Blurb Australia: Brisbane Begins…

I thought it would be interesting to show a tiny glimpse into this little Blurb Safari we are experiencing at the moment. I’ve been getting a lot of emails, messages, etc. in regard to this trip, mostly from folks who think I’m on vacation because for us Americans Australia is such an exotic place there is skepticism that this could possibly be a work trip.

I get a lot of “Are you going shark diving?” “When are you driving the Great Ocean Road?” “Make sure when you are in Sydney you see these eleven things and in this order….” The only problem with these wonderful suggestions is that we actually ARE on a work trip. which looks a lot like the second and fourth images here. I also get a lot of emails from people who think I’m here working on a photography project, which is also far from the reality no matter how much I wish it was true. At some point, near the end of this little voyage, I’m hoping to get a few days to spread my photography wings, but until that time I’m making myself less photographically miserable by snapping these odd little moments, frames one an three, that are simply about color. It’s all I’ve got people and I’m clinging to it like a life preserver in rough seas.

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We spend much of our time doing what we are doing in the second image which is logistics, planning, sign making (Garry is a MASTER) email and then getting to and from the events, which entail about five different programs in each city over a three or four day period. Today I’m off up north to do a masterclass at a local art school, and tomorrow we do a designer event in the morning and book workshop in the afternoon. The following day begins a two-day staffing and lecture at a local photo festival. Our entertainment comes from comparing hotels, the speed of elevators, what odd times we woke up due to jetlag and how Jason and I nearly die when Garry tricks us into eating food so spicy we sweat through our shoes.(He does this in every city.)
Life on the road is an interesting one filled with many new faces, new places and the unknown just around the bend.

Blurb Australia: More Street Photo Shenanigans

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I’m not a good tourist. I feel like I need a reason, a purpose, a focal point or point of contention. Internal unrest, mental not physical, at least for now. Forcing myself forward, step by step, ignoring certain things, certain people and fixating on others until they feel my need and it all goes away. Why would you walk with a lens cap on? After all these years I’m not sure. Like an infantryman carrying his rifle with a pool cue in the barrel. Makes it somewhat difficult to achieve the desired result and yet there these mysterious creatures are.
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Something unfamiliar in my hand, but I’m working on that. Like new shoes I feel the visual blister forming. It demands it’s own dialogue. I can’t speak to it in the same language I normally use. Clarity from the clutter is more difficult with the little beast, so I need to change the way I see, the way I layer and the way I look for light.
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I break things into mental quarters to give myself a helping hand. “In the end..the machines always win.” Yes, true but as humans we all want to fight the good fight. A guy blows $400(Australian) on a slot machine next to me. Like a kiss from a stranger. That love was never really his, wasn’t in his wallet long enough. A few flicks of a finger, a few spinning dials and it’s gone forever. Remember what they say about the machines.
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I like being here because it is a challenge and I actually do feel like I’m doing good. “Please remain calm, we are here to help,” coupled with “Beatings will continue until moral improves.” I make photographs and I make books, a lot of each. I like to share why, how and then revisit the why. Sometimes I don’t want do either but yet there they are, the camera in hand the nonstop mental editing and then the smell of ink on paper. I tell people I jokingly call it a “curse” but I’m not really joking. I watch others moving through life with a different filter and I wonder “why me?”
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Why do I need to report, record and resolve? I wander into a gambling hall and face backwards staring into the souls of the men watching the ponies with a focus that only comes with money on the line. I don’t gamble but I’m fascinated by those who do. Crumpled bits of paper, hands sweeping across sunken eyes and stubble. There is always another race, another day, another bet. The energy in the room is a palpable strain of uncertainty and guilt. “In the end…the machines will always win.”

Blurb Australia: More Melbourne

Looking forward to hitting the streets of Melbourne once again today and kicking things off right with the Blurb Photo Safari. Oh, did I mention I figured out the camera? Or at least I have a better understanding of how it actually works. That is always nice when you are actually trying to make images……

I’m used to looking through cameras that literally have NOTHING to see inside the viewfinder. My two main cameras have been models with NO electronics. No meter, no auto anything so when you look through the viewfinder you see…well….your subject. Now, when I look through my new little baby I feel like I’m in a flight simulator. Will just take this old dog some time getting used to.

The first image here FEELS like Melbourne to me. That architecture and that sky, which I’m basing on exactly ONE half day in the city. I looked up, saw the building and said, “Not exciting but it kinda feels right.” The rest are themes started on yesterday’s post. I’ll be out again this afternoon with the crew from Blurb and a rabid following of local photographers. See you there.

