Raminginning.

Arnhem Land, in Australia’s Northern Territory.

Arnhem Land, in Australia’s Northern Territory.

My most exciting and exotic career moments have come from the 6 films I have worked on with writer/director Rolf de Heer, and Charlie’s Country was never going to be anything different. Our tiny crew, plus lead actor David Gulpilil, boarded a light plane in Darwin and took off for 6 weeks in the remote Aboriginal community of Ramingining, in Arnhem Land in Australia’s Northern Territory. Accommodation was scarce so actors and crew lived and ate together in the community guest house. We commuted around in an  assortment of battered four wheel drives, salvaged and maintained by our busy crew mechanic.

 Rolf de Heer directs David Gulpilil and Peter Djiger on location in Raminginning.

Rolf de Heer directs David Gulpilil and Peter Djiger on location in Raminginning.

 

Everyone had taken on extra tasks to keep crew numbers down; I was there to do the stills and behind the scenes video as well as shoot a separate documentary about the community itself. This  project had me teaming up with, Molly Reynolds, whose documentaries and on line components for the film 10 Canoes, http://www.12canoes.com.au/ , had won her international awards and acclaim.  Our daily adventures often started in the town park, we’d meet locals and follow stories, happy to provide a taxi service for anyone who asked as we explored the community and landscape, infested with massive crocodiles.

Molly Renolds and I at work on the flood plains near Raminginning.

Molly Renolds and I at work on the flood plains near Raminginning.

As a keen weaver, I could not have found a more inspiring place to spend a block of time. Basketry and weaving were deeply intertwined with the lives the Yolngu people, techniques and traditions dating back 60,000 years. They weaved predominately with leaves from abundant Pandanas trees, stripped, dried and dyed with vibrant pigments sourced from the local bush. Very soon after my arrival I organised to sit with master weaver  Mary Dhapalany, twin sister of our lead actor David Gulpilill.  She got me started on a dilly bag using a very intricate technique that would keep me busy for weeks. I was privileged also to sit with actress and artist Francis Jubiling, learning a variety of other traditional weaving techniques as well as string making from the bark of the Boab tree.

Weaving lessons with Mary Dhapalany in Ramingining.

Weaving lessons with Mary Dhapalany in Ramingining.

When Charlie’s Country wrapped in Darwin it marked the end of an intense period of film stills work, 4 films back to back, all of them away,  so I was very ready to get back to my special people in my home town. In Adelaide the local film industry was still as busy as I had ever seen it and  I immediately started casual work on the television show Sam Fox : Extreme Adventures. I have done very little television stills work, it requires a different style of photography and the fast pace in which they shoot TV makes getting any shots at all a challenge in itself. The Sam Fox crew was made up of all my old friends, people I had worked with for decades, and the young lead actors were fantastic. A committed lunch time hacky sack crew was soon established, turning a good job into a great one.

DSC_0571

Celebrity Hacky Sack. Many of the actors on my recent film projects have been up for a hack.

 

Its great to be home and have some time to do other things than just work. My girlfriend Ky and I  completed our first collaboration, a book called Endangered Community. The fight against an aggressive eviction by local council still goes on for the permanent Residents of the Brighton Caravan Park, as this close and delicate community try to save their homes. We are really proud of our little book and it was great to meet and work with this lovely community, they certainly appreciated our support and creating this record of their threatened lifestyle.

Endangered Community. My first book collaboration with Ky.

Endangered Community. My first book collaboration with Ky.

I also launched my basket weaving label, basketboy, this month. Still as obsessed as ever with weaving I keep myself busy working away at a series of small baskets using  natural materials sourced from the western suburbs of Adelaide.

Basketboy. My series of small urban baskets.

Basketboy. My series of small urban baskets.

The stills photography community mourned the loss of a colleague, John Bramley last month. An outstanding talent, John came from New Zealand and made it to the very top of the stills game, living in California and notching up an impressive list of film credits over two decades including the Spiderman trilogy and the Twilight films. Johns accidental death on location in India brought home to all of us the dangers associated with travel and working long hours, and the importance of spending time with our loved ones.

