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I traveled to Victoria to photograph the wedding of Georgia and Luke in the Melbourne suburb of Brunswick.
Many years ago I lived along Sydney Road in Brunswick, and I have very fond memories of this quintessential “Melburnian” urban landscape. The weather for Georgia and Luke’s wedding was perfect, so what more could you want for a successful and joyful event.
The wedding took place along Lygon Street. The ceremony was held at a great space called the Noisy Ritual Urban Winery. The reception was also held here, so there was no need to move great distances to find the reception … you just sat down. Actually it wasn’t too “noisy” at all. It was a lively space that was perfect for such a celebration, with attentive and generous staff on hand.
We also made great location shots in the general area. We didn’t have to walk far to find colourful graffiti-covered laneways which provided the best backdrops and perspectives for location images. The bride grew up not far from this area. Georgia has a particular affinity for the Brunswick Bowling Club grounds, so we staged a couple of shots of the newly-weds at the entrance gate. The East Brunswick Hotel also holds a special place in her heart, so we included this iconic venue in the background of a few shots for good measure. I enjoyed the tour of the back streets as we made our way from one brightly coloured spot to the next.
Sod turning, also known as groundbreaking, cutting, sod-cutting or “turning the first sod”, is a traditional ceremony in many cultures to celebrate the first day of construction of a building or other large-scale project. Such ceremonies are often attended by dignitaries including politicians and financers. In two recent ceremonies in Sydney which I recorded as photographer, the dignitaries were various business people associated with the developments, namely the developer (ISPT) and the two respective builders (Prime Constructions and Texco).
The actual shovel used (see above pic) during the groundbreaking is often a special ceremonial shovel, sometimes coloured gold, and it is meant to be saved for subsequent display. It may also be engraved. Sometimes a bulldozer is used instead of a shovel (but not at these two events, although an excavator was moved into the background at the Eastern Creek site for dramatic effect).
Groundbreaking ceremonies have a long history, celebrated for centuries to officially mark the beginning of construction of a new property, partly to thank those who made it possible (noting that the people concerned may have already been working for years to finance, design and develop the project to the point of actual construction). The first documented groundbreaking ceremony took place in ancient China, in 113 BC. Many early groundbreaking ceremonies were intrinsically linked to religion, however this is not necessarily the case in modern times.
In November, I attended two ceremonies on the same day … both featuring the developer ISPT, who partnered with Texco (builders for the Bessemer Business Park in Blacktown) and Prime Constructions (builders for the Eastern Creek site). I appreciate how important it is to acknowledge the hard work and achievement of people through these “rites of passage”, such as sod turning. Of course this is just the start, since these men and women are about to embark on a new phase of hard work, in the building of these new structures and warehouse facilities, due for completion in late 2024.
I visited the Megalong Valley in the Blue Mountains near Sydney to capture mid-construction images of a large hospitality complex for a building company known as Re:Form Construction. Apart from documenting some of the recently constructed buildings, including a high-end restaurant, I also individually photographed several of the workmen.
Pictured above is Kurt, a talented carpenter with Re:Form. He asked to be shot in front of a refurbished shed that he had worked on. This barn was completely ruined, then after extensive rebuilding it was brought back to life (pictured below), with added character.
On a recent trip to Sydney from his home city of Adelaide, prior to his departure on a working tour of Europe, performer Michael Griffiths came to my studio for a photoshoot. We worked on creating a new series of imagery for the promotion of upcoming shows on which he is currently working. .
His pedigree is recognized. For example, in 2016 Michael Griffiths won the Helpmann Award for best cabaret performer for his Cole Porter tribute. As a graduate of the well-known West Australian Academy of Performing Arts (WAAPA), he is a talented singer and musician who has been performing non-stop since his graduation in 1999.
It is always a joy to work with Michael. Not only is he a talented musician, piano player and performer but he’s got a great sense of humour. This helps to make any shoot good fun. He usually brings a quirky idea or two to the studio, and we go from there.
Michael has recently been performing at El Piano cabaret club in Sitges in Spain (see this link). If you happen to be in that part of Europe, check out his schedule. For the rest of us … we’ll have to wait until Michael returns to the land of Oz.
DJ Kitty Glitter has spread her wings again and is touring the world as an “Alien of Extraordinary Ability”, a title unironically given to adventurous USA 01 visa-holders like her. Nowadays Kitty is busy traveling through the US, Canada, Europe and Australia, adding colour everywhere she goes.
