HeadOn Photographic Festival 2017

Again, the Head On Photo Festival is being held throughout the Month of May in Sydney.  The festival showcases works of Australian and International Artists in what is Australia's largest and most prestigious photography event.  Established in 2008, it has become the second largest photography festival in the world.  The Festival marks a vital place on the Australian Arts Calendar attracting highly acclaimed photographers as well as those that are newer to the scene.  Held in Sydney over three weeks, it offers free events, workshops and exhibitions as well as  talks by well-known and lesser known photographers.  

Dedicated to encouraging innovation and excellence in photography, the Head On Festival also offers the Head On Awards for Portraiture, Landscape, Mobile and Student works.  As a finalist again in 2017, I am honoured to have won Third Place in the Landscape Prize for my image of a Brumby in the Snowy Mountains of New South Wales.  The Landscape Prize Exhibition consists of the 40 Finalists and is held at the NSW Parliament House from Monday the 8th of May through to the end of the month.  

As part of the festival, I am also exhibiting in the AIPP (Australian Institute of Professional Photography) exhibition entitled "Storylines".  I will be speaking about my work at the Paddington Town Hall on Sunday, the 12th of May at 3:20.

Finally, I am also an exhibitor in AddOn, a curated exhibition featuring anonymous small square prints..no names, no titles, lots of room for interpretation.  This is also being held at the Paddington Town Hall, Festival Hub.  

Thank you to all of those people who worked so hard to pull together the HeadOn Photographic Festival.  

Freedom by Pamela Pauline, Winner HeadOn Landscape Prize -3rd Place

Freedom by Pamela Pauline, Winner HeadOn Landscape Prize -3rd Place

https://www.headon.com.au/blog/winners-announced

http://www.smh.com.au/photogallery/national/clique/winners-of-the-head-on-photo-awards-2017-20170506-gvzj01.html

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-4482164/Refugee-portrait-scoops-Australian-photo-award.html

Wild Wyoming

While I haven't lived in Wyoming for 30 years, I grew up there and it holds a very special place in my heart.  With family there, I visit as often as possible. In January of this year, my husband and our three grown up children transversed the state from Laramie in the SouthEast, to Jackson in the Northwest.  The sparse landscape looks forboding and beautiful with the snow, the wind adding to the sense of isolation.  While there are many iconic images of Wyoming, most notably, those of Ansel Adams, I wanted to show it's simple everyday beauty.  This gallery aims to capture that simplicity.

"I Saw in Louisiana a Live Oak Growing"

In January of this year, I visited Avery Island, Louisiana, home of the infamous "Tabasco" sauce.  Invited by a member of the McIlhenny family and travelling with Jeannette Whitson from Garden Variety Design in  Nashville, we had the great privilege of visiting the areas of the island that are not open to the public.   The purpose of the visit was to photograph the beautiful trees but the experience was so much more.    Not only did we get to explore the extraordinary beauty of the island, but we were welcomed into the archives by the company's historian and curator.  These archives hold a treasure trove of documents, photographs and artefacts dating back 150 years.  As a beneficiary, the forethought of the early McIlhenny family to preserve all of this for future reference is remarkable.    Of course, we also braved taste testing a freshly opened barrel of Tabasco chilli mash,  ate what I consider to be the world's best Gumbo in the local canteen and were serenaded by the host (who grew up on the island) as she "called" an alligator to us while we sat watching the birds in the swamp.  And then there are the Southern Live Oak Trees...so magnificent and graceful with Spanish Moss delicately flowing from the branches.  The tenderness  with which these living legends are preserved on Avery Island was absolutely heart warming and it was an honour to capture them on camera. 

What is Photography today?

In light of a lot of discussion on social media about the Australian Institute of Professional Photography and the highly competitive Award system,  I thought I would share some of my views.

The Australian Institute of Professional Photography (AIPP) is  the premier membership body for professional image makers in Australia.  There are a series of steps a professional photographer is required to take in order to become accredited with the AIPP and it is relatively rigorous.  This accreditation is designed to "give the consumer confidence that your professional photographer is a proven, experienced, technically capable, professional practitioner who complies with all legal business requirements and a Code of Professional Practice".  To be part of the AIPP, one must also be committed to continuing their professional development.  More about the accreditation can be found at www.aipp.com.au.  Of course, not every professional photographer chooses to apply to the AIPP for a variety of reasons.  

