at some cops trying to detain a guy, and the guy yelling was him. So it’s great to see some people literally never change.

Two classes specifically they would repeatedly say the same thing at me, they thought they were SO funny and some of the other boys snickered at it too encouraging them. Every day I sat there either hurting myself, wanting to die or thinking of all the ways I could get back at them. The latter ruled over the thoughts of suicide. The Industrial Arts class was probably where my brain was the most active because we were surrounded by drills, saws, these air pipe things that if you put it against your skin you could cause an air bubble in your blood and die.. but the reality is if my parents had owned a gun I would have done what all these kids in America keep doing. I don’t even have to think twice about it, and I don’t think it should be shameful to say that as a teenager being bullied that is where my mindset was at. I think it needs to be known that some of us have these thoughts but don’t necessarily act out on them. We’re human afterall. Sometimes we’re just pushed beyond our limits and have no idea how to fix the situation or how to make it end. As a teenager going through this there were two thoughts: I die or they do.  That is why I made this photo. I can identify with the shooters. Some kind of empathy. I was that kid in school that people just didn’t see, or people wanted to pick on, not even my parents had a clue. It bothers me every time I see something on the news about a shooting, or even movies like Hello Herman, where people are just so quick to label the shooter a monster instead of wondering why they did it nobody wants to hear that their dear angelic children were being giant assholes to another human being. It’s just so much easier to blame a musician, or a game or a horror film for someone’s actions. How are we ever going to stop bullying in school if we can’t even acknowledge it when this happens?

This is also what I loved about 13 Reasons Why. People seem to love or hate this show and quite frankly everyone knows how to kill themselves and this show isn’t suddenly shining a big bright torch on how to slit your wrists. I don’t see the character of Hannah as having to get the final word or getting revenge either. She’s telling people why she killed herself. Listing all the things in her life that went wrong and she couldn’t cope with. I’m pretty sure we’ve all been there? Even as an adult if a string of things keep going wrong my depression gets worse aka 2016. So why expect a kid to have their shit together mentally? I see that show as making people (as in the viewers, not necessarily the characters) realise their actions have consequences which can be someone killing themselves in defeat.

If you need help here’s some links:

Black Swan Health – I went through these guys last year for help and they were great! If you have a health care card I highly recommend using them as they have a discounted rate.
BeyondBlue
eHeadspace
Kids Matter

 

 

Photographers are crap, aliens told me so

I think I’m becoming the cliche of Angry Old Man syndrome (there’s this joke that’s gone around for years that I have bigger balls than most guys, I’m a girl incase you’re reading this and don’t actually know me), especially where music photography is concerned. First there were a few issues which brought up a conversation on sexism in the industry – something that was discussed at the WAM seminars last year and actually exists despite what some people like to think. Fun fact but just because you haven’t experienced it doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist. One show had the door guy having ten kids of fits over “people asking for freebies” to my having a photo pass, like I’m working pretty hard for a freebie. I’m risking my gear (and feet and head since my head is normally at elbow level) amongst a moshpit of drunk people who forget what boundaries are, splash beer around or just don’t see you. Another show had a power tripping security guy who had no issues with the male photographer staying in the pit longer or doing whatever the hell he wanted side of stage, meanwhile I was repeatedly asked to show my pass and told I had to leave. Apart from this though is just the general attitude promoters/venues/bands/I-don’t-know-whoever-the-hell-is-in-charge-of -this-stuff have where photographers are 2nd class citizens. Now I may never get another photo pass as long as I live for writing my thoughts and I don’t really care because last night I got to photograph Green Day and that’s pretty much the highlight of my life where music photography is concerned. There’s really no topping that. Which is what inspired me to write this..

Whenever there is a tour of some kind a bunch of us will raise our hands in interest in reviewing or photographing a show. Due to reasons (I own a stupid spine, lack of money and I can’t drive) I tend to only raise my hand to bands I really would like to see live. Reviewers always get a +1 [Edit: I’ve been informed this isn’t true but every show I’ve been at the reviewer has had a +1]. Photographers never do. In the past 3 years I think I’ve had three + 1’s and two of them I didn’t know I had until I arrived at the show. The only band to give a heads up with this was the Misfits concert about two years ago. Somewhere there was a huge lack of communication in letting the publication or myself know this so they go to waste. The L7 show I was lucky enough to let a friend know just before she left work so she could head straight there. In part I’m ok with never getting a +1 because I don’t really like the idea of thinking people are only friends with me to get free entry to a show. Like it’s nice to be given one but it’s not a necessity. I’m generally pretty happy to be given the privilege of photographing a band I really enjoy and I’ve decided I like photo pits more than +1’s. For me +1’s were great while I had anxiety – especially last year when it got really bad – but not so much anymore.