As one of Australia’s most successful international DJs, she was also invited to perform at the Australian Embassy in Washington to mark the beginning of Pride Week (and photographed with Kevin Rudd), and rightfully announced as an icon of the Australian LGBTQI community. See news article here which appeared in the Sydney Morning Herald, on 5 June, 2023.
She was also invited to perform at the Australian Embassy in Washington to mark the beginning of Pride Week (photographed with Kevin Rudd), saying that she is an icon of the Australian LGBTQI community. See news article here which appeared in the SMH, on 5 June, 2023.
I wish Kitty all the very best during her journeys around the globe. As part of her current promotional push, she is using some of the imagery we created together in a recent shoot at my studio. All that glistens is Glitter.
I love, love, love the work of Mr Paul Capsis. It seems everything he touches he brings to new life….it moves and emotes with a depth of soul.
For anyone who is not familiar with Paul’s body of work, he is an award-winning Australian actor of Maltese/Greek extraction, a singer and playwright who has been working consistently for decades. He has released four albums, appeared in several films (for example alongside Alex Dimitriades in Ana Kokkinos’ 1998 film “Head On”), appeared in countless theatre productions in Australia and Europe, written and performed in his own auto-biographical play and is a regular in musical theatre and cabaret. In 2012, he won the category of “Best Male Actor in a Play” and “Best New Australian Work” at the 12th Helpmann Awards, for his one-man play “Angela’s Kitchen”, with Capsis portraying multiple roles from his childhood. For more details on his body of work visit this link: Paul Capsis..
It was time for Paul to sit for an updated head shot, so he came to my studio. Usually when I shoot Paul, he undergoes a transformation into some other-worldly character, complete with makeup and costume. In the past, I have captured images of Paul as part of the various productions with which he has been involved, including as the cynical Emcee in the stage production of “Cabaret” (he was amazing in this role) and more recently, in the flamboyant role of Albin in David Hawkins’ Sydney production of “La Cage Aux Folles”. As a chameleon, Paul magically disappears into the skin of his different theatrical personas. This time we aimed to create a simple and more natural portrait of Paul, without makeup or any glitzy trappings. Paul Capsis “unplugged”, if you will.
We had a great time catching up during the photo-shoot. Shooting one-on-one, as in this situation, allowed us more time to reminisce and to have a chat. Normally, with a whole production attached, there is little time and since many more people are involved, you need to keep focused to get all the shots in the limited time-frame. Our recent shoot in my studio was far more relaxed.
Paul is an exciting performer who never sits still, so I can’t wait to see what professional challenge he will tackle next.
The fabulous Bek Jensen stepped into my studio recently to work on some images around a new album that she is about to release.
Bek is a talented singer/songwriter and from the age of 16 she has been working professionally as part of the Australian music scene. She comes from a very musical family with both parents also working as musicians….. so it’s no wonder that this enthusiasm has been passed on.
Bek has recorded and toured nationally with many of Australia’s iconic artists including Cold Chisel, Jimmy and Mahalia Barnes, Tina Harrod, The Sleepy Jackson, Paul McDermott, ALPHAMAMA, Morganics, Jackie Orszaczky and Clayton & Lachy Doley. She has released numerous original recordings, both signed and unsigned, under different guises.
The first phase of an extensive upgrade to Mosman High School has recently been completed by Multiplex. I was commissioned to photograph the completion of this initial part of the project which extends along Military Road, between Avenue Road and Belmont Road, Mosman.
The build comprises of 16 new flexible learning spaces, new staff and administration facilities, new library, a beautiful new, extensive multipurpose gym/hall, a new canteen and a wonderful outdoor and rooftop play space.
This has to be state-of-the-art learning facilities and as I was traveling through the building with my camera I felt a bit of FOMO coming on as I was reminded of the not-so-state-of-the-art learning facilities I experienced, back in the day, at Horsham High School.
My long time friend Erick lives in Burgundy in the east central France. We met years ago in Australia, not long after he had arrived to forge a new life for himself in the Antipodes. After nearly 30 years in Australia, Erick decided to return to live in France. He purchased a wonderful old farm in Bourgogne.”