Each year, the AIPP holds both State wide and National Professional Photography Awards.  The National Awards (APPA) were held a couple of weeks ago in Melbourne (end August 2016).  The National Awards are open to those photographers who have been seeded through previous Award results at the State level or have in some way proven their skill to the AIPP..   Professional photographers spend a lot of time and energy deciding which of their four best images to enter and into which category (ies).  At the National Level, there are 18 different categories that are judged.  While all of the image content must be photographic, some of these categories allow for digital manipulation, whereas others accept only minor treatment.  Having spent a good deal of this past year on work that I was entering into an International exhibition,  I decided to enter the Landscape category with four of my Exhibition images.  Winning a Gold with Distinction for my elephant "Connect" image was a huge thrill.  A Silver with Distinction and two Silvers completed my portfolio.  I was pleased with my results.  While the AIPP and the Award System may not be perfect, entering these awards has been the single biggest contributor to my professional and creative development in the past few years.  

Lisa Saad took out the Australian Professional Photographer of the Year Title with her portfolio of four images  that were entered into the Advertising category.  This category allows for significant manipulation, and her final results were brilliant.  However, this announcement triggered a great deal of debate on social media and the media in general.  Spearheaded by Ken Duncan, one of Australia's most well-known (old school)  landscape photographers, the debate considered "What is the line between Photography and Illustration?"  Lisa's images were very illustrative in nature.

As a past recipient of one of Ken Duncan's generous awards, 2nd Place in the Real Australia Landscape Awards in 2015, I appreciate the concerns voiced by Ken Duncan.   At the same time,  I feel it is a mistake to assume that if a photographer chooses to hone their post production skills, then they are a lesser photographer. They are using the tools available today to better tell their story.  It is photography, even if it isn't the way everyone chooses to do it.  Photography has been evolving since its inception and will continue to evolve.  I do not believe there is one right way in photography, or in life for that matter.  Good photographers are story tellers.  They choose certain lenses to better accentuate certain elements in an image or they may add a photographic texture to enhance a dull sky.  It is still photography, it is still story telling.  It is still image creation. Doing it well is the challenge.  There is a reason that certain images stay in our minds.  

I also believe that most professional photographers who are skilled at post production (more often done on a computer than in a darkroom today) also have the ability to produce a very high standard of image straight from the camera (or nearly...there is no such thing when shooting in RAW...all data needs some sort of processing to become an image).  I love capturing amazing landscapes when the light is just right, or the sky when it is full of ominous clouds..and there are many opportunities to award these types of images...the Moran Contemporary Photographic Prize, the Real Australia Landscape Awards, the Bureau of Meteorology competition, One Eyeland Landscape Competition, International Epson Panoramic Awards, etc).  But I would be disappointed if this was the extent of my photography, given the tools available today.  I would not want to be strictly limited to the technical knowledge and capability of a camera.  To my mind, this would be a very narrow view of the field of photography. I enjoy pushing my own creativity.  All of the images that I submitted into APPA this year required many hours of post production.  And I loved this process...something I consider an important part of my photography today.  And then again, when I see beautiful clouds looming, I grab my camera to capture the moment...

 

 

On Flaneurism, Frampton and Friendship

A French concept, flaneurism, is defined as wandering without purpose.  In today's world, if time is a luxury, then the ultimate indulgence is dropping into designer Jeannette Whitson's Garden Variety Design Studio in Nashville, Tennesee for a wander.  Located in the very trendy 12 South area of Nashville, the studio is an original 1899 home, cleverly renovated by Jeannette and recently opened by appointment only.  The studio houses a unique collection of beautiful antiques and other one-off pieces of art, primarily from France.  Jeannette's design sense and keen eye can only be described as eclectic, one-of-kind and stunningly beautiful.  

 Jeannette and I met nearly 25 years ago in Jakarta, Indonesia.  We connected immediately, sharing a love of adventure, curiosity, beautiful things and laughter.  We travelled through the back alleys of Central Java, Jeannette searching for genuine antiques and me documenting the lives and landscapes of the people through research and photography (I was working on a USAID contract at the time).  Our years in Indonesia were instrumental in inspiring our creative careers.    

