Sunday, April 10, 2011


I've got two posts mulling over at the moment. I'd write up the other one too if I had not left the crucial piece of paper I needed for it to make sense at home. Maybe tonight sometime I'll tell you all about the new game that Bec and I invented Friday week ago.

Anyhoo. I'd been so keen to get started on this concept and now half of the material is at home and I know that unless we get started now I'll be as helpless as I was in mid-semester for print this morning as I will be for photomedia.

Self-musings aside, I thought I'd tell you about what the phrase 'Transit' means. Because blogging assessments is a good way of sorting out ideas and reasoning in a way that is engaging and readable. Are we ready to chomp into the concept?

At the start of semester I picked up the big assessment for Photomedia, henceforth referred to as 'The Transit Project'. We are to create a ten-image portfolio conveying 'Transit'. The method of image-capture for me is digital, since I am doing Digital Photography.

So, when I started to look at the...thing...there was the usual brainfart.

What is this? How am I supposed to capture that? Where will I even start?

This escalated to maybe taking photos on trips to and from Sydney on the train. I've caught the train to old Siddles a few times before. It's do-able when it only costs $7.40 for a return ticket from Broadmeadow for a student. (So good!), and I liked the idea.

Until I realised that it would be done by heaps of people.

Identity issues through, I started on a different tangent, looking at maybe doing a stack of random images that each conveyed little facets of transit: the pathway trodden by five million pairs of shoes. The foreign coin sitting on the bus floor. The hundreds of leaflets from different attractions you saw on holiday. Or maybe that one is just me.

So, things were looking...mediocre.

And then there was an idea, so plain and simple and it was as cool and smarting as a face full of snowball.

Sort of.

It's only really been since I moved out that I really began to appreciate time with the folks. I mean, it started to be stronger in 2010, what with the 'you're not continuously in my grill because I'm not at school anymore'. Time with family is grand, and I'm really looking forward to the holidays because I'll see them again.

But this? This brainchild revolves around the fact that everytime I think of 'Transit', I think 'road trip'.

Every time I think 'road trip', I think 'Hervey Bay'

Hervey Bay is this city a bit bigger than Port Macquarie. It is where my paternal Grandmother and more of Dad's family lives, and we've been making this trip at least once a year for the past thirteen-fourteen years.

It might seem easy to belittle that distance, but the blue squiggly line represents over 800 kilometres of...transit. When we first started this trek, I was about 6. I think. Memories get a bit reshuffled, but I'm pretty sure that was the beginning. We used to take a couple of days; stay a night or two in Brisbane with some family friends - my younger sibling's godparents. Their daughter, Jasmine, used to braid my hair and braided it would stay for the three weeks of Christmas holidays we'd spend up there.

When the folks first moved up there, they lived on this big farm in Torbanlea, on the outskirts of Hervey Bay. They had a pool and Zelda on the '64, and that was just about the best thing in the world. My Aunts were still in High School, and my Pop owned an ice-creamery on the Esplanade.

I'm not sure what age I was when we started making the trip in one shot, but I remember those days being long. Really long. Over time, we whittled and honed this voyage down to a fine art - leaving in the early morning; it took us twelve hours all up. We had three stops; Coffs, Ballina and Caboolture. I had a gameboy, so that was all good with me.

Over time, it wasn't just the anticipation of Hervey Bay that I came to value.

It was the trip in itself.

Our family is well-acquainted with the inside of the car, and many of you say - bonding experiences - surfaced from long days in the car together.

It was inevitable. There is no escaping the fact that we were going to spend this amount of time in a small space with a lot of people and at some point, someone is going to fart or spill their drink.

There were things we worked through; methods we forged and stuck to and now, while it's still very exciting to go to Hervey Bay, the trip is not a giant to fear.

Dad has ALWAYS packed the car. As myself and my brother have grown older, we have attempted to assist in some way in the packing of the car, but inevitably Dad will pull it all out and repack it at some stage before we leave. Dad packing means that we are right at the end of getting ready to leave and the rest of the family will be packed in also; it becomes on big game of tetris, really.

Now that every reader knows how we travel, I'd like to take the opportunity to justify this herculean trip with the design brief.

I want to take photos in the car.

Nice photos in the car.

I enjoy telling stories. This has probably become somewhat relevant over the last 2000 words or so. I love to share things that I find funny or interesting. I'm always keen for a good story, and enjoy the ones that affect your perception afterwards enough to change your perception on certain things in life.
How do you look at wardrobes?

Are they a potential gate to another world? Or simply a place to hang your coats?
Tell me a story. Make it a good one. Good enough that when I see a clock tower, I think of keyblades and fairy dust. Good enough to draw any individual in and change the way they think about something just enough to make them stop and smile.
Unless that is not your goal. If your goal is to make people afraid of things that go 'bump' in the night, at least make sure that the thing doing the bumping is big and has teeth. None of this tentacle business.

Where was I?

Roadies. Right.

So, I want to take photos that tell you the story of the bonds in my family. Tell you a story of the slightly dysfunctional family with tendancies to laugh at silly things and do group dances and travel over 800km in 12 hours.

I want to experiement enough to make things slightly less blurry and slightly more interesting without being...arty?
I'm putting the question mark there because arty is too often attributed to little skill and lots of flair. I'm interested in honest storytelling that isn't gaudy or gimmicky.
In my opinion, it doesn't need to be gimmicky. Because most people I know will have, at some stage, gone on that road trip with their family. It's a fairly solid storyline because it's so relateable.
I think that might have been one of the reasons why I loved Little Miss Sunshine so much.

1 comment:

  1. Hey Brooke,

    Having read through your musings, ideas and inclinations I can see you are headed in a reasonably clear direction (conceptually) so far. I observe that you have a strong sense of and desire for narrative - this is evidenced in your writing, imagery and most importantly subject matter (being your family of course, and the physical aspect of the journey perhaps too). You are developing a sound relationship with the camera as a tool for narrative - in doing so you have put yourself in a good position come shooting time.

    Time spent shooting should be fun and relaxed, to be true to the narrative come visual document you intend to construct. While formal considerations (i.e. aperture and shutter speed etc.) may well enhance the look of the images you might generate - don't get bogged down with this during the shooting time. With your snapshot cam (the one I have seen in class) I would suggest that you avoid worrying too much about shutter speed/aperture etc. to create 'arty' images.

    Being that subject matter and narrative are of more importance you may benefit more by simply focusing on trying to achieve varied compositions (framing the shot differently, putting subject in different spot of picture frame etc.) while spontaneously allowing yourself to interact with the surrounding people/environment spontaneously or as naturally as it comes.

    When we interact with our surrounds casually through our camera we are often have a heightened with-it-ness for what many photographers refer to as 'decisive moments'. Decisive moments simply refer to those casually fleeting (and fairly precise) moments, sometimes captured by the shot of a photograph, that effectively or quite fully represent what is depicted. Check out this link for a bit more on this concept

    Anyway I think you should keep with the simple, honest narrative based ethic you seem to be most comfortable with - it will work for you conceptually. So far you have already composed some nice images. The train ones I quite like for their formal features. While they are more abstract and 'arty', that distance from narrative may help to create contrast in the different phases of the journey - remember photographs are very much documents of specific moments in time, with unique feelings and connections attached. Through the editing process you can make compositional choices too - so you really don't need to get your shots perfectly composed every time - just try to get the shots you think are important telling moments..

    Your doing a really great job so far. Keep up the good work and I wish you a happy, spontaneous and rewarding shooting experience ahead. Hope the wordage was epic enough!

    Scott :)


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