Bourgogne is a rich farming region of southern France, famous for its Burgundy wines (as the name suggests) and also for its Beaujolais. At one time the Duc de Bourgogne was touted as the richest man in France, better financially endowed than even King Louis XV, which must have irritated the King to no end. This wealth attracted even more wealth, as many of the aristocracy from the time moved to the region. The dinner parties were legendary. Hence there are amazing chateaux and country mansions dotted all over the countryside.
Erick has a particular penchant for looking after animals. Partly to satisfy this nurturing need for his fellow creatures he has created what he calls “Erick’s Ark”. The farm caters to animals which have been abandoned or are destined for the meat-works. Erick intervenes, for the most part, by purchasing as many of these animals as he can, providing a caring, peaceful life on his farm where they can live out the rest of their lives.
For example, when he hears about a horse destined for the Japanese sushi market, he mobilises and pays the “meat price” (usually 3.50 Euro/kg) to rescue the animal. He then organises transport to his farm, so it can frolic in the pastures of his Burgundy sanctuary. A normal sized Breton Draught horse (he has four or five of them) can sell for up to 3,500Euro, depending on the weight of the animal.
If I remember correctly, Erick’s family now consists of various tortoises (I keep getting confused between turtles and tortoises – Erick set me straight with the fact that turtles live in water and tortoises live on land), 5 dogs, 4 pigs, 6 peacocks, 14 donkeys, 2 mules, 12 horses and 3 Spanish mountain goats … and growing.
It was also really cool that my niece from Australia, Elle, was traveling from the French Alps to England, and Erick’s farm was on her way through. So I was able to spend a couple of days with her. She has known Erick since she was an infant. We hung out in the nearby village of La Clayette and travelled around on a sight-seeing/sugar pilgrimage adventure to various local patisseries. I am sure that the further you travel from Paris, the more butter and sugar goes into the local patisserie. Heaven!
Feeding time at the farm is quite the event, particularly for the tortoises, which consume mountains of fresh greens which need to be specially prepared. They are avaricious in their approach to food (not uncommon for any animal, I suppose)…they may be slow to move but they are certainly not slow in finishing a meal.
Erick and I were invited for a scrumptious lunch in a nearby village. One of my fashion clients, Valerie, has a house in the area and coincidentally she was also visiting France while I was there. Valerie is originally French and grew up in the region. After marrying an Aussie, she set up her new life in Australia. As the saying goes, you can take the girl out of the French countryside but you can’t take the French countryside out of the girl! We had the best lunch in the most immaculate French provincial setting.
In summer, Pride marches happen all around the world … you can catch one soon in a capital city near you. Well, not only in the capitals, but everywhere where activism and politics make a difference.
Rome is no exception. I was so lucky to be in Italy with my trusty camera for the RomaPride March on June 10. You couldn’t miss such a colourful event, especially when it’s a once in a year chance to walk the streets of Rome from Piazza della Repubblica where the parade has its genesis, through the majestic streets, as the crowd finally descends on the area around the Colosseum and Piazza Venezia. The appearance of this giant amphitheatre as you walk down the Via Labicana towards the Piazza del Colosseo, is breathtaking. What makes the experience entirely “inclusive” is the way the RomaPride marchers, the deejays, the floats, the friends and the general public all mix, to form a general melee of colour and movement and happiness. This year, special attention was paid to fighting against the new social limitations imposed by the right-wing government of Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni.
I had an amazing time walking through the ancient streets of Rome in the late afternoon, with more than one million other participants. It was also great to be with my close friends Marvic, Davide, Samuele and Jonathan, who’d all agreed to meet up together in Rome for the week. There was a discreet and friendly police presence, and some very advanced sound systems on the floats. As dusk approached, the light in this beautiful city took on a luminous pink glow. There was a shared feeling of celebration, not only with the other people in the parade, but throughout central Rome as we headed back to our apartment in Trastevere. And the beat goes on.
For more photos click through the following slide-show (below)…..
Prime Constructions have a number of projects underway at Marsden Park in Sydney’s west. I was recently commissioned to document the completion of two warehouses and also photograph another building in mid-construction.
I do like shooting this kind of work. There’s something very “zen” about photographing what is essentially a huge rectangle in an industrial setting, at dusk. I like walking around the structure by myself as the sun is setting, waiting for the best light. It also makes you realise just how much space is needed to store and manage all the commodities that people require to maintain their urban lifestyles. These monolithic warehouses are usually built on the outskirts of the metropolis, where they are rarely seen by the more centralised, inner-city dwellers.
