“Life is full of beauty. Notice it. Notice the bumble bee, the small child, and the smiling faces. Smell the rain, and feel the wind. Live your life to the fullest potential, and fight for your dreams.”
Huge thanks to Mithra for allowing me to share her photos with you…
P.S. I have just had a shoot postponed so if you are feeling game and will be in Paris in July or early August I would love you to be my muse. Shoot details HERE.
Many people ask me how do I translate an idea into photography reality. So often we have glamorous, cool or moody ideas of what we would like yet our outcome is something else. Anybody seen the Life of Pi client expectations and budget floating around on the net!
Sometimes photos that look so simple are in reality a ‘battle’ to get the outcome you would like and others are gifts to you. This shoot was one of those gifts!
When I am working on a shoot my starting point is a vision.
I liken photography to any goal in life, if you can’t see it, how can you get there?
When I was shooting this story for Harper’s Bazaar of the beautiful Kate Fowler and Justin Hemmes my vision for these photos started long before I picked up the camera.
What Was My Vision?
When I scouted the place I noticed lots of opportunities to shoot from different perspectives
When I stood on the property flashbacks to famous photos, photographers and cool folk started my inspiration process
I allowed my body to help me. Spaces that excited me such as the pool area and the staircase allowed my imagination to run wild and so much of photography is about imagination
Over the years I have looked at hundreds of thousands of images, films and historical references and its in these moments they serve me. They come to me as inspiration
Give yourself permission to photograph the things you love and the way you want
As this was a big shoot my vision started kicking in days before and often an idea would come to me driving, swimming or in the middle of the night. Yes, my shoots keep me awake at night.
So by the day of the shoot I had plenty of ideas of where I could shoot and what I was trying to achieve.
But how do I get a final result that is as good as the image in my head? This is something I will be teaching this October in Puglia on the Heartland – People and Spaces Workshop. How to take a vision and make it happen and not walk away from it when it isn’t working out.
We have ONE PLACE available if you would love to take great people and spaces pics in a place close to heaven. You can read full details HERE.
The past four years have been beyond interesting in all things growth for me. Thanks to three different auto-immunes Alopecia areata, Graves disease, and Lichen Sclerosus, I got to take a VERY good look at how I was living my life.
I pulled up a train crash speeding at about 100km an hour before it hit a wall and in the process have learnt some of the most marvelous life lessons of all time.
Jumping off a cliff into a new life 18 years ago, leaving Australia for Italy and a business for photography brought me so many insights into who I am and why I am here. There was so much to learn once I woke up from the trance I had been living that I couldn’t wait to get started.
There was photography and Florence, museums and art, a new way of living and being. And there was so much love and joy.
Love for life, for the small things, the world around me and the adventure I was on. The joy was daily in riding a bike through the streets of Florence, in learning a new language and the belly laughs for the mistakes I made and finding a community.
But somewhere in between Florence and the auto-immunes, my life got way more serious, I moved to Paris, got busy trying to make it work and being back in a big city.
I credit the auto-immunes with giving me my joy back. They gave me the kick up the bum I needed to take responsibility of my life again and start living it the way I wanted to live it.
I got back on the JOY TRAIN.
And yes I did and do eat a million fruit and vegetables, Yes I did stop all those chemicals and loads of other things (YOU CAN READ ABOUT IT HERE) but the healthiest thing you can do for your nervous system is to laugh, to share, to find joy and to allow yourself pleasure with a capital P.
Isn’t this the best news you have had all year! Yes folks, the green juices are fabulous but your nervous system needs a break from doing, from the stress of work and life and all things serious. It needs to dance and ride bikes, it needs to laugh till tears come out your eyes and your stomach hurts, it needs to play football with your kids and lie in a park and do nothing. It needs to paint and to garden, to smell the roses and to go fishing.