Working and weaving

Although I only managed to live on Kangaroo Island for 6 weeks it was just the best time. My photographic bird book got off to a good start, I was able to stay on several stunning south coast properties and document their ornithological treasures. I also went hard with my basket weaving, producing at least one basket a day and greatly improving my skills working with a variety of new natural materials. Every day was total indulgence, starting with yoga and filled with swimming, fishing  bush walking and bike riding adventures.

 Black Swan- Montebello Lagoon. Kangaroo Island

Black Swan- Montebello Lagoon. Kangaroo Island

 

I spent the majority of my time  at Montebello, a pristine 1100 property surrounding a massive lagoon. I fell in love deeply with this place when it was on the market 5 years ago and was heartbroken when it sold. The new owners, Colin and Rujee Duke, a Pharmacologist and Medical Researcher couple from Sydney, picked up the property to protect, and pursue their research into the unique healing properties of the local propolis. They had generously allowed me to stay for as long as I needed and I was able to assist them with some bee keeping and maintenance  tasks.

 

Black Swan- Montebello Lagoon. Kangaroo Island

Black Swan- Montebello Lagoon. Kangaroo Island

 

The plant that gave the propolis its unique qualities was Sword Sedge, which happened to also lend itself very well to basket weaving. Combining this plant  with reeds from the lagoon I came up with a basket design  called the Montebello, of which I made about a dozen. I gave most of them away but one made its way into a local gallery, Rustic Blue, and actually sold, in my first sale as a weaver.

 

The Montebello-Reed and Sword Sedge basket.

The Montebello-Reed and Sword Sedge basket.

 

Eventually work on the mainland beckoned so I loaded up my bicycle and trailer and headed back to Adelaide, to join The Rover.  Writer/ director David Michod  hit the jackpot with his debut feature Animal Kingdom, produced Porchlight Pictures, a regular client over my career. His Animal Kingdom cast had enjoyed massive career boosts from the films local and international acclaim, and everyone was waiting to see what David would do next.  The production rolled into my hometown Adelaide, bringing with it actors Guy Pearce and Robert Pattinson, before heading off to shoot in the extremely remote and dangerously hot far north of South Australia.  The prospect of working in that environment  at this time of the year, with daily temperatures expected to be around 50 degrees, scared off many experienced local crew, but a brave crew was assembled and the film making road trip commenced.

 

The Rover-Guy Pearce and Robert Pattinson

The Rover-Guy Pearce and Robert Pattinson

 

On location my basket weaving also had its moment when I found myself teaching a class to some curious crew members during a delay caused by heavy rain. The town had not had rain for more than a year until we arrived, a common film crew blessing for the locals, and curse for the tightly scheduled productions. It was satisfying to see the enthusiasm in my  students eyes, two of them quietly sneaking off to construct second baskets during the afternoon, enjoying being arty and the attention it brought them. The word got around among the crew and I needed to schedule a second class.

My first basket weaving class.

My first basket weaving class.

 

Working part time on a production and being able to come and go can be one of the assets of the stills photographer job. Working full time for weeks on end can leave you creatively numb and can make maintaining relationships at home very tricky.  On one of  my breaks back in Adelaide I teamed up with my partner Ky Alecto on a project working with the permanent  residents of  Brighton Caravan Park and their fight against a sudden and aggressive eviction. Ky’s mum, Marilyn Pearson, was among the 40 soon to be displaced individuals, some of who had lived in the park for 15 years, and she was leading a brave fight. They were a strong, diverse community thriving in a time where healthy communities seemed rare, and they deserved to be supported. It was my first social documentary photography project for many years and I loved meeting all these people, doing photographic work with a social value again.

 

Endangered Community. Carol.

Endangered Community. Carol.

 

Carols-Story

With less than a day between projects, I finished up in the desert on The Rover and then head straight up to Australia’s tropical far north to work with Rolf de  Heer on Charlie’s Country, in what will be our 6th film together. Rolf must be Australia’s most prolific and interesting film makers and his projects are always completely different and a pleasure to work on. Staring the legendary indigenous actor David Gulpilil, we will be spending the majority of the shoot in Ramingining, David’s ancestral land, working closely with his community. I will be shooting the stills, behind the scenes video whatever other jobs need doing as part of Rolf’s super minimal crew. It will no doubt be another amazing film making adventure in what is shaping up as a very busy and interesting year.

