When Jules and I first met, it was 1993 – we started out at the same high school in Wollongong. We didn’t really hang out in the same circles nor could you even describe us as friends and I honestly don’t remember ever really hanging out or even talking to her at any point during our 6 years at Smiths Hill High. And being the awkward young man I was, I guess I’d developed opinions on who the cool kids in the grade were (it sure wasn’t my group of friends) and I think Jules was lumped in to there (even though she now ever denies they were the cool kids!). But things changed a few years later; Jules worked in the local music store in Wollongong and I’d be in there pretty much every 2nd week checking out the new guitars, amps and pedals. Or more usually, to buy replacement strings for one’s I’d broken while rocking out just a little too hard. And what I remember from this time was that Jules was really down to earth, normal and completely friendly. She even hooked me up with discounts for nearly everything I bought. I realised that I might have made an error in judgement when it came to her – I started thinking she was alright. Over the next few years, as my musical purchases decreased, we fell out of touch and I didn’t hear back from her until our 10 year reunion in 2008. Getting a chance to talk to her and all of the other people I’d gone to school with but had never really become friends with made me realise that I’d had things completely the wrong way around. It’s not that everyone else was unfriendly, it’s just that *we* were awkward and never really made an effort to get to know anyone. But maybe that’s normal when you’re in high school, but as an adult, it seems just a little silly. I guess all of my ideas about these people were misguided because at the end of the day, I think we were all just normal high school kids. Time has a weird way of making you gain some perspective.
About 6 months ago, Jules shared one of my images on FB and mentioned that she was so damn excited that I would be her and Iain’s photographer. That little gesture in a period of really huge change for me from science to full time photography was actually far more significant than Jules could have imagined. It gave me confidence knowing that someone else trusted me, and not only that, they actually looked forward to having me around photographing for them – it’s a feeling I honestly can’t get enough of. Another few months passed and Jules happily mentioned that she was pregnant and it made me think about something. We’re not kids anymore, we’re grown up and we all have our own lives and experiences. We should know what we want in life and how to get it, but I fear a lot of us don’t. But having spent a day with Iain and Jules it was obvious, connecting with other people and having relationships with them are at the core to our existence as a human beings; money, success and recognition mean nothing if there’s no one else around you to love you, relate to you and be supportive of you. Spending time with them was a nice reset to my life and expectations about people and friendships.
A lot has changed for me since 1993 and it was a great experience to go back a little in time and talk, relate and catch up with people from my childhood. It was my chance to reassess what I’d always thought about myself (and other people). It was an opportunity to re-do the things that I had mucked up the first time around.