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!

Flashback Friday: I Shot Rob

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Thanks to Facebook memories today I found out it was two years ago that I dragged my mate Rob to a park (ok I didn’t drag but it sounds way more interesting that way!) and had the most chill photo shoot of all time. I was like “go sit there and play guitar” and then I got into my crazy paparazzi ninja style and took photos. Then I told him to go climb in this here tree and be one with nature because that’s what hippy heavy metal dudes do. Then I ended the day with an alley way in Northbridge where he gave me the best psycho face.  I met Rob when he was in a band called Aniva and now he busks around Perth. I manage to run into him half the time I venture to Northbridge so chances are high you’ve seen him!

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Flashback Friday – Zombies!

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FBF to 2012 – to the day – when I had a zombie shoot with these two girls at a local cemetery. I had a friend assisting me to help with any cleanup to avoid getting fake blood on my camera but I ended up not even needing her really – so much so that she got this behind the scenes photo of me. It was probably the cleanest zombie shoot I’ve ever had.

The two girls were ready to go when we got there with makeup on. The shoot started one with one as a zombie and the other the ‘victim’, but the victim had a severe case of the giggles and couldn’t stop laughing. By the end of the shoot she’d turned zombie too, so if you’re ever in a zombie apocalypse maybe take it a little bit seriously 😉

I thought it fitting to show off the photo I was taking when this behind the scenes photo was taken. I don’t even know how I edited it but it was shot on my Canon 400D with 50mm lens. I still have that camera, compared to my Nikon now it’s like a toy camera. It’s so small and light! Sometimes I really regret selling the 50mm though because I only have the lensbaby for it now.

I got to a point about 2-3 years ago where I really resented being known as “the girl who takes zombie photos”, when compared to the amount of pinup/music photography I’d done a handful of shoots were all I was known for. I’m pretty sure I could count all the zombie shoots I’ve done on one hand. They are a lot of fun though so maybe I’ll do another one some day.

Punks Against Poverty #3

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Last Friday was the 3rd Punks Against Poverty show that I’d organised to raise money for Street Smugglers. This event had the best lineup ever with two of the bands coming up to Perth from Bunbury/Margaret River (for anyone who doesn’t know that’s a 3+ hour drive) to perform at it.

I just found out that we had 109 payers and raised $1417! I didn’t think we had that many people in the room. This money will help us put the next fundraising idea into action which I’ll discuss more once it’s in action.

If you would like to follow Street Smuggler and find out more about what they do you can find them on Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/StreetSmugglersAU/.

While you’re at it you can also check out/listen to all the amazing bands that gave up their time as well..

Blindspot
Blackwitch
Scalphunter
Stumped
Lionizer
Hope Street

Fringe: The Glory Republic [NSFW]

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On Saturday night I was booked to photograph The Glory Republic event at Babushka. It was a decent night, the acts were entertaining and the DJ’s were great but nothing prepared me for the final act.

Betty Grumble came out looking like a wild amazon woman. Lots of laughs then all of a sudden she’s taking a shit on stage. It was fake but still left me wondering what the fuck I’m watching. Then she spins around and her ass is covered in chocolate. It’s one of those moments you wish you’d had some pointers on what to expect so you aren’t standing there shocked and forgetting to take photos for 30 seconds.

Babushka is a fairly dark venue. So certain things you can’t tell, like a lack of gstring, so when Betty bends over to bow with her back to us we all got an eyefull of vagina!

Turns out I also captured it in a couple photos thanks to my flash. Since most social media is anti-female anatomy I can pretty much share this on my own blog and Deviantart! This photo pretty much sums up the act.

You can see more user friendly photos on my Facebook page 😉

2017

Apparently I am beyond useless with this thing and my Patreon. I’ll take about 85% of the blame. Every time I’m in the studio or out doing something and want to share it on here the app just refuses to work claiming I don’t have internet connection, hours later when I’m home I’ve forgotten about everything and then repeat the cycle..

So far for 2017 I’ve started using the expired b+w polaroid film with some interesting effects. I have no idea how old the film was when it was bought last year but all the photos are coming out sepia. Half way through the film it wasnt even giving me a full exposure anymore so the whole thing is basically a giant surprise to what sort of a photo I’m going to have come out of the camera. I have one I’ll upload as soon as I get it scanned.

The pinup calendar is still a work in progress. The goal is September because the 15th is World Lymphoma Awareness Day. I think I’m about half way through and now that the studio wall is finished I can do a couple more quite easily.

I’ve already got the next Punks Against Poverty show booked for March and organising that and I’m really eager to do some other fundraisers for the charity as well. To get completely shallow, I realised my birthday is a Friday this year so I told the venue to put that date on hold too. I spent a long time hating on my birthday for reasons (there were always fights or people making it about them then last one with my mum was spent sitting in a hospital waiting room), so this is as close as I get to partying and for a change it’s going to be all about me.

I have decided that to get into the swing of things in the studio and get a routine going (it’s an anxiety thing) that I’m going to do head shots. It’s a theory anyway.