After the success of a small event held in Brisbane last year, giving portraits to the children and families of the Starlight Children’s Foundation, Help Portrait Brisbane have been busy planning an event on a much larger scale.
On December 5th a group of local Brisbane photographers, assistants, editors, makeup artists, printers and volunteers will be participating in Help Portrait, a global movement of people who are using their time, equipment and expertise to give back to those in need this holiday season. In a collaboration with Lifeline – Disability Services, Red Cross and Wesley Mission, the team will be giving free portraits and prints to the people of these charities. Since the event last year, I’ve been inspired to organise a number of different “Help Portrait” styled events, providing portraits to people with disability, terminal illness and the homeless. The power of something as simple as having a portrait taken always seems to bring a bit of happiness to their days, particularly to those that don’t have the opportunity to do so.
But we need your help. Through donations collected by the public we hope to also provide professional printing on site to give to the guests on the day. We’re hoping to cover a few inevitable costs that go into such events, such as printing paper, ink, snacks for guests and venue expenses. If you can spare a few dollars, it would go a long way in giving someone a beautiful portrait and making sure events like this can continue to run in the future.
How can you help?
Click “ChipIn!” below, or follow this link to help us fund the cause! Any donation large or small is appreciated!
MORE ON HELP PORTRAIT:
Initiated in 2009 by a call-out by American photographer, Jeremy Cowart, Brisbane’s collective of Help Portrait photographers hope to establish an ongoing community of hobbyist to professional photographers interested in not just the act of ‘taking’ but also in ‘giving photos’.
I’ve always been a fan of the photography in Frankie and clients will sometimes refer to the work they see in the magazine as a reference to photography they like. So it’s an honour that Scott Spark chose this photo I took to be in his writeup in the mag. You can read and see more photos from my shoot with Scott here.
Scott’s album, “Fail Like You Mean It”, was just released and you can listen/buy it on iTunes or get it at Avid Reader (Brisbane) and JB Hi-Fi.
Working with creative people, particularly musicians, is always a pleasure. It often feels more like a collaboration of creative ideas, rather than a strict brief. I met up with Brisbane singer/songwriter Scott Spark, to discuss his new album and the imagery he wanted to back it. We talked about a few themes and locations that he felt would suit best. Eventually, we decided on two locations, both indoor and out. Here are some of my favourite shots from the shoot.
Late last year I was the photographer for Brisbane City Council’s bi-annual Homeless Connect, which provides a much needed range of services to the homeless population of Brisbane. Included in the services are medical and legal services as well as covering the most basic of needs through accommodation referrals, clothing and food. Last November, I covered the event in a mostly candid and documentary style, but soon realised that combining it with some ideas from another event we organised last year, Help Portrait, would allow us to give much more to the guests on the day and in a more direct way.
This year, I teamed up with the amazing Lynda Evans and Toby Scott, to shoot, print, laminate and even burn images to disc. We hit the ground running and had no chance to break until it was all over, with people eventually starting to congregate around the booth, checking out their photos and waiting for their turn to have their portrait taken. We shot portraits for about 170 people and gave the equipment, kindly supplied to us by Epson, quite a workout! We met some amazing people and heard some moving stories of how people were going to use their photos, and who they were going to give them to. It seemed like everyone wanted to have their photo taken to share with another friend or loved one that wasn’t there. We heard about people wanting the photos to give to their mothers for Mothers Day, family overseas and a mate on the “inside”, some just wanted portraits of their children or with friends. There was a couple wanting pregnancy portraits and even some people who wanted to have “before and after” haircut shots! When I first thought about bringing a portrait space to Homeless connect I really wasn’t sure whether it would work or be something that was needed, but after seeing the joy that something as simple as getting a nice portrait taken can bring, it really re-enforces my belief in the power of “photography for good” and the impact it has on people.
Many thanks to Toby, Lynda, Epson Australia, Brisbane City Council, Volunteering Queensland, all volunteers and service providers for making this kind of event possible. I’ve shot a few “Help Portrait” inspired events since our first one last year but am hoping to make it a much more frequent and sustainable way to give portraits. If you know anyone keen to support, through printing supplies or in any other way possible, please let me know! For more information on Homeless Connect and how to get involved as a volunteer or service provider in the next event in November, please visit:
Following a few busy months since my last BNE project shoot, I met up with John Davis a guitar repairer based up in Red Hill in Brisbane. For those unfamiliar with the project, every person selected for the BNE project is chosen by a previous BNE participant. John Davis was selected as the inspiration of one of my early BNE portraits, Dan from Dan and Dilmah.
