This isn’t some kind of metaphor, Goddamn, this is real!

One thing that I don’t think I’ve ever discussed about The Wuz is her squirrel noise. I call it the squirrel noise because it sounds like a noise made by a squirrel. Let me know if you need me to talk you through it.

Basically, for reasons unknown, The Wuz does not like when I walk anywhere. Or at least, she pretends not to. Really, whenever I walk anywhere, The Wuz is under the impression that I’m chasing her, which she loves because there are many places she can run and hide. The fact is though, that I am rarely chasing her. Except when she heads for under the bed, which is super funny to watch, because there ain’t much space and she looks like a furry chicken trying to squeeze under there.

So basically, if there’s a chance I can laugh at her, I’m probably chasing her. If there’s not, then I’m probably, oh, I don’t know…walking in my own home, as is my right.

When I walk, and The Wuz pretends not to like it, she lets me know by making the squirrel noise. At any given moment, you could walk into my house and hear the following:

*step*

*squirrel noise*

*step step step*

*squirrel noise*

*step*

*SQUIRREL NOISE*

It’s like having a ridiculous pair of clown shoes or something. I have no idea what my neighbours think the noise is.

The Wuz also has to keep close to me, so she knows exactly when I step, so she can make the squirrel noise right after I step, so I have to walk everywhere really slowly, because she has been trodden on a few times and then she doesn’t make a squirrel noise, she makes a noise that breaks the hearts of a million newborn baby unicorns.

Also, today I put her in pants.

pantz3

pantz2

 Lady really knows how to work this season’s nautical theme. Kudos to Dave.

seamanwuz

Poison and preschool.

Of all the strange things that happened in my childhood, one thing that I’ve never fully understood was why I was allowed to quit preschool.

I hated preschool, mostly because one of the teachers was nasty, so one day, rather than getting ready, I went and hid in a bush in the garden. It was a bush with poisonous berries and I was worried that I’d accidentally eat one. I don’t know how I thought that would happen, being that I knew they were poisonous. Anyways, I hid in a poison berry bush. It also had spikes.

I could hear my mum calling for me, I could tell she was furious, but I stayed hidden until she finally yelled ‘Fine! You don’t have to go anymore!’

It was weird. I swung on my swing until I thought she may have cooled down a bit, but the whole time, I knew she meant I would never, ever have to go again, not just that day.

That’s the part that confuses me. Why did she give in so easily? If you want to meet two people perfectly matched in stubbornness and quick tempers, it’s me and my mum. 

The only conclusion I can come to is that she gave in because I used to look like this:

steveandme 

I mean seriously, you’re going to upset something that blonde? I don’t think so.

The end result of quitting preschool was not evident until recently, when I’ve taken to declaring nap times at work and discussing the feasibility of bringing in nap mats and maybe some juice poppers to work for the 4:30pm mark. Regressive napping needs.

Canonistas

These days pretty much all I do is think about photos, talk about photos and take photos. I’m always interested to hear other people’s opinions and have stuff pimped to me, so I gathered my closest Canonites, my lady friends, the Canonistas and asked them questions. Then I asked myself questions.

Michelle Ho

meesh
Michelle’s photo was taken by Daniel Oost beside some of her work at the 2009 exhibition she was a part of, After Dark @ Gaffa Gallery.

What do you shoot with?

My main weapon of choice is a Canon 400D and I shoot almost everything with a Sigma 24-70mm and a Canon 50mm II f/1.8 lens.

I also have a Canon 18-55mm, a Canon 75-300mm, a Lensbaby Composer and four optics and about 4 toy cameras, including 2 Lomos (LCA and Colorsplash), a half frame camera and a Kodak twin lens reflex camera (which is not exactly a ‘toy’, but I also don’t use it as a proper camera). #gearfaggotry

Who are your favourite photographers?

Bill Henson – At some point in the past year or two the media, or somebody, deemed his work to be ‘controversial’, but before this mad claim was made, his work was, to many, simply beautiful. He has a serious gift for evocative moods and a penchant for contrasting dark/light spaces. One of Australia’s finest artists? I think so.

Todd Owyong – One of the best concert photographers in the world right now, in my opinion. Aside from being a fellow AZN music photography geek and having an awesomely named website (ishootshows.com – can’t get any clearer than that), his images are always absolutely sharp, pristine and he captures some amazing moments.

Steve Gullick – One of the rare photographers out there who still shoots with film, Steve Gullick’s music portraits are the absolute BOMB. The texture, the artistic approach – how do I shoot like this too (short of buying a film SLR)? He has also shot some incredible figures in music over the past few years, from J.Spaceman to Kurt Cobain. He also shot the cover of the latest Foals album, Total Life Forever. (See what I did there? Pimped out an excellent photographer AND album at the same time!)

