Alice Springs Photographer Blog

The Wirrumanu week

The Week at Play

The Pound, Just a 3 minute drive from work

I'm loving the exploration of my new locale and the ability to take my time and get to know it before I start making some detailed landscapes. I've been heading out to the edge of the pound most afternoons and one morning this week exploring the landscapes possibilities. The sun has been very illusive since I arrived just a week and a half ago so when I spy a gap in the clouds I'm straight out there. Its a difficult landscape to work with as its just so flat but these elements just mean that you have to work a little harder to make a good shot. 

Another flat light afternoon but good for researching compositionsThe "Working" Week

After my first full week here in Wirrumanu (Balgo) this are still going so well that I'm struggling to process it. Not to say that its been easy at all, it been a hard slog everyday to get my main guy involved and enthused about the project. There is for a number of reasons for this which are mostly social and I'm not prepared to get into it publicly. What I can say is that he is showing great and rapid progress within the project, with his grasping of technical photographic tuition and most importantly socially.

I've almost had a conversation with him which is a big deal according to his councillor who I've spoken to a few times this week after a chance meeting while out and about one afternoon up at the lookout (where the above cover shot was taken). Luke the video tutor that is working with a number of guys and is going great guns as well. He's managed to get most of the short films onto paper and storyboarded which is a great achievement considering that they have to make 5-6 films which are 3-4 minutes in length in 6 weeks. Also the fact that he has to do so much more behind the scenes work to get the guys up to speed with camera work, sound, lighting, editing and teach film theory as well.

Sally and Annet who are essentially my bosses have remarked about the level of activity so early on in the project and the number of new faces that are frequenting the art centre. It's a very active space compared to when we arrived on Tuesday last week. The best thing is that most of the people that walk through the door are coming back and showing interest in the project. Of course when you want to get a few actors in front of the camera everyone disappears but thats normal. It never takes much to get them into the mood you just have to be a little demanding and lay it out for them. 

On Wednesday morning I wanted to show my guy the full process in a simplified form so I sat down with him and made a list of goals to achieve in the morning. It went something like..

1) go to the shop and talk to people
2) Make a close up portrait which only shows the person
3) Make a more environmental style portrait that shows the surrounding location
4) Go back to the art centre and edit the photos
5) print out copies, make small JPEGs and send them to Sally and Annet and take the prints to the people.

It proved to be a great exercise for him because I made him ask the people if he could take the portrait so it forced him to engage the subject verbally and then make two different portraits. So he really had to get out of his usual mode of just taking photos. The photos are absolutely stunning shots that look straight in the eye and have a great level of communication between subject and photographer. This is a big departure from his previous work which is very much spray and pray and/or point and shoot photography. We had a concept, we made a plan, we executed the plan and we delivered a solid product within 2 hours of starting.

To say that I was stoked with his work and enthusiasm would be an understatement especially when I gave him the camera to take home for lunch and told him to go and make a few more of the same photos by himself. It was almost unbelievable to get around 15 solid shots out of around 40 frames in an hour and the fact that he demonstrated what the learnt and got in peoples faces by himself was amazing. I was gushing all afternoon.

Well I'd love to keep talking about the rest of the week but I reckon this post is getting too long so lets get down to some photos.

To clarify, these are not my photos and the photos were taken by my main student, reproduced with permission.