November 21, 2012 § 2 Comments
It is my first multimedia presentation published to the web.
Photograph of Professor Fred Hollows and Tran Van Giap in Vietnam 1992 and Giap -Preventable Blindness Vietnam in 2012
March 5, 2012 § 4 Comments
Just a couple of weeks ago I traveled with Gabi Hollows, wife of Fred, and board member at the Fred Hollows Foundation and Miranda Devine, writer from the Daily Telegraph to Vietnam to photograph and see what had transpired in the life of Tran Van Giap, the then nine year old boy pictured with Fred in the iconic photograph that has been the visual reference for The Fred Hollows Foundation for twenty years now since it first started in 1992. It was twenty years since our journey with Professor Hollows journey and we wanted to see with Gabi the blindness prevention program today after twenty years of FHF involvement. See here Miranda Devine’s Story in the Daily Telegraph
In 1992 I was working at the Daily Telegraph newspaper as a staff photographer. I cannot quite recall exactly how it happened but one morning the then picture editor Anthony Moran called me over into his office and asked me if I wanted to travel with writer Miranda Devine and Professor Fred Hollows and his team to Vietnam to do a story on the Australian eye doctor and his mission to train the Vietnamese eye doctors modern cataract surgery. Suffering from cancer and very ill Professor Hollows had just been released from hospital and had been cleared to go. It was my first overseas assignment and to do a photojournalistic story like this was an opportunity I had been wanting for a while.
I did not realise it but the trip turned out to be my big break. It evolved into twenty years, involved one way or another with international preventable blindness stories and the Fred Hollows Foundation. My first big professional break was getting a cadetship at NewsLimited as a photographer, my second was being selected onto the staff at the Daily Telegraph newspaper after finishing my cadetship and my third was to get this assignment.
As much as this first overseas assignment was a big break for me, it turned out to be a life changing break for a nine year old Vietnamese boy Tran Van Giap as Miranda tells in her story. published last weekend in the Daily Telegraph in Sydney and Herald Sun newspaper in Melbourne.
The basic story for Giap in 1992 was as Miranda explains so well, that Giap had he had a shard of glass lodged in his right eye for two years and his left eye was severely damaged. Giap and his father made a 170 km journey to Hanoi from their home and spend 25 days in hospital only to be told by Vietnamese doctors nothing could be done to help him.
It just so happened that the day they were to leave for their home Professor Hollows and his team arrived with Miranda and myself and two TV crews from Australia.
The moment in the photograph happened as I recall after a morning of surgery and photographing Professor Hollows and the visiting eye surgeons Dr Sanduk Ruit from Nepal and Dr Stephanie Young from Sydney working with and training the Vietnamese surgeons in intra ocular lens surgery (hProf Hollows was not operating as he was far to unwell at this time to do surgery).
In the afternoon Professor Hollows walked around a court yard outside the surgical rooms looking with a torch light at the eyes of patients waiting to be seen. Large groups of people were gathering, Professor Hollows sat down on a bench to be interviewed by the television reporter at the time Christopher Zinn. When the interview finished I was clustered on the ground close to Professor Hollows and I believe it was around moment that a few children had been pushed up before him and Giap came up to professor Hollows. He looked at his eye and suggested then that Giap’s problems were trauma and was complicated. He straight away organised for Dr Sanduk Ruit from Nepal one of Professor Hollows training surgeons, to examine and to operate. The rest is the history of Giaps life since then.
It was the first time, just last month that I had seen him since the day I made that photograph in 1992. Today he lives in Ho Chi Minh City, he is newly married to Binh, his wife of only a couple of months, he is studying for his masters degree in mathematics and driving his motor bike so confidently in his new home in Ho Chi Minh city.
The portrait of him I wanted in 2012 was to be with his year 12 maths class from last year. I wanted to make a portrait of him that represented what he had achieved twenty years after his surgery. Before the portrait I photographed him riding his motor bike to his home, with his wife Binh at a cafe, working in the classroom with his students.
The portrait was made towards the end of the class. I setup my portable Canon speed lights and photographed him and the class trying to bring a compositional eye to centre on him but include the reference and energy of the class. I made a couple of portraits with Gabi and with him and the photograph from 1992. It was made a little more difficult as he was wearing the same closes as the students.
Before the portrait I filmed some video on my Canon 5D Mark 2 as i do these days on assignments like these. Miranda asked the questions and I recorded a video interview with him, clipping my wireless lavalier microphone to his shirt to record sound into both the camera and my separate recording device, a Zoom H4N.
It was really great to see him after all this time, it’s not often you have a photograph that is so useful to so many people for such a long time and I don’t think it is about to end, the influence of the photograph or the work to avoid preventable blindness in Vietnam or the developing world.