Daniel Boud – A self taught photographer who is now doing incredibly well for himself? That’s Daniel Boud. Myself, and I’m sure hundreds of Aussie concert photographers out there, have learnt a lot from this man. He is the current chief photographer at Time Out and can be found in pretty much all the major photo pits in Sydney.

Cindy Sherman – Although she is more an artist than a strict photographer, her images are just too incredible not to mention in a photographic scope. I mean, everyone loves a cinematic, dark, avante-garde self portrait, right? I attempted a Sherman-inspired self portrait for this Canonista post, but, well, let’s just say there’s a reason Cindy Sherman is a renowned self portraitist and I am… not.

What do you like to shoot?

Bands, bands, bands and more bands! Also, candid moments. I will snap you unawares… and I’ve been called a ‘photo ninja’ on more than one occasion.

How did you meet your fellow Canonistas?

So as many are probably aware, we are co-workers as well as Canonistas. But our humble beginnings did not begin together, nor did they begin at work.

The meeting of the nerds: Back before we were consuming social networking sites and blogs for breakfast, there was an online blog community called Livejournal and within it a community of dedicated LJers called 1015saturday. Those dedicated LJers also got together once in a blue moon for drinks and hijinx… and that is where I met Ms Julia.

The (kinda) rock and roll meeting: A couple of years ago I went to a really great local gig somewhere in the inner west, and during the night was introduced to a girl at the bar by a mate. Over a schooner we conversed about things like music, and why I believed that every photographer should own a Canon 50mm f/1.8 lens. And THAT is where I met Fiona.

What blogs do you have to pimp?

My stuff:

Black Boots – I shoot bands then blog about them here.

The Great Australian Music Search – My journey of Australian musical discovery

Your New Aesthetic – Adventures with Lensbaby gear

Other cool stuff:

Lou Lou Nutt – Really awesome Melbourne Inpress photographer and the person who essentially helped inspire and kick off my live music photography fixation.

Nelipot Designs – A dear friend and talented paper.

Blueberry Paper – Combining my love of sweet, sweet design with my love of stationery.

Yourgigs – The unsung hero of Australian gig websites. I shoot gigs for them and sometimes write too.

The AU Review – An up and coming music website with a lot of heart. More of my opinions about music are published here

Pick one person whose portrait you want to take and explain why:

Although there are dozens of people I’d love to photograph, right now my #1 is my friend Leah. Leah is super hot, six months pregnant, engaged to a great guy and is absolutely glowing right now. I would love to capture her in this moment in time. I wonder if she would be willing to do it Demi Moore in Vanity Fair style?

 Fiona Laughton

fionacanon1

What do you shoot with?

I shoot with my beloved Canon 400D. I am naughty and schlep it around in my handbag, embarrass my friends with it at restaurants and try not to spill beer on it at the Annandale. I have a basic twin lens kit and a 50mm. I also love to take happy snaps with a Polaroid and my iPhone.

Who are your favourite photographers?

Tony Mott. He has worked with so many musicians I admire.

Daniel Boud because he is self-taught and generous with advice.

David Hagerman for his street food photography.

Megan McIsaac for amazing portraits and use of film.

Zoriah & all of the Big Picture contributors for photojournalism.

Lucinda Dodds for her fabulous use of light.

What do you like to shoot?

I love to shoot live music, especially rock’n’roll. I am inspired by colour, texture, and movement. I really like the spontaneity of live events. When I travel, I am a fierce documenter and I love to talk to strangers, take their portrait and capture the fleeting moments. I also adore natural light, good lens flare and an Inner West sunset.

How did you meet your fellow Canonistas?

I met Meesh in 2008 at the Rose at a memorial gig for a mutual acquaintance. I was propped up at the bar and I think a mutual friend introduced us. We talked about gig photography and she inspired me to buy a 50mm lens which made a big difference to my lowlight photography. Julia and I met at a ’90s party. She was dressed as Kurt Cobain and wearing a Melvins t-shirt – talk about love at first sight. Her date was Meesh (as Courtney Love) and through a twist of fate the three of us ended up working together.

What blogs do you have to pimp?

My Flickr

Zoriah.com

The Big Picture

Pick one person whose portrait you want to take and explain why:

A young, baby faced Mick Jagger. Although, an old Mick Jagger would still be good.

Julia Gardiner

juliacanon1

What do you shoot with?

