Alex in the Forest

Alex in the Forest |

A couple of weeks ago I was feeling a bit inspired and decided to take my girlfriend out for a quick photoshoot. I wanted a darker feeling to this shoot and found a small grassy area off the side of a road with a lot of trees and bushes that would serve for a good backdrop. 

It was very late afternoon and rather cloudy, so whatever sun there was it was pretty much obstructed by all the trees and the cloud... This gave me a dark and dull ambient light in camera. After shooting around the trees for a while, Alex sat back in the car to warm up and to check her makeup, as she was doing this I took a couple of shots and instantly found my second location.

Shooting in the car gave me such a versatile number of poses and looks I could get. I was shooting with one light and a reflector for every shot.

Alex 1 |
Alex 2 |
Alex 5 |
Alex 3 |
Alex 7 |
Alex 8 |
Alex 4 |
Alex 6 |
Alex 9 |

The Sounds of Nature

The Sounds of Nature |

Nature is simply wonderful. If there's one thing I love more than photography it is being out in nature while taking photos. Okay, I know that is still technically photography but whatever. The sound of the wind blowing through the trees, birds chirping, the sound of my boots crushing rocks under my feet as I walk, the sounds are just simply wonderful. I enjoyed listening to the environment so much during a shoot last year, that I decided to record it on my phone while I was out taking photos.

I was up in the Blackwarry Plantation (operated by HVP Plantations), and ended up with the image you can see at the top of the page. Have a listen below, it goes for 11 minutes, so perhaps play it in the background while you're getting work done, or relaxing reading a book... I find it soothing.

Bullshit: Taboo in Art and Photography

Taboo in Photography |

Taboo is often times a sub-genre of art that delves into an area that makes people uncomfortable. Pubic hair, menstruation, sex, fetish–the list goes on. For the purpose of this opinion piece, I’m going to talk about the photography medium, because that’s where my expertise lies. I’d love to know your thoughts on taboo in other areas of art in the comments below.

TABOO: noun, 
a social or religious custom prohibiting or restricting a particular practice or forbidding association with a particular person, place, or thing.

I attended a Robert Mapplethorp documentary screening last night (sep 25 2016). It was eye opening, very sexually explicit, incredibly captivating and what many would class as taboo. Afterwards, a Question and Answer talk with Bill Henson, which turned more into a talk about censorship, intimacy and tabooism, but I didn’t mind that at all. But it got me thinking about taboo, and thinking about it on the train ride home I came to a conclusion. It’s all bullshit.

Let me explain. Taboo is simply a reaction to something natural, yet society wants to pretend it doesn’t exist. Period blood, fecal matter, anal fisting in leather chaps with a gag in your mouth. It all happens, it’s all perfectly normal… but society wants to block it out.

Taboo is bullshit for the simple fact that the topics that make up taboo are all completely natural activities and thoughts that people have and do. Sure it might make you uncomfortable, but that’s just your insecurities and inability to handle what’s being offered up. But that doesn’t make it taboo.

I’m going to use Mapplethorpe’s photography as an example here.

His nude photos. The S&M work, is not taboo one iota. It doesn’t even shock me in the slightest if thinking about the taboo topic, because I know that people partake in these kind of fetishes and acts. I know it exists. It does certainly take me aback when I’m suddenly confronted with an image of a pinky finger, inserted like a catheter into the urethra of a penis. But it doesn’t take me aback because it’s taboo, it takes me aback because “fuck; how is that enjoyable?”. This is simply my insecurity and inability to handle what I’m viewing. It’s not taboo. It’s normal and it’s natural… Believe it or not.

Taboo only exists to a closed mind not open to the idea that what they are looking at is presenting. You do not have to like or understand why something has been done, and you can certainly disagree as to why it’s being done. But you cannot deny that if something is taboo, it is simply normal biological behaviour… or an instinct… or an emotional response. That’s just it
— Nick Jeremiah

I’ll use another example that may be a bit more relatable. I was in a uni lecture the other week, I cannot remember the photographer, but on screen was an image of a toilet with period blood staining the water. Again, I didn’t think that this was taboo because – and I invite you to agree but with me – it’s perfectly natural and every woman goes through it. It might make them feel a little uncomfortable, probably more so men, but it’s not taboo. Now; I don’t think it had to be shown. There was no reason for it to have been photographed and showcased. It doesn’t add to the discussion of art or add anything to the art world. It’s not something we need to talk about to break the ‘taboo stigma’. It’s simply a private matter that every woman endures that everybody knows about… Whether we talk about it or not.

Taboo is a concept invented by society as a coping mechanism to try and understand the art world.

