A Friday night at Cassette Nine in downtown Auckland City always holds so much promise... much like the talented dudes in local band, Balu Brigada. These guys sure have a solid following amongst friends (and probably amongst some strangers now too) with their catchy original toooooons - Weekend, Grand Central and the crowd favourite Ricochet - and their sweet as covers; numbers like Super Rich Kids (Frank Ocean) and Frontin' (Pharrell) getting the kids going. Pashing on the d-floor, not to mention the old bump 'n grind, and some rather too short skirts left me with that 'you're getting old' feeling, as I fought the urge to tap on some shoulders and tell them to ease off the PDA... Heck, what would their mothers say? Low lighting of the purple and green variety left my camera wanting, but then what's a good pub gig without shitty stage lighting and a few beers spilt down your back? The boys performed with great energy and gave good set - not too short, not too long - and the crowd was all twinkly-toed right from the get go. Three cheers!
Queenstown is a bit of a second home these days, and even more so now that we've found ourselves a little patch of land to build on. I'm looking forward to spending more weekends and holidays in this idyllic part of NZ, and all the beautiful photo opps it will present along the way...
Every day I'm inspired by this beautiful place I live in. I've seen the inner city evolve from a somewhat dirty, seedy, undesirable place to a burgeoning, bustling destination metropolis. Cafés, restaurants, retail, shared spaces; it's all happening here and with no end in sight. At the heart of it all, the mighty Sky Tower. I have an endless fascination for this crazy hypodermic needle-like structure - I just can't help but take pictures of it.
What a strange name for a New Zealand beach.
Sometimes we commit to things that end up becoming something far more than we ever expected. Sometimes they become lessons. Sometimes they are just a pain in the arse. Hindsight is indeed an interesting thing.
I was called late one evening, the night before this bride's big day, and was asked to be their wedding photographer. My involvement prior to this conversation had constituted a couple of hours shooting (moving pics of) the groom and groomsmen to help out my videographer friend who was filming their day. Through a rather vague conversation with my camera-wielding buddy on the Friday, it seemingly transpired that I would end up shooting stills as a second camera (there were after all, 3 other photographers shooting). So I gave up my plans for the Saturday and said I would help out for 8 hours max for a very reasonable rate, because he was my mate. All communications to this point had been through said friend, who I was essentially working for on this job. I had not met the couple, I had not been to the venue/s, I had literally not had anything to do with this wedding apart from my perceived small involvement at the last minute - i.e. getting some back up shots as an assistant to the other photographers.
So this 10pm phone call caught me off guard.
For whatever reason, they didn't have a wedding photographer organised and they thought that I was IT. I could've said no. I probably should've said no. But I said yes. Because I like to think I'm a nice person and because I knew that if I didn't have a photographer organised the night before my wedding, that I would be on-my-knees grateful to the person who agreed to come to my rescue.
I could literally write for days about the ins and outs of the experience that ensued and needless to say I learned a great deal that I will carry with me through the rest of my photography career. I learned that some people do not understand and/or appreciate the considerable effort that goes into shooting something such as a wedding, the amount of time and creativity that goes into the post production, and that there is an etiquette that surrounds commissioning a person (a real, live human being!) to take your wedding photos. Some people do not understand the value of the service provided. It seemed to me that in the end, they were not overly satisfied with what I produced for them because they simply didn't really like my style. Unfortunately for them, I was their (last minute) photographer and if they'd wanted a different style of wedding photograph then perhaps they should've got on to organising all that a bit earlier.
I was a little surprised when I came across some of my images on a weddings website. They had submitted them into a competition to win 'best wedding', or something like that. Most of the images submitted had been taken by me, although you wouldn't know, because I had simply been credited as "Harriet". I have since contacted the website and asked them to correctly credit me for these images on their site, and they have done so. But that's not really the point.
Choosing a wedding photographer involves cultivating a relationship. You choose a photographer because you like their style and you trust them to deliver. You accept a job because you know you can deliver. It is a mutual relationship that deserves respect. Respect for the client, their wishes and their precious day. Respect for the photographer, their artistry and their right to creative licence.
After almost two years in the making, my partner and I finally got to enjoy the European wedding / holiday we'd been planning for so long... For a whole month this September just been, we tripped around some of the finer parts of Italy, Spain, Germany and France, with a stint in Abu Dhabi on the way. After much consideration, I opted to leave my 7D behind - for as awesome as it is, she's a bit heavy - and instead I delved into the world of the fab Fujifilm x100s, for its compactness, lightness and full manual functionality, not to mention the rave reviews about the quality of image provided by this little nugget. I was particularly taken with the aluminium retro stylings and the sweet as leather case/strap combo. It was love.
The funny thing is, I ended up using my iPhone 5s as much, if not more so, than I did the Fujifilm. I guess the pull of instant photo edit capabilities and "shareability" via fb and Insta was too great to just leave it to one machine...
So in light of, here's presenting a few of my fave iPhone pics.
When she was just a kid her clothes were hand-me-downs
They always laughed at her when she came into town
Called her Rag Doll
Little Rag Doll
Such a pretty face
Should be dressed in lace
Sampled from 'Rag Doll' by The Four Seasons
So, probably the most unprofessional thing a photographer can do in terms of maintenance and safe guarding their hard work is to not back up said hard work. Two days ago I discovered first hand just how devastating this fatal error can be, when my trusty MacBook Pro's hard drive died a rather unspectacular death, along with all my digital negatives, working files and basically a good few years worth of personal significance. Some of my work was backed up onto a hard drive, but most of it wasn't. Not only have I now lost countless images, never to be printed or shown by any means again, but I have lost the capability to process any image files, because my Photoshop et al went along with it. This part is only temporary, as I will no doubt transfer my Creative Cloud account across to the new hard drive that I will acquire (Solid State drive is where it's at, I'm told), however this highlights how unbelievably frustrating this situation is, on so many levels.
'Tis a cautionary tale for those too lazy or too cavalier about the need for an external hard drive in this day of digital IP. Back it up people, that's all there is to it. And I shall now take my own advice and invest in the best desk top drive I can afford...
The Weekend Project is born out of the need to create time for photography and an outlet for a bit of self expression. The importance of maintaining creativity in everyday life is enormous for my own personal fulfillment and what with life being so fast-paced and ephemeral these days, it can easily become an erstwhile, fanciful notion on the outer periphery.
The Weekend Projects is quite simply an ongoing photographic journal that aims to document regular, 'weekendly' demi-portfolios based on themes/ideas/concepts/whims/objects - whatever flight takes the fancy. Enjoy!
This Easter weekend just been, I found myself lurking in the old North Head gun battery; a kind of uber-depressing rabbit warren. A bunch of kiwi WWII dudes lived in what can only really be described - as one passing visitor so eloquently put it - as 'basically rape dungeons'. True, that you wouldn't want to find yourself locked in this place late at night. The men sat there day in and day out, waiting for the impending attack from the Russians, which of course, never eventuated. If the Russians HAD arrived on these shores, I'm fairly confident that this little artillery would've folded upon first hit and we'd all be speaking Russian right now. Apart from the history lesson, these dingy corridors and holes in the rock made for some rather beautiful, eerie light with a subsequent chiaroscuro effect.