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

Being still

Every breath of wind leaves a mark on something. Every stirring vibration creates a shift or a ripple leading elsewhere. Every sign of life is a wound. Where it all begins or ends we can’t be sure, only that it … 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.

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

I SEE YOU

I was standing on a mountain with a bunch of old friends the other day. We were at a mate’s property, before a huge bonfire, celebrating 2 friends’ 40th birthdays – all camping out together for the night.

In my brief conversation with one of the boys, we quickly came to be talking about spirituality. “I think that’s one of the things that all of us here have in common, our sense of spirituality is all about feeling connected…. TO THE LAND!” I chimed in. Most definitely, or in Matty’s case, more the OCEAN.

I make no claim to the kind of spirituality Aboriginal culture speaks of. As far as I am aware I have no heritage to link me there. And the fullness and complexity of traditional knowledge goes far and deep beyond my imaginings.

However, I do feel that rich and powerful connection to the land where I was born and I feel that divine appreciation for a natural landscape – in my own homeland and elsewhere on this planet.

This is why photography is somewhat like my bible. It helps me to stop and study my spirituality. I open my shutter and stop to breathe in the miraculous, the divine. It helps me to focus, calm myself, feel and capture my appreciation. The image becomes a thank you, an “I SEE you”.

This might sound a tad hippy, but once I climbed a tree in the dry Todd River bed of Alice Springs, hung my arms and legs around a huge branch and whispered “I promise to show the world, or remind the world how beautiful you are”.

Perhaps I was also whispering that to myself, as I seek to remind myself and everyone of our deserving of self-love and healthy worshipfulness. For is not my body a natural wonder?

The more I learn about it, the more I admire it, want to learn to respect it and see it as miraculous.

 

My macro work brings me in close, to see what is otherwise invisible or over-looked. And that is a whole new world of discovery. David Attenborough himself couldn’t be more excited by the layers and beauty that it reveals. Again, my anatomy study is a similar act with familiar outcomes. The inner workings of my body is also complex and inspiring, with multitudes of daily miraculous events occurring.

So photographing the earth, sky, sea, the natural world, including the human body is like entering a temple and bowing in prayer.

It is where I find peace, meet my maker and meet my humanity and my soul, even.

I wish more world leaders could feel this in their hearts and souls too. They might then be able to act as our Christ and save us, rather than our Judas. For what we do to the earth, we do to ourselves.

It’s impossible to live and breathe and adore this earthly place, without facing my own body within it, as part of it, my vessel to take me through this version of a life experience. Why then the epic struggle to truly love and cherish my own mountains, deep valleys, volcanic eruptions, hailstorms, deserts, lush rainforests and spinifex within?

It is a constant journey, but I intend to celebrate that journey. I trip up a lot, but I am still moving on it. Which brings me to my next body of work, an idea that has been brewing for a number of years. It’s fruition is overdue.

A combination of the body of the earth and the body of us. I’m looking for signs of life to photograph: scars, stretch marks, unusual markings, lines, blemishes, etc.

Please put yourself forward if you have any of these. You won’t be identified, your markings will be abstracted.

Please contact me through my facebook page if you wish to take part.

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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