The more little breaks you give that poor shot to pieces nervous system of yours, the more it will fire up the hormones we need and get them doing what they are meant to be doing instead of freaking out and flooding our body with cortisol.
So lovelies, light a candle, buy yourself some flowers, book a massage because it’s good for you.
Five Tips for Getting the Joy Back
Remember what makes you happy and build it into your daily or weekly life, it can be as simple as riding a bike or gardening
When you feel like life is too much ask for help or when someone offers it accept it. Doing it all on our own is no longer a badge of honour
Build something that makes you feel good into your life. You decide how often. A swim, a massage, a walk in the mountains or a dance lesson.
Make frequent breaks in your day.. Yes you are allowed to rest. Sit down for 10 mins if your job is on your feet or vice-versa get up from the computer and do some stretches. Take time to meditate or do nothing, lie on the grass and look at the sky.
Disconnect – being connected all the time keeps our nervous systems on call. So make some rules around the use of your phone and social media so you can be present with the ones you love
The super big bonus of letting your nervous system calm down is that you let a little light into your heart and soul. And when the light gets in you get a little piece to your puzzle.
The easy answer for this is the moment you take them. They are our memories, the proof of our lives, where we have been and what we found along the way.
The longer answer goes something like this.
So many of the photos I have taken during the last eighteen years were for pure pleasure on my travels or holidays and today I have 100,000’s of thousands of photos on numerous discs and negatives.
When I first started taking photos the concept of them being valuable didn’t enter my mind. I was so excited to take them and then rush out and take some more, like a wonderful addiction to life.
I was terrible with them, in such a hurry to print them and see them appear in the darkroom that I would hastily discard one negative for the next and often put them back in the wrong packet.
Hence if someone today asks me for a copy of a photo in my first years, I will go into hot sweats and do anything to avoid promising that photo because I could lose a day looking for it. I would rather NOT find it or sell it than go looking for it.
When I started my blog back in 2008 I put up the photos I loved with little SEO tags of when and where I took them and now I have a steady stream of magazines, publications and interior designers asking me for my photos from my travels.
Coupled with the photos I continue to take, I have come to realize that our archives have an enormous value and they should be treasured, catalogued and easy to find.
So dear photographers, I beg you to look after your images and no matter where you are on your journey start improving your system today.
Here are my top 5 tips:
Right now today make sure you always have two discs of any series of images. One being an exact backup disc and mirror of the original disc and make sure they AREN’T stored together
Number, date and name your discs and make sure they are marked clearly on the outside
Categorise each shoot by date first, month and then name your project, person and place for each search reference. When you open your disc you should see a series of folders with specific jobs, subjects or travels.
If you are super-organized start a file with the disc names and then sub folders on that disc. You could also do a hard copy reference book just for this for easy searching so if you are looking for ‘2013 Sifnos’ you know it is on disc 13 etc..
Always keep your ‘hero’s’ in a 3rd place such as the cloud so if all things go belly up you have the best photos of your career in high resolution version.
I know so many of you are creating magic on a daily basis, look after your beautiful images as one day they will have an incredible emotional, historical and economical value.
This photo is an oldie but it’s a photo that has stayed with me, and I’ve called it ‘Liberty’. It was taken in Florence at 3 am on a summer’s night. At the time of the morning, the city was another world; barmen on their way home from a job, chefs giving us the best tips on where to shoot, and lovers feeling like Florence was all theirs.
I shot this on a Leica M6 using 3200 film with the girl doing lots of movement. It was shoots like these that I learned to master movement and lack of light, and the magic of that dress and the words we whispered to her were captured in the energy and emotion in this photo. Each time I look at the movement, it makes me smile.
For me, this photo embodies the sensation of freedom, of the feminine spirit taking flight in the direction that she has always meant to go in.
I am launching this photo as a Limited Edition Fine Print, and it comes in 2 sizes: 20 x 30 inch and 32 x 48 inch, and it is printed onto beautiful Hahnemule paper.
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