I caught up with John a few days before the shoot at his store and spent a few hours chatting and observing, amongst a constant influx of passionate guitar lovers frequenting the store. One of the things I noticed about John is that when he was working, he was constantly in motion. Whether it was chatting to three customers at once or restringing a guitar, the man is always on the move! I came back a few days later and despite having scheduled the shoot after hours to avoid interruptions, John was still juggling customers and fixing guitars into the night. This passion for his work, people, and guitars is something I really wanted to capture with this shoot.
Early this month, Brisbane hosted it’s very own community run TED event or “TEDx“. It was one of the most inspiring local events I’ve had the pleasure of being a part of. Modeled after the Long beach based annual TED conferences, the day included talks from a diverse range of prolific thinkers and doers. Co-hosted and organised by Paul Fairweather and Carl Lindgren, with the help of a number of sponsors and volunteers, the day was buzzing with inspired conversation and the ‘spirit’ of TED. As a photographic sponsor, I had the honour of shooting some inspiring speakers and captured some great moments in the lead up to the event. A massive thanks and congrats to the organisers and everyone involved. Here are some of my favourite shots from TEDxBrisbane. More images can be found on the TEDxBrisbane flickr page .
And finally, I’d like to share the first TED talk that introduced me to these “ideas worth spreading”, soon after they started releasing the TED talks online. It was Jeff Han’s presentation on multi-touch technology. From touch pads on laptops to the Apple iPad, it’s crazy how within 5 years of this talk, it has become so common place. As Jeff says, this technology will “Change the way we interact with machines from this point on”, and it has.
I recently did a shoot for Hailey Calvert, an incredibly talented Brisbane singer-songwriter. We set out to shoot a few different locations based on some of Hailey’s inspirations and tell the story of her and her music. You can check out some of Hailey’s music here: myspace.com/haileycalvert.
Here are a few of my favourite shots:
Over 8,000 photographers and volunteers in 42 countries held Help Portrait events on the 12th of December this year. Among those 715 locations which held the photo shoots, 2 were organised for Brisbane. I worked with a group of amazing Brisbane photographers along with the Starlight foundation to provide sick children and their families with beautifully printed and framed portraits.
The day was eye opening, challenging and exceptional, with just 5 photographers and 3 starlight volunteers, we set up in 2 spaces at the hospital and also visited those unable to come to us. There were a few issues with printing, but we still achieved our main goal, which was to give the kids and their families beautiful portraits and a fun experience through photography. The children were thrilled to be a part of a photo shoot and the grateful looks on the faces of their parents told a story in itself.
I’d like to thank the photographers, family, friends, and everyone who helped and showed support, whether it was through donations or just spreading the word through twitter, you made the day amazing for some very needy children and their families. With our fund raising efforts, we ended up raising over $900 to cover costs and the remainder was donated directly to the Starlight Foundation.
I’d also like to mention the great efforts of another group of fine photographers who made another Help Portrait happen for Vital Connection. With all the interest shown through the Brisbane Help Portrait page and emails received, I have no doubt Help Portrait in Brisbane will only be getting bigger and more frequent. We’d be interested in getting the ball rolling on the next help portrait, so if you have any ideas for future events, as well as potential suppliers, please let me know. I’d really like to see a lot of small groups of photographers getting out there, giving portraits, and doing their thing!
Time lapse video from one of the Help Portrait locations:
Whether it be through story telling, print donations for art auctions or charity event coverage, there are quite a few ways a photographer can dedicate their time and skills towards a greater good. Upon hearing about Help Portrait through photographer Elleni Toumpas, along with Brisbane photographers Adam West, Toby Scott and Ian Henderson, we decided to discover new and more direct ways to give, rather than just “take” pictures. In major cities around the world, photographers are coming together to donate their time, equipment and expertise to giving to those less fortunate as a part of the Help Portrait movement. Although Help Portrait shoots will be happening across the globe on December 12 this year, we have all agreed and are planning towards carrying out these shoots on a more regular basis.
