I was very excited to find out in June that I had become a finalist in the 2012 Moran Contemporary Photographic Prize, the world’s wealthiest art prize. Selected from 330,409 entries across both the painting and photography category’s, my image became one of the top forty finalists in the photographic prize.
It has been such an honour to have been selected as a finalist. For all the blood, sweat and tears that went into the making of this project about Harold Martin, (there was an incredible amount of all three! A lot of sweat and tears from me, a lot of blood from Harold) to have one of the images from the project recognised has been the greatest achievement in my career to date.
I highly suggest you take a look over at the Moran Prizes website to see the amazing talent there is in Australia.
The Moran Prizes exhibition goes on tour nationally around Australia. The first exhibition started in Sydney on July 25, 2012 at 13-15 Bridge Street for a duration of 12 weeks, before it hits the road. If any of you go to the exhibitions, can you please take a photo of my image and send to me pretty please? :) Im not sure I will make it back to Australia in time to see it.
The image that became a finalist was the following – titled : “A 95 Year Old Australian P.O.W. Survivor Holds Up A Portrait Of Himself Taken 72 Years Ago”. You can learn about my project on Harold Martin in this post.
Some people come into your life for a particular reason. Your encounter with them, for however long or short, has tremendous impact. The impact so strong, their influence sends you in a new direction.
Im fortunate enough to be able to account numerous amazing and inspiring people who have came into my life and changed my paths. Their impact so great.
One person in particular is Harold Martin. A ninety five year old gentleman that lives in my hometown, Albany, in Western Australia. Harold wandered into my life a few years ago. He has been coming into my parents restaurant for many years for a morning coffee and my mother has got to know him over the years and learn about his story. Over the past 5 years or so, Ive also got the honor of getting to know Harold as well, when I visit my parents at Christmas and other times throughout the years.
It was Christmas day in 2011, that was the very beginning of what was going to become a major shift in my life. I can relate so many things that have happened in the last 7 months to this particular decision and I am so thankful for all the opportunities that have come my way because of this.
Sitting around the dinner table, talking with my dad about the year ahead, dreaming about our travels as we normally do, he tells me how he is going to take Harold to Myanmar (Burma) in March. A trip for Harold to visit the grave sites of his mates that were killed during their time spent working on the Burma Thai Railway as Prisoners of War. Myanmar had finally opened up after years of Military rule, and now they were welcoming tourist back into their country. Harold had been searching for these grave sites for many years and was eager to go back to finally say goodbye to them.
Without hesitation, I told my dad, I needed to come on this trip to document his story. His story is important. It is a story that I believe needs to be told and shared. It is a story worth telling.
These are the types of stories I want to document, to share and to let the stories be heard.
I had no idea of the impact this project would have on me.
I spent the next three months teaching myself as much as a possibly could about video and audio equipment and the art of documentary film making. I invested thousands of dollars in new equipment and flights and off I went.
The 4 days I spent in Myanmar were incredible.
I blogged about it briefly a few months ago with the out takes / behind the scenes images from the trip.
Since then I made this short 2.5 minute video, just to be a trailer of sorts. I have some grand plans and dreams of what it will become.
The project is a combination of stills, video and audio. I did all the filming, photographing, audio (and with some help from my darling parents who helped with the microphones both in Australia and Myanmar), editing, directing. I did it all. I want to do so much more. This is just the very start of a new chapter.
A little more on Harold Martin..
Harold Martin was a prisoner of war in World War II. 15,000 Australian soldiers were captured by the Japanese in the fall of Singapore in 1942. After he was captured, he spent two long and brutal years working on the Burma “Death” Railway. Many of his friends died while working on the railway due to illness and being executed for attempting to escape. It is estimated that 16,000 Allied prisoners died while working on the railway.
Harold survived this ordeal but was then shipped to Japan on one of the notorious “hell ships”. While being transported to Japan, the convoy of Japanese ships was torpedoed by US submarines. The ship Harold was on sunk and he managed to survive by clinging onto a makeshift raft. After 4 days drifting in the ocean he was rescued by USS Pampanito along with 72 other Allied soldiers.
70 years later, Harold, who is 95 years old travels back to Burma for the first time to visit the grave sites of three of his mates that are buried in a Commonwealth war cemetery near the village of Thanbyuzayat.
