Highly Commended in the Arts and Asia Awards for my recent Japanese photography

I’ve been highly commended by the Australian Minister for the Arts Hon. Tony Burke MP for my Japanese photography work I undertook while on the Kizuna project as part of the ‘Arts in Asia Awards‘.

The Arts and Asia Awards celebrate the important role Australian artists and arts organisations play in enhancing Australia’s relationship with Asia. I was nominated for the community relations category due to the nature of the work I undertook at part of the Kizuna project run by JICE and the AFS. I was able to develop a body of work showcasing life in japan after the devastating 2011 tsunami that vastly affected life in Japan. In particular, the North East areas of the island of Honshu. I used this body of work to develop a book showcasing the program of which 3 copies have been published for the AFS Intercultural Programs Australia who ran the program.

Arts in Asia Awards

Arts in Asia Awards

Being employed as a Japanese teacher in South Australian primary schools, I have a direct link to the community through it’s children. As such I utilised my photography project developed through the program to develop units of work and discuss the cultural impact of the disaster on the Japanese people. We sent letters to a school in Japan exchanging stories and personal ideas, while viewing the photographs I developed and learning about how Japan as a country; and the Japanese people as individuals reacted to the event. My photography has been displayed around the schools and local community coupled with written and spoken anecdotes explaining what I learnt of life in Japan after the 2011 disaster. In Japanese class, we also learnt what a tsunami is and looked in detail what life is like in Japan, both in the tsunami affected areas and other areas. I have also showcased my photography both in online galleries such as National Geographic and print media through the AIPP, through which individual photographs and garnered industry awards.

Kizuna program photography

“The Youth-Exchange Project with Asia-Oceania and North America (Kizuna (bond) Project)” is a project run by the Japanese government with the objective of promoting other countries’ understanding with regards to Japan’s revival efforts in response to the Great East Japan Earthquake. The project invites young people from 41 different countries/regions in Asia-Oceania and North America, allowing them to participate in exchange programs, visit disaster-affected areas and engage in volunteer activities. It also involves sending young people from Japan to target countries/regions. Over 12,000 people are to become part of the exchange through this project.

I lived in Japan from 2006-2008, where I developed my passion for photography, in particular Japanese photography. My landscape Japanese photography provided me with the first success I needed in Australia to really develop my skills which I now utilise in my award winning wedding photography services. Much of my Japanese photography were developed into award winning images in both State, national and Internationally-based institutions. As such I was very happy to participate as a teacher chaperone with the Kizuna project to help Australian students better understand the plight of the Japanese people due to the 2011 tsunami and hopefully further spread awareness through my own Japanese photography and teaching talents.

A list of reasons why you should date a photographer!

Well, as a photographer myself, I figured I’d post a fun, tongue-in-cheek list of reasons why you should consider dating one of us! Most of you are probably not fooled by my thin veneer of attempting to talk up the idea to date a photographer, but I can assure you, my intentions are purely innocent! *cough* Bit of fun really 🙂 We photographers are pretty awesome people! Fully of artistic ambition, and yet completely mindful of the pressures of providing for you as out significant other (unlike other artistic professions) heh, just ignore that small increase in capital expenditure… I mean that new f2.8 200mm prime lens will pay for itself… YEAH! There’s nothing better than that is there? Artistic, mindful of others, passionate about our craft, and who doesn’t like having cool images of yourself around the place!? So after a bit of research, here’s my humble list of why you should date a photographer!

1. When you date a photographer it means you’ll never miss a moment!

Who cares if you’re too preoccupied with those new shoes in the window, or talking with friends, you can be rest assured your photographer significant-other will have the eye of a hawk, gigantic DSLR ready, to make the most of your puppy making friends with that little kitten, or little Timmy’s first snot bubble!

2. You’ll feel like a superstar!

Having a photographer as a constant shadow could mean you have you own personal paparazzi! Be the envy of your friends, and complete strangers when you are asked to strike a sexy pose on that bench, or run randomly up to that cute pony! You’ll be the most beautiful person to your personal photographer shadow, and who doesn’t want that kind of dedication from their lover?

3. Date a photographer and buying a gift is downright easy

Buying something photography themed doesn’t have to break the bank, there are photographer gifts for all budgets and if they’re anything like I am, they’d appreciate any random photographic geeky trinket you get them just because you got it for them!

