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the hands project: part 1

a little bit of history as to how the Hands Project came into existence…

I was at the local Farmer’s Market and was checking out some really funky eco-dyed scarfs when the lady on the stall noticed I was carrying a camera.  She introduced herself as Janine – of Zenzi Designs – and we got talking.  At the time she was working at our local aged care facility and was on the lookout for a photographer who might be interested in a project she had pitched to management.

The idea was this:  there are a wealth of stories from the old folk at the home.  The people who helped to shape our community.  We needed to be able to capture their stories before they passed away because these are the stories that are being lost.

I immediately said “Count me in!” and the Hands Project was in motion.

There was a bit of red tape to wade through before we could get started, with the first photos and stories being collected in late June 2016.  Residents moved out and in, and some passed away, which made the project all the more important to the both of us.

It’s a project I hope to continue, and one that has prompted me to begin journaling my own stories, so that when my time comes, my children will know all of the exploits of their Mother!

Until then, I present the Hands Project.

Iris – born 1927.
I always have my handbag with me and the names of all my family right here. In my heart and in my head.

Gwen – born 1923.
I joined the Red Cross in 1951. I was President for a long time, zone representative on the Divisional Council and an Honorary Member of Laos Red Cross. Being involved in organisations in the community has been very important to me.

Bea – born 1934.
Reading has always been very important to me. It opens your eyes to the world. I always want to learn.

Les – born 1935.
I worked for the council for many years. Driving the digger one of the best jobs. There’s not much I don’t know about the area.

Rachel – born 1932.
Raising my family was my most important job. Knitting for them was part of showing my care for them. I still enjoy knitting.

Rod – born 1934.
I was a Jackaroo. Spent most of my time on the land. Horses were a big part of that life.

Yvonne – born 1930.
Creating my garden has been a life’s work. It has given me great pride and joy over the years.

Margaret – born 1927.
A camellia is one of my favourite flowers. My garden has given me great pleasure over the years.

Helen – born 1920.
I love cats. I liked looking after them. I had lots of cats.

Irene – born 1917.
My cakes won the ‘Best in Show’ for many years at the Walcha Show. I miss not using my old friend anymore.

Next week I will share Part 2 of the project with you here on the blog.

In the comments, I’d love to hear:

Do you have the stories of your older relatives?  Are they written down, or have they been passed down orally?

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20 photos to take this australian christmas

The big day is just around the corner, and it’s easy in the blur of doing to forget to take photos that will become memories in years to come.

With that in mind, I’ve put together a list of 20 very Australian suggestions for photos to take this Christmas.

You can click on the image below to print a copy or download a pdf version here.

What photos will you take of your family this Australian Christmas?

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invergowrie family portrait session – the swain family

“hannah, would you like to go first so that you can show everyone else what to do?”

Going down to the river and having a swim, putting in a line or simply having a barbeque by the swimming hole  – simple spending-time-together family activities are what the Swain family love doing.

Their closeness was evident as I spent the afternoon at Invergowrie, taking photos… creating memories… and learning a little bit more about each of them.

It was Hannah – a delightfully active and curious 4-year-old – that I began the session with.  She loves playing babies, swinging by herself (because she can) and swimming.  She talked non-stop and the highlight of my afternoon was climbing into the cubby house after her and taking a peek into her little world.

William and Sammy – both a little shy and reserved – opened up when I asked them to find their ‘something special’ that they would like included in their photos.  For Sammy, it was his cricket ball and bat; for Will, his motorbike.

I hadn’t met Jesse and Declan before, and upon meeting them understood Leanne’s concerns about how we were going to fit all of Jesse’s legs in the photos!  Big boys and little people – the height difference was great, but Jesse was a sport and pocket-knifed himself as the occasion arose.

I loved too, that Leanne and David were open to ideas for the shoot and that Leanne had done some homework of her own and come with suggestions as well.

I asked her  how she went about choosing the outfits that each family member would wear.  She said “I started with Hannah, picked out a dress and looked in the cupboards to see what we all had that would go with that.  Being a lover of black and white shots, I confess to consulting Pinterest for a few ideas!”

Thank you all so much for letting me into your lives that afternoon, and for letting your personalities shine through.  I wish Jesse and Declan all the best with their studies and look forward to seeing you all around town.

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2016: the year of the 85mm

Why I'm only using my Canon 85mm f/1.8 lens for all of 2016.

When we were in Melbourne, back in November last year, I bought myself the Canon 85mm f/1.8 lens that I’d been lusting after for a little while…

and promptly put in my camera bag

Nearly 3 months later, and I’ve only taken two photos with it.  Two.  Mind you, I did exactly the same with my 50mm f/1.8 when I purchased it as well.

The first few times I tried to take photos with my 50, I just couldn’t nail the focus.  The photos were horrible – not sharp; focus was soft; horrible, horrible photos.  So I gave up and put the lens away in my camera bag for months.

Until 2015.  When I made the decision to use only my 50mm lens for all of that year.

To be fully transparent, I had to swap out my lenses from time to time, especially when I was doing photos for school events.  But all of my personal work was done with the nifty-fifty, and I can honestly say that I now  love that lens.

So this year I’m going to do exactly the same with my 85mm….

use only this lens for all of 2016

Learn it.  Learn its sweet spot.  Its peculiarities.  Its ticks and quirks.

and hopefully, learn to love it as much as I love my 50

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A Year of Instagram

I’ve recently delved back into the world that is Instagram, and am quite loving the simplicity of photo-making that it inspires me to create.

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I’ll be following along with Chantelle of Fat Mum Slim, and the millions of others, who take a photo a day (nothing like a little accountability to keep oneself on track).

All of my photos are taken with my iPad mini, using the Camera+ app and edited with VSCOcam.  I’ll blog about both of these apps next week, because I highly recommend them for the serious (and not so serious) photographer.

Until then, I’m off to play – photos to take, world to see, life to live.

Have a good one xo

Almost forgot, you’ll find me on Instagram here.

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