I've been shooting some new work lately and have been doing some shoots with some of the talent from Bella Management here in Sydney. I had approached Bella Mgmt with some ideas and one of which was about a couple on a roadtrip, dirty and sweaty from days on the road in a crappy car and they're lost in the middle of nowhere. I don't really do very much work that falls into the fashion realm so I tend to want to mess up their hair and clothes and make it feel more real I guess. I was kind of surprised they went for it and ended up loving the shots. Can't wait to do more of these.
A few months ago I was contacted by the U.S. natural history publication the Smithsonian Magazine to shoot a story on Charles Darwin’s exploration of the Blue Mountains- it’s one of my favourite places in Australia.
It was a shoot that I became more passionate about as I worked my way through the assignment; it was an odd coincidence that I was hired for this shoot- a few weeks before the magazine asked me about doing the assignment my wife and I had decided to move our family to the Blue Mountains. It was a pretty exciting opportunity to explore a whole region that would be our new home. It was early spring when I started the job and the Blue Mountains is much colder and rainier than Sydney, so instead of doing the whole shoot in one trip, I actually had to drive out to the mountains every weekend for a month to get a break from the rain and fog and get all the shots I needed.
In Glenbrook and also in the Wolgan Valley I saw hand paintings in caves which are said to range from hundreds to thousands of years old and it struck me how much more of an impact seeing hand prints made on me than carvings or drawings I’ve seen at other sites. To see a hand print of someone from thousands of years before is to see their size, their age and their physical humanity and connect with them in a way I hadn’t really sensed before. I noticed one set of hand prints where the person must have broken their hand at some point and it healed badly because one of the fingers bent away from the hand in an unnaturally awkward angle. I felt like I was reading some form of ancient text about who lived on this land.
Often when I'm shooting a morning landscape I'll get to the location well before dawn and shoot through the sunrise for an hour or two. Even in a not-so-mindblowing landscape there is usually a moment where the light and the morning atmosphere does something that makes everything light up in the right way. For these shots of what is known as the Jamison Valley in the Blue Mountains off of Sublime Point in Leura, I felt like I was watching a light show- the sun, the mist and the eucalyptus vapor in the air kept changing colors and lighting up the landscape in surprisingly different ways. Every 10 minutes was something different. Finally when I was done I set the camera down in the grass while I was packing up my gear and tripod and grabbed a quick shot- I realised that that was probably my favorite shot of the morning.
I spent a day doing a massive hike in the bushwalk around the Three Sisters. I started off at Scenic World taking the world's steepest train down the escarpment and walked for hours around the bush track. I wasn't keeping track of time and missed their last elevator back up, so I ended up having to climb the near-vertical staircase up the Three Sisters with a backpack full of heavy camera gear after I was already tired from hiking all day. By the time I walked back to my car and put the keys in the ignition I closed my eyes for a second and ended up sleeping for an hour and a half in the drivers seat with the door open.
The cottage that Darwin stayed in was located on the property of the Emirates Wolgan Valley Resort- the most expensive hotel in Australia. I had arrived on a Friday afternoon and it coincided with their absolute busiest time- when the guests are all arriving for the weekend. There were Ferraris and Lamborghinis in the parking lot and guests landing at the helicopter pad and I was given about an hour to shoot what I needed to get before they had to devote their full attention to the guests. Since the magazine budget clearly did not involve staying at the spa, after I was done shooting I had to drive about an hour before I could find a place to stay. The local town was having a big lawn bowling competition and all of the rooms were booked out to drunken retirees enjoying their night out with the boys. The only place I could find to sleep was a room above a loud pub with a bunch of guys arguing about rugby. My bed must have been a junior bed because my feet hung off the bed past my ankles and I could hear a guy in the room next door watching porn on his phone all night. The difference between the Emirates Spa and the sleeping situation I had arrived at could not have been more stark. I had a late dinner at a local bar and was called a "fancypants" by one of the locals. I couldn't really figure out why other than the fact that I was wearing glasses and reading while eating dinner. I guess I was being a fancypants.
I had taken some big hikes getting (sort of) lost looking through a cave system in the Wolgan Valley for some hand paintings that were just too hard to find. Instead I got sunburn and bug bites. After finding only a few hand paintings I struck out for the Mt. Tomah Botanical Gardens which have examples of wollemi pines growing in their gardens. It was the end of the shoot, I had gotten everything ticked off my shot list and I was looking forward to going home the next day.