4. Sick of having your previous dates spending too much time away from you with their friends?

Fear no more! Your new photographer date will be spending a good 80% of their time in front of their computer, editing your face hundreds of times over and over and over and over and….. over. This means more time they are thinking of you, and only you, and you can see them when ever you like! No ringing up the bar to find out if they are passed out in the corner any more! Or worrying they’re stuck in some hostage situation! Just check their office!

5. Sixth sense for batteries

Having your batteries die at a wedding makes for the darkest of dark dreams for your photographer significant-other, hence they have developed an uncanny ability to know when their equipment’s batteries are going to die! This doesn’t only apply to their gear, but they’l also never forget to charge their phone, or have their car run flat.

6. Want creative dates?

Look to further than your super creative photographer friend! A photographer hasn’t got the luxury other visual artists take advantage of when creating their work, a photographer’s creativity is a split-second instant captured by their camera in the moment. This natural creativity lends itself well to other things like date-night and ideas for gifts! Spontaneity is funKAY! <-SEE?! didn’t see that coming didcha?!

7. Superstar in the making

Depending on the photographer you’re dating, I betcha they’ve got at LEAST 600 likes on their business page on facebook, incredible right?! Better make sure you can handle the life of the celebrity, the red carpet awaits!

8. Need a photo?

Well, duh. You’re dating a photographer, which probably has more worth in their camera equipment than in your car, ask them right?! But seriously, your ebay listings will never look better, you’ll make a tonne from your listings so get selling now!

9. Sick of the same old routine?

Travelling with a photographer means you will be visiting the most interesting, most photogenic locales often in places you’d never even consider visiting. Think the types of scenes you only ever see in travel magazines! or if you’re that way inclined, the types of scenes you’d only ever see in a post-apocalyptic Hollywood film? I dunno, personally I’d love to visit Chernobyl…

10. Never worry about complexion again!

Photoshop baby!

11. Always look fresh and interesting

Just waking up? photo time! Eating baked beans? Photo time! Blowing your nose? Photo time!

12. A photographer is always tying to gain your opinion

Communication is key in any relationship, and you’d better believe your photographer special someone is the one to supply it! Just say something nice about their most recent work and they’ll be eating out of your hand for the next month guaranteed. Not only that though, your photographer best bud would be adept at talking to people to get their smiles on, seriously. I bet you’re smiling right now reading this! SEE?!

13. Used to carrying a whole heap of crap

Ladies: SHOPPING! Guys: CAR PARTS!

14. Date a photographer and watch a lot of movies together

Photographers love movies, the story aspect of moving pictures, the artistic direction and of course the names of the head photographer listed in the credits! Movies are great for cuddles no? Who doesn’t like cuddles?!

15 A wider variety of things to talk about

Sick of being stuck with a guy with a one-track sport mind? or perhaps she couldn’t shut up about her new shoes? Photographers have a tendency to be well versed in a variety of subjects in order to better relate to the clients they are shooting. Not only for their work though, I personally like to see things differently to others, so learning about the world helps me branch out a bit and try new things.

How about you give a photographer a go eh? Try something new! I know I’m available ladies! 😉

Essential wedding preparation photos

Wedding preparation photos usually provide an insight into the real lives of the people getting married, and are very intimate in a way as these would the final moments of single life for the bride and groom. The vast majority of my wedding photography clients really enjoy having a memento from the chaos that occurs before the actual wedding ceremony. Often, wedding preparation photos are taken at houses where the bride and groom grew up, often their parent’s houses or their own where the couple have built a life together. The photos include personal effects such as heirloom furniture, childhood photos and possibly even pets that don’t often get a chance to visit their owner’s big day. Of course it’s also a time for photos of the parents and friends that are there to help out with all the odd jobs before the event before they get dressed up in their best.

These shots are usually not the types of thing you’d want to print and hang up on the wall, but they look fantastic in a wedding album and really frame the memories from the day nicely. Years from now you may fondly remember things like a flower girl’s dress not fitting properly, or the groom losing their left sock just before leaving. It’s often the only part of the day when the bride and groom can act themselves before being thrust into the family limelight all day. As a photographer this time of the day often feels like slow motion, once the wedding preparation photos are complete, the day feels like it’s over before you can blink.

