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At the beginning of May, I received a pretty exciting email! I'd been shortlisted with three images, across three categories in the Siena Creative Photo Awards, 2021.

This was my first time entering the Siena Awards, I rarely enter anything outside the AIPP APPA's, so to be shortlisted with three of four images was magic. I didn't get any further than that, and the winners have just been announced. I encourage you to take a look at the gallery for this year. It's pretty amazing.

My entries were in Open, Architecture, and Abstract. Having not entered before I wasn't really sure which category to go into, so as usual, I left it until the last minute, and made a guess on the fly. These are the shortlisted images.

So, I really enjoyed entering a different competition, and I will most definitely keep an eye out for other competitions. I'd love some ideas, so if you have any pop them in the comments.

The Lone Surfer was one of the first photos I took on our arrival back in Australia from Dubai. It's a personal fave, and was taken in Lorne, Victoria on a family holiday with friends. I recently revisited it to try and figure out if I liked the colour version. I have always seen it in Black + White so I thought I'd play around with colour. It felt old to me, I think because of the surfboard... it's got a vintage feel. So that's what I went with.

What do you think?

Lorn Surder_Colour
Lorne Surfer_5434_Mono

Some of my most favourite images are only available to buy as small acrylics. Lone Surfer is one of them. They look great on a desk or mantel and serve to let your imagination wander. Check this one out in the shop.

Sometimes we need a little push to get out and about with our Cameras… and this year has been one of those where we’ve either put our cameras away altogether or kept them by our sides to document the pandemic.

I’ve been one of those who’ve put the camera down. I took a break throughout lockdown and didn’t really shoot much at all.

Then Canon came out with new cameras, and well I got excited and bought the new R5. Lucky for me, Camera Pro launched their new store in Surry Hills and ran a series of photo walks with leading suppliers. Canon’s walk included the opportunity to try any lenses and I jumped at the opportunity to play, not only with my new camera but, with the new lenses on offer.

In my day-to-day work over at Sydney Headshot Photos, the 70-200mm rarely leaves my camera. Today, I wanted to try and work with the lens length I normally use in Studio, which is about 90mm, so I tried out the 24-105mm f4 L Series Lens, as I love the idea that if I want to, I can travel with just one lens. It didn’t disappoint, I took a series of photos over the walk, including some portraits, and loved it.

This image is one of my favourites of the day, and could well be my favourite of the year, particularly as it doesn’t really have a lot of competition. I love the symmetry, and the shapes created by the people, prams and ladder. Luckily the move from a 5D to the R5 was pretty intuitive, so I didn’t need to think too much about the controls before seeing this out of the corner of my eye.

And the lens, well it’s nearly Christmas so I’m putting it on the list!

Thanks, Camera Pro and Canon, for a fun few hours, it was great to be out in the sunshine and walking the streets again with my camera in hand.

This week I'm travelling to Canberra for what will be the last part of a very big project the AIPP has driven over the last three years. While I lived in Melbourne I got involved with the AIPP Reflections Project (see below) and had the opportunity to work with the Box Hill RSL and Hampton RSL who generously gave their time to help me find veterans, and provide space for me to photograph for the project.

I cannot begin to even explain the overwhelming sense of emotion I felt in meeting these men, hearing their stories and sharing some of my own about my Grandfather who served as a Stoker in the navy during WWII. I am forever grateful for the poems sent to me, and for the invaluable tips shared with me so that I could find out more about where my Grandfather travelled and what happened to the ships he worked on.

It's always assumed that we are educated on the things that happened during WWII but nothing takes the place of a survivors account, and I learned a lot about conditions during the war, and just after the war ended. Particularly in the Pacific where soldiers waited for months, some still under attack, for retrieval from the battle lines. One such soldier who I was extremely honoured to photograph was the legendary Essendon footballer Jack Jones, full of charm, wit and lively stories.

I will also be forever reminded of the enduring friendship between Twinkles and his mate Bill, who met at boys scouts when they were 13, continued on to the armed forces and were still firm friends when they came in for their photographs. 

What struck me most, was the enduring sense of honour, pride, contented positivity and humility that these men carried with them. 

 About the AIPP Reflections Project

On the 25th of April 2015, the Australian Institute of Professional Photography (AIPP) embarked on 'The Reflections Project - Honouring our WWII Veterans'

The mission: To capture a portrait of every surviving WWII veteran living in Australia and produce a portrait book to be gifted to the Nation.

Over the following two years, and with the help of over 400 AIPP members, we photographed just over 6,500 portraits.

AIPP members throughout Australia donated their time and skill to capture as many veterans as possible. Included in this collection are the men and women of our Australian, New Zealand and Allied Forces.

On the 17th of August 2017, the entire digital collection was donated to the Australian War Memorial; this collection is proudly displayed in a permanent looping slideshow in their WWII Galleries.

This year is the ‘grand finale’ for our project! At 10am on the 7th of November, two volumes of The Reflections Project Portrait Book will be gifted to the National Library of Australia in Canberra.

Dr Brendan Nelson, Director of the Australian War Memorial will present the book to the National Library in the presence of some of our WWII veterans.

Thank you to the photographers, sponsors and supporters who worked without hesitation to complete this mammoth project and of course thank you to all of the amazing veterans, their families and friends.

Although we couldn’t photograph every surviving veteran, we tried our very best and we are extremely proud of what we have achieved.

I first visited Melbourne in the late '90s when I worked at Fairfax. My time was split between The Age Building on Spencer St and our printer out at Noble Park. While I loved the people at Noble Park, I infinitely preferred being in the City. Sometimes I could steal an hour or two to wander through the laneways. I imagined living in a city that experienced all the seasons... For me, a coffee on Degraves St, sitting under the heaters outside, wrapped in a coat, and popping a blanket over my knees made me feel like a local and provided the perfect spot for people-watching.

I imagined experiencing cold Winters and wearing boots and Winter coats (which just doesn't happen in Sydney). I couldn't have known that all these years later I would end up living in Melbourne for 5 incredible years.

Admittedly the time flew by, and as always, I didn't do all the things I planned to do before we left in 2017. But I still love those laneways and visit them anytime I'm there. As a photographer, they provide the perfect backdrop for street photography.