18
May 16

Man Alive 

Every poet has a line of poetry that is central to their being, and I wanted to see how that affected them. So started The Poets project, where their line is an essential part of their portrait and shown with make up.

Randall Stephens here is a performance poet, powerful and usually quite intense. The title of his work is also a key theme that he explores in his poetry – ‘Man Alive!’, a statement that in effect is a summation of every part of his masculinity. Besides being lyrically powerful, he’s also a strikingly physical presence….

So what did that phrase truly mean to him? We kept it simple this time, simple black letters, whereas the previous portrait in this series has distorted clown make up. The reason for that is we wanted to strip it down to something more raw, an essence of his masculinity.

I asked him to stare down the camera and show us what ‘man alive’ truly means.


12
May 16

The process we take 


Originally I had a different caption planned for this portrait. However, plans change.

So I thought I’d talk about the process I take with these portraits…

Each image is of someone I’d call powerful. I don’t mean powerful in the sense that they have clout (though some undoubtedly do). I mean powerful in that they have impact. These are not people who float through life. These are people who create change around themselves, who affect others because of what they do and who they are.
I shoot these portraits because I want to hear their stories. And I want to tell their stories. These portraits are in and of themselves stories, accompanied by words that hopefully add to what you see in their faces.
With each person, we sit down and talk. It’s that simple. Each session usually takes about 2 hours, and the actual taking of the photo is often barely 15 minutes, something that happens after we’ve had a chance to connect.
I don’t go in with a plan on how to shoot them. Each one is organic, and only when we’re in the studio do I start to think about the mechanics of how I’m going to light them and framing and such.
To shoot these portraits is a privilege. In fact, to have this lifestyle that I have is the ultimate privilege. So, hopefully, these portraits give back just a little to the universe.

This image is of Tatyana Leonov, travel writer. I can’t say much as Tat understandably wants to keep private. Suffice to say that she most definitely creates impact as a person, and manages to lead a life that is both inspiring and just sometimes jaw dropping.


22
Mar 16

Midnight in…..er….a warehouse in Canberra. 

  
Another old shot, as I write this from a doctors waiting room – our youngest is a bit off.

The brief for this hair campaign (for Byron Turnbull) was to make it look like we were on a rooftop in LA or Paris on a warm Summer’s night. …..actually, we were freezing out butts off in a dirty warehouse in Canberra in the middle of winter….(of course)

So how do you create that look? Well, I set up a very layered and rich foreground light for our talent, and in the background built a little structure of party lights. I dropped the background out of focus, and the plan was to replicate them to create the effect of city lights. Which would have been a beautiful look.
Just like in the macaron shot of a few days ago, I worked with retoucher Sam Hawken. She suggested using these background plates instead of my build, which she thought would give us a more romantic look. She was right.


15
Feb 16

The years that shape us

Ollie

Last week on instagram, I posted a double shot of Ollie, and mentioned how he’d gone through a tough year.

I thought I’d add one more to the mix.

It seems everyone who lives a creative lifestyle goes through these intense years. They are crucibles that shape us, but sometimes we come out misshapen. This is something that happened to me several years ago, and it took a long time to get over.

On the flip side, sometimes they shape us into something more resonant and powerful too.

 

 

 

 


11
Feb 16

Expectation vs reality and the wonderful human that is Patrick Canion.

Patrick Canion

So we all have expectations. When we meet people we’ve either heard a lot about, or do things we associate in certain ways, often it’s hard to separate our expectations from the reality of meeting that person.

Patrick here is a Financial Planner. I first met him a couple years ago, when I flew out to Perth to shoot a documentary for his company. Like what seems to be most people, I had friends and family whose experiences with so-called financial planners had been…horrendous. In some cases, so bad that it destroyed their savings and/or crippled their livelihood. Additionally, about a month before the video, the Commonwealth Bank had become embroiled in a scandal involving their in-house planners. Things got dodgy and it wasn’t pretty.

So with all this in mind, frankly, I was expecting to meet a self-interested tosspot who only cared about their commission and had the listening skills of a hyperactive squirrel on acid.

…expectation vs. reality.

Patrick was not what I expected. Anything but. A more genuine human being you won’t find, with a wide and eclectic range of interests, enabling him to find common ground with almost anyone. Someone more interested in talking about your life than theirs.

I mentioned before the expectation of bad experience. Financial Planning as a profession has some fairly major issues to work out. Patrick is one of the leading planners in Australia, a man whose integrity is beyond question. He’s trying to reform the business so that this commonplace bad expectation can dissolve. A big task, but something Patrick is eminently suited for.

When I first interviewed him for that documentary, Patrick mentioned how he wanted to be able to hold his head up high when walking through the streets of Perth. His reputation matters. How he treats people matters. And how he makes a difference to other people’s lives; this matters more than anything else.

Patrick, you were surprised when I asked to take a portrait of you. Well, here’s your answer – you matter. You’ve had impact on many, many people, including me.