Bike, baskets and birds

Anyone who knows me will not be surprised that I have given away or put into storage everything I own, apart from what I can fit on my push bike and trailer, and am leaving city life behind to live in a tent on Kangaroo Island. I have been raving on about my feral dream to people forever, boring them no doubt, but at last the moment has arrived. 2012 has been intense. On top of being the busiest work year in my career, my 20 year relationship came to an end, and my amazing daughter gave new meaning to hard study, just graduating from high school with one of the top marks in the state. I also have a wonderful new partner in my life, an amazing woman and stunning artist Ky Alecto; a exciting new chapter to my blessed life begins.

[IMAGE] My amazing daughter Amelia (circled) makes front page of the paper with the other top students.

A life intertwined with nature has been calling me for years; there’s a Kangaroo Island photographic bird book just dying to happen and my closet musician and amateur basket weaver are busting to have their moments in the sun. Natural basket weaving has been my obsession for the last 12 months. I watched a few video clips on-line, did a little course, but have been basically sitting and weaving baskets with all sorts of materiel’s throughout the year, making lots of mistakes and just learning as I go. Over a hundred little baskets have come together in my hands, to be given away or just left where they were made, and they are just starting to get interesting.

[IMAGE] Some examples of my baskets made this year.

From now on this blog will incorporate my basket weaving, Kangaroo Island bird photography as well as my ongoing work as a stills photographer in the film industry. I do expect to lose a few customers.

Super busy.

Cuban Fury was a great project to work on, despite the daily chaos of negotiating London Olympics traffic. Nick Frost’s months of intensive dance training paid off; the entire crew were highly impressed with his smooth moves and acrobatics. He was suburb in his first leading role and is just the nicest guy. London’s salsa dancing community were a huge asset to the production bringing lots of fun and great energy to the set, and they were extremely patient with the long technical days required to shoot dance sequences. As we wrapped in September, it was nice to be invited to jump straight onto Big Talk Productions next film, Edgar Wright’s The Worlds End, but after 9 weeks abroad I really needed to return to my own part of the world to my loved ones.

 Satellite Boy, my favourite poster shot of the year

Satellite Boy, my favourite poster shot of the year

I arrived in Adelaide to find my local film industry the busiest I had ever seen it, and jumped straight on toThe Babadook. The first feature by writer/director Jennifer Kent, the script was intense and hugely ambitious for its super tight budget. A dark psychological horror film, the project had attracted the amazing Essie Davis to its leading role in what would be our fouth film together. In what must be a terrifying decisions for any director, 6 year old Noah Wiseman was cast to play her son in a physical and emotional role that would have tested any highly experienced actor.  Noah was so amazing every day, helped enormously by patient and imaginative directing by Jennifer, and outstanding actress herself. I loved working on The Babadook, being close to home, amongst my film crew family, working hard as a team to make the project as good as possible.

The Babadook. Noah Wiseman and Essie Davis.

The Babadook. Noah Wiseman and Essie Davis.

 

I have been a member of The Society of Motion Picture Stills Photographers for a year now and admit that I do like seeing SMPSP after my name on my film credits. The society is a fascinating collection of international colleagues practicing this specialised field  of photography and we correspond occasionally, keeping an eye on each other’s  projects and sharing technical information. In my first group exhibition with the society, The Directors, we were all invited to submit our favorite director stills.

 

This year The South Australian Film Corporation celebrate 40 years of outstanding contributions to Australia’s film history. As one of the countries smaller, less populated states many iconic and significant films have been made here, and SA continues to attract amazing projects and produce many of our most outstanding filmmakers and technicians. As one of only 2 stills photographers based in this town I was very over represented in the section looking at films from the last decade.

[IMAGE] Some of my photographs in the Sunday To Far Away exhibition.

It was direct from dark, monochromatic world of The Babadook to the extremes of the Australian outback for the feature film Tracks. Based on Robyn Davidsons classic adventure book from the 1970′s,  American John Curran is directing Mia Wasakowska, along with a dog and 4 camels, in what has been an amazing location shoot. Starting in South Australia’s Flinders Rangers the shoot will have me travelling to remote Coffin Bay and then to Central Australia, some of Australia’s most stunning environments. Director of photography Mandy Walker decided to shoot on film, so in keeping with this spirit I dusted off my Hasselblad and rounded up some 120mm film stock for the first time in years. The shoot will keep me busy until the end of the year with interesting follow up projects already falling into place that will keep me working in Australia until the middle of next year, unheard of.

