Dead or Alive

Does it really matter? Not to me, I have to admit. It doesn’t matter if something is dead or alive, there is still much beauty to be found. In fact I used to love to shoot dead flowers when I was … Continue reading

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.

SHIRLEYAlison_MG_9843

SHIRLEYAlison_MG_9001

SHIRLEYAlison_MG_9813

SHIRLEYAlison_MG_8929

SHIRLEYAlison_MG_8768

SHIRLEYAlison_MG_9818

SHIRLEYAlison_MG_0279Web

SHIRLEYAlison_MG_8721

img_20141026_185554

SHIRLEYAlison_IMG_20131019_160030

SHIRLEYAlison_MG_0022

SHIRLEYAlison_MG_0011

SHIRLEYAlison_MG_8698

SHIRLEYAlison-9056

SHIRLEYAlison_MG_9092

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!

 

 

 

 

 

Focus – on what you see and feel.

Sometimes for me it’s about what to focus on. There are so many choices in this world. Having a lot of choices is a great privilege, let’s make that clear.

It can lend itself to confusion and a seeming lack of focus. On a drive out near Daylesford I stopped by the road to take some pictures.

I knew I wanted to use my macro lens to capture some of the beautiful detail I was seeing and I do love the painterly effect of a short depth of field, but what to focus on…

I began to stand in one place and take a number of photos, just changing the point of focus without changing my framing to see what I came up with. It allowed for a little of the unknown to creep into my shooting, which I think is fun.

Sometimes nature shows us the most beautiful surprises.

The images of the old mattress springs really speak to me about the buzz of confusion that sometimes surrounds me, in having more than one passion to focus on. Where to stand, how long to stand there and where to focus, again.

In the meantime, I continue trusting my own drive as well as those surprises that nature throws my way, to keep taking me exactly where I need to be.

Winter dreaming

I do tend to get the winter blues and today I took the sunshine as an opportunity to appreciate what’s in my garden…

Among other beauties was one of my favourites. The Protea. An original Australian.

How timely, as it is the end of NAIDOC week and a great time to appreciate all our original Australians.

The beauty and strength, the colour and vibrancy, the history and environment. A big shout out to all clans of this country and their heritage and dreaming.

The little I know of Aboriginal and Islander culture I admire and respect greatly.

My life has been made much richer by the sharing and interaction I have been blessed to experience. Thank you.

And also in appreciation of my garden’s winter collection.

 

 

 

 

 

 

winter nature photography

 

winter nature landscape

 

winter nature photography

 

orchid photo

 

 

 

 

Interviewed by Abc Open, Alison Shirley

Things are quite exciting right now.

Just a few months ago I took a big leap, in moving from Melbourne city where there is plenty to inspire and encourage creativity, and the place is really well KNOWN to me, to going rural.

I moved to Ballarat, despite the warnings!… All that means is that I am renowned for being a summer girl and B’rat is known for it’s harsh winters. Ouch!

Ballarat is also a beautiful town, proud of it’s gold rush history and abundant in inspiring landscape and architecture.

Since being here, I have been able to focus more on my creativity and making a mission of allowing myself to PLAY.

A short time ago I was contacted by ABC Open producer, Marc Eiden, who said he’d been enjoying reading my blog.

That in itself was a great affirmation, but he also mentioned wanting to interview me about shooting macro and writing blogs, in order to inform and inspire others with their macro photography.

Well I certainly hope it does exactly that! Inspiring others to move forward and get their creative buzz going is one of my favourite things!

Doing your own creative or artistic thing, is often a world of unrecognised hard work and dedication, but a wonderful teacher of mine always said, “You must do what you love and the rest will come.”

If I ever doubted her, I consider this experience with Marc at the Abc as a reminder to have more faith. And to just keep doing what you love!!

I have also entered the Up Close competition, which you will find at the ABC Open site, so perhaps some of you out there also have something you want to put forward….. Go for it!

The secret look of plants from ABC Open Ballarat on Vimeo.

For when life Succs

I know, it’s Christmas season.
A time renowned for joy, celebration and reunion.

But in looking more closely (with my macro lens) at a beautiful plant that I received as a gift recently, my thoughts go to those people I love whose Christmases are tarnished by deep sorrow and longing, reflection and agonising grief.

Hence it’s the succulent that grabs me. It has a remarkable ability to withstand “unfavourable” circumstances.
It remains plump and full of water, while temperatures soar internally.
Remarkably, it creates it’s own humidity with a waxy, hairy or spiny outer surface that reduces the air movement near it’s surface.

So if you don’t appear like others this Christmas, if you need to retain water or become more spiky on the surface, or create your own micro-habitat to survive, I’m thinking of you.

And I am wholeheartedly grateful for all that I have not lost.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.