December 21, 2009

Sunday Pause: Our Greatest Fear

Image: Grow little plants, grow. The view from where I am currently sitting.

Our Greatest Fear

Our greatest fear is not that we are inadequate,
but that we are powerful beyond measure.

It is our light, not our darkness, that frightens us.
We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant,
gorgeous, handsome, talented and fabulous?

Actually, who are you not to be?
You are a child of God.

Your playing small does not serve the world.
There is nothing enlightened about shrinking
so that other people won't feel insecure around you.

We were born to make manifest the glory of God within us.
It is not just in some; it is in everyone.

And, as we let our own light shine, we consciously give
other people permission to do the same.
As we are liberated from our fear,
our presence automatically liberates others.

~Marianne Williamson from her book 'A Return to Love'

Image: The view from the window here is of an apartment building/ creativity centre vibrantly painted with a lighthouse. Taken November, before all the leaves had fallen.

December 18, 2009

Goodbye Kaulsdorf

The Journey Continues

My bags are packed. It seems only yesterday I was unpacking, full of excitement, creativity and determination. The choice to move is sudden but I like that. I am going to be house sitting for a generous friend in another, much more central, part of Berlin.

I will miss this place. I have learnt a lot about simplicity here. I had one room which served as kitchen, office, bedroom, living room. The tiny bathroom sink I shared with another girl also served as the place I did my dishes. Due to very limited equipment and no fast food nearby I cooked only simple meals and my health has improved because of it. Cereal for breakfast, salad for lunch, chicken & mixed vegetables for dinner. Fruit, nuts and yoghurt for snacks. Tea, lots of tea.

In the mornings I would wake up and stoke the fire in order to have warmth for the day. There is no TV, though I haven't watched much television since I was a child anyway. At night I could hear the squirrels rustling in the ceiling and watch the stars through the skylight above my bed.

I have accumulated very little since I have been here- art supplies, a few books and some winter clothes. Home in Australia I was known for hoarding things. I could easily fill any inch of space with 'things' that I 'might' use again one day. It is wonderfully freeing to have so little.

Today I went for one final walk to the lakes. I mentioned earlier that I had never seen real snow before. Well, today I was gifted with snow, lots of it, enough to cover the ground and the cars and to tickle my nose when I walked through it. A pretty good goodbye present I think.

I may be leaving Kaulsdorf sooner than expected but I definitely got what I came for.

December 15, 2009


Just a quiet moment in Berlin.

This image reminds me how wonderful it is to have creative friends. I have been a photographer since I was twenty-one and taking photographs comes second-nature to me. I have my own way of seeing things and it shows in my pictures. On the afternoon this image was taken I was with three other creative types whom I now consider to be very good friends. We spontaneously decided to go for a wander and take photographs together. Seeing the images the others were taking inspired me to rethink how I compose my images, perhaps by incorporating more angles. In this image I feel I have combined my own sense of capturing a gentle moment in time with a more angle driven composition that is not my usual style.
I am very appreciative of the opportunities I have to learn from my friends.

This image also reminds me that one of these talented friends is leaving Berlin in two days to go home. Bon Voyage Steven! I'm sure we'll meet again soon.

December 14, 2009

Sunday Pause: Promise Yourself

Promise Yourself

"Promise yourself to be so strong that nothing can disturb your peace of mind.

To talk health, happiness, and prosperity to every person you meet.

To make all your friends feel like there is something in them.

To look at the sunny side of everything and make your optimism come true.

To think only of the best, to work only for the best, and expect only the best.

To be just as enthusiastic about the success of others as you are about your own.

To forget the mistakes of the past and press on to the greater achievements of the future.

To wear a cheerful countenance at all times and give every living person you meet a smile.

To give so much time to the improvement of yourself that you have no time to criticize others.

To be too large for worry, too noble for anger, and too strong for fear, and too happy to permit the presence of trouble."

~The Optimist Creed

I was in Grade 8 or 9 when my Art teacher gave us each an A3 sized printout of The Optimist Creed. It was on plain paper, in black and white with a decorative border. Thirteen years later, I still have it, although it is a little worse for wear. I can almost quote it by heart. In such a simple gesture that teacher has greatly influenced my life. Thinking back on who she was I am greatly inspired by how she lived her life and how she influenced her students. She taught us to be strong, independant, to appreciate beauty and to give 100% in everything we did for our own sake and no one else's. She taught by example.

On the outskirts of my home town on old sheep-grazing property she created the most beautiful rose garden with hundreds of varieties of roses, meandering paths and creeks. Visiting there one could feel (and still can) the love that went into creating it. By the time I was in grade 11 she had remarried and moved somewhere far away and I never had the chance to thank her. Nor could I realize then the impact such small gestures would have on my life.

Image: Butterfly in Bruges, Belgium, July 2009.

December 10, 2009

Berlin Foto Labor

I must admit I am a bit of a geek and more than a little precious when it comes to having my images printed. So I was very apprehensive about picking up 'Dew' from the lab today. There is quite a financial outlay required to print large prints on the papers I like. If there is anything even the slightest bit wrong- a fleck, a scratch or the wrong colour balance then I have to get it reprinted. This preciousness can leave me out of pocket quite a bit. But I couldn't handle having a work of mine out there that was less than the best I could do. I lose sleep over these kind of things.

The lab I chose, however, has more than exceeded my expectations so I am not only relieved but also ecstatic at how well it has worked out. The print looks better than ever! There is an excellent gradation in tones from lights to darks, the blacks are not compressed (which is a problem with some papers) and there is just the right amount of contrast. Okay, so maybe this is more to do with the paper I chose but the labs set up and ICC profiles has obviously helped.

The lab staff were very helpful and treated my image with as much care as I would. My German is only basic so far but they could speak English well enough that we got by. I love the set-up. Eizo monitors, clean workspaces, proper viewing stations and white gloves for handling are very reassuring. It is also very convenient that I can upload and order images via their website though you can also drop images in personally. They print at 360DPI and provide ICC profiles for the highest quality image reproduction.

If you are looking for a lab in Berlin I can highly recommend Viertal vor 8. I think it is also a cute coincidence that they have an Australian kangaroo as their logo.
I hope to get more images printed there soon!

December 9, 2009

Jacaranda Love Goes Under the Hammer

"...the balloons play out human emotions and human agendas. I allow them to be spontaneous, to fight or be still as their mood dictates. Like humans they get tangled up in each other, they feel lonely, they reflect on lifes mysteries and they dance for joy in the sunlight..." ~extract from artist statement.

Jacaranda Love is the second image going up for auction at 140 Hours of Fame. This image is from my 2008 series The Outsiders

The image to be auctioned is numbered no. 9 of 10 and is 20x20 inches. It is printed on Baryta archival photographic paper which is similar to traditional fibre based papers and has a superb dynamic range.

When I photographed this image I imagined the two balloons as a couple, in love and becoming ever more intertwined with each other. The Jacaranda blooms in late Spring and for many Australians on the east coast (particularly Brisbane & Grafton) is a joyful reminder of the coming of Christmas.

If you would like to know more about this image or series please contact me.