Through marriage and children, our lives took us to different corners of the world, but our passions in our respective fields continued to grow, as did the respect for each other's work.   For some time we have been talking about collaborating, so it was with great enthusiasm, 25 years after first meeting, that I accepted Jeannette's offer to host a photographic show in her studio when the space was ready.

We had a fabulous week together in June, inviting designers and art collectors to the studio.  It is always deeply gratifying to develop an emotional connection with buyers or potential customers.  Naturally, it was a thrill when the unassuming Rock Star Peter Frampton visited the studio, taking home  my "Kookaburra Sits".  That said,  regardless of the owner, it is always a great honour to have my work hanging in the privacy of people's homes, and something that I never take for granted.  

The Southern hospitality is hard to beat, and we are already discussing my return.  

 

 

 

HeadOn Photo Festival May 2016

Each May, the Head On Photo Festival showcases works of Australian and International Artists in what is Australia's largest and most prestigious photography event.  Established in 2008, it has become the second largest photography festival in the world.  The Head On Festival now marks a vital place on the Australian Arts Calendar.  The festival attracts highly acclaimed photographers as well as those that are newer to the scene.  Held in Sydney over three weeks, it offers free events and exhibitions as well as affordable talks by well-known photographers.  This year, there were over 100 exhibitions across Sydney and the region. 

Dedicated to encouraging innovation and excellence in photography, the Head On Festival also offers the Head On Awards for Portraiture, Landscape, Mobile and Student works.  I was pleased to have been selected as one of the 40 Finalists for the Landscape Prize with my image of a storm over Sydney Harbour.  The exhibition was held at the NSW Parliament House throughout the Month of May and will be closing any day now.

As part of the festival, I was also invited to exhibit in the AIPP (Australian Institute of Professional Photography) exhibition,  having been a category winner in the recent NSW AIPP Awards. It was an absolute honour to also be asked to share insight into my work as an artist at the AIPP event one evening with an engaging audience.  I was very impressed with the quality of the work produced by the AIPP members...wow, what an exhibit.  Finally, I took part in AddOn, a curated exhibition featuring anonymous small square prints..no names, no titles, lots of room for interpretation.  

Thank you to all of those people who worked so hard to pull together this inspirational festival.

Under the Weather, Head On Landscape Finalist 2016

Under the Weather, Head On Landscape Finalist 2016

 

 

 

NSW AIPP Epson Photography Awards

Each year, the Australian Institute of Professional Photography (AIPP) together with Epson, host the State Professional Photography Awards.  This year, the NSW awards were held mid-March in Sydney.  The purpose of the awards is to get an understanding of where your work sits in comparison with your peers.  By entering your work to be critiqued, you gain independent, authoritative feedback from professionals.  It is a nail biting experience with some terrific highs and the inevitable lows.  No system is perfect, and no judge is perfect, but sitting back and listening to judges talk about your work and where it can improve is humbling and invaluable.    The lead up to entering the awards seems like it should be straight forward, but if you are like me...it always gets a bit stressful towards the end!  This year, I somehow spaced out getting one of my images matted, so missed out on being a candidate for the Wildlife category by submitting only three as opposed to four images.  Then, two days before the prints were to be submitted, I realised that somehow the mats were sized incorrectly!  So back to the framer with an urgent job!  I managed to get my images submitted in the nick of time...and then came the judging..yikes!  I wasn't able to watch the judging live, but did catch some of it on Livestream, which is such a terrific option.  

In the end, I was happy with my results.  I won the Highest Scoring Print award for my Quelea Bird Migration image.  Of the 1000 images submitted for judging, there were four Gold with Distinctions awarded.  Two of these were mine...one for the Quelea Migration and the other for a Cheetah under a tree in the Kalahari.  I was also one of three Finalists for the NSW Landscape Photographer of the Year, along with Adam Williams and Ignacio Palacios.  Adam took out the award with some stunning images.  Below are my award images.  Having been a member of the AIPP for three years, I feel inspired to continue to improve my imagery and learn from all those creative people out there.  Later on in the year, there will be the APPA's, the Australian Professional Photography Awards, which include photographers from the entire country, not just NSW.