In support of hospitalised and seriously ill children, Help Portrait Brisbane will be working with the Starlight Children’s Foundation to take portraits with the kids and their families and give them professional prints from the day.
Want to help out?
While our time and equipment are all covered, we still need to raise the money to give prints to the children and families of Starlight! So we are aiming to raise $500 to give them something nice to keep. If you can spare just $5-10, or even more to help us reach our goal it would be greatly appreciated. You can use the widget above to donate, or visit the Help Portrait ChipIn page here: http://helpportrait.chipin.com/help-portrait-brisbane
While we’ve reached the number of photographers needed to help the children at the Starlight Foundation, there are still so many more people out there that could do with a portrait to brighten their day! So if you are a photographer and want to take part in Help Portrait this year, it’s not too late! Check out the Help Portrait website, on how to get involved and get something started. The local Brisbane site can be found here: http://community.help-portrait.com/group/brisbane . There are still so many people who want to get involved, team up and make something amazing happen!
Brisbane’s creative community can feel like one big happy family at times, so shooting for Finders Keepers this weekend was lots of fun. An event originating in Sydney, the Finders Keepers markets supports local designers and artists through a two day independent market. I spent most of the day strolling around, listening to music and chatting to stall owners about their creations and the ideas behind them. It’s really left me feeling re-inspired to focus a bit more on my side projects like VonVintage, and the BNE project, to bring more to a photograph than just a print on a wall or an image online. Here are some of my favourite stalls and shots from the day. More images can be found in the Finders Keepers gallery.
Earlier in the year, as part of my BNE Project, I did a shoot with Joshua Levi (Brisbane photographer, gallery owner, entrepreneur), while he was working on the construction of a second new gallery. I had always intended on doing the second portrait for the series back in the same space once it had been finished, but also really wanted to somehow incorporate more of Josh as well as his trademark bathtub at his main gallery. Residing mainly at Joshua Levi Galleries in Woolloongabba, the vintage clawfoot tub had been used in helping to promote his past shows as well as in his latest combined photographic exhibition “Coke Can Spirituality” where it even found itself on the back of a ute in front of Prime Minister Kevin Rudd’s electoral office.
Like most of my shoots, we threw around a couple of ideas and tried out a few different approaches before deciding how we wanted in the shot to look and everything to work. After rehanging and rearranging all of Josh’s own “bathtub” photography a few times and having to refill the tub (and clean up) after a few explosive splashes, we finally ended up with what we wanted.
In February this year Brisbane “Tweeps”, along with thousands of other users of online social media community Twitter, from over 200 cities around the world, came together to help raise over $390,000 AU for Charity:Water. Following the success of the International event, September 10-13th 2009, now marks the dates set for Twestival Local, where Twitter communities will be holding events to support their local causes.
On September 11th 2009, Brisbane Twestival will be helping to raise funds for the Inspire Foundation, who through a number of programs, support young people through the prevention of youth suicide and improvement of mental health and well being. Twestival will be held at Joshua Levi Galleries, a great supporter of local artists and musicians, where I have showed my work before. The night will showcase local bands and acts, raffles and also an art auction to which I am donating one of my framed photographs (above + below). So please come along, have a few drinks, listen to some great bands, buy some artwork and help support the Inspire Foundation!
Last month I had a photo shoot with Gold Coast band Hobo Obituaries. I was told they had a space where they did all their recording and spent most of their time hanging out, and although I hadn’t seen it until the day, was pretty sure it would make for some interesting photos. I approached the shoot with a few fairly loose ideas, but with the main intention of just capturing the brothers being themselves in their own environment. From Jack Russells to low rider bicycles we had a lot of fun incorporating as much of their lives into the shoot. It really reinforced my view of working with people to achieve something fun and real, rather than just directing them.
Over a year in the planning, Alanna and Scott’s wedding was as organised as a wedding could possibly be. One thing about weddings though, is there are so many variables that come into play on the day that could easily turn a good shoot into a bad one. Starting out with a few concerns about the cold and overcast/rainy weather, the the skies soon cleared and the day was perfect. However, with a late ceremony at 4pm and sunset at 5pm. We were unable to use any of the available daylight for the location shots and had to cut out a few ideas. We had no choice but to do the entire location shoot post sunset, which was actually a first for me. I’m thrilled with the results though. I suppose it goes to show that you can plan as much as you want, but in the end you can’t always rely on your initial ideas and will need to work off of what you have.