November 24, 2011 § 2 Comments
It has been some time since I last made a blog. I am starting it again with a renewed enthusiasm after working on my social media setup with Alex Hamilton a friend who has guided me through the process of linking and organising my digital communications so I can focus on creating the blog and working on the business and my photography.
I thought this would be the right topic to restart my blog as it has been time spent looking into video, studying its production, filming, looking into equipment and editing that has taken me away from writing and posting.
Last friday 18th November I attended the launch of Multicultural Enterprises Australia. It was a truly unique African cultural event starting with a fantastic smoking ceremony and welcome to country presented by aboriginal elder Steve Williams. The event included performances by African musicians, Evan Yako and Kell Taylor, Temmy and group, Vivienne, Effie’s group and Rodney Disciple. Senator Kate Lundy, the parliamentary Secretary for Immigration and Multicultural Affairs came from Adelaide to launch the organisation and event and stayed until late in the night. I was really impressed with the MC. I loved the way she included Steve as one of the guests of honour throughout the evening.
One of MEA projects Africa Konnect had a sneak peek with a catwalk of local African models wearing the works of local African designers, local hair and makeup artists.
Te reason I got an invite is I created a video with fellow photographer-photojournalist David Dare Parker to help promote Africa Konnect.
Felicia, my wife works at Fairfield Migrant Resource centre with Ricci Bartels the manager of FMRC and one of the drivers behind MEA. Felicia introduced me to Suji Upasena the Social Enterprise and Employment Manager at Cabramatta Community Centre. Suji asked me if I wanted to get involved in creating a video for the new Multicultural Enterprises. She knew my interest in cutting my teeth in video production and that wanted to get some experience.
It is my first video and first time to follow through with editing it for the web. I have become interested in starting to work in video and multimedia production to supplement my photography.
So as to be relevant in this world of smart phones, ipads, social media and technological advancements I feel it necessary to include the moving image and sound recording in my work from now on. I am really exited by the idea of video for the web. It can work where time is made for stills and then some time for some complementary video.
In the week leading up to the day of the filming I had a lot of assignment work on so I did not spend very much time preparing. My simple idea was to interview the organisers of Africa Konnect and some of the designers involved. I would then shoot, models getting ready, hair and makeup, walking the catwalk, being interviewed by organisers, get some closeups and then wider shots. Eventually I would pull these images and interviews together in the editing with a soundtrack overlay.
A couple of days before the day of the filming I talked photographer David Parker into coming out to Cabramatta and helping me. He normally lives in Perth but was living in Sydney for a few months shooting stills on a new TV series.
I have accumulated some good gear for my digital still photography all of which is great equipment for filming, 2 Canon 5D Mark 2 camera bodies, some fast fixed lenses for low light filming, top of the line G 3 Sennheiser Lavalier Mics, an external sound recording device and a shoulder brace my father made for me. Considering video has funny enough helped my still photography, I am now using ND filters a lot with flash and working with different perspectives some of which I discovered studying filming video.
Creating this short video has been a great learning curve and a fun experience. Over six months now out from filming I have learned so much. Today I would create a better video technically at least.
In the spirit of new beginnings and the idea that we all need to start somewhere when tackling new challenges I thought I would share this first video of mine if for nothing other than the record and for those creating this great new initiative.
Many thanks to DJ Mots Groovy House Selection Vol 1 for the music and the two talented girls who sang this beautiful vocal for us I used in the latter half of the video. A special thanks to Christian Tancred for his advise and ideas in the editing.
Here are few photographs from the night
Here are some words from the Africa Konnect team.
Africa Konnect is the concept and idea of three African women in the fashion-beauty industry, Sindy Dee, Gladys, and Wanyika Mshila.
Africa Konnect aims at Creating an African Australian Identity, through many ways which include:
- showcasing the Talents of African people.
- promoting African businesses in Australia.
- celebrating African cultures and bringing together all Africans from the 5 main regions of the Continent.
Africa Konnect will be holding annual hair, make up and fashion shows, bringing together designers, hairdressers, make up artists and models from north, east, west, south and central africa to showcase their talents to the australian community. contact Africa Konnect https://www.facebook.com/Africakonnect at firstname.lastname@example.org
March 8, 2011 § 5 Comments
Some months ago early September 2010 actually I was sent a link to this great interview with John Leongard
made by Scott Kelby. I think photographers, picture editors and those that watch the creative process may get some thing from
When I was studying photography at Sydney Technical College and working at News Limited as a Cadet photographer in the early 1980s John was the picture editor of Life Magazine. Certainly the world of journalism photography has changed a lot since then although Johns advise rings just as true today as then. I found the article useful despite not being a picture editor myself.