These series of images are entirely from my iPhone and that of my friends iPhones. crazy little cameras :) a big thanks to Dan O’Day, Kelly Tunney, El Hogan, Natasja Kremers, Phil Chester, Jeff Albert, Dana Curran, Lauren Flair for taking some of these images :)
I arrived in New York at the end of May and it was just the start of exploring and adventuring about this big crazy world. So far, I have been teaching my Art & the Heart
photography workshop in New York and Ireland, photographed some amazing weddings in abandoned mansions and castles in New York and Prague. I am now in London, doing the final preparations for the workshop we have here next week. Next week sees me in Sweden to attend a friends wedding as a guest (woot!), days after I am photographing a wedding in Italy, before flying back over to the USA to speak at the What If Conference
, shoot a wedding in Portland, spend some more time in New York, back to Melbourne for a few short weeks, then repeat….back to New York.
The next 12 months has me traveling interstate or overseas for every job, which is kind of insane to think about. Thankfully I actually really enjoy living out of a suitcase and hotel rooms. I am still in that transition stage where I do not think of my apartment in Melbourne as entirely my home yet, so my idea of what home is very blurred. I think my idea of home is best put like this..
- What Happened to Goodbye by Sarah Dessen
My time in New York was absolutely amazing. I met so many wonderful people and got to experience so much from spending afternoons working on my laptop up on the Highline, the amazing time I had teaching at the New York Art & the Heart Workshop, skee ball tournaments, hip hop shows, baseball games, karaoke, getting stuck in the Puerto Rican Day Parade, bike rides around central park and hanging out at friends apartments in Brooklyn. Ive always dreamed of living in New York since I was young, my June only made that desire a hundred times stronger. I felt like I lived like a New Yorker for a month. I want to move to New York. As much as I have objections from family and friends about my constant desire to never been in the same place for more than 5 minutes, to quote Helen Keller, “Life is either a daring adventure or nothing at all.”
One of the things I really love doing is helping people chase their dreams, helping turn what they are passionate about into a career, to see their businesses blossom and see them succeed. Five and a half years ago I returned to Australia after doing a stint of working aboard in London. I absolutely hated my time working in London. I worked for large companies where the supervisor in my department would not even know my name. I worked for a company who’s business was about the promotion of something that was against my beliefs. I knew after returning to Australia I was never going to be employed by anybody else again. I was going to make my business idea work. So many people told me along the way that becoming a self employed photographer was a bad idea. I am glad I am stubborn enough to never listen to them :)
Last year, my dear friend Dan O’Day and myself launched a workshop series called Art & The Heart. The workshop is about inspiring, pushing and challenging other photographers/creative’s to create both the photography work and business they wish and strive for.
In January of this year, we hosted our first workshop in Melbourne at the amazing Dear Patti Smith gallery in Fitzroy. The 3 days were an amazing experience for myself and Dan. We both gained so much of this experience, we both became stronger, more inspired and hungrier for our craft and helping people with theirs. I am so grateful to the lovely Aimee, Jodi, Jess, John, Mitch, Myekal, Debs, Marina, Michelle, Tracy, Tristan, Gemma, Emily, Stewart, Bettina, Michelle, Shaun, Suellen, Julianna and Sally for attending the workshop and becoming my new friends. Also, I would like to throw a thank you to our good friend Christine for helping us out over the 3 days.
In a fortnight, Dan and I will be heading off to host Art & The Heart in New York (June 12 to 14) Cork, Ireland (July 2 to 4) and then off to London (July 10 to 12). There are still a sprinkling of seats left at each workshop, so if you feel like coming along for the ride and meeting a bunch of new friends who like the same stuff you do (while of course refining your craft and your business), head over to www.artandtheheart.com and register. I’m so excited for what lies ahead in the next few months. Sometimes I have to pinch myself to see if it is all real life :)
We have also just launched a new Australian workshop date (October 8-10) that is going to be held in the beautiful Southern Highlands in New South Wales. We have hired an amazing house to host the venue. We have almost sold out this workshop, with only two seats remaining, so if our workshop seems at all appealing, get it contact with us as soon as possible to get one of the lucky last seats :)
Below are a bunch of pictures (taken by both myself and Dan) of the amazing attendee’s of the Melbourne workshop and also the lovely models who gave up their afternoon to stand in front of 23 people to have their photograph taken. Not at all intimidating :) We thank you Dijana, Crawford, Matt and Olya! x
We launched a new blog for Art & The Heart ( www.artandtheheartajournal.com ) to document our adventures on the next crazy few months :)
Love you all and hope to see you in New York, Ireland, London and the Southern Highlands!!
Last year I photographed the most amazing wedding of Annabel and Matthew in Fremantle, Western Australia. This wedding has by far been the most blogged wedding of mine to date. The last count I did, it has appeared on over 100 blogs. craziness!
If this was not more than enough, I was completely over the moon when Harpers Bazaar magazine contacted me, as they were putting together a one off bridal special edition for their May issue and wanted to feature this wedding.
Thank you Harpers Bazaar for the feature!
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