get your creep on

Maybe it's the spring air making me giddy, maybe it's the fact that it falls on a Saturday, maybe it's the news that ACMI is hosting a Tim Burton exhibition next year – whatever it is, I am beside myself with excitement about the imminent arrival of the year's spookiest day. In honour of this ghoulish celebration, I have pulled out my most nightmare-inducing images in order to further incite my enthusiasm.

I had absolutely no intention of producing what became the above image; it was taken in the city with the aim of capturing a lovely building. Instead, I got these marvellously ominous silhouetted trees combined with ghostly lampposts and a brooding sky. In some kind of perfect coincidence, a light leak burned the number 13 into the image.

Oh, if only I could say I orchestrated the whole thing!

Why are barren trees so foreboding? I find this image eerily beautiful. Again, an unintentional but definitely welcome effect.

If anything's going to produce nightmares, it's the thought of Laird's ghost watching over you... Actually, I think this is a wonderfully successful multiple exposure. But it's still creepy!

Melbourne has some fantastic macabre-themed events going on this Spooky Saturday (my personal recommendation being the wonderfully morbid Graveyard Train, plus others, at Old Bar), and I for one am keenly anticipating the opportunity to celebrate all things dark and gruesome... Or perhaps it's just a great excuse to party.

Happy Hallowe'en!


painting the town holga

Before venturing out on a Friday or Saturday night I am invariably faced with the question to take or not to take?. Last night was no different, except that upon deciding on the to take option I moved on to the question of which to take - the beautifully bulky Holga or the decidedly shinier (and usefully, purse-size) digital snapper. I weighed up the options and considered the evening's events (and outfit), ultimately opting to head out with the dime-a-dozen silver Kodak. Thank god, because I left it in a bloody taxi.

Don't get me wrong - I'm not thankful that I lost my handy little box of whirrs and beeps. Quite the contrary: I'm thoroughly annoyed that I no longer have the option of a digital pointer-and-shooter; I'm slightly disappointed that I have forever lost the few images I had taken up to that point in the night (11:30pm, approximately); and I'm absolutely mortified that somewhere in the city, a stranger has access to 250+ images of the last six months or so of my life. Rather, I'm deeply grateful that when the camera gods decided they had to take something from me, they didn't set their sights on my Holga.

There are a few reasons for this:
  1. My Holga was a gift from several close friends for my birthday last year, so it has sentimental value. (In contrast, the Kodak was a gift from my ex-boyfriend.)
  2. According to several sources, every Holga is unique in its light-leaking and image-capturing properties, implying that each camera has a distinct character. I quite like my Holga, and I'm not really open to the idea of getting used to a new one.
  3. Even though the Kodak cost more money than the Holga, the idea of losing the $15 film in addition to the plastic camera kind of stings.
OK, so my point here is that in contemplating the relative pluses and minuses of losing my digital camera, I began thinking about all the great nights out I've had with the Holga, which led to the inference that this would NEVER happen with my Holga (I'm reaching for the nearest wood right now), which in turn reinforced my belief that, at least for me, automatic digital cameras are more trouble than the mediocre images they produce are worth. (A sidenote: please don't be offended if you are an automatic digital camera user. You probably take awesome photos. I'm just bummed out that I lost my camera.)

In an attempt to focus on the positives (and not the fact that some perv might be looking at images of me and my loved ones even as I type), I am taking some time to reflect on all of the glorious late nights and early mornings the Holga has spent dangling (un)graciously around my neck, and the subsequent images that make the nights' events more lucid while somehow managing to look damn fine, too.

laird @ ac/dc lane

When Laird ducked out of Cherry in the wee hours for a sneaky smoke, I took the opportunity to position him in front of some sweet graffiti so I could snap this (see above). It was to be the first of many graffiti portraits, but for whatever reason I haven't taken another since.

jayney, laird & ella @ 446a

These images are about all I have to inform me of a fateful Brunswick night involving sequins, vodka and a boy named Ming. Jayney is pulling some typically amazing dancefloor moves (admirably managing to contain the contents of her drink), while Laird and Ella share a fabulously animated moment between housemates. 446a, we need another party!

grizzly jim @ the derby

I don't remember why Jim began impersonating Jack Nicholson. All I know is I reached for the camera between my own hearty chuckles in order to commit the moment to film. I am very glad that I did.

een & pete @ the birmy

Proof that good shots at the Birmy are not limited to those focused on the stage, Een responds to my suggestion that I take a photo by pulling this face. If the photo also captured me, I imagine my expression would resemble Pete's.

