Tuesday, 31 July 2012

snap it (night time)

My nine year old son took this photo earlier in July, he said I officially had his permission to use it for this night time prompt.

This is the same son who declared this afternoon, that he did not get my genes because he does not like photography, drinking tea or wearing a dressing gown everywhere....



Sunday, 29 July 2012

Are you an artist?

Am I an artist?

Prompted this week by Kat, I was challenged to answer this thought provoking question. Am I an artist? I immediately re-read what I had written a few months ago on the 'about me' page on this blog, it said I was many things but the word 'artist' did not appear. I then enlisted the help of my twenty three 5 year old talent scouts. Unequivocally they agreed, that indeed I was an artist ..... hope in their innocence! In all seriousness, before I could claim this title for myself I needed to formulate my own definition of what art is.

What is art?

After much thought, my self proclaimed definition of art, put simply is;

"Ones own intentional or emotive expression, a creation which occupies a space where a void previously existed. It may take any form. Art, if made with purpose or emotion is anything that was not there before, that did not exist prior to its making."

Art is a noun synonymous with creation. The world in which we dwell is the ultimate ‘work of art’, its maker our God, is the supreme creator.

I own my definition of art and can therefore, justify that my work is art. The art I make is ‘the photograph’. The tool I use to create my art is, ‘the camera’.

If art is a creation then the creator must be an artist.

I create images that previously did not exist. I purposefully fill the emptiness of memory cards each time I click the shutter. I start every shoot with the message on my camera that says, “no image”. My interpretation of this invitation is to replenish the memory card with new creations, new rectangle works of art. I am the creator of this art so I declare, “I am an artist”.

The art I make can not be bound by the expectations of others. I create for my own pleasure, finding immense satisfaction in the art making process. I do not set about to evoke emotion from an audience. If by chance a viewer encounters my art I would expect a response, simply because it exists. Responses in nature are subjective, thus the goal of pleasing all is unattainable. I like what I see and that is enough. How one fills a void is as unique and personal as someone's response to it.

Being an artist is an individual experience for each of us, the talents and skills we bring, the form we choose may differ but ultimately in my opinion, if it is created it is art, if you create you are an artist.

Are you an artist?


Thursday, 26 July 2012

3 uses for a mobile phone - exploring point of view

Before you start reading this post (bare with me) please complete this task.... list 3 uses for a mobile phone.


At work last Monday I was a participant in a training course. In one activity, the guest speaker asked us to list (other than for phone calls) 3 uses for a mobile phone. We then had to share our suggestions with partners. My partners' list went like this: camera, diary, TV. Mine went like this: door stop, paving stone, domino. I was looking at alternative and physical aspects of the device not its current capabilities. At the time I didn't know what that particular exercise revealed about my thought processes. But in retrospect after reading this weeks prompt from Kat, I realise it means that my ability to explore different perspectives or points of view is developing well (or I have a comprehension problem).

This week, Kat has asked us to experiment shooting different points of view of stationary subjects. Before I took my camera out I went back to my inspiration file and noted that the most frequent perspective I use when photographing objects is 'along'. This technique allows me to hone the focal point but still keep the subject in context. My 'Goldilocks chair' image is an example of this. Today I pushed to move 'along' my most common point of view to try new perspectives: above, below, left, right, front, back, inside, outside, close and far.

missing pram wheel props

Much to my daughter's chagrin I scooped this little broken sole from the side of the road at this week's neighbourhood rubbish collection. I could not resist its charm and felt the two missing wheels added to its story. I thought it would be the most perfect subject for my 'different shooting points of view assignment'. I set to work capturing it, immediately but not consciously using my default perspective of 'along'. I focussed on the knitted cane weave but by doing this I was missing the whole perspective and setting. I then tried some other perspectives (see favourites below) and found myself enjoying the view.

My favourite photograph from this shoot is pictured above. Let me be so bold as to tell you why; I really like the sharp contrast of light and shadow and the way the camellias look like they are throwing dappled spotlights onto the deck. In this big picture image I can imagine the whole story; a little grubby faced saint playing mummies with an equally grubby faced doll, so engrossed in her play not least noticing the imperfections of the pram. I could not help but giggle at my alternative use of mobile phones as props for missing pram wheels.