Last year was the first concert ever where I was told at the time of gaining a photo pass that I would have to leave the show as soon as the 3-song rule was over. I’d never heard of such a thing in my life. The reviewers +1 went to me and on the night found out from staff that no it was ok for me to stay and watch without her +1.

Normally at shows you’re allowed to hang back as long as your camera is packed up. Shows at Metro I’ve been allowed upstairs to take photos from a different viewpoint and sat up there to watch the whole show by myself without any issues.

My first big agro this year was over the Cyndi Lauper/Blondie concert. This was my first time shooting from the sound desk so I borrowed a friends zoom lens which made me glad I didn’t rent a lens because the 200mm still wasn’t enough to get decent shots. I only sent in three photos to Wall Of Sound because they all looked identical but a couple of the guys shooting had lenses so huge they should have been able to get moon craters clearly. I have no idea who they were shooting for so kept an eye on instagram incase anything was posted. I saw one great close up of Cyndi and assuming it was a photographer asked what lens he’d used. He was just a punter in the crowd, second row from the stage with his 50mm lens. We weren’t allowed anywhere near the stage or allowed to take photos outside of the 2-3 song rule. Which started the week-long rant of “Why do professional photographers have all these restrictions and rules yet EVERYONE else could get a photo in front of the stage?” I saw all the bag checking as I got there that night and assumed they were stopping cameras/booze. Nope.

I received my photo pass for Green Day on Friday and had to sign a contract. I was on a massive high and felt like the luckiest girl in the world which I know is a huge exaggeration but you have no idea how badly I wanted to photograph them. Like normal the reviewer scored a +1 and I was asked to respond with if I’d be photographing the support act. I replied with yes along with the signed contract and asked if the photo rules were also the same for that band and got no reply. Over the next 24 hours I heard mixed stories about photographers and media passes for this event so I wasn’t sure if I’d even be allowed to stay. So it ended up being a massive killjoy Sunday night to find out that after our 2-song limit for The Interrupters we were escorted from the building. Escorted. We weren’t even allowed to stay in the foyer where they have a bar/food area. So everyone who told me to check them out, yeah I couldn’t. I’ll just take your word on it about how great they are. I’m not even over reacting here. Once outside we were told to come back at 7:45pm for Green Day, where the process was going to be the same thing. To steal a line from Shannon Noll (who stole it from someone else but I was like 3 years old when that song came out and I can’t remember who it was and I’m not about to Google it) but “What about me? It isn’t fair!“. Seriously, why does a reviewer get to take his mate along for a free show but us photographers aren’t allowed to watch it? Just like the reviewer we’re there to do a job, how are we of less importance? And in all seriousness seven people weren’t going to block the entry ways from over crowding and there were seats available in the nose bleed area as well. But no, we weren’t allowed to stay at all. I can’t speak for all people but whenever I picked up street press or look at a site I’m looking at the photos, not the review. I own copies of Rolling Stone for the photos. Maybe that’s because I’m a photographer, but I loved looking at band photos from when I was a kid. I wasn’t big on the reading. Now I’m not saying the review isn’t important, and obviously the reviewer has to be there for the whole show to be able to review it properly, but I do think both are of equal importance. Both parties still have to go home and spend hour/s writing and editing their work before it’s published but can we all admit that this practice is unfair to photographers? Why does a random person get free entry to a show for doing nothing?

My hero that night was another photographer named Dan. I was complaining about not being able to see Green Day to another photographer friend (like we get to see bands at most shows) and Dan asks me if I want to see the show and hands me a concert ticket. I must have come across like a right dickhead cos I was in shock on why someone would just hand me a ticket. I can’t afford to go to concerts thats why I get photo passes (that and the fact I’m pretty short so for 2-3 songs I get to have a really good view of the band before moving back). Turned out he had tickets for himself and his wife and she couldn’t go anymore and he was unable to sell them. So I forced a hug on him. I honestly could have cried. This was the kindest gesture of all time (again maybe a gross exaggeration but I REALLY LOVE GREEN DAY GUYS!!!) and I couldn’t believe it was happening. Thanks to him I got to see the entire show after our 2-song limit. On the event page I’d seen the venue reply to a girl saying SLR’s with 50mm lenses are allowed into the show. I contemplated it for about 5 seconds because I did want to try a crowd shot but I wasn’t up for battling the crowd and wanted to enjoy the show instead. Enjoy it I did!