Our Profession just got Professional

As described in Photo Review Magazine:

 

Announced at the Canon AIPP Australian Professional Photography Awards by AIPP Chairman Felicity Biasi, the AIPP Accreditation standards, which have been in place for five years, have now received certification from Government body the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) as meeting the requirements necessary of a professional body for the grant of a certification trade mark. 

This means that effective immediately, only AIPP Accredited Members can appropriately call themselves accredited professional photographers or video producers.

It’s a bold statement, but in an industry with minimal regulation and sadly many ‘less-than-professional’ practitioners, it’s a step that many committed photographers have been calling for for a long time in order to safeguard their businesses and reputation.

The ACCC certification also helps create the first formal recognition of the photographic industry as a ‘profession’ – a grey area up until this point.

Defined by the Professional Standards Council of Australia as ‘a disciplined group of individuals who adhere to ethical standards, and positions itself as possessing special knowledge and skills in a widely recognised body of learning derived from research, education and training at a high level…’, the certification by the ACCC means that the AIPP is now the only de facto membership body for the profession of photography in Australia.

AIPP President, Ross Eason, comments, “We are delighted to have received the green-light from the ACCC to enhance our members professional status. For some time our members and photographers around the country have been asking the Institute to develop standards to protect the perception of the “Professional” within our industry and we have been working for five years to refine our Accreditation system to a standard the ACCC, all working photographers and the consumer can trust. We believe certification by the ACCC gives us this standard.

“Whilst we understand and respect that not all working photographers will see membership to the AIPP as necessary, for those that rely on consumer confidence and reputation, the ACCC certification is of great benefit. It acts as a clear benchmark of quality for anyone looking to employ a photographer and offers reassurance of that person’s trusted experience and commitment to improve. For our members we know that it will really make a difference.” concludes Eason.

See more details on the AIPP website.

Ken Duncan's REAL Australian Landscape Awards

I was very pleased to be awarded 2nd place in Ken Duncan's REAL Australian Landscape Awards in July, 2015.  Photography has become a controversial subject and Ken, as one of Australia's most well known landscape photographers,  wanted to award images that he considered "REAL", meaning very little manipulation, other than what could traditionally be done in a darkroom.  I am not a traditionalist, but also feel that there is a place for both.  My winning image was very "REAL".  When I saw the storm brewing on Anzac Day of this year, I grabbed my tripod, camera and husband and headed towards Bradley's Head from the Northern Beaches in the hope of capturing the magnificent storm over the city.  Caught in the hail, we had to pull over and I feared I may have missed the moment (must admit I do suffer from a bit of photographic FOMO).  However, just as we arrived at our destination, the hail began to subside and as it headed towards the city, I was thrilled to be able to capture it.  With or without a camera, the moment was magic as we watched Sydney engulfed in hail as the sun was setting.  

"Under the Weather" by Pamela Pauline, 2nd Place in the REAL Australian Landscape Awards

"Under the Weather" by Pamela Pauline, 2nd Place in the REAL Australian Landscape Awards


A couple of weeks ago, I was able to meet Ken.  He invited me to visit his gallery on the Central Coast to collect my prize, which was more than generous.  It was an absolute pleasure meeting Ken and his wife Pam.  Here is what Ken has to say about the REAL Australian Landscape Awards:

http://kenduncanphotoawards.com/background/

Pam accepting prizes from Ken at his Gallery on the Central Coast

Thanks again, Ken.

The Moran Art Prizes

The Moran Arts Foundation is a philanthropic, not-for-profit organisation whose objective is to support the Arts in Australia through:

  • The Doug Moran National Portrait Prize,
  • The Moran Comtemporary Photographic Prizes and
  • The Moran School Photographic Workshops

Established by Doug and Greta Moran and Family in 1988 in celebration of Australia's bicentennial, the Moran Arts Foundation fosters portraiture skills and excellence in photography.

The Moran Contemporary Photographic Prize was established in 2007 and runs alongside the Moran National Portrait Prize.  The entries are meant to visually communicate "Contemporary Australia with a Focus on Everyday Life".  