Here are a few other photographs I liked from the shoot.


What were your 3 suggestions for the use of a mobile phone?

Also linking up my white pram pics with Bella's 'white' prompt at 52 photos project

Thursday, 19 July 2012

What's your Shooting Style?

Kat from kat eye studio has prompted us to explore our shooting style by answering a series of questions. In summary.....

My shooting style is comfortable and casual, like a well loved pair of boots that have been worn beyond their use. I don’t have any equipment other than my camera, a zoom lens and a 50mm treat. I only photograph in natural light, preferring either end of the day when the light is not as harsh. I like to think of myself as photographing on ‘location’ but really that just means I mostly shoot away from home. I tend to use my camera in aperture priority mode, simply because I like to control the depth of field. If not alone, I spend most of my precious photographic time with one dear friend who shares my passion for tea, cake and all things ‘photo’. We have been spending the past year day tripping around Sydney suburbs. See Cabramatta my most recent 'My Sydney' post. To special events, I take my camera along like a mute guest; it sits on a chair in the corner refusing all invitations to engage. I am equally happy to orchestrate still life pictures or sit in wait for inspiration. I am very comfortable with my style and shoot my favourite pictures when all these things are aligned.
Maxine xx

Tuesday, 17 July 2012


This photo of Nick was taken a week ago. He had been growing his hair for the past year. On the weekend it was cut ready for a new school semester.

Monday, 16 July 2012

Camera-less Walking: "A Winters' Seascape"

Of late I seem to have had a lot to say for a 'photography blog'. This week Kat set our class the task of spending time out and about making observations without our cameras. What a challenge to leave the house naked camera-less. It took me two attempts to walk with out my camera. During attempt number one I became distracted by visiting the photographic exhibition, Photos1440 on my city walk. It would be remiss of me not to share this quote with you.
 "There are 1440 minutes in a day. In these minutes photographers capture a moment. These moments make up a day which lasts forever."
Sydney Morning Herald’s photography exhibition Photos 1440 

Now let me tell you about my successful attempt at camera-less walking.  'A Winters' Seascape'.

I breathed in the salty ocean air and relaxed into a walk along the beach to discover, to embark on time with out my camera. Spending time with out the distraction of something to photograph made me realise, that with camera in hand one can be tempted to be so busy looking that you run the risk of  not actually seeing. Turning the camera off, turned my other senses on. For me in particular my sense of hearing was heightened. With no viewfinder to hide behind noises and sounds engulfed me.

As I slowly walked, my path crossed with a parade of mothers, friends, children and surfers, each engrossed in private conversations. It was as if their voices were magnified, the volume turned up. Although the words were being carried to me on loud speaker, I was only able to catch snippets of what they were saying, a few words at the most, out of context and nonsensical. I was intrigued as to the rest of their dialogue, I was driven to know more.

As I continued to cross the paths of strangers, snatching parts of their personal exchanges, I began to ponder this thought....is a photograph like the fragmented words of stolen conversation; in isolation does just one photograph make sense? To answer this question I went back to my inspiration file, as it turned out I did not have to go far, right before me was the set of photographs I had taken of the grandstand for my last post, Goldilocks and 20m line

What I discovered is that because I have a  tendency to photograph detail, some of my images can be snippets of conversation or incomplete phrases. The set of grandstand pictures I took for the recent post illustrate this point well. Each photograph belongs to the series to make a whole story yet each individual photograph (only part of the whole story) can stand alone as a compelling recluse. Each photo in isolation can hold the power of intrigue and mystery, like snippets of conversation.

Winters' Seascape

The above image (snippet of conversation) called "Winters' Seascape" is a perfect illustration of how one photograph can serve two purposes. This image in isolation depicts the windswept sea on a winters day yet it simultaneously belongs to the grandstand story and fits perfectly to complete that set.

