It gets hard to be impressed by a photo when you took them for a living. Zillions of photos have flicked across my monitor in my career and there's a point where most of them simply elicit - 'yea that's nice'. My husband can be peeing his pants about a shot and I'm looking at it thinking I'm not sure if the focus is quite on the front eye and maybe I should bin that one.
So a photo has to be pretty special to impress me from the get go. It's usually more about an emotional response to the image than any technical perfection. I've discovered clients will choose the crappiest, most horribly exposed and totally hideously out of focus shot in their set of proofs to make a stadium-sized print out of if it is the one with the most endearing expressions of their children or selves. And the only person that will care about the above imperfections is me.
When those serendipitous moments do occur and an image makes me gasp aloud it reminds me why I do what I do, why I love photography and why I continue to pursue what some may say is a dying art. I've chosen a few of my all-time favourite shots today to tell their story.
|Darcy at Kirra, November 2005|
This is the delightful Darcy, contemplating his navel and other things at Kirra Beach on the Gold Coast. I was so focused on getting the shot that it wasn't until I processed the image that I saw the perfect row of surfers in the background making a great image into something I could not possibly have hoped for or engineered.
|Chris, May 2006|
This image of a friend became an iconic shot - the subject's eye, watering from the sun and a day spent shooting alongside me, perfectly mirrored me taking the shot including the row of highrises right on the beach behind me.
|Dick, Noel and Imogen, April 2008|
I entered this shot in the Olive Cotton Prize in 2008 and it made it to the final round, going on exhibition in the Tweed Art Gallery. Noel was my mother's close friend and our families grew up together on the Tweed Coast. I have photographed the births of all Dick and Noel's grandchildren, and this was taken at a family shoot not long after Imogen was born.
|Cael and Lidya, September 2006|
This is such a difficult and hit and miss technique to get right that when I get it as right as this I never forget it. This couple was very young and full of life and a photographer's dream; we had 3 or 4 hours of shooting at multiple locations across Brisbane after their ceremony. I've lost touch with them and I sometimes wonder how they are doing and if they remember me taking this image.
|Lauren and Miller, my loungeroom, March 2013|
Being a stepmother is a tough gig. I won't deny there are times I could simply throw up my hands and walk away. And then there are times like this.
|Matt Ottley, Golden Beach, July 2006|
This was a stunning image to start with and then I flipped it 180 degrees and it became truly amazing. It was taken at the perfect time on a perfect winter afternoon and all the elements conspired to produce an image I have never been able to quite replicate like this, and I have tried. This is one of the few pieces of client work I have up in our home as an art piece.
|On the lounge, Mt Tamborine, winter 2005|
If you've had anything at all to do with me or been a client of mine you know this shot. This is my bestie's family, shot in winter of 2005 when my bestie was heavily pregnant with her fourth child. I was experimenting with the idea of taking the 'inside out', and tried all afternoon to get a family portrait that was a little bit organised and formal, and eventually gave up. This is what happened next.
|Mitch and Jen, Currumbin, April 2012|
I've featured an image from this wedding on the blog before but I include one again now because almost every image from this session made me sing for joy. An absolutely perfect autumn evening, a good looking couple and a surprise bunch of balloons!
|Miller in his Wondersuit, March 2013|
I saved the best for last, not because this is the best shot of all but because it perhaps best illustrates my original point. From a technical perspective, this really should have gone in the Recycle Bin. It was underexposed and the face is out of focus and has movement blur. In fact I'm not sure any of the shot anywhere is in focus. Ok it won't win any awards and I won't be blowing it up to Sahara Size anytime soon, but it is without doubt a moment of pure and innocent joy; a beautiful, serendipitous, unguarded moment that slipped by almost unnoticed.