A deep love and appreciation of place & architecture is an innate part of my being & is really of no surprise, considering that my ancestors were designers, overseeing the building of many large scale public buildings, mausoleums, places of worship, courts & palaces in Eastern Europe.
Living with intense mental health challenges in my life, manifested as Complex PTSD, Schizo-affective Disorder, constant Auditory & occasional visual Hallucinations, debilitating Anxieties & isolating Social-phobias creates an interesting & challenging scenario to live with, walking in a world that slips in & out of reality, peppered heavily with illusion.
Digital photography entered my life in 2012; after giving up smoking at that time I wondered what else of a positive manner I could do with my newfound spare time & money! Photography was something that I really had enjoyed as a teenager in high school, so I took a gamble & bought myself a cheap, bottom of the line camera kit, with two lenses. The ability to observe & reconnect with the beauty of the world around me was an instantaneously beneficial experience.
After much experimenting with various types of photography, I realised a profound love & respect of Long Exposure photography. As it turns out, this form of imagery has some very strong parallels to my own life, where reality & illusion merge in the most beautiful way.
I choose to continue working with this technically demanding technique as it helps me to escape the intensities of my life situation through the deep immersion & observation of place & time, which then leads me to a wonderful state of Mindfulness & Flow! Whilst there, in this state of being, the weight of my life lifts from me, I am freed of my self-imposed shackles, delusional thoughts & fears for some much needed respite.
I can easily & honestly say that…
…photography is my saving grace.
I hope you love my visual explorations of life & place as much as I do. Enjoy your stay & if you are so enabled & felt so inclined, please support me by purchasing one of my pieces, or maybe even two! The prints can be shipped anywhere on this planet, for you to then be able to have framed, or if you are local, they can be bought framed.
Why I do what I do (photographically)
I am a strong believer in art, which for me is photography, having the ability to convey a message to the viewer. As I live with complex & intense mental health experiences all day, every day of my life, I am attempting two things with my photography:
- I am exploring my life through a creative means, which is healing, intriguing (as it gives me regular insights into myself) & it is also completely satisfying in that it allows me to lose myself whilst I am in a deep state of observation & connection with the places or subjects I am capturing.
- I also endeavour to convey to others in a safe visual way my experiences of isolation & living a life that straddles the no-mans-land that is bordered between reality & illusion. Long exposure photography has become the perfect medium for me to explore this with, as you have the crisp details of the place or subject contrasted against the dreamy, illusory nature of the water or clouds.
It is my hope that this allows others the potential to see places they know & are familiar with, but with a completely new perspective, & maybe, just maybe, to spark off a discussion or contemplation of what it is possibly like to live in social isolation or in a world that slips in & out of reality.
Long exposure photography is a very demanding technical form of photography, which is perfect for me to lose myself within. The blending of technicalities and creativity is a beautiful & very beneficial thing for me to explore and experience on a regular basis.
The culmination of these efforts of mine has been fully appreciated with the opportunities to exhibit my works, recently receiving an award nomination for the Don Dunstan Foundation Award during this years 2018 SALA Festival, as well as having numerous images be selected for sharing in a European photographic fine art publication. Details of which can be found in the Journal section of this site.
Why I do what I do (as an advocate)
I am actively involved with advocating for positive change in regards to individuals access to mental health treatment & the rights of those users of mental health services through being a lived experience representative within government and private advisory panels. I also do this through a variety of roles that I hold with various mental health bodies, groups & social movements.
Why I do what I do (as a social innovator)
In light of my own incredibly huge benefits gained from photography, I had the mad idea to try & voluntarily share that experience with others in my local area. So I sourced a bunch of digital cameras along with various lenses, approached local community centres & easily established a humble grassroots initiative that I called Happy Snappers Adelaide.
With these groups, I voluntarily facilitate the opportunity for people that may be socially isolated & living with mental health challenges in their lives to get out into nature regularly in small, safe groups where they use digital photography to access a state of mindfulness while they deeply observe & immerse themselves into their visited locations.
Amongst the participants there has become a beautiful sense of community, friendship, trust & enjoyment in combination with learning how to creatively use a digital camera in easy, bite-sized chunks. It truly has become way more than I ever envisioned for it!
Why I do what I do (as a documenter)
Living in a world of rapid change that has a voracious & insatiable appetite for new, shiny things, the type of change happening currently has never been seen before in the history of humankind & to me that is a bit scary. Things, places, even people are tossed asunder in the name of fashion, favour & popularity.
Lots of places & things in South Australia are being ripped out, knocked down, or built over in the name of progress, just because it can be done & not really for any betterment, but probably, most sadly, just to turn a quick buck.
I have an alter-ego called “Crusty Geezer” who loves the decrepit, the forgotten, the different & the unappreciated. He chooses to travel far & wide, well not really that far & wide, as he doesn’t agree with polluting the planet (too much) for selfish reasons! Crusty loves to climb into, over & through things that are decaying, falling apart, breaking down or on the verge of being demolished in the name of progress. Crusty has a site where he shares the photographic spoils of his adventuring & exploring over at Decrepitude Online – forgotten South Australia.