I recently photographed the completed refurbishment of several facilities at Macquarie University. An entire fit-out was executed in the buildings of the International College, including testing rooms at the English Language College.
On Sunday I woke up to the sad news that Ron Austin had passed away on the weekend at the age of 90.
Ron was a gay rights activist and a member of the legendary 78’ers. He played a major role in the beginnings of the Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras, which took place in 1978 after his famous words, “Why don’t we have a street party?” The rest is history.
I had the pleasure of working with this humble, joyous man in 2012. Ron was one of the portrait models I photographed in a celebratory mood as part of the 2012 Mardi Gras promotional campaign.
I recently spent a very busy and rewarding day at the ACON headquarters near Sydney’s Central Station, taking proud and confident portraits of some of the members of our trans and gender diverse community in an informal, temporary studio on the third floor. The single portraits and group shots of Riri, Brielle, Te, Andrew, Peta, Sage, Emily, Farren and more than 30 other models are being published as part of an important document and campaign aimed at improving health issues for this particular group of our fellow human beings.
It is an uplifting and joyful experience to be able to photograph a group of socially-aware, ground-breaking people from such diverse backgrounds. The open-hearted, positive campaign initiated by ACON is so powerful that several of the models decided they would allow themselves to be professionally photographed for the very first time. I am very proud to be part of this process.
The new health strategy released by ACON aims to address key health issues and barriers experienced by trans and gender diverse (TGD) people. It was launched in April at Parliament House. The landmark “Blueprint for Improving the Health & Wellbeing of the Trans & Gender Diverse Community in NSW” provides a detailed overview of the health issues facing TGD people, and outlines key priority action areas that need to be addressed and implemented to ensure their health and wellbeing. To view the blueprint go to: acon.org.au
Two of my portraits have been included in the show “photo + illuminate + paint” at the Zed Gallery in Glebe, an artist run space that mixes visuals with music. The exhibition will run through April with my portrait of Obed (from my “Spot the Arab” series) and a work called “One Nation”, addressing the bizarre nature of politics today.
Artist Statement: Obed Karwhin is a sportsman who hopes to become the first full-blooded African rugby league star to play professionally in Australia. Training with the Redcliffe Dolphins, it’s a far cry from the horrors of civil war and escaping as a refugee to Guinea.
This work is part of my series entitled, “Spot the Arab” an ongoing series investigating contemporary concepts of stigma and discrimination in our society. I created a portrait of Obed dressed in Middle Eastern clothing and asked him if he identified as Arab or not. The challenge for the viewer is to decide for themselves how Obed has responded to the question.
One Eyed Man Production’s latest conquest is Monty Python’s “Spamalot” (book and lyrics by Eric Idle, Music by John Du Prez and Eric Idle) at the Hayes Theatre in Potts Point. I worked on a series of new production shots in Sydney.
It was an absolutely a fun gig to shoot and it kept me on my toes the entire performance, with actors entering and exiting from all directions.
I was given the opportunity to be part of the audience to see the show on opening night a few days later. I loved every minute of the silliness and antics on stage.
Rather than photographing the parade, this year at Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras, I photographed the spectators gathered at Taylors Square, the hub of the procession.
I embraced the importance of an event where people from all different walks of life come together to celebrate a sense of community with joy and pride. It’s more than political. It not only reinforces the idea we are all in this together it provides an opportunity to shed the hum-drum and throw your hands in the air without shame.
The following crowd images are a quick selection of some of my favorites….
I made new portraits of Obed Karwhin and his brother, Samuel. Obed is a sportsman who hopes to become the first full-blooded African rugby league star to play professionally in Australia. I wish him all the best in his sporting career.
I also worked with Leigh Pritchard on shots for his modelling portfolio.