[IMAGE] On set on TRACKS, shooting film again on my beloved Hasselblad.

Back to London

After working on The Grandmothers, now called Two Mothers, I entered into a busy and eventful 3 months at home in Adelaide, with all my special people and dog. Cameras were swapped with wheel barrows and shovels as I got stuck into my own landscaping project, the last of the big scary jobs to complete an old house renovation that I had plugged away at for 15 years.

Mabo screened on television ABC for the 20th anniversary of the historic Australian indigenous land rights decision. A strong publicity campaign featured many of my stills, and lots of my behind the scenes video footage was nicely cut into several short documentaries. I was nervous about my small cameo as my dad because I genuinely suck as an actor but, surprisingly, I made the final cut and my and my cousins said I was a dead ringer.

[IMAGE] My Mabo cameo as my dad Professor Garth Nettheim.

I have a run of films about to be released and close to completion.  I am always anxious about the poster shot, you really want to nail that key part of the stills job and it can make a huge difference to the success of the film. Rolf de Heer’s The King is Dead went with a compilation of my natural light portraits for their local an international posters, and some stills appeared on a you tube clip for the films explicit gangsta rap theme song, also written by Rolf.

Busy London production company Big Talk have been my most faithful client over the recent years. I connected with producer Nira Park in Australia on the film Gone in 2006, and went on to work with her onHot Fuzz and Attack the Block. It was fantastic to be contacted again by the company and offered the stills job on Cuban Fury, a dance comedy created by and starring Nick Frost, in what will be our third project together.

I arrived in crazy London just ahead of the Olympics, and significantly for me, on the eve of the UK release ofThe Hunter, opening on an impressive 40 screens across the UK. It was a treat to see what is probably my best film poster plastered throughout tube stations as I settled in as a local for the 9 week shoot.

 

[IMAGE] The Hunter poster catches a kids attention at my local tube station.

 

My host is London is the lovely Alison Limerick. I have lodged at her house many times over the years, along with her numerous cats, and we have become great friends. Alison’s musical career hit huge heights in the 1990′s with her club anthem “Where Love Lives”, she has produced 4 albums and collaborated with many musical legends. It was a treat to finally catch her live, doing her hit single at a Old Skool night at Koko’s in Camden, she was amazing.

 

[IMAGE] Alison Limerick performs live at Koko’s.

 

Seal Rocks

It was a quirky start to the working year as I joined my closest and oldest film crew family on the low budget feature One Hundred Bloody Acres, shooting locally to me in the Adelaide hills.  Writer/director brothers, Colin and Cameron Cairnes, had worked hard and done extremely well to get their grizzly horror script financed. They were nice guys who knew their subject, their passion for their project was contagious and they deserved my best work as much as anyone, even though they were from Victoria. In a career first I needed to wear a plastic poncho to stop the blood from getting all over my camera and clothes.

[IMAGE] Two Arri Alexa’s roll on a messy 100 Bloody Acres moment.

My friend and accidental agent, publicist Fiona Nix, alerted me to the French/Australian co-production The Grandmothers and we put my name in the hat for the stills photographer position early. Later, I travelled to Sydney on short notice and met accaimed French director Anne Fontaine and her team in a brief meeting, and ended up putting together several  portfolios for them over the following weeks. It had all the signs of being a great job, so I also asked everyone I knew already attached to the film to put in a good word for me, as you do. A week before shooting commenced all the work paid off, I was offered the job, they sent me a script, and yes, I packed my snorkel and goggles.

[IMAGE] Boat Beach, Seal Rocks. New South Wales, Australia.

In one of the best decisions I have made for a long time, I organised to stay at the isolated seaside location, Seal Rocks, on the central coast of New South Wales, rather than at the resort with the rest of the crew 30 minutes drive away. I rode a push bike everywhere and got to know the stunning coastal region and the local community well. On my daily swimming and snorkelling adventures, just around my local bay (above), I had close encounters with a Giant Sea Turtle, Grey Nurse and Wobbegong Sharks, a myriad of rays, big schools of fish and pods of dolphins. The work itself was deluxe; shooting happened on or around the beach every day, a terrific crew and fantastic catering, the sort of job where you could bring your dog, of which there were several.