March 1, 2011 § 1 Comment
I have watched photographer -photojournalist Jenny Evans evolve this work of hers on horse racing jockeys over some time now. Through her photography first and then this multimedia Jenny has been trying to bring awareness to the public of the life of some of these riders after a fall. This is the aim of all concerned photojournalism, to bring awareness and hopefully change through a photograph or a series of photographs accompanied by words for some context. The multimedia on the web has taken that work to another level now. I recommend this very emotionally powerful presentation. Multimedia address here at vimeo http://vimeo.com/17870377
Jenny states in her Vimeo introduction “more than 300 riders have lost their lives since Australian racing first began. While accident insurance has become an essential feature of racing, all too often there are cases where jockeys and or their families are plunged into financial and mental hardship.””Dedication and bravery are prerequisites of almost every sport, and these qualities are found in abundance in racing. Australian jockeys are elite athletes who quite literally place their lives on the line every time they compete in a race. Sadly, serious injuries are a frequent occurrence, and more than 300 riders have lost their lives since Australian racing first began. While accident insurance has become an essential feature of racing, all too often there are cases where jockeys and or their families are plunged into financial and mental hardship.” from Jenny’s multimedia introduction on vimeo.
Checkout Jenny’s work at http://www.2evos.com/
February 22, 2011 § 2 Comments
Penny Tweedie 1940-2011. Photographer Penny Tweedie died on the 14th January 2011 on her family farm in Kent at the age of 70. Last Sunday 20-02-2011 on a very humid Sydney summer afternoon family, friends and admirers of Penny gathered at Balmain Town Hall for a tribute and then a wake in her memory. It was a wonderful gathering I felt. I just wish Penny could have been there to see how many people valued and cared about her.
The event celebrating Penny’s life started with the most emotionally moving Welcome to Country by Deborah Cheetham. Close friends of Penny, Steve Mark, Andrea Hull, and Juno Gemes spoke of their experiences with her before a comprehensive visual presentation of Penny’s career’s work. Penny’s son Ben read an extract from the book “Bearing Witness-the lives of war Correspondents and Photojournalists.” The reading described in detail a situation in India in 1971 where Penny was imprisoned while working for the Sunday Times covering the Bangladesh war of independence with Pakistan. In India she had been mistaken for a spy by the Indian army and was locked up for a considerable amount of time in a cell with atrocious conditions separated from her male journalist colleagues. We saw an extract from the ABC’s Australian story from 1997 which featured Penny working in Arnhem Land. Peter Oyston spoke as did Penny’s partner for 6 years and father to Ben, Clive Scollay who described in detail the projects and work they did together across Australia and in East Timor.
I remember seeing Penny’s photography from Arnhem Land published in National Geographic in the early 1980s as I was starting my passion to be a photographer and spending many hours in the school library looking through National Geographic and Life magazines. I had met Penny on a few occasions several years ago when she lived in Sydney and attended the celebration of her life yesterday out of respect for Penny and her photography.
Penny’s work can be viewed on her website http://pennytweedie.com/
the Sydney Morning Herald obituary written by Robert Mc Farlane was in the SMH 0n 19-20 February.
January 10, 2011 § 4 Comments
The OPEN ROAD, the NRMA’s member magazine has just had a redesign. NRMA Publishing’s creative director Peter Sewell and his team have redesigned the masthead and there is new typography as well as other new editorial features. I was fortune enough to work with Peter on the cover story featuring NRMA president Wendy Machin. It was decided the portrait of Wendy should be made outside parliament house on Macquarie Street. The photographs needed to fulfill a strong brief so specifics were important and close collaboration with art direction necessary.
The pictures needed to point to the story to highlight the need for road funding commitments from NSW government.
I arrived early with assistant Gary Compton to work out where I could make a clean cover shot with parliament in the background as requested The photograph was quite a challenge with such busy backgrounds especially when shooting in bright sunlight.
I decided to shoot from two locations on the other side of the road from parliament and frame Wendy close and centre using neutral density filters to blow the background out as much as possible at f 2.2 or so. I would then pull back for the inside shot where background context would be helpful. I use my Canon flash fired wirelessly with a pocket wizard through my small Chimera softbox I have had for twelve years and as good today as when I bought it. We decided the background was not clean enough and we should try setting up on the same side of the road as parliment. The sandstone wall and the black iron gate would serve as clean background going out of focus nicely shooting at f2.2. I used the soft directional light just above the camera and padded down some specular highlights on Wendy with powder. We worked on as many subtile variations on body language and expression as possible in our time so the best image would reveal it’s self in editing.
Here are the published results the cover and inside feature page.
I am really happy with the way it ended up published Peter made the most of the selection I feel.