Nature’s Abstract

In two days, I start putting up my photographic work for an exhibition, a joint venture with Susan Nethercote, called ‘Nature’s Abstract‘. I have admired Susan’s work with paint for some time and it dawned on us that we really … Continue reading

Things They Said

Things They Said – multicultural youth dance performance in Ballarat.
Choreographer Shermaine Heng and dancers. Continue reading

Street Photography

SO here is a theme that I have not tried in a very long time…..

STREET PHOTOGRAPHY. It was Canon’s February theme, so I gave it a go. It’s always good to try different things, right?

It brought up some interesting issues around the way that I choose to shoot. Like highlighting the fact that I don’t like to be watched while photographing. Perhaps that is part of me preferring to be behind the camera rather than in front of it, but I did notice the irony of shooting others in public, but not enjoying doing the shooting while in public.

What I do enjoy about it, is watching for patterns and relationships in the everyday (and sometimes not so everyday) events happening around you. That can be quite captivating and can mean that I forget about being observed (to some degree).

I certainly enjoy the work of other street photographers…. after all I have two large volumes of work by Elliott Erwitt who is famous for his street photography all over the world. In fact I met Elliott Erwitt in New York City and had him sign one of his books for me!

It is the appreciation for simply SEEING what is there and capturing the essence of what makes it special – whether that be a pattern of shapes in one split moment, or an expression, or sequence of events that can be beautiful or humorous or interesting in that one moment.

I believe it takes great patience, perhaps that is another aspect I lack. However, it does relate to the work I do, in that I like to photograph “found” things rather than something I make up and is make believe.

This was my entry shot, taken at the Rockabilly Festival in Ballarat, February 2015.

Alison Shirley Photography

Through the windows of the past.

Freedom – Canon Light Awards, January 2015

So I entered a competition with Canon Australia for January. The theme was ‘freedom’, which is awesome but also very broad.

It conjures all those images of vast landscapes, flying like a bird, surfing, dancing/leaping, etc, which of course were well represented.

I did not win this competition, but wanted to share with you my entry – this ‘Southern Old Lady’.

FREEDOM, January Canon Light Awards. Alison Shirley Photography.

FREEDOM, January Canon Light Awards. Alison Shirley Photography.

 

I found this unfortunate visitor at my studio. He’d already passed and had a buddy with him too. (I can’t tell male from female by the way!). I couldn’t quite believe the perfect formation of it. I looked it up on the internet and most of the images I found of this species were shot with their wings totally open, which doesn’t have the same incredible impact that this guy had on me. Front on, it looked like I was staring at the face of a cat. What an awesome and convincing disguise – so striking. It got me thinking about freedom too.

There are so many versions of the idea of freedom. This guy had me thinking about the way that we can concern ourselves so seriously with the way we think people see us. Of course we can never really know the way people see us, but it certainly impacts on many decisions in ours lives, too many if we allow it.

For me freedom is an inner peace. Part of this is definitely about learning to be free of the opinions of others, in order to truly listen to myself. It might sound basic, but sometimes the opinions of the world and community, through multitudes of media, images and sound can be so deafening it’s hard to hear yourself think. (Then again, sometimes it’s my own voice that I need to shut down in order to think with clarity and truth.)

This little guy knows how to deflect what you think you can see of him and go under the radar, in order to survive his predators.

His ability to remain himself while you think he looks like something entirely different is his strength and ticket to freedom.

We can learn from him.

Although I did not get a place in the comp, by the look of this shot of the judge, my photo does seem to be flagged in the background (4 down from the top in the right corner), so perhaps I got a look-in?

Judge - Graham Munro

How about you? What would your image of freedom be?

 

 

Check out the beautiful winning entries here

 

 

 

Learning to look up

I’m on a pathway of learning to love what I am, what I have and who I am.

It’s not that I won’t be trying to improve, but I’ve come to realise that I waste a great deal of energy lamenting what is NOT present in my life, my body and my immediate world.

Of course this is destructive, wasteful and poor management of energy, among other things!

So it is a year of moving forward, perhaps not without fear, but THROUGH fear. Yes, I do that every year. I guess I want to leap a little further, a little higher, be airborne a little longer.

Perhaps I have already learnt to trust myself more and that it’s ok to spread my wings further without knowing what will happen.

What will happen is life – as always – abundant with the full spectrum of emotions and experiences.

I’m a private person and sometimes that prevents me from exposing myself as utterly as art does. It also leaves me feeling as though I have nothing to “say”.

So rather than concerning myself too much with that, I will just BE.

So here is me, trying something new, learning to look up at the abundant sky – simultaneously reminding me how minuscule and integral I am.

I hope you enjoy…

 

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January night sky, 2015

The colour of hope

It has been awhile, my apologies!

Last year was terrible and challenging for a number of people I love and care about.

I did a great deal of moving, and now comes a time to settle properly where I am and enjoy.

It was a busy year for me, photographically. Lots to catch up on, but for now I would like to show you a few shots from my wanderings closer to home.

For it is in this place that I live and explore. Right now I am working on pieces that incorporate both photography (still and moving) – and dance! It all comes together!! All those parts of me that most love to show themselves.

This series is a taste of an exhibition to come.

It is about hope.

It is about the great dry.

The need to live in hope and the need to survive the great dry.

The land expresses everything that we as human bodies experience – and it’s telling me to stay hydrated and treasure those magical life forces that we take so for granted most of the time.

Myrniong turn off, Victoria

“Myrniong turn off”, Victoria

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“Barbed wire fence” Myrniong turn off, Western Highway, Victoria

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“Shades of dry” Myrniong turn off, Western Highway, Victoria

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“Tired and cross”, Myrniong turn off, Western Highway, Victoria

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“White wash”, Myrniong turn off, Western Highway, Victoria

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“Field meeting”, near Myrniong, Victoria

Spring has sprung!

 

After more than a year in my new home, my garden is still giving me great surprises with what comes up in each new season.

It’s hard not to get out the macro lens and show my appreciation, so I have done it again, focussing this time on a gorgeous purple bulb that seemed to shoot up out of nowhere!

It reminds me to keep on keeping on, as you never know what is around the corner. So here is a little visual thank you to the universe that is my garden, doing it’s own amazing thing.

And may we all continue to do our own amazing thing, even if it takes getting through those winters to rise up and greet the sunshine with everything we have to offer.

And we all DO have something to offer!