[IMAGE] Gracie, Fidel and Tito. Our fantastic caterer Reza Mokhtar disappoints the crew dogs by emerging with asparagus.

[IMAGE] Anne Fontaine, Christophe Beauparte on camera, and crew shooting on Treachery Beach, Seal Rocks.

Director of Photography, Belgian, Christophe Beauparte, made the increasingly rare decision to shoot on film, in Anamorphic no less, a creative decision worthy of his masterful camera work and sublime lighting. All of the actors were fantastic with me, making it easy to get great coverage of the scenes and to just enjoy the job. Our extremely talented and beautiful leading ladies, Naomi Watts and Robin Wright, never once told me to get lost, on a job where they were predominately in their bikini’s or naked with someone in bed. Indeed, the films strong French accent gave the entire shoot very unique flavour. Director Anne Fontaine and her charming partner, the film’s producer Phillippe Carcassonne, gave the Australian crew many laughs, and plenty of new French words, over the 8 weeks.

[IMAGE] We finished up the shooting in Sydney, my passionate lunchtime hacky sack crew displaying its best form in those closing day, it had been a great job.

[IMAGE] Celebrity Hacky Sack 2012; Actors Angas Sampson, Xavier Samuel and James Frencheville all qualified.

The Society

In an encouraging sign, a busy period of interesting jobs directly followed my disaster work year. I spent two weeks in Sydney catching up with all my family, whilst working on the feature film Venice, Written and directed by Miro Bilbrough, Venice is being produced by my sister in-law Karen Radzyner in our first project together. It was a really lovely film to work on, I joined a small hard working crew towards the end of the shoot, Bonnie Elliot was behind the camera and having lots of fun and getting remarkable results once again with an Arri Alexa.

[IMAGE] The women of Venice. Karen Radzyner (L), Alice McConnell, Bonnie Elliot and Miro Bilbrough.

My five minutes of fame on the back of my big brothers film The Hunter occurred when Dan came to stay with me in Adelaide. With his lead actor Willem Dafoe having completed his part of the Australian launch, Dan still had ongoing engagements. As a sign of support I nervously joined him him for a Q&A after the preview screening, something he was now fluent and confident at doing, but it was a wierd situation for me. We were also interviewed and photographed together, the brother’s angle seemed popular in my home town, and Adelaide’s only newspaper ran the picture large, so everyone I know saw.

[IMAGE] The Nettheim brothers in The Adelaide Advertiser.

In other good news, I was accepted into The Society of Motion Picture Stills Photographers along with Jasin Boland, the first Australian’s to become members of this honorary organisation. The L.A. based SMPSP has only 35 members from around the globe, and new members must have at least 10 years of feature film experience then find sponsorship by 2 other members before submitting a portfolio for approval by the Society. There is not a great deal of official recognition for the production stills photographer out there, no awards that I am aware of,  a simple photo credit seems rare, so it felt great to be accepted into the society and connect with my colleagues working in this specialised genre of photography. I now get to put SMPSP after my name on all future film credits.

Discussing the SMPSP and stills photography with Robbie Buck Radio ABC 702.

I have never really pushed the circus side of my career, but  jobs continue to come in and I have a policy of always saying “yes” to work. Circus Elements is a new Adelaide entertainment company run by Juliette and Scott Griffin.  They are a lovely couple, and also very organised resulting in lots of work for their stilt and unicycle based characters. When dressed up as a 10 foot chef at a busy public event there is the constant threat of a nasty child getting too excited and tackling me to the ground, but it is fun challenging work, and perhaps not surprisingly, rather well paid!

[IMAGE] As a giant chef at Cheese Fest, Adelaide.

My dream job tropical island manifested itself perfectly in the form of MABO. Produced by Blackfella Films,the project dramatises for the first time the Murray Islander’s life and historical native title claim. In our second production together, Rachel Perkins is directing, who’s work I love. The Eddie Mabo story is also a testament to the work of my father Garth, who as an academic and writer has campaigned for human rights and native title for indigenous Australians his entire career. On just a weeks’ notice, and with lots to get organised, I will be starting the shoot on remote Murray Island, in the Torres Strait off the coast of North Queensland, Australia. Pack goggles and snorkel.