If you walk slowly enough you can steal fragments of others' conversations, thoughts and motives. In isolation these unfinished sentences make little sense yet still hold great power; the power of mystery and captivation. So as you cross a stranger's path and listen to snippets of their private conversation, ask yourself this question, do my photographs create a powerful desire to know and want more?

Next time I take the lens cap off my camera I will remind myself to switch all of my senses on.

Maxine xx

kat eye view

Tuesday, 10 July 2012

Goldilocks and the 20-Metre Line

Once upon a time there was a little girl called Goldilocks... well we all know how that story ends. Lets try a different story. Once upon a time there was a little boy called... lets call him, the boy with the golden locks. (If you have ever seen a photo of this young boy you will know he too has hair the colour of gold, but the similarities between these two characters ends there). The boy with the golden locks had a problem that needed solving..... he was intent on kicking a goal from the 20m line. To this task he brought a list of requirements; determination, resilience, the right equipment, the right knowledge and patience for skill building. 

The Goldilocks story serves to illustrate the way I have dealt with some of my photographic problems in the past. (kat eye studio). My immediate reaction to facing photographic problems is to run from and avoid them. I choose not to solve them, rather I change my focus to things that I can already do, my safety net. This theory has merits but it also has limitations, it is restrictive and conforms creativity.

I have a life long love of learning, hence my enrolment in this course. I feel excited when I have achieved a new height of awakening. That is the satisfaction of solving problems, it conquers and teaches. When faced with challenges I tell my own children and the children I teach, "not to give up" and  to "have a go", that is my philosophy. I like to think of myself as a participator in life not a watcher. To grab, cherish and savour. To be a participant, one needs to solve problems.

Goldilocks never stopped to solve her problems, she fled from each broken chair as quickly as she sat in it, leading her ultimately to disappointment. The boy with the golden locks, on the other hand tackled his problem of kicking a goal form the 20m goal line with a different approach. He has not yet solved his problem, and he is experiencing levels of disappointment along the way but he is determined "not to give up" to keep "having a go". Going forward I will heed my own advice and adopt the attitude of the boy with the golden locks. I will  tackle my photographic problems, one at a time (creative and technical) with determination, resilience, the right equipment, the right knowledge and patience for skill building. My first goal will be to read my camera manual (had the camera 6 months) followed by some photo editing skill building.

While the golden haired boy was kicking for goal from the 20m line with his father, the mother of the child spent time taking these photographs of the empty grandstand as it watched on and cheered him in silent encouragement.

kat eye view

Snap it (Yesterday)

"It is not possible to photograph the past, but the moment a photograph has been captured it becomes the past." Maxine Johnson

Linking up with

10 on 10 July

Welcome to my winter holiday. Tuesday 10th July 2012. 
Joining in with  rebekah at 'a bit of sunshine'

ten on ten button

Saturday, 7 July 2012

2166 Cabramatta

2166 is home to the Sydney suburb of Cabramatta in South Western Sydney, 30km from the heart of the city. Arpana and I made our visit here today, a Saturday, hoping for a hive of activity. We were not disappointed. A lot of money changed hands today, local people were busy shopping for food of all varieties. Bamboo juice bars, fresh seafood, fruit and veg along with hot bread was the order of the day. Visitors flock to the area to take advantage of the abundance of fabrics and clothing. I too secured myself a little apparel souvenir. We even ventured into 'Lee Han Thanh Trading Company", which sold products for medicinal purposes.

By lunch time we were ready to try some of Cabramatta's culinary delights, so bustled our way into in a local yum cha restaurant. For the princely sum of $8 and a few cents our bellies were filled with delicacies of prawns, beef, egg and noodles all washed down with green tea served from grubby chipped crockery not fit for a king.

The local park, "Cabravale Memorial Park" was a history lesson awaiting our attention. Local Red Cross nurses of 1914 supported their brothers, sons and husbands by writing and sending comforts during WW1. The park was built in 1919 as a memorial "Lest we forget". Opposite the park, were some residential dwellings.

A thoroughly enjoyable day out. I used my 50mm lens all day and was anxious to get home to see the results. I have since spent the evening viewing the days hall over dinner of chocolate and tea.

also linking up with sunny & scout for point and shoot weekend