If you know me in person, you probably realise I have pretty progressive thoughts when it comes to society. I believe in equality above all and opportunities for everyone, regardless of any circumstance. I also believe that money is simply a construct of society I would prefer to do without. Alas this is simply not something that’s feasible. We all need to eat, pay our rent and occasionally get vaccinations for our cats and this takes money. But whenever I can, I like to barter skills and services. It’d be nice if I could swap a sheep for a haircut but then I realise, I don’t actually have any sheep. But what I do have, is a skill where I can photograph stuff, and I want to share that as much as possible. I think our societies would be much better if we started appreciating what each other has to offer rather than monetising it and deciding how worthwhile something is by looking at a number quantifying it. And everyone deserves happiness, something that money often has a role in allowing (not that it’s the quintessential element by any means) which results in not everyone having access to things and experiences they would like. Perhaps I’m just a hippy that should live in a commune somewhere, but I value experiences of culture and friendships and exploring new places much more than simply making money which is probably why I believe what I do and why I am writing this post.
I’m going to be in a few countries over the next 12 months (some to already photograph weddings) and want to offer my services in exchange for something. If you think you have something to offer (accommodation/cultural experiences/local knowledge/etc) and would like me to photograph your wedding, we can make it happen. The exchange doesn’t need to be necessarily “equal”, just as long as we’re honest and nice to each other, it can work out. Also, the places I am visiting aren’t places or cultures I’d ordinarily get to photograph weddings in so in a way, I’m already in your debt!
So, these are the places and the dates which I’m available.
1 – New York City, USA: 23rd October – 2nd November 2012
2 – Colombo, Sri Lanka: 26th December 2012 – 4th January 2013
3 – England & Wales: 30th April – 7th May 2013 (UPDATE: Two lovely folks have already contacted me and I honestly won’t have any more time)
4 – Iceland: 9th May – 21st May 2013
If you’re in need of a photographer and for whatever reason can’t afford to pay money for it (or would prefer to barter in general!), get in touch. Send me an email and let me know some details about your wedding and what you would like to exchange with me. If you’re based in Australia, you’re obviously welcome to participate as well but please understand, I can probably only do one or two of these a year.
At this point in time, I think I want to make this an ongoing thing so I will announce when I’m headed somewhere to see if there are any interested parties. I love the feeling of seeing a little of other people’s lives so I know the experiences this can allow are ones that money could never pay for.
“I hate the Russos so much, they’re all such nice people and they’re all so damn attractive…” I said to my wife Kristen. She hasn’t even met them but from what I tell her and the photographs she has seen, she knows they are both of these things. It’s not often I’m jealous but sharing in a celebration like this brings up so many positive emotions for me which is obviously nice, but challenging at the same time as I don’t have access to it whenever I want because of where all of my family is.
Alana is Karl’s cousin (of Rachel and Karl’s wedding fame a few months back). Now they’re a big family but there obviously was something pretty special flowing in the Italian waters where this family came from 60 years ago… And Brett’s South African heritage brought some pretty special genes to the table as well. There’s something about both of these people and their families that makes you feel safe, comforted and part of something special.
It’s always nice going back and photographing for a family you’ve worked for before, you’re not *just* the photographer any more, not that I was treated like that the first time around either. But you know what I mean… People spent so much time talking to me at Alana and Brett’s wedding that I felt like I wasn’t doing my job properly. But I think part of being a really good wedding photographer is to fit in and be comfortable with the people you’re around. I’m surprisingly shy a lot of the time but when you’re around people like these ones, it doesn’t even feel like an effort to get involved. I had the best man helping me carry my gear around, random guests chatting to me about Queensland and my career as a scientist and I even had a little dance at one point. And yet again, people wanted to take photos of me because they wanted a record of me being there. Now THAT is something that makes me feel pretty awesome.
Alana and Brett are intelligent, warm, kind and easy to be around. No wonder they married each other.
I think one of the most important things to do as a photographer is to constantly challenge yourself and get out of your comfort zone. Monotony is our enemy and it’s essential that we find something to break this monotony up. I had heard about these “night walks” that other photographers had been doing for years, but for some reason, I never went. I think I was too scared and felt like all of my failures as a photographer would become very evident. But last night, something was different. I took my trusty 5D Mk3 and 35mm f/1.4L, cranked it up to ISO20000 and shot B&W, just to try and replicate the old masters of the streets. These images are nearly straight out of camera which is also something that scares the hell out of me. But it was liberating and the challenge was something that reminded me how important the challenge itself is.
But something became very clear to me as I walked through the cold streets of our city. I need people in my images. I genuinely have a lot of difficulty creating images which don’t have a face or a body in them and maybe this is why I do what I do. There are nearly 7 billion of us on this tiny blip in the universe and each of us has a path we’ve taken in our lives to get where we have. I guess I always hope my images convey a fleeting instant of these peoples’ lives and everyone else, for a moment, can consider that each and every one of us is a complex creature that deserves attention, understanding and love.