As Australia's most well-known Photographic Prize, I was honoured to have two of my images selected as semi-finalists from nearly 3000 entries.  One of these images was then selected as a finalist and as such, will be exhibited with the other 30 finalists, spending the first four months at Juniper Hall in Paddington, Sydney and then travelling for the rest of the year.    I am humbled and honoured to be exhibiting alongside some of my favourite Australian photographers, including Murray Fredericks and Tobias Titz. The exhibition will start on the 29th of October 2014.

My image is entitled "Pool Closed".  I felt this image really demonstrated "Contemporary Australia".  The ocean plays such a vital role in many Australian's lives, and despite the big "Pool Closed" sign, there were still three teenagers in the Ocean Pool and other adults very close to the "Action".  

My image is entitled "Pool Closed".  I felt this image really demonstrated "Contemporary Australia".  The ocean plays such a vital role in many Australian's lives, and despite the big "Pool Closed" sign, there were still three teenagers in the Ocean Pool and other adults very close to the "Action".  

Below is my image entitled "Damsel in Distress", which was a semi-finalist in this year's Moran Contemporary Photographic Prize.  I took this photograph while enjoying an afternoon at Mona Vale Beach with some of my young Sudanese friends.  

"Damsel in Distress"




King's 35th Annual Art Show

I am once again very pleased to be exhibiting some of my work at the King's Art Show on the 22nd, 23rd and 24th of August 2014.  Located at the King's School, Parramatta, it is sure to be an inspirational event, showcasing some of Australia's most talented artists including John Olsen, Martine Emdur and Craig Ruddy.  Tickets for the opening night can be purchased at www.kingsartshow.com.au, or come along on the Saturday or Sunday for a browse.

For the past eighteen months I have been working on a series entitled "The Northern Beaches of Sydney".  This is where I live, and an area of extraordinary natural beauty.  The pieces that I will be exhibiting are all limited editions from this series.  Hope to see you there.  xx

 

 

Tea and Tagines in Marrakech

Tea and Tagines in Marrakech by Pamela Pauline

 

Combining work with pleasure, I had the opportunity this week to assist Noemie and Eric Marie Saint-Germain, in photographing their stunning Riad in Marrakech, Morocco for their new website.  While not officially open, the Riad is soon to be a must for anyone wanting an authentic experience in Morocco replete with the warm hospitality for which Morocco is renowned .  The host/owners have spent two and a half years restoring this elegant home to its original grandeur.  I promise to post a link to their website as soon as it is up.

 

Below I have included a few of my photographs of this special country.  Tea drinking is a much loved tradition and something that signifies hospitality and friendship.  Tea preparation is traditionally the role of the man, and it is considered a great honour to prepare the tea in front of guests. It is only considered drinkable if there is a significant foam on the top when poured from the teapot, which is typically done from a distance of about 12 inches.  My husband and I drank copious amounts of tea, bartered our way around the city, ate more couscous than we care to admit and genuinely had a fabulous time.  We look forward to returning to this fascinating place..

 

Adorable Dogs

Nearly February, but not too late to wish you all a Happy New Year 2014

Of late, many of my portrait sessions seem to include the family dog.  While there is no doubt that this can create some challenges, depending on the dog, it also often creates a relaxed atmosphere that can result in some fabulous family photos displaying genuine tenderness.

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…and then there are the photoshoots with just the dogs.  These shots were taken at Christmastime in North America…hope they make you smile:)..

Unbridled Enthusiasm

A couple of weeks ago, I was asked to talk to a group of Year 1 students about what it is like to be a photographer.  The unbridled enthusiasm and genuine interest was gorgeous and we had a ball exploring our surroundings through the lens.  As to be expected, the big hit was my fisheye lens...the boys thought it was the funniest thing they had ever seen and were lining up to have their photo taken, squealing with laughter at each image.    Thank you boys for sharing in my love of photography.   

The King's School 34th Art Show 2013

Now in its 34th year, the King's School Annual Art Show will be held on the 24th and 25th of August 2013 at the King's School, Pennant Hills Road, Parramatta.  Staged in partnership with Olsen Irwin and Richard Martin Galleries, the show will include a display of some of Australia's leading contemporary artists.  I am pleased to have been invited for the fourth consecutive year to display my artwork.  The Art Show will be spread across three venues (Gowan Brae, Horrocks Hall and the Inquiry Learning Centre).  My pieces include the following:

 

For those looking for fun for the entire family, the Art Show runs in conjunction with the Spring Festival including over 80 spring market stalls, take-away foods, the King’s cafe, Gowan Brae Jewellery and High Tea, carnival rides for toddlers to teens, animal farmyard, and daily live performances on the main stage including Bananas and Pyjamas, Miffy, Teddy Rock and King’s musicians.  

