As I work my way through the process of preparing for a series of presentations and an extended workshop in New Zealand, I am reviewing some old images of your mature blogger and the relevance of photography in my life.
Should I use photographs that illustrate my current (blurred, inaccurate, biased, rosy) view of how I once looked, acted or performed? Or do I strike a note that is more in keeping with my appearance, performance and actions today? I could stick with the truism “photography does not lie” – but that becomes harder and harder, with content aware actions (and more) in Photoshop.
With some presentations to members of the New Zealand Institute of Professional Photography (NZIPP) and students at UCOL about preparing and entering awards, I am trying to illustrate what attracts the eyes of judges in the fleeting moments that they get to assess and score a photographic image. For the participants of the Wanaka Autumn Arts School 2013, I have five days to discuss and elaborate on the topic of Making the Right Photography, not the Perfect Photograph. In all cases I want to show a little of where my life in photography has led me, and as much as I can, utilise images as a way of showing that pathway. Hence the quandary about what stories photographs can show – was I ever the star athlete? ……. or just the dour nerdish wannabe photographer who was keen to take night time shots on a borrowed camera and then rush back to the Studio darkroom (unbeknownst to its owner) and process the images as though the facilities were mine? Much more of the latter than the former!
For the Wanaka presentation, I have time to expand a set of ideas and thoughts predicated on the as yet unknown skills and interests of the participants. Whilst I am unrecognised as a landscape photographer, I am keen to show that my visits to New Zealand have sparked in me a desire to document vistas that are quite foreign to my Queensland upbringing. Bearing in mind that I am in the territory of the great Gilbert van Reenan, Andris Apse, Mike Landford, John Doogan and Jackie Ranken, I am more than a little self-conscious of taking coals to Newcastle! The fact that John is leading one of the workshops at Wanaka is even more daunting – fortunately he is concentrating on Landscapes and I will just give a brief four minute audio visual on landscapes. Although sometimes the visitor has the advantage of seeing the commonplace through different eyes. That will be a constant thread in my presentation and self-defence.
One of the things becoming apparent as I trawl through the archives is the constant connection with cameras and photography. Not really to be wondered at, but a self satisfying endorsement that whilst my life is not financially rich, it is rich in the fact that I have followed a dream that has been a constant since the mid 1960s. The cameras, the hair styles and the fashions (that is a handsome denim jacket…) may change – but the photography is still vitally important.
So, if any of you have an opportunity to speak to me in Tauranga, Wellington, Palmerston North, Queenstown or Wanaka – please do so. Photography is what I am about, and photography is what I can happily talk about. That discussion, offered with a crisp dry white wine (New Zealand naturally) would take me to a better place!