Groomsmen wedding preparation photos

Usually I start a wedding day at the groomsmen preparation house, be it his parent’s house, a hotel room or even the couple’s own house. The first of the essential wedding preparation photos that I take here usually include scenes such as the rings, and gifts that the couple may have given one another while they were dating. This sets the tone for the entire final photo collection as an intimate occurrence between the bride and groom showcasing the fact that they are desperately in love with one another, making the entire wedding that much sweeter.

Other shots I like to include in the groomsmen wedding preparation photos are of course the groom getting ready, getting in his suit, perhaps adjusting parts of it in a mirror, or quietly reflecting on his life-altering decision of marriage. These can be serious or humorous in nature and I tend to try and capture both depending of course on the personalities of the groom’s party and entourage. The traditional photos include the exchanging of rings from the groom to the best man to look after, the straightening of the groom’s tie by his father or best man, the groom’s entourage all together in a mutual activity (often just sitting around, or perhaps even playing pool). Where as the more modern traditions include the entourage jumping together, or heckling the groom making fun of him, perhaps even making the groom look out of place in front of an apparently unfamiliar task of getting dressed in a suit.

Wedding preparation photos at the groom’s preparation location is also often more than just taking photos for prosperity’s sake. It allows for some nerves to be calmed on the groom’s behalf, being surrounded by supportive friends and family while participating in a laid-back photoshoot is an ideal way to start the day without having too much pressure. This allows for the groom to have a bit of a laugh, and realise that the decision he has made was the best of his life and allow himself to enjoy the day rather than worrying too much about everything thats going on around him. My role as the photographer is to facilitate this kind of nerve-easing with my fun personality and interesting ideas to get the groomsmen to join in with the wedding preparation photos. It’s also a great warm up for me too for the main even that will be occurring later in the day.

Bridal party wedding preparation photos

After I’ve spent around 30mins to an hour with the groomsmen, it’s time to head off to the bridal party for their wedding preparation photos. I usually allow up to 2 hours before the ceremony starts for the bridal party due to the fact that putting dresses on and getting makeup right is always a time intensive process and I want to get there before all that starts. My first goal when I arrive, much like the groomsmen is to take photos of the interesting inanimate objects. Perhaps the ‘Something blue, old, borrowed, new‘ if they are doing that, or the garter, flowers, but most important of all is the bridal gown. I like to either drape the gown over a bed, or hang it up next to some antique furniture if available as it adds a timeless quality to the scene. The bridal gown shot really frames the entire wedding photo album stating that ‘this is it’ or, finally the marriage is happening. It’s one of my most important shots for a wedding.

While the bride is putting on the dress itself, its usually time to focus my attention on the bridal party girls, I like to take photos of them as a group without the bride to show their own personal connectedness and relationship they have with one another. Of course I will be capturing the bride with them later, but now is their time.

It’s not always the case, but I really think that children make some of the best subjects for wedding preparation photos, be it a flower girl or ring bearer, they often have little idea whats going on and rarely have an expression on their faces other than ‘look how cute I am’. They are just as part of a wedding as anyone else and I think they deserve their time in front of the camera also. It’s funny actually, when I show new clients my portfolio, the photos with children in them get the most discussion. Even though there is a famous saying of ‘never working with children or animals’ I feel they are worth the effort at a wedding and really enriches the experience for all involved.

Once the bridal gown in on, comes the big reveal! Really the entire wedding is a celebration of the brides beauty and her choosing a groom, so why not have some glamour shots of the bride by herself looking as pretty as she has ever been? Bonus points for incorporating photos that show the bridal party’s reaction when she first walks through the door with her gown on, but that can be tricky when you’re focusing all your energy on the bride herself.

Just before the bridal party heads off to the ceremony, it’s always nice to get a group photo of all the girls together looking pretty. Personally I always prefer capturing the most natural shots of them laughing, or talking together. Capturing the moment as it is what I consider to be the most important role of the photographer, and a good photographer should always do their best to capture that. There is however also a place for posed group shots, as I’ve pictured below, but I feel the more natural laughing photos are always nicer.

Finally, the last shots taken just before heading off to the ceremony is the bridal party with their ride, or motorcade. The bride getting into the car symbolises the final time she will be at her parents/own home as a woman, and can only return as a wife.