A Canon 500D, with various Canon lenses and a Lensbaby single plastic optic, sometimes with an additional glass optic. When I’m feeling zany, I also have a Holga, a Polaroid and a fisheye2.

Who are your favourite photographers?

My default answer for years has been David LaChappelle and Annie Leibovitz. I collect all the coffee table books I can from either, [except when LaChapelle released one, of which there was a single copy in Sydney, which cost over $3000] but over time I’ve started to like stuff a little less stylised than LaChapelle, though still, if I ever took one portrait as good as Annie Leibovitz, even by accident, I’d die happy.

Now days I’m more likely to discover photographers I like on blogs or Flickr. Perhaps I think, I like more organic photographers these days.

What do you like to shoot?

It’s a total cliché, but I love cemeteries. I also love plane shots, and blossoms at night. Blossoms at night feels like it should be followed by ‘…and long walks on the beach’.

How did you meet your fellow Canonistas?

I met Meesh years ago, on the internets, then when I moved to Sydney she was the one person I was really dying to meet. We had cocktails once, then she got me my current job, so I see her almost every day and she is the bomb. I rate her as one of my favourite Australian live music photographers and this works well for me because I get to hassle her to sell me her photographs. So far, I own a print of hers which I love. In fact it was a print from her After Dark exhibition!

I met Fiona…last year, I think! We were at a house party. I was dressed as Kurt Cobain, Meesh was Courtney Love. Meesh knew Fiona, I knew of Fiona. I was sitting on the floor and this drunk little firecracker came over, and that was Fiona. She’s like a tiny female version of Tex Perkins, especially when she’s around music and/or booze. That night it was both. I was actually a bit confronted by her, ’cause I was going through one of my rare quiet phases and Fiona’s personality is like, whoa! After I met her I went and looked at her Flickr and fell in love with her India photos. Now she works with me too, and indeed sits right next to me.

What blogs do you have to pimp?

Oh, snap. Good question, whoever wrote these questions!

Of late I’ve discovered a bunch of peeps on Flickr.

Pete Hardy is an old friend of mine from way back in the day. I’ve always liked his photos and I love when he goes slightly crazy and heads off on a random road trips and takes photos.

Recently I discovered Dave Cheng, a friend of a friend of a friend, and I’m really digging what he’s doing with his 365.

My cousin Sam does crazy good portraits, and seems to have ridiculously good looking friends to take photos of.

Dave Johnson, whose stuff makes me want to go on a spending spree.

The American photographer, Ryan Russell, whose Polaroid photos I own many of now and who does insanely good live music photography.

For more art based stuff, I love reading the blog of Aaron Turner, of ISIS, to see how he puts together the album artwork he designs/creates.

Finally, there’s a guy called M S Corley who does the creepiest illustrations from literature. I bought heaps of his prints last year and need to get them framed, post haste, because they’re fantastic.

Pick one person whose portrait you want to take and explain why:

Anjelica Huston. I think she’s absolutely gorgeous. Those cheekbones!

You’ve Got Mail!

Tuesday was pretty much the best mail day of my life. It was like all my mail days came at once.

First up, on the Monday I received a very cryptic phone call from my mum. It went like this:

Mum: Hello! Are you at work?
Me: Yes?
Mum: Okay, I just need to know what size undies you wear.
Me: … Do you think perhaps I could text this to you?

So it came as no shock that when reception called and told me I had a package [okay, that possible could have come as a shock] to pick up.

undies

Nice underwear choice! Less porny than Iwas expecting.

Also waiting for me at work was this:

canon

As you can see, this is my Canon 430 EXII Speedlite flash. Perhaps I will discuss it more when I have used it. I plan to go flashing with Pete and Meesh sometime soon.

Before I went to work; however, I stopped in at the post office and picked up a couple of things waiting for me.

The first was this:

book

Let me get nerdy/serious for a second. For about two and a half years I worked as a media analyst, specifically, a media analyst for financial clients, including two with fairly controversial reputations. When I left the industry, rumbles had started, which would turn into an earthquake about a year later.

One of my clients was heavily exposed to sub-prime mortgages and has since lost a CEO, huge amounts of money and was a recipient of a massive bailout by the American government. I remember sitting in a huge meeting room of theirs, after a waiter brought us drinks, looking out over Sydney Harbour thinking, I have a degree in PR and another in English, what the hell am I doing here? Then we got down to business and I walked out with a strong sense that all was not well.

Now the Australian dollar has recovered and the job market started to look a little healthier and I no longer panic every time my current employer holds a staff meeting, but it doesn’t mean it’s all over. Look at Greece.