Something beautiful

My photography exhibition Upturned Discarded Televisions showed continually for 3 weeks as both a 7 minute video and printed 12 metre photographic panorama. The media release I sent out attracted very little interest, however Adelaide commentator Peter Goers invited me to discuss the exhibition on ABC radio which was fun. It felt good to have a little arty show again, and put closure on this earth shattering body of work.

[IMAGE] Discussing my career and discarded televisions with Peter Goers on ABC Radio 891.

[IMAGE] Upturned Discarded Televisions on display at Miss Gladys Sym Choon, Adelaide, Australia.

Over a couple of days two jobs came in that had me all excited again and packing my bags.Satellite Boy is the feature film debut of writer and director Catriona MacKenzie, the script was lovely. On short notice I flew up to Western Australia’s remote and incredibly beautiful Kimberley region for one week.  A hard working Aussie film crew, with many old friends, was buckling in for what was expected to be an intense shoot; 6 weeks of extreme weather, a tight budget with the minimal comforts of home. We were all accommodated in tents at a caravan park in Wyndam, that also boasted a 2000 year old Boab tree down the back that was breathtaking.

[IMAGE] A 2000 year old Boab tree at Wyndam caravan park Western Australia

Master cinematographer Geoffrey Simpson was capturing stunning pictures on the new Arri Alexa camera and it was a pleasure to breathe in the dust and smoke with this lovely man. I was in my element with a stunning landscape as my background, fantastic indigenous actors to photograph, and even a bunch of kids to play hacky sack with at lunch. Satellite Boy was a great project to be involved with and a fun adventure, for me this is the film making experience at its best.

[IMAGE] Arri Alexa camera in forground, Geoffery Simpson and Catriona MacKenzie line up a shot in the Kimberly landscape.

It was straight from the extremes of Australia’s far north to the very comfortable Sydney Opera House for 2 days of physical theatre photography. I formed a connection with the DV8 troupe, and their director Lloyd Newson, during the 2008 Adelaide Festival. The London based company had me photograph their show To Be Straight with You.  DV8′s latest work Can We Talk About This? was preparing for its world premiere in Sydney, and they invited me along. It was exciting to spend time with this amazing group of performers as they undertook the final rehearsals of another mesmerizing and confronting work ahead of its world tour.

[IMAGE] Can we talk about this? DV8 Physical Theatre

My brothers film The Hunter has enjoyed a perfect run up to its release in Australia on October 6th. The world premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival ignited a frenzy of sales to US and European distributers. Willem Defoe’s commitment and support of the film has always been more than generous, which he continued by returning to Australia to do a hectic media junket with my big brother that attracted enormous interest. Short featurettes using my behind the scenes footage have been appearing on-line, and an exhibition of my stills was displayed at the Australian premiere, which I was able to attended in Sydney. I am so excited for my big brother Dan on what should be an exciting and well deserved ride with this beautiful film that I loved.

[IMAGE] The Hunter film stills on display at the Dendy Opera Quays cinema, Sydney.

My tax records confirmed that 2011/12 had been my worst financial year for a decade, my roller coaster photography career yet to settle into something consistent even after specialising and building it for over a decade. What keeps me plugging away at the film stills game, rather than specialising in dog photography for example, is there is always a possibility that you will become part of creating something beautiful that people will see and remember, that is well paid and shot on a tropical island.

An exhibition

The King is Dead! was a wonderful film to work on, it was a privilege to be invited back into the fold of a tiny Rolf de Heer crew. We filmed largely in Adelaide’s inner western suburbs, and the perfectly cast ensemble of actors brought the quirky script to life with wonderful performances, commitment and Rolf’s consummate direction. I was kept extremely busy shooting not only the stills but also the behind the scenes video, operating the films B camera, shooting the EPK interviews, being a utility stand-in for the actors and generally assisting Ian Jones’s one person camera department. Riding my bike to location each day and working with many old friends on an interesting project made The King is Dead! yet another great film-making experience.