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Australia Bound

It appears as if my dream of going to Australia might come to fruition. At least one version of one version of the dream might come to fruition. Years ago I came close to venturing down under but the trip was thwarted at the last minute. This time we are all systems go.
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This isn’t a vacation. Far from it. In fact, by my estimation we, meaning myself and the other Blurb crew members, will do something like twenty or twenty-one events in about a fifteen-day time period. If this sounds crazy it actually is, so the description “crazy” is accurate. I know this because a few short months ago we embarked on a similar venture which took us to four cities in less than two weeks with five events in each city. At one point in the ordeal I did ten hours of presentations in one day. That IS a bit much, but like anyone who has been training for a while, you get used to it. And, I think being in front of people, showing them examples of what you can do with the tools of the Blurb platform, is the best thing I do for the company.
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Many people know the Blurb name, many have used the system, but few have fully explored the potential of the platform and the range of possibilities. This is where I come in. There is nothing better for me than to hear a seasoned photographer say “Man, I would have never thought of that,” after I offer advice, direction or suggestions. We are all products of learned behavior, whether that means learned in the direction of our friends, family, beliefs, or in the direction of being photographers. I know I was, and I suffered under the system before I realized the system didn’t feel right and I needed to invent my own.
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Over the past few weeks I’ve been creating a new presentation called “The Tools of Modern Storytelling,” which is a look at one project and the multiple lives that project lives via the multitude of modern formats at my fingertips. Book, magazine, short-film, PDF, Rich-Media, as well as the channels in which these formats take flight. The traditional channels of information exchange are changing, and in many cases, limping along(Which I think is just normal change). If you are professional, have training, create unique work and have the trust of those following your work, then why do you need those traditional gatekeepers of information? There are reasons why you need them, or would want to work with them, but you need to determine your plan first and we are no longer limited by the system.
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At the end of this trip I’m hoping to drop everything, except my camera, and head out into the bush for as long as I can get away with. I can’t go to Australia and NOT photograph something, someone, anything, anywhere. The images here are a few from my new presentation, just random things that all fit together in my twisted little mind. I know the image of my bag and contents will cause heart palpitations amongst some people, but just know within arms reach of my laptop are several different cameras, all of which I use for specific reasons, but this post is about Australia, storytelling and the potential of the unknown not what is in my bag.
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What is so interesting for me on a trip like this is the fact I get to branch outside of photography and work with designers, bloggers, students and also get to connect with the festival world. I think there are no less than THREE major festivals going on in Australia at this time, Head On, Reportage and Analogue/Digital. I’ve already begun getting emails from photographers from all over the world saying, “Hey, I’m going to be there too.”
I have much, much, much to do before embarking on this little voyage. Several of the presentations I need to do are more about my photography than my job, which is new for me. I don’t normally lecture, talk, speak about my photography, so I need to invent new and interesting presentations that are outside of what people are expecting. I’m always amazed at how much work these are and how much time they actually take to produce.
I have a sinking suspicion I will be in Australia JUST long enough to wet my appetite for more, more, more. Hey, I’ll take what I can get. My goal, at some point in the distance future, is to ride my bike across Australia. This is, of course, after I have ridden it across the United States and from Alaska to Patagonia. The odds of this actually happening are SLIM but a guy can dream.

If you know people in Australia who would be interested in these events please alert them via the links below. The great thing about our plan is that regardless of your skill level there is something, potentially multiple things, that are suited to your needs.

Melbourne
Photo Safari – http://melsafari.eventbrite.com
Blurb-Meet-up – http://melblurb.eventbrite.com
Tools of Modern Storytelling – http://meldesign.eventbrite.com
Pro Photo Books workshop – http://melpro.eventbrite.com

Brisbane
Photo Safari – http://brisafari.eventbrite.com
Blurb-Meet-up – http://briblurb.eventbrite.com
Tools of Modern Storytelling – http://bridesign.eventbrite.com
Pro Photo Books workshop – http://bripro.eventbrite.com

Sydney
Photo Safari – http://sydsafari.eventbrite.com
Blurb-Meet-up – http://sydblurb.eventbrite.com
Tools of Modern Storytelling – http://syddesign.eventbrite.com
Pro Photo Books workshop – http://sydpro.eventbrite.com

And in case you need a little description….here you go.

Photo Safari: Urban and mobile photography enthusiasts and bloggers will be led by professional photographers on a free, three-hour photographic exploration of each city’s visual beauty.

Tools of Modern Storytelling: Professional designers and creatives are invited to breakfast to learn new ways in which creative minds and businesses are leveraging tools and technology to tell stories in both print and digital formats.

Pro Photo Books Workshop: Suitable for aspiring and professional photographers, Blurb’s most popular three-hour workshop provides a complete picture of the book-making process within the context of a quickly changing photography and publishing industry.

Blurb Meet-up: All interested book-makers and photography book-lovers are invited to check out an array of beautiful Blurb books and share a drink with the Blurb team and other like-minded DIY creatives.

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Countdown to Peru 2013: iPhone Three

BACK BY POPULAR DEMAND…MORE PHONE PHOTOGRAPHS. OKAY NOT REALLY.

Since my last post about the upcoming Peru trip I am holding fast to my goal of black and white only during the 2013 trip. However, something else just creeped into my mind………………………………………………………………………………………………………………..

Okay, by now you should be getting a good feel for just how INSANELY good these Peru trips are. These are simply phone images, but they will describe to you the route and trajectory of our time together. And when I say, “simply phone images,” as I’ve stated before, I don’t mean that in a negative sense. Remember, if the phone is what you carry then just commit to that. You could create something pretty darn cool and wouldn’t even need to complain about a sore back, tired shoulders or pinched nerve. Power on.

It’s odd, when these trips happen I get wrapped up in the logistics, the conversations and I forget what all we did.

You can’t imagine what it does to me to see these images. The pull of places like Machu Picchu and the Amazon are so overwhelming it’s hard to deal with. Heck, South America in general is so stamped on my brain I’m ruined forever.

Last time I checked we had a few seats left for the 2013 voyage.