Sunday will see the grounds at the King's school turn into a display of automobiles, with the return of the British Car Rally.  With over 1,000 vehicles on show, it will be quite a spectacle.  

Funds raised on this weekend will go towards the Children's Hospital at Westmead.

 

Why is Professional Portrait Photography So Expensive?

Today, everyone has a camera and access to places that will print their photos.    So,  how can professional photographers charge $60 -$150 for an 8"x10" photograph that can be printed for $1.50 at Harvey Norman or Officeworks?

Simply put,  you are paying for time and expertise,  just like in any other service industry. You are investing in portrait artistry...for a piece of art that may adorn your walls for years to come.    

So What is Involved in An Average One-Hour Portrait Session?

• Initial telephone conversation or email correspondence with client to discuss their requirements,

• Travel to the location,

• If the photoshoot is indoors, set up the lighting, if outdoors, scout the location (often done prior to the actual shoot), otherwise arrive 1/2 prior to the shoot,

• Try to make the clients comfortable and develop a bit of rapport..then shoot the images,

• Put away studio lights and/or pack up gear from a location session,

• Travel from the location,

• Unpack & clean gear,

• Load images onto a computer,

• Back up the files on an external drive,

• 3 – 6 hours of LIghtroom and Adobe® Photoshop® time, including retouching, cropping, contrast, color, sharpening, and backing up edited photographs.  If custom artwork is involved, add even more time.  One photograph can take hours to prepare, depending on the work involved.  While in the past this editing was done in the darkroom,  with digital technology, it is now done on the computer.  

• 3 - 4 hours viewing of digital proofs, answering questions, receiving orders and payment, ordering prints, receiving and verifying prints, dealing with faulty prints and all the other unexpected issues that can arise in any small business.  

So, a one hour photo session is not as it seems.  

The expertise and cost of doing business

Capturing professional photographs is a skill acquired through years of experience.  This is my 13th year in the business and I am thrilled each time I "get that shot" or attempt something new with success, and continue to learn from my mistakes. Even though a DSLR camera now can cost under $1,000, taking professional portraits involves much more than a nice camera. Most professional photographers bought their first camera years before they tried to make money in photography, not to mention their subsequent purchase of lenses, backdrops, filters, props, tripods, calibrators, software, additional education and the list goes on.

In addition to the financial investment, portrait photographers actually have to have people skills to make subjects comfortable in front of the camera. Posing people is a skill in itself.  While Lightroom does wonders for a poorly exposed image, not much can be done for an image that has been poorly posed or faces that are clearly unhappy because of the photographer's lack of people skills. 

Professional photographers are just that – professionals offering a service. No different than a mechanic, dentist, doctor, lawyer or electrician.  I heard of one analogy that made sense to me.  "Maybe we need to help clients look at it this way: A pair of scissors costs $1.50 at the local chemist. Still, most people will gladly pay a lot more to hire a professional hair dresser to cut their hair". 

Conclusion

I love what I do and hope to continue doing it for years to come.  This post is just meant to explain a bit about what goes into the process of professional digital portrait photography today.   Of course, not every occasion requires a professional photographer and many home snapshots are to be treasured forever.  However, if you want to hire someone to capture a special moment, this might help you understand all that goes into it.

 

Glorious Winter Days

My brother and his wife made their first ever visit to Australia in July.   Coming from the mild temperatures of Santa Barbara, California, I was concerned that winter might not be the best month for them to visit. However,  wherever we went, the sun followed.   From the calm waters and white sands of St. George's basin and the South Coast, to the stunning vistas of the Blue Mountains and all the way up to the greens and aqua blues of the Daintree Rainforest in Far North Queensland, the weather was perfect.  Having visitors is a wonderful opportunity to reflect on the beauty of Australia.  It was a fabulous month of exploration, family and fun.  Here are a few of our visual memories..