[IMAGE] The King is Dead! crew on location in West Croydon, Adelaide.

Financially it would have been perfect to have walked straight onto another film shoot, one with an actual budget, but despite considerable effort no other film jobs were forthcoming. Even with some rather exciting possibilities in the UK in September, it was time to put down my cameras, grab the shovel and stilts and keep the income flowing.

[IMAGE] The Blind Mice make their debut outing in Adelaide”s Rundle Mall. I am the tall one.

Keeping me challenged over this next period will be preparing for my first non film stills photo exhibition in almost a decade. Upturned Discarded Televisions will showcase the results of many years of Adelaide street photography with my ever present compact camera. The photo exhibition fits nicely into what has grown into a series of quirky social documentary projects born out of the Adelaide suburbs. The Backyard Crop(1994), Old Men Who Get Around on Old Bikes (1996), Loft Beds of Share-house Adelaide (1998), and The Hydroponic Room (2000) also trod these streets. In what has become a tradition, the exhibition will be on 24 hour public display in the Rundle Street shop window of Miss Gladys Sym Choon, and is a registered part of the annual SALA arts festival.

[IMAGE] An excerpt from my Upturned Discarded Televisions panorama.

 

I am keeping an eye on several of my recent films at the moment. Attack the Block has enjoyed amazing publicity and has been called a cult classic by many reviewers. It enjoyed a good UK box office and was competitive against other massive UK summer film releases, as well as all the football finals. It opens in the US in July and will kill it on the world’s DVD market, no doubt. Oranges and Sunshine also did good UK box office, but has done outstanding in Australia where it was very well publicised and reviewed. The Eye of the Storm is all fired up and ready to be released, a slick new web page uses many of my stills and the poster is a montage of six of my photographs, always a great outcome for the humble stills guy.

A wedding photographer

[IMAGE] The Hunter. Willem Defoe and wet crew in Tasmania. Robert Humphries on camera expertly assisted by my friend Kevin Scott.

The 7 weeks in Tasmania working alongside my brother Dan as he directed The Hunter were a treat. Our lead actor, Willem Defoe, was a huge asset to the film; hard working, committed to his role and a pleasure for the whole crew to work with. We immersed ourselves in the beautiful and diverse Tasmanian landscape during the shoot, and I bush walked and explored further on my days off. Principal photography went very well and brother Dan is currently in the editing room working hard on what I believe will be a stunning  film.

[IMAGE] The Hunter editing room with editor Roland Gallois (L), producer Vincent Sheenan and director Daniel Nettheim.

With funds running low, and no new film projects presenting themselves, it became necessary for me to get some work happening locally. The ever faithful State Theatre Company of South Australia offered me the contact for their opening production The Misanthrope. I was also not to proud to pick up jobs as a wedding, garden and social photographer, and I continued to do gardening work for my friend Pete’s companyYardstick. Also, stilt walking work with the Knee High puppet company came up, this time I was a 12 foot android entertaining crowds at a street festival. My step father also employed me to work for one week on his wonderful flower farm on the New South Wales south coast. On the farm my stilt walking prowess also comes in handy as I am able to find and pick ripe flowers from the very crests of the larger Protea plants, on a pair of dodgy stilts that I threw together in the shed, strapped to my legs with tape.

[IMAGE] Stilt-walking flower picking, in the rain.

Four films I worked on will be opening over the next couple of months, and the publicity machines are starting to fire up. The Eagle opened this week in the US and the final poster is a montage of several of my images. In a rare treat, I am getting a photographer credit on all the photographs that get published in the US media, something that rarely happens in Australian and the UK. Oranges and SunshineAttack the Blockand The Eye of the Storm have all released great trailers and new stills of mine are appearing on-line all the

[IMAGE]

A collection of many of my stills in The Eagle display at the Arclight Cinema in Hollywood

It was late February before I finally secured  a next film project. Writer and director Rolf de Heer gave me my first feature film stills job back in 1999 and over our 4 projects together has definately given me some of my most memorable film making adventures. Having not been available for his last two productions, I was delighted that he contacted me again. My next film is now looking like now being The King is Dead, shooting in my home town Adelaide, but it doesn’t start for 2 months. Anyone need a wedding photographer, on stilts?

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