I was supposed to meet Darwin's great-great-grandson Chris Darwin and shoot his portrait, but despite our best efforts we just couldn't make it happen- he had booked passage on a very slow container ship from France to Australia to reduce his carbon footprint and didn't get back until after the story went to press.
The story that the images accompany can be found on the Smithsonian's website here: http://www.smithsonianmag.com/science-nature/australia-put-evolution-darwins-mind-180953651/?no-ist
The Monocle Magazine has just come out with a hefty new book titled, "The Monocle Guide to Better Living" and I have a two page spread inside featuring a shoot about swimming in Sydney I did for them last year. It's a beautiful book and it's great to have my images alongside other photographers and stories from around the world.
Portrait of the Australian writer Drusilla Modjeska for a Good Weekend story about her bout with breast cancer.Read More
Last month Monocle Magazine featured the most liveable cities in the world and of course, Sydney was one of them. They wanted me to travel around the Sydney area and document the people and places that makes swimming feature so strongly in the Sydney lifestyle. I traveled around the northern beaches like Balmoral and Manly and many of the eastern beaches like Clovelly, Maroubra and of course, Bondi. I'm a big swimmer myself so I was really looking forward to hitting the spots that I love and getting the chance to find some new ones.Read More
I was recently asked by the American publication The Smithsonian Magazine to shoot a cover story featuring Tasmania and Tasmania's world famous MONA Museum. I was asked to document Hobart, shoot the Mona museum and some portraits of its notoriously camera-shy owner David Walsh and then afterwards make my way up to the Freycinet Peninsula to document the award winning Sapphire Hotel, Wineglass Bay and the incredible surrounding landscapes.Read More
Last month I was asked by the UK's Redwood Media Group to shoot a story featuring Mazda's new BT-50 model for its award-winning online presence, Zoom Zoom Magazine. They wanted to tell a story about a day in the life of a BT-50 owner with a natural, reportage feel- showcasing its versatility by following the owner through rough terrain, a surf trip, a trip to the zoo "glamping" (glamorous camping) with his nieces and capped with a night out on the town.We had a looonngggg shot list for the 2 day shoot and I was working alongside Jefferson Grainger, from Corporate Video Australia, who was shooting the motion segment of the piece for the web.Read More
Good Weekend had an assignment for me a few weeks ago to cover a story about several families with children who are critically ill and have terminal illnesses. In two cases the children were born with a devastating disease that made it unable for them to develop mentally and physically as a normal child would.Read More
Last month Monocle Magazine sent me up to Australia's Northern Territory to cover a story on their burgeoning capital city, Darwin. Darwin has become big news in the last few years as the United States has promised to begin stationing several hundred troops there in an effort to re-establish a naval presence in that part of the world. There's also been some massive investment in natural gas by the Japanese and French to the tune of $39 billion AUD. Monocle wanted to find out how this new interest in Darwin might change the city and what the people and government thought about it. I teamed up with Darwin journalist Eric Tlozek to meet some VIPs there and shoot everything I could with the 2 days that I had.Read More
A few months ago I was asked by Good Weekend Magazine to go down to Canberra and shoot images to go along with a series that they were doing about a few writers trying their hand at training for a day in an Olympic sport. I followed writer Mark Dapin as he went through a light version of the incredibly intense daily workout regimen and technique routines of the crew rower.
A story I shot a few weeks ago for the Sydney Morning Herald's weekend magazine, Good Weekend, just appeared this past weekend as the cover story. It was one of those happy instances where printing on matte newspaper stock made the pictures look fantastic and I was really happy with the end result.
I did my first shoot for Sydney Magazine covering the day in a life of a loaf of bread as it's made by Sonoma Bakery every day. I was pretty excited for this story because I'm big into cooking and baking- I make my own beer and cheese and had been baking bread for a while but I hadn't really had much luck with the sourdough. It was inspiring to see a bakery at the production level of Sonoma still using the best ingredients and making everything by hand.Read More
I shot the images for the cover story of this past weekend's issue of Good Weekend, a major Australian magazine distributed in The Sydney Morning Herald and The Age every Saturday. It's Australia's equivalent of the New York Times Magazine. I'd like to say it was a challenging shoot but getting teenagers to look like they're playing video games is just about the easiest thing in the world. It was my first Australian magazine cover and my first time working with the people at Good Weekend and I had a great time.