I think it’s exceptionally important to understand what happened and why. For the last 12 months or so, Vanity Fair has, without fail, provided some of the most in-depth and succinct coverage of the causes and effects of the GFC. In a time where print media is faltering and now some fairly cheesy ads now run alongside those for Louis Vuitton, Vanity Fair has dedicated enormous resources and page space to a topic most people would prefer to sweep under the carpet. The Great Hangover compiles some of the best coverage of this period, with pieces from authors including Bryan Burrough [one of the authors of Barbarians at the Gate, the famous book about the leveraged buyout of RJR Nabisco] , Todd S Purdum [national editor and political correspondent for Vanity Fair] and Bethany McLean [who was one of the journalists who broke the story about the financial rot in Enron]. It’s really worth reading and costs less than $20 here.

</nerdy rant about financial stuff>

Last, but certainly not least, I picked up a huge parcel from redbubble.

art

In it was a photo, this photo, by the ridiculously talented David Johnson. Seriously, you should check his stuff out, it’s really amazing and an extremely cheap investment for something so fantastic. Buy here! I think anyone who knows me or has ever seen some of the stuff I collect will understand what it fits in perfectly. My only regret is that I didn’t buy it framed, but I’m taking it to my mum’s framer in July.

On Wednesday I got two bills in the mail. Such is life and all that jazz.

25 Things You May Not Know About Me*.

1 – My mum found my name on a gravestone. Both my first and middle names, in fact. Years later, I went back and found the gravestone. And it was next to a woman who shared the same first and middle names as my older sister. My mum had never noticed this.

2 – The single most defining experience of my life was watching my younger sister kick cancer as a very young kid. It was also made up of many of the most horrific experiences of my life, but I think it shaped the loyalty my family has for one-another.

3 – I am the only child in my immediate family who’s not been hit by a car. That’s why I’m always super cautious crossing the road. Not because I’m afraid, or because I am acutely aware of the dangers of roads, but because I am determined to keep my status as the only child untainted by car damage.

4 – I read a lot, always have. I also had OCD for years and washed my hands until the skin started to peel off. Eventually my mum asked what the deal was and I told her that the library books I read seemed very germy and I disliked the germs. One day I finished reading a library book and before I could wash my hands, my mum made my lick my hand. I have never felt the overwhelming urge to wash  my hands after reading a library book since. However, I don’t condone licking everything you feel scared of. For example, licking a Komodo dragon is probably a very bad idea.

5 –  I am really good at side-scrolling platform games. That may have something to do with them being pretty much the only games I’ve ever played. The early ’90s were a good time for me and gaming. Oh Secret Agent Sam and Duke Nukem! I also have good game memory. For instance: Leisure Suit Larry and the Land of the Lounge Lizards. Played it for the first time last year since the early ’90s and first thing I did was hail that cab and go and buy some condoms. Right on.

6 – When I was in kindergarten, I lived in a motel. Not in one of the rooms, in a house which was attached to the reception of the motel. My grandad owned it and my parents ran it. The best thing about living in a motel was that as a special treat, sometimes we’d get to order breakfast from the room service menu, so mum would bring us the little sheets to tick whatever we wanted, then the cook would make it for us.

6 – I have now not smoked for as long as I did smoke. In a poetic moment, the last cigarette I ever smoked was pink, just like the Mr Bungle song.

7 –  A few years ago I was in a car accident and the car I was in got totalled. Since then, I’ve only driven in Sydney twice and one of the times I drove [very slowly, and probably very comically] into a large pole. For some reason, my fear of driving begins and ends in Sydney. I can drive anywhere else fine. Can not drive in Sydney. Which is no longer an issue considering I don’t have a car.

8 – I was born without a socket one one side of my hips, so I wore braces which helped the ball of my leg grind a socket. Sometimes it still clicks in and out.

9 – I’m an atheist, my parents are, my sisters are. The only time I’ve ever wished I had a faith was when I was really little and my mum used to read us the Little House books. I wanted there to be a heaven so I could meet Pa and Lauren Ingalls.

10 – I can’t cross days of a calandar before midnight because if I do, one of you might die.

11 – I’m really obsessed with evil media barons. A few years ago, I blogged about the ones I loved the most and ranked them. A journalist for The New York Times emailed me to tell me he got a Google alert after I’d mentioned a book he wrote about my favourite  evil media baron. He intimated that he found my post funny, but me, slightly strange.

12 – This is me.

13 – I once ate the same lunch for 76 working days in a row.

14 – When I was a kid, I pretty much only rented VHS copies of The Labrynth and Hot Shots. I’m fairly certain David Bowie’s tights are at least 75 per cent responsible for my heterosexuality and my still lingering trait for celebrity crushes.

