A Little Creative Push…

As a teacher of photography, I can sometimes be so focused on nurturing my students creativity that I often forget about stretching my own creative muscles. I have really been making an effort this last week or so by entering some photographic competitions and also spending a day at The Baldessin Press studio in St Andrews (thanks Silvi Glattauer!). I have a few ideas brewing in my mind for a series but feel like I need a little extra encouragement to get going. Luckily I have some amazing people around me that have given me a much needed but gentle prod in the right direction. The wonderful Deb Dorman has created a group meet-up for creatives so that we can support and encourage one another but also be accountable in moving forward.  She has also come up with some monthly challenges, of the creative kind, to help us get those muscles back into shape. I really need to just get shooting again, simple as that!

There are so many opportunities to enter photography competitions at the moment, which is great. I have just been re-editing an old image (below) for one of these comps where the image must provoke, arouse or challenge the viewer. It is a very confronting image that I hope will provoke some conversation around the issues of domestic abuse.

On a creative note…It is amazing how differently I have edited the image this time. Shows I have come a long way in the last few years.


An insight into image processing…

I am running some photoshop workshops next month and thought I would give a little insight into some of my workflow when editing images.

At the bottom of the page are some before and after images.

For information on upcoming PHOTOSHOP workshops click here

The RAW image…

_DSC4040 as Smart Object-1

I will often process my RAW file (in the RAW converter) so that the image is flatter than originally shot. This will make the image appear flat. I only do this if I am taking the image into photoshop for further editing. This condenses the information towards the centre of the histogram and allows me to have greater control over the tones within photoshop. I always break down the image into ‘images within the image’. What does this mean? Well, it is important to understand that each element within your image has different tonal information. Working globally with adjustment layers may work well in one area of your image but make others too dark or light. You need to break your image down into separate elements and work with localised adjustments on the tonal information within EACH element. That means using masks for local, non destructive editing! With photoshop processing, the power of CURVES is unrivalled in giving you the most control over your tones. You can use the ‘on image targeted adjustment tool’ (this is the little hand symbol located on the curve properties box below) to locate the specific tonal information that you want to adjust. The curve can be used to lighten, darken or separate tones to create contrast. This can be a simple adjustment or an extremely complex one using a variety of selection and masking techniques.

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Below – The layers palette with a series of named groups/folders to manage the multitude of adjustment layers used when editing/processing the various elements within an image. A good workflow is essential when processing your images in Photoshop.

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Before and after images…

_DSC4040 as Smart Object-1tea set_LR_sRGB

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For information on upcoming PHOTOSHOP workshops click here

(Thanks to Sue from the Tea Set for allowing me to use the above images. See the tea set blog post here)

The Tea Set…

Here are some images from a very recent shoot with the ever so talented and joyful Sue, John and Mary-Lynn, collectively known as The Tea Set. A fabulous, toe-tapping fusion of country AND disco that will leave you with a grin from ear to ear and legs exhausted from dancing all night long under the glitter ball!

Check them out here on Facebook

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Sue_LR_sRGBSue & John_LR_sRGB

The Baby Farmer…

Well it is finally here! The Baby Farmer has been birthed into the world featuring an incredible tale of darkness, madness and pain in 19th century London. The show is gripping in its intensity and not for the faint of heart. I highly recommend getting down to Brightspace Gallery to see the show and the accompanying exhibition from the wonderfully talented Chloe Neath. The images burn into the mind and give a strong visual reference to the narration from Nick Ravenswood, the twisted but greatly talented mind behind The Laudanum Project. A big shout out to Gareth whose musical accompaniment and vocals lent a palpable tension to the whole performance.

To top it all off, Chloe and Nick have written and illustrated a book together of the Baby Farmer. Below are some detail shots of the images and words within (At the back of the book are some of the photos I shot last year).

The images below were shot with my 90mm macro lens for a very shallow depth of field. I love how you can see the detailed texture of the paper stock in the book, but if you want to see more…well you will just have to buy one for yourself!

The Baby Farmer exhibition, play and book return to Brightspace Gallery in St Kilda this coming Friday, Saturday & Sunday (March 31st & April 1st & 2nd) To secure your tickets go to: The Baby Farmer

Video of ‘The Baby Farmer’ Performance


The Baby Farmer…

“Would you like to hear a story children?
The Baby Farmer is coming”

Well, I feel it is time again for some more Laudanum Project madness. Freaks extraordinaire, devilishly clever, a visual feast not for the faint of heart!

The images are from my latest photos shoot with Alphonse Cheese-Probert and his performance troupe, The Laudanum Project, with their latest offering…The Baby Farmer. Be afraid, be very afraid!


The Redwood Forest…

It’s funny to have discovered a place so beautiful that has been on my doorstep all these years. The Redwood Forest in Warburton is a stand of beautiful American Redwoods, a place that is dark and mysterious, filled with willow sculptures and a silence so serene as to lose all sense of time.


Malham Tarn…

Malham Tarn, Yorkshire. Location of a scene from Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows.


Travel 2016…

3 weeks in Italy in Winter.

3 sisters, 1 Alpha Romeo & la dolce vita!!

Italia by iphone…

I travelled to Italy in December/January 2015/16 with 2 of my sisters, no kids or husbands allowed! We hired ourselves an Alpha Romeo and took off down the Amalfi coast and slowly made our way all the way up to Venice. It was an amazing trip with lots of laughter, food, wine and yes, even a bit of sunshine! I very quickly got sick of lugging my heavy camera around with me so ended up shooting most of my images on my iphone. The additional help of a couple of apps (Pro Camera 8, photoshop) and the results aren’t too bad. Of course it will never replace my camera but I am happy with some of the results.

Our cousin Pete joined us for a few days in Roma and we decided to recreate an old photo of the 3 of us in our Grandfathers garden in the UK from around 1972 (Ang, the third sister, wasn’t born at this point so she took the photo). Below – Peter, Maxine, Arrayah




Photogravure is a non-toxic photo/printmaking process where a metal plate is coated with a light sensitive emulsion and exposed to a film positive. Through exposure, the plate is etched and produces a very detailed image ready for the traditional print press. It is all printmaking from here on in, which is something that I have never done before, but the results produce exquisite tones and detail that would be very difficult to create with traditional etching. Of course there are many imperfections in the print but that only adds to the beauty of the final image and it’s handmade quality.

I was fortunate to be able to attend a photogravure workshop on the weekend, held by my lovely friend and mentor, Silvi Glattauer, at The Baldessin Press. The studio is an artwork in itself, nestled in the Australian bush just over an hour out of Melbourne. http://www.silvi.com.au/ http://baldessinpress.com.au/

I am really happy with the end results and can’t wait to get back out to the studio to learn more!