My film Another Country premiered at the Melbourne International Film Festival and received a long standing ovation. For a documentary, and my first effort as a cinematographer, it has been exciting to watch it not only do well on the festival circuit, but pick up some amazing reviews and even get a cinematic release. I caught up with the film at The Adelaide Film Festival and stood with my director Molly Reynolds for a couple of what has been for her a busy circuit of Q&A’s and interviews. My family and loved ones caught the film at various places around the county and were full of praise, which felt great. I am very proud of Another Country and the supporting website Still Our Country.
It gets pretty cold and windy in winter here on Kangaroo Island, so I am particularly proud at having only slept in my house for a couple of weeks this year. Having a tent in the back garden as our bedroom has been a great decision, amongst many other things, freeing up a whole room in the house just for yoga and meditation! The bell style canvas tent glows magically by lantern light at night, the big winds and storms weave their way into my dreams, you feel the thud, thud, thud of kangaroo’s passing by and wake very morning to a chorus of native birds. My girlfriend Ky has been studying Eco Psychology and Eco Art Therapy this year and the whole family is reaping the benefits of her studies. Connecting with nature and understanding the interconnection of all things are wise and healing teachings, made easier by the fact that I already live in a beautiful natural environment. I have always been partial to sleeping outside. Eco-psychology guru and Project Nature Connect founder, Dr.Michael Cohen, has apparently slept outside since the 1970’s, legend.
A time rich lifestyle on Kangaroo Island creates some interesting opportunities. Finding lots of enjoyment through my personal photo projects again, I set up a volunteer artistic residency at the islands Aged/Assisted Living facility Carnarvon. Over 2 months I got to know the residents and staff then set up a little portrait studio in the common room and invited them in. The residents brought along a chair or other special items from their rooms for their sitting, and later on worked with me to select their favorite shots, and order prints for their families. I loved this project and these dignified portraits, that now hang in the entrance foyer of Carnarvon.
Together with Ky and my neighbor Angie Watkins, we held an exhibition at our local gallery Artworks titled The Earth Gives Us Everything . Ky unveiled her stunning Tari landscape series that she has been working on since we moved to the island. Angie took her wand making to a new heights, working with materials mostly found on our beach, for what was her first ever art exhibition. My photography also stayed with a local theme. I took family portraits of the majority of my community here at Baudin Beach, a great opportunity to get to know the locals and further develop a portrait series that I have been working on since moving to the island. Never a great landscape photographer, I challenged myself to try and capture something of the beautiful and dramatic places that surround me, juxtaposing a selection of these with my portraits. Working only with local materials I also weaved a few bits and pieces, including my first pair of woven thongs.
Also at the Artworks gallery I taught my first basket weaving workshop which attracted strong interest from my community. My students got to learn the basics of wicker weaving using local sedge’s and rushes, and it went well, everyone walked away with at least one little basket. Part of a series of Winter Workshops concieved by Ky, I was fortunate to participate in all three of her fantastic Art Therapy workshops. We both now spend time working at this community gallery that represents many fine artists from around the island.
It hasn’t been all beach walks and fine food, some work did come up and I ducked off to Canberra to spend a week working on Secret City, a futuristic political thriller. Having had some time away from on set stills photography it was really fun to get back into it and I enjoyed the work and travel. Having been a NIKON man for the best part of my career, this project marked my first job working with a SONY camera, the AR7 2, which had just came on the market. Being able to take high resolution stills completely silently up till now has required the use of a camera blimp , a silencing box that goes around the camera and lens, an obscure and heavy accessory used almost exclusively by us stills types. The era of the sound blimp was always going to come to an end with the advent of digital photography, but it has taken its time for this technology to get up to speed for use in my industry. It was liberating to finally be able to reduce my equipment to one light camera body and a couple of lenses, and give my body a break from a career of heavy lugging.
A great warrior has left this world. Ramindjeri elder Karno Walker was a traditional lore man, story teller, activist and fighter. Karno had spent the last few years in court fighting for sovereignty on behalf of his people and all Original Australians.When my family arrived on Kangaroo Island (Karta) 2 years ago we went first to Karno and Christine’s place (Wulde Wurri – Eagles Nest) that sits above Murray Lagoon. He surprised and honoured us with a welcome to country ceremony in traditional dress, setting up what has been a great relationship with this land. His friendship and teachings have been a special part of our time here. 2 weeks ago we were again with Karno and Christine at Wulde Wurri for a Mum:oo:wee ceremony, 4 days of talking and healing that attracted people from all around the country. I will miss this unique and powerful man and honour his passing on of knowledge and stories, towards more understanding and greater peace on earth.