A deep love and appreciation of place & architecture is an innate part of my being & is really of no surprise, considering that my ancestors were designers, overseeing the building of many large scale public buildings, mausoleums, places of worship, courts & palaces in Eastern Europe.
The Road Travelled
Living with PTSD creates an interesting & challenging scenario to live with, walking in a world that slips in & out of reality, peppered heavily with illusion, overwhelming anxiety & social phobias.
Digital photography entered my life during a rock-bottom period in 2012 when I was feeling suicidal. After just having given up smoking at that time I wondered what else of a positive manner I could do with my new found spare time & money! Photography was something that I really had enjoyed as a teenager in high school, so I took a gamble buying myself a cheap, bottom of the line camera kit, with two lenses. The ability to deeply observe & reconnect with the beauty of the world around me was an instantaneously beneficial experience; it allowed me the opportunity to escape all the intense thoughts of despair, as is so easily achieved when you put the viewfinder to your eye!
After much experimenting with various types of photography, I realised a profound love & respect of Long Exposure photography. As it turns out, this form of imagery has some very strong parallels to my own life, where reality & illusion merge in the most beautiful way.
I choose to continue working with this technically demanding technique as it helps me to escape the intensities of my life situation through the deep immersion & observation of place & time, which then leads me to a wonderful state of Mindfulness & Flow! Whilst there, in this state of being, the weight of my life lifts from me, I am freed of my self-imposed shackles, delusional thoughts & fears for some much needed respite.
I can easily & honestly say that…
…photography is my saving grace.
But this is not all there is to me! Read on to discover more...
Why I do what I do (as a documenter)
Documenting for me covers a broad range of motifs, from social activist causes, public & community groups through to capturing old places & things before they perish or as they undergo transformation. My most recent action in this regard is acquiring a Press Pass.
I have a press pass, my own full public liability coverage & a white ticket, which covers working on building sites, so documenting places in a state of ruin or undergoing change is easy & undertaken with the utmost respect for both the place & its owners. These images & video footage can be shared widely across the planet, or used in restrictions of accordance with the desires of the owners of the properties I explore & capture visually.
Living in a world of rapid change that has a voracious & insatiable appetite for new, shiny things, the type of change happening currently has never been seen before in the history of humankind & to me that is a bit scary. Things, places, even people are tossed asunder in the name of fashion, favour & popularity.
Lots of places & things in South Australia are being ripped out, knocked down, or built over in the name of progress, just because it can be done & not really for any betterment, but probably, most sadly, just to turn a quick buck.
Capturing social activism through photography & ideography as a freelancer has become a major expression & preoccupation for me since 2016. I work in conjunction with several social activist groups, all wanting to affect positive changes to our currently flawed & impersonal systems of management across all aspects of life, ranging from the environment to social justice causes.
Why I do what I do (photographically)
I am a strong believer in art, which for me is explored primarily through photography, having the ability to convey a message to the viewer. As I live with complex & intense mental health experiences all day, every day of my life, I am attempting two things with my photography:
It is my hope that this allows others the potential to see places they know & are familiar with, but with a completely new perspective, & maybe, just maybe, to spark off a discussion or contemplation of what it is possibly like to live in social isolation or in a world that slips in & out of reality.
Long exposure photography is a very demanding technical form of photography, which is perfect for me to lose myself within. The blending of technicalities and creativity is a beautiful & very beneficial thing for me to explore and experience on a regular basis.
The culmination of these efforts of mine has been fully appreciated with multiple opportunities to exhibit my works, receiving an award nomination for the Don Dunstan Foundation Award during the 2018 SALA Festival, as well as having numerous images be selected for sharing in a European photographic fine art publication.
Why I do what I do (as a social innovator)
In light of my own incredibly huge benefits gained from photography, I had the mad idea to try & voluntarily share that experience with others in my local area. So I sourced a bunch of digital cameras along with various lenses, approached local community centres & easily established a humble grassroots initiative that I called Happy Snappers Adelaide.
With these groups, I voluntarily facilitate the opportunity for people that may be socially isolated & living with mental health challenges in their lives to get out into nature regularly in small, safe groups where they use digital photography to access a state of mindfulness while they deeply observe & immerse themselves into their visited locations.
Amongst the participants there has become a beautiful sense of community, friendship, trust & enjoyment in combination with learning how to creatively use a digital camera in easy, bite-sized chunks. It truly has become way more than I ever envisioned for it!
Why I do what I do (as an activist)
In my mind the most urgent thing needing attention right now is the environment. If we do not acknowledge the need for action in regard to the climate emergency facing us right now, protecting the environment through all manner of processes ranging from things that we as individuals can achieve through to corporation practices & government oversight nothing else will really matter, because we will not have the ability to continue living here on this planet for all that much longer.
From 2014 to very recently I was actively involved with advocating for positive change in regards to individuals access to mental health treatment & the rights of those users of mental health services through being a lived experience representative within government and private advisory panels. After doing this for a long duration of planned change & nothing actually being achieved, with the lived experience voice not being taken into account or listened to I came to the realisation that I am not cut out to put myself through this over & over, so have decided to step back from this & concentrate on where I can actually achieve change for the better through my photography & videography.