Before leaving Marsden Park, I captured images of a new Prime project in mid-construction. Here you can see the skeletal framework of a warehouse, with the steel girders reflecting the dwindling sunlight of the late afternoon.
Artist extraordinaire Laura Matthews has recently completed a new body of work, which I happily photographed and documented at her inner-west studio in Sydney. Her paintings often look at how figures interact with expressive landscapes, including her recent series of underwater images.
Laura is the product of the illustrious British art school, The University College London Slade School of Fine Art (informally known as “The Slade”). It is touted as one of the UK’s top institutions for art, design and experimentation. A notable teacher at the Slade was the well-known British painter Lucien Freud.
After her studies, Laura moved to Australia with her husband, where she has worked as an artist ever since.
I enjoyed photographing her recent work. I admire Laura’s draughtsmanship as well as the looseness of her painting. I love “painters who paint”. What I mean by this is that I appreciate painters who really push their colours around on the canvas … where you can see the medium of paint and their techniques.
I was in the Sydney suburb of Liverpool to photograph the opening event of a new accommodation facility in Liverpool for people with disability.
United For Care is an organisation which promotes the idea that people with disability can live, to a large extent, a happy and fulfilled life and that means having their own independent accommodation. It strives to move away from any model of communal living in dormitories, shared bathrooms and lounge rooms and gives the individual the pleasure of having their own space, at the same time offering all the allied support that may be necessary.
The event kicked off with an acknowledgement of the traditional custodians of the land in a welcome to country by Aunty Gail followed by a smoking ceremony.
Speeches were made by the Chief Operations Officer, Karim Amin and Dai Le (Federal Member), who also cut the ribbon to mark the official opening.
Guests were entertained by “The Weeklies”, the Disability Services Australia band who created a melodic background for the day’s activities. The catering was next level, as you can see from some of the images which follow.
It was an early rise for Sunday morning, especially after working long hours the day before. However it was well worth the effort to be able to participate in a major civic event on the final official day of World Pride Sydney 2023. I met my two friends Ann Maree and Michele at Central Station, to join 50,000 of our closest friends, to walk across the iconic Sydney Harbour Bridge to the Domain.
This was the first time in 23 years that the Harbour Bridge had been closed to traffic. Participants marched in solidarity for the LGBTQA+ community, in honour of past, present and continuing struggles both here and internationally, particularly in places where the rights of members of our community fall far behind the respect given in Australia (you know who you are!)
It was an exhilarating experience to be in unison with so many. The crowd was colourful and joyful. The weather was superb and the walk was the perfect bit of exercise for a Sunday morning.
As I walked, I thought about those people in other parts of the world who do not experience the freedoms that we enjoy here in this country. I then thought about all those in Australia who weren’t as lucky as us right now, being able to congregate under the banner of LGBTQA+ and march together, but instead have had to lead a life of non-acceptance and vilification. I thought about those who have had to endure social exclusion and even violent attacks, those who lost their lives, or the many hardships and painful journeys. It’s good to be able to clock just how far we have come, to act as a reminder to be vigilant in our protection of our hard fought freedoms.
Approximately 160 new graduates of the NSW Ambulance training course for paramedic and call takers gathered for the graduation ceremony with friends and family at Homebush.
Key speakers at the ceremony were David Dutton BM ASM, Executive Director, Clinical Operations and Clare Beech ASM, Executive Director, Clinical Operations who welcomed the new graduates to the ranks of fully qualified employees.
The Senior Chaplain, Peter Van Praag, gave an introductory speech followed by a moment of stillness and prayer. The audience also heard from different representatives from the classes of paramedic and call takers, and a sense of pride was shared by the family and friends who also attended. Later there was a special appearance by the NSW Ambulance mascot, “Bearamedic”
Feature Point Constructions is a boutique construction and building company based in Melbourne, specialized in shop and office fit-outs and home renovations. Its hallmark is precision and quality finishes. The company is run by the well-presented and professional master tradesman, Ali Yucel (pictured above).
I spent the afternoon in Torquay, Victoria, photographing a home renovation that had recently been completed by Feature Point Constructions.
