This week has been simply wonderful for my creativity.
First, a beautiful exhibition of two subjects of high school projects, who became great inspirations in my work as a photographer. Max Dupain and Olive Cotton come together again (posthumously) for Max and Olive at Ian Potter Museum at Melbourne University. Some people get excited on seeing movie stars in real life. For me, a picture on a wall can give me goosebumps. What started as a printed image on a textbook page, studied laboriously and then seen years later – the actual print separated from me only by pane of glass, can bring tears of joy. These people saw an image and had the initiative to carry a camera loaded with film, onto which they captured to share forever.
You’ll know such iconic Australian images as ‘The Sunbaker’ the silvery tones of the skin, covered in beads of salt water and sand. For me this is a perfect image, shadow detail on a bright sunny day, with the shore just barely in view. You know the feeling of the sun on wet skin after a dip in the sea.
Olive Cotton set me on a lifelong quest to find extraordinary in the ordinary. Long shadows cast by teacups and reading glasses, flower silhouettes against the sky, the intricacy of a dandelion before it is dispersed by the wind. Her work continues to inspire me, flowing on to appreciation for photographers such as André Kertesz.
We sadly said goodbye to wonderful Bill Cunningham – a man who lived to take photos. Chasing wild fashion all over New York City on a bicycle, wearing his trademark blue French street cleaner jacket, he was 87. A beautiful soul, he lived for bold fashion worn by anyone, and his passion was contagious. He is testament to being prepared for anything, always armed with his camera. I had always hoped I’d get to NYC one day and catch a glimpse of him, dodging traffic to get the perfect shot. He was a calm being in a hectic industry, inspiring people with his humble spirit and kindness.