15 – One of my sisters stabbed me in the back. Literally. Accidentally. You know who you are.

16 – When I was about 15, Jim Rose of the Jim Rose Freak Circus hugged me and called me his child. While he was hugging me, I had my hand in a pile of bile from The Enigma. Gross. The Enigma then encouraged me to pat his horned head. Then The Enigma had his own bile on his own head. I am unsure if he was aware of this.

17 – In my years as a checkout chick I:

a) knocked myself out briefly when I ran headfirst into a door frame after getting someone’s layby parcel in a rush;

b) briefly lost about $1000 when I accidently glued the bag it was in to my own back, and thus spent about five minutes turning in frantic circles trying to find it before a customer helped me, and

c) was running from a register to the change machine at Bunnings and took a flying leap over a pile of boxes, only to discover in a very Buster Keaton moment, that there was a rake lying forks up on the other side. I landed on the forks, the handle hit me squarely between the eyes and in front of a line of probably 20 people, was once again, briefly knocked out.

18 – I once convinced my then cancer-suffering younger sister to swap one of her far superior toys for one of my less than awesome ones. I’m really glad there is no hell.

19 – Until this year, I had lived with a snake for five years. Snakes as pets are like really long fish.

20 – In many of my checkout chick jobs, I found myself with surrogate mothers [probably because of my tendancy to knock myself out]. One of them drove me home after a very late shift and we had been discussing my need for mothering. When we pulled up, to my very dark, empty house, she jokingly said “Do you want me to come in and check under your bed for monsters?” “Ha, ha!” I said, “I don’t need you!”. Turns out my house was dark, but not so empty. After she drove away, I went inside to find someone had just left through the back door with a bunch of my cameras. That house would go on to be robbed one more time, once again for cameras, in the time I lived there. 

21 – The only time I have seen Star Wars, I watched them in episode order, rather then the order they were released.  

22 – Somewhere I have a photo of me making out with Darth Vadar.

23 – Once I was “helping” my dad at someone else’s farm. We were drafting ewes. The ewes had lambs. My job was to carry the lambs and put them over the fence. One of the lambs looked a bit odd. On closer inspection, I realised it had a fifth fully formed leg growing out of its head.

24 – I have been punched in the face once.

25 – When I was in Primary school, I went on a camping trip with my friend and her family. When her mum’s then-partner arrived, he got out of his car, grinned and handed me and my friend a gift each. What did he hand over to us you ask? Two dead baby foxes, which he’d hit with his car on the way to the camp site. Not only were we allowed to keep said dead baby foxes for some ungodly reason, but we kept them for days.

* Unless you’ve been reading any blog I’ve had in the last ten years.

Life Tests.

I buy my jeans from Vertically Blessed.

If I owned that company I’d probably call it something like Tall Pants Are Tall, but that’s besides the point.

I got a new pair of jeans a couple of weeks ago and they’re so long I have to cuff them.

This week got away from me a bit and I was out and about yesterday, so I didn’t get around to doing any washing until today and when I rolled down the cuffs before chucking the jeans in the wash, food fell out.

Now, it wasn’t like chop bone food, or a pickle or an anchovy or anything. It may have been toast at some point. So it wasn’t as gross as it could have been, but it still made me think, surely there should be a test you have to pass before you move out.

Tests I would have failed recently:

  • Taking apart a DVD player and putting it back together without having screws left over.
  • Putting food in your mouth and not in your pants.
  • Checking the batteries in the remote control before declaring your TV broken.

Tequila

I had a bad experience with tequila once.

The less said about it the better, really.

It was years before I could stand to be in the same room as it again. Just watching my old housemate Kel and our friend Maraya doing shots of it once made me feel sick.

At that stage we lived across the road from our favourite pub and one night I was perched in my typical place at the head of the bar, talking to a drummer friend and fellow Motörhead enthusiast, when he ordered a round of shots. Tequila shots.

I didn’t want to be all ‘No I’m sorry, I don’t do the hard stuff’ and it’d been years since The Incident, so I decided to man up and shot it like a pro.

Everything was going well. We had the shots in front of us and tongues covered in salt. We were prepped and ready to go. We lifted our glasses and then it all went horribly wrong. My mind and my arm went ‘DRINK IT!’, but my mouth? My mouth went ‘Oh hells no, I remember last time’ and clamped shut.

So whilst everyone else was slamming their glasses down and reaching for the lemon, I was trying to subtly wipe tequila off my face and while I wept tears of pure alcohol.

That was the last time I “drank” tequila.