Going back to Mapplethorpe, his S&M images are pornography. It’s blatant, and straightforward and that’s the point. There’s nothing wrong with that of course, but it’s not art. It has no place in a gallery because I, and everyone else can look at porn whenever we want. Or better yet we can go and enjoy sex ourselves. We can take part in the real thing instead of looking at prints on a wall. The person taking the pornographic image doesn’t make it any more or less pornographic than it makes it art. Of course when these images were being shot the internet wasn’t around. But this type of photography was being printed in magezines and pornography videos long before Mapplethorpe was exhibiting it. There is nothing overtly special about the images, it’s just simple hardcore porn.

Maybe sexual taboo had a place in the 70’s, 80’s and 90’s because perhaps the general population weren’t as aware of it as we are today. But taboo in art and photography today really has no place. It’s a fictional ideology that has no place in the modern art world. Everyobdy acklowdelges the existance of every fetish on earth, every sexual desire, all the diseases and health issues. The world is a more knowledgable place today than it was 40 years ago.

Nothing is shocking or disturbing because it’s taboo. It’s shocking and disturbing because of you.


Pinteresting Is Interesting

Pinteresting is Interesting |

So lately I’ve decided to jump on the Pinterest bandwagon and have been using it a lot. I use it for researching and inspiration for mood boards as well as just pinning images to certain boards for ideas to shoot or for potential locations. It has taken me a long time to start using Pinterest for a reason that I’m not entirely sure why. I guess it’s to do with the fact that now I’m starting to actually understand the art and design world and my processes are becoming more professional and refined. I used to never do any form of research, instead I would just jump straight into the work and unfortunately a lot of my artwork has suffered because of it.

I’ve come to realise how important it is to gain inspiration and just undertaking simple research to see what other Creatives have done. An example of this, is what I’ve just recently done to my blog. This isn’t Pinterest related exactly but I published a post yesterday about inspirational blogs and it gave me the drive to actually make my blog look good–and so I did. I went through and removed posts that I didn’t really want and decided to create a thumbnail image for each of them. This is to add some visual interest to my site and for my posts to have a specific look when shared on social media.

So I’ve decided to use two helpful things to use Pinterest for.

  • | Set up a business account with Pinterest and start pinning.

Pinterest is the go-to website to search for DIY projects, recipes and other stuff. The more you pin your blog content the more web traffic you’ll get. Pinterest also links directly back to your site so your images will take users to your site.

  • | Allow visitors to pin from your site.

If you hover over any image on my website, you’ll notice a Pin It button pop up in the top left. This lets Pinterest users Pin any image from my site to their boards. An easy way to get your stuff out there.

Hasselblad Masters 2016 | VOTING CLOSED

Click on the image to be taken directly to the Hasselblad Masters home page.

Click on the image to be taken directly to the Hasselblad Masters home page.

The Hasselblad Masters 2016 competition has seen a spectacular 10,700 images entered from over 4,000 photographers. Photographic ability; creativity; compositional skills; conceptual strength and technique have all made a compelling contribution to the art of photography.
— Hasselblad

Well the time has come and the jury has spoken. Over 10,000 photos from 4,000 photographers from all over the world were submitted for the Hasselblad Masters Award 2016 including three of my own. The public voting has now begun to choose the final 10 winners. Oh, did I mention I’m one of the finalists? It would mean the world to me for you to vote for my flagship (or what I like to think) photograph of Whisky Bay. I have entered into the Project//21 category and my image is the colourful seascape. All you have to do is vote my image with 3 STARS, another 2 STARS and finally a 1 STAR. Then click CAST VOTE. You will need to be a member with Hasselblad but that’s easy, just sign up.

I would also like you all to share my blog post and let all your friends know. Photography is my passion and to be a finalist will forever be something I’m proud of.

So how do I vote?

Visit the Hasselblad website and in the top right corner click Sign In. You'll see a Create Account link, you'll click this to create your Hasselblad account. The only information you need to provide is an email address, password and your name. Once you have done that scroll to the bottom of the page, accept the terms and conditions and click the Create Account button.

You should now be signed in but click the Sign In button in the top right again just to make sure. When signed in you'll see the Hasselblad Masters Awards finalist categories on your profile page. I entered in the Project//21 section–the section with the Mini Cooper as the image. Click into that and you'll see 10 photos. My image is the second image featuring a rather colourful seascape. Rate this image three stars then proceed to rate two others with two and one stars. Then above the gallery you'll see a white Cast Vote button, click that and it'll turn grey. You have now voted and can no longer vote again in that category.