Holga, I know I haven't always been kind to you. I've knocked you around, I've abandoned your lens cap, I've used you in shameless attempts to talk to really really good-looking people, I've subjected you to the odd spilt beer and there's a rattle in you that I can't explain. But just look at all the great times we've shared! Please, don't follow in the footsteps of that silver floozy. It's you that I love.


seeing double at the birmy

Getting up close to the tiny stage in the corner of the Birmingham Hotel's cosy bandroom is remarkably easy, which partly explains why I have a few photos of musicians playing below that distinctive ceiling. All of the photos I have from said stage are black and white, and more than a couple of them are multiple exposures. This is largely because the dark walls behind the stage create a particularly apt environment for successful multiple exposures, and I feel that the dreamy/ghostlike effect is well suited to images of live bands. Often this effect is pleasantly overwhelming (see the triple-appearance of Quang, above), but it can also be subtle. Take this, from a recent Greasers show:

At first glance it looks as though this could be a single exposure, but a closer look reveals Quang's head merging with the ceiling and Dom's pants disappearing into the drumkit. There are also a couple of images of the ubiquitous drummer in there, which add to the ethereal atmosphere.

When I look at this one, also from a Greasers show, I'm not immediately impressed with the photo. But the great thing about multiple exposures (and this camera in general) is that they're always interesting, because it's a scene that can't necessarily be seen with the eye. Unless it's a really drunk eye, perhaps...

Finally, I have to include the first photo of this kind that I produced. Not because it's a great photo, but because its technical success inspired the other images in this post. And also because it was taken during an amazing gig put on by the phenomenally good Ground Components (believe me, the music is better than the photo):

There are a couple of great (single exposure) photos from that evening... but maybe I'll go on about those another time.


look up

I love Melbourne. And I don't mean the vast sprawling suburbia that constitutes this great metropolis of ours (though I do love that too) - I mean the very heart of the city. One of my favourite things to do while wandering the various streets and laneways is to glance skyward and take in the beauty of some of our old (and new) buildings from street level. For example: the GPO building on the corner of Bourke and Elizabeth Streets.

I think everybody should do this more often.


something old, something new

This is definitely something old. In fact, it's almost a whole year old. But I still love it for several reasons:

1. It's from my first ever Holga roll, and kind of signals my return to interesting (and film) photos. I actually thought it was a colour film so I went around Sydney taking all these photos with this fabulous colour in mind. When I got the film back and realised it was black and white I was terribly disappointed, but after spending a bit of time with the prints I realised they were kind of beautiful anyway.

2. I hate tourist shots. We're all guilty of them, probably because we want to capture the emotion we feel when we see famous landmarks while also proving to people that we are well-travelled, but that doesn't change the fact that most of them look exactly like the publicity shots we've all seen a million times (only ours look decidedly worse). I was thrilled that I managed to get two of the most photographed icons of Sydney/Australia to look different.

3. There's a lot of atmosphere in there, at once old-fashioned and also kind of haunted. There are lots of potential stories that come to mind when I look at it.

4. It was my first (and probably still one of my most successful) double exposures.

5. I love Sydney. This was from my first trip there and I was captivated. So, you know, it's sentimental.

My beautiful old friend Pete has many endearing qualities, most of which are captured in this photo. We were between drinking holes one night, temporarily stopped off at someone's house, when Pete spotted this guitar in an unknown bedroom and picked it up to kill time. It was all very spur-of-the-moment and laid back, just like him.

This was the first time I realised that straight colour film could produce some beautiful photos (after a series of very underwhelming trials). Thank you, yellow flash.

This is something new, in that it's from my most recent film. Also new is the realisation that different brands of slide film accentuate different colours; this one really brings out the reds (unlike the blue-heavy slide film I have used in the past). I do love this building, situated in the street and suburb in which I now reside. There isn't really much more to say on this one - except that my very law-abiding housemate broke-and-entered with me to witness the taking of the shot, and was subsequently disappointed with the finished result. Oh well.

So I guess I should also say hello!, this is my first blog post on my first blog. I don't really know what I'm doing but I'll keep doing it for at least a little while longer (until my enthusiasm wanes). At this point, though, I am very much looking forward to regularly sharing my images, some old and some new, with a potentially unknown cyber audience. Hooray!