Last night I attended the preview opening of ‘Underexposed’ an exhibition showcasing some amazing live band photography from Brisbane Photographers. With well over a dozen photographers, such as Dane Beesley, Kylie Keene and Elleni Toumpas showcasing their work, the walls were filled with hundreds of images over the last 20 years of music history. It was great to finally meet some photographers who’s work I have seen through various street press, online and social media. With local music from local bands and musicians the atmosphere couldn’t be more fitting. Underexposed opens tonight at Joshua Levi Galleries in Wooloongabba and will be featuring live music in the gallery every Friday and Saturday until the end of the show. More details and gig dates below.
Pecha Kucha Night – Volume 10 was held as part of the Brisbane Ideas Festival on the 27th of March. I had the opportunity to present at the event and speak about some of my work and projects.
Pecha Kucha is an event where any designer, artist, architect, interactive media or alike, are given the soapbox to present their designs, thoughts and ideas. Each presenter gets 20 seconds to showcase and talk about 20 slides of their work.
This is a video of my presentation. Lots of “umms”, I know, but with a packed crowd of 300 in the room, 200 on the 2nd floor balcony, and another few hundred on the ground floor watching the live feed, I was pretty nervous!
As part of the “second degree” of the BNE project, a photographic project looking at people’s inspirations, chosen by the subjects of the photos themselves, I did a shoot for Matt Rabbidge from 9 Lives. Matt was chosen as the inspiration of Nick Crocker, one of the first portraits of the series as his inspiration for the project. Trying to capture someone you don’t really know well in a portrait can be quite a challenge, but I suppose that’s what makes the project fun to shoot. One of the inspiring stories behind Matt is the collaborative effort with his friends to get the 9 lives gallery off the ground. With this in mind, we chose the gallery as the perfect location, and invited everyone along for the shoot. We started off with a few solo portraits at the front of the gallery and set up a second camera to record a time lapse of the shoot. I later found that my favourite shot was one off of the second camera. The shot that really captured Matt was one of him sitting, looking into the main room of the gallery, as I set up for the shoot. I couldn’t have hoped to capture a better moment without even holding the camera! Check out the resulting shots from he shoot as well as the time lapse video:
For the last few weeks I’ve been working on a number of photo shoots for my ongoing photographic project entitled BNE. As part of the project I take a look at the inspiring people that surround me and tell their story through two images. I recently photographed Josh Collings, from Joshua Levi Galleries, at his new space at the Bell Brother’s building in the Fortitude Valley, Brisbane. After seeing what Josh recently did with an old antique shop, transforming it into a unique space for artists and musicians, it seemed fitting that I shoot his portrait at his new gallery whilst still under construction. The second image of the series is scheduled to be shot after his opening in a few weeks time. As part of the project, I ask each of my inspirations to select the next inspiration in the series, playing on the idea of six degrees of separation. You can read more about the project here:
This Tuesday, over 175 cities around the world will be hosting ‘Twestivals’ in an effort to help raise money and awareness for charity: water, a non profit organization bringing clean, safe drinking water to people in developing nations. The event will bring together the world’s online Twitter “micro-blogging” communities for an evening of music, art and entertainment. Brisbane will be hosting their very own Twestival this Thursday the 12th February at 6.30pm at Metro Arts in the city. For those interested, be sure to check out the Brisbane Twestival Website, where you can donate and also buy tickets to the event. There will be live bands and entertainment as well as a live auction for which I have donated the two images below. Hope to see you there!
I was recently asked to do a shoot for local Brisbane hair stylist, Michelle Morrison, who wanted me to help showcase 6 solid looks for a hair stylist competition she was entering. Due to the variable nature of the styles, we needed to work out of the salon to ensure that full control of the hair and makeup was maintained. Equipped with a portable backdrop and studio lights, setting up a small ‘fashion studio’ for the shoot in the limited space proved to be quite an entertaining challenge! With a full team of make up artists and hair stylists on hand, we delivered some stunning looks with some of what I have been referring to as ‘Killer Fringes’!