Hello! Clearly I’m not much of a blogger… sorry! But recently I visited a truly amazing place which inspired me to share a few (very few) words and shots here – a (slightly) more permanent remembrance than instagram 😏.
A sneak peak inside the Grand Hall of the New York Hall of Science was one of the Open Access highlights of the annual Open House New York weekend, held on October 11-12 this year (2014). The Hall was designed by Wallace K. Harrison in 1964 for the 1964-65 World’s Fair, and is one of few remaining buildings from then. Influenced by the Space Age, it has 100ft high walls, with no corners or straight walls. It showed films on space exploration for the Fair, and was fittingly revived for Björk’s first US Biophilia concerts in 2012.
In the many months since my last post, I’ve moved to the other side of the pond and am now privileged to call New York home. This is the view from a good friend’s apartment in Brooklyn – unbelievably the view will get even better in a few months when he moves to his new apartment in the adjoining building! Definitely looking forward to the housewarming in the new place…. and to taking the camera out to capture life in the US of A 🙂
I’ve always wanted to be an astronomer. Now that my kit’s virtually complete, perhaps my next lens will be a telescope 🙂 Thankfully the moon doesn’t require anything more than a 200mm lens and a steady hand.
Tonight is a special night – the full moon is at its closest to the Earth since 1992, and London is blessed with beautifully clear skies after a gorgeous sunny day that finally heralds the spring after a bitterly cold and depressing winter. Which is why (for the astro-photo-geeks out there) I decided to break out the tripod and my 300mm lens (at f/8 1/125 (±2EV) ISO100 for the few who care), to capture the moon which indeed was bigger and brighter than usual.
Here’s hoping this marks a turning point in all the world’s fortunes… especially for everyone in Japan fighting to overcome the devastation and continuing threats brought on by the enormous Tohoku earthquake & tsunami just over a week ago, those in Queensland & Christchurch rebuilding after their own natural disasters, and all those battling oppression in Northern Africa…
Last month, I was invited to shoot the premiere performance of centrifuge: carmen sampled – a new work conceived by Mi Zhou, with music & visuals by pioneering multimedia artist Robin Storey, and choreography, dance & lighting by Johanna Devi. I had the privilege of shooting a day of rehearsals about a month earlier, and I was looking forward to seeing the full production at the Bloomsbury Theatre.
The performance was the culmination of a three-day conference convened by the multi-talented Dr Zhou on the various manifestations of Carmen, perhaps most widely-known as the opera by Georges Bizet (music from which formed the basis of the preceding evening’s sister event carmen: staged, featuring the University College Orchestra and Susanne Dietz of London’s Shunt Collective).
There are plans to take centrifuge: carmen sampled to Berlin, so hopefully there’ll be another opportunity to see this groundbreaking production soon.
Last October, I was part of a fairly large contingent of expats flying home to sunny Sydney, to join Elena & Leo in celebrating their special day. It was every bit as picture-perfect as I had come to expect from these guys. What was truly wonderful was how relaxed and radiant the happy couple were, as a year of seemingly effortless planning from the other side of the world came to fruition.
They were kind enough to invite me to shoot alongside tealilyphotography again, and it was loads of fun to meet up with her and reprise those weekends a few months ago back in Paris and London.
Here are some of my favourites…..
One thing England does well is gardens, but you really need a car – and bit of luck weather-wise – to truly appreciate it (anyone for a roadtrip?). To kick off the last weekend of their photoshoot with tealilyphotography, Leo booked a teeny tiny Fiat 500, complete with racing chequers on the roof, and we crammed in for a daytrip to a couple of National Trust properties in Kent. Although too late to catch the daffodils, the bluebells were still out in force, along with plenty of other bright blooms to add a splash of colour.
To bring the shoot to a close, Sunday was spent close to home. Normally jam-packed with tourists, Notting Hill on a Sunday morning is serene and leisurely, with the market taking a day off. We wandered past all Elena & Leo’s favourite places, picking up coffee & pastries at Ottolenghi, brollies from former flatmates at their old place at Bayswater, even a houseboat at Little Venice…..
I love how Paris is but a two hour train-ride away – I’m not sure why I’m not catching the Eurostar every weekend! Elena and Leo decided to make the most of it and off we went on a Friday night, whisked away to capture the magic of la ville-lumière for part two of their big engagement photoshoot. These guys are seriously dedicated – we checked in around midnight, but they ironed till 2am and Elena was up at 5am to get started on make-up & hair!
Saturday started off a gorgeous sunny day, just perfect to take in the spectacular gardens of Versailles. Ever since I saw the part in the September Issue where Grace Coddington directs a Vogue shoot there, I wanted to do the same. And despite the ridiculously early start to the day, the long trek to the other end of the estate, and the tricky business of getting changed into a pristine white gown in public toilets without smearing make-up or messing hair, the results were totally worth it. I hope you agree.
Elena & Leo had the most amazing engagement photoshoot last year, and I was lucky enough to be invited along to help out and get a few shots of my own. They flew their wonderfully talented photographer tealilyphotograpy out from Sydney to spend a weekend in Paris and another in London, to capture their life here before they moved back to Sydney after they got hitched (miss you guys!!!).
With such a big investment, I thought it might be worthwhile spending a couple hours the weekend before she got here to go for a trial run – it’s not easy pretending to be normal while having a massive lens poked in your face!
With Elena & Leo’s kind permission, I’ve selected a few of my favourite shots to share with you. The Paris & London shoots with tealilyphotograpy will follow soon, so watch this space!
Since moving here nearly six years ago, rarely have I taken the time to seek out the colours concealed beneath the drab grey of a typical cloudy day in Londontown. One fine evening last September, a man who sees more through one eye than most people with two changed that. I, and about 75 other photogs, joined Trey Ratcliff (aka Stuck in Customs) on a photowalk along the Thames to shoot some of London’s most famous landmarks to render in eye-popping colour with the HDR technique Trey is famous for (drop by his site for a daily dose of gorgeousness and his free HDR tutorial).
Incidentally, I’m sure it was no accident that Trey led his big tripod-toting mob past the most zealous of the UK’s notoriously anti-photog security guards on the eve of Sept 11 – in fitting support of the I’m a Photographer, Not a Terrorist! campaign (ok, political rant over.)
I love a good gig, especially if it’s fronted by Gary Lightbody 🙂 Throw in REM legend Peter Buck and a collective of other eminent indie musos and you have Tired Pony. They ambitiously planned to do two gigs the same night – I had tickets to the second show (11pm-2:45am) – tired ponies indeed. Reason (or regulation) prevailed, and the second-show-people got the dress circle of the combined gig at north London’s intimate HMV Forum. Venue mgmt was nice enough to let me take in my camera & my slow 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6 safari lens, but it was a close call and I’ll apply for a photog pass next time!