Torquay holds a special place in my heart as it was the “go to” holiday spot for my mother, aunty and us children. I have lots of fun memories of frolicking endlessly by the beach, long sunny days and loads of oysters and crayfish at the end of day in the hotel room.
I was impressed with the clean lines, rounded corners and beautiful finishes on this renovation. The following is a gallery of some of the shots.
During the recent Sydney run of La Cage Cage aux Folles, the chemistry on stage between the two leads, Paul Capsis and Michael Cormick, was palpable and electric. This iconic stage musical is about two eccentric men (one more-so than the other) bringing up a child above a nightclub in St Tropez, where one of the parents, Albin, performs as a drag queen. I took these production photographs at the final dress rehearsal in late January at The Concourse Concert Hall. I couldn’t stop myself laughing – the jokes are still relevant, even decades after they were written.
I remember when I saw the Franco-Italian film version in my 20’s … it broke many taboos in such a fun and ground-breaking way. Initially it was created as a play by Jean Poiret and was performed by Michel Serrault and Jean Poiret. It was a huge success and hence made into a film (also starring Michel Serrault) in the French language, which broke into the international mainstream market and certainly took Australian audiences by surprise. Not only did we see a successful homosexual relationship front and centre on the big screen, but there was cross-dressing, drag and hilarious slapstick on display … a far cry from the tortured, artistic, foreign-language cult films we were used to seeing from France.
The David Hawkins production of La Cage Cage aux Folles was a joy to shoot. If you appreciate colour, movement and good humour, then this version is the ultimate production. I loved watching Paul and Michael play the roles of Albin (and ZaZa, the drag phenomenon) and his more conservative partner Georges (who was previously married and produced a son).
News Flash!!!!!! La Cage is getting another run this time at the State Theatre in Sydney from 19th – 23 April, 2023. Click here to book tickets:
It was a real pleasure to shoot the Sydney dress rehearsal of director Richard Carroll’s new production of Gentlemen Prefer Blondes at the Hayes Theatre.
The two leads, Emily Havea and Georgina Hopson, are fabulous in the roles of Dorothy and Lorelei and the rest of the cast are equally brilliant. When you are producing a theatrical shoot, it can be very difficult to appreciate the bigger picture of what is happening on stage. Your attention as photographer is focused on multiple things while you apply your craft, including technical considerations and stylistic decisions. However, in this case, it was impossible for me to ignore the magic of what was happening on stage, even though it was only the dress rehearsal.
If you see this post before the production of Gentlemen Prefer Blondes finishes at the Hayes Theatre on March 18, 2023, make sure you book tickets to see this wonderful piece of musical theatre. Book here
Director:Richard Carroll | Featuring:Octavia Barron-Martin, Thomas Campbell, Ruby Clark, Adam Di Martino, Emily Havea, Georgina Hopson, Tomáš Kantor, Leah Lim, Tomas Parrish, Matthew Predny, Monica Sayers | Musical Director: Victoria Falconer | Band: Nathan Barraclough, Amanda Jenkins, Abi McCunn, Jarrad Payne | Choreographer: Sally Dashwood | Set Designer: Dan Potra | Costume Designer: Angela White | Lighting Designer: Benjamin Brockman | Associate Musical Director:Abi McCunn | Stage Manager: Bronte Schuftan | Assistant Stage Manager: Anastasia Mowen | Dialect Coach: Benjamin Purser | Intimacy Coordinator: Caroline Kaspar
The team at So French So Chic hit the sandy shores of Watsons Bay to shoot the latest summer range of garments designed by Valerie Tsoukaris and manufactured in Italy. We were collecting imagery for the summer catalogue.
I have fond memories of the time when I lived in Watsons Bay twenty years ago, so it was a bit nostalgic to return to this pretty environment to capture the gorgeous Valeria Sizova (our model) by the water’s edge. It is amazing what a calming effect being near the water can have. Normally there’s a modicum of stress when shooting fashion, paying attention to detailing, styling and time constraints. Somehow all this falls away when you are barefoot in the shallows of the sea while you work and the sun is shimmering in the background, reflecting on the ocean.
The team comprised of model: Valeria Sizova, make-up and hair: Kevin Vella, photographer’s assistant: Nick Jones, stylist and dresser: Carolyn Turner, designer: Valeria Tsoukaris and designer’s support and all-round “tout-faire”: Nic Tsoukaris.