I sit here - knowing that my friends and family back home are already living in 2016. I can’t help but take a little extra time to recall some of the brilliance that was 2015. I am of course still living in the past. Being in New York I am a full 16 hours behind where I should be, thats 16 hours of reminiscing, shuddering and no so quiet chuckles as I reflect on the year that was.
Disclaimer - these are not in any particular order and by no means a complete list - just a random collection of memories as I sit here eating a slice of pizza that’s bigger than my face.
Memory 1 - tramming it home and sitting near (not next to) a homeless man. Everyone else was crammed into the front of the tram - this gentleman, whilst not ripe, was in need of a shower, but it was nothing that I couldn’t cope with. After 10 minutes HE moved away from ME. Still not sure why, I didn’t smell, I was tidy, despite the shenanigans of celebrating 135 years of greatness (Two fiends and I turned 45 within a few weeks of each other and had a joint celebration) all I was doing was watching a video of Deanna putting 2 fingers together and saying chicken - yes I was chuckling, but it was perfectly socially acceptable, my chuckling, not the video. Not that there was anything untoward in the video - it was fine, and I was wearing earphones. Anyway, in 2015, I made the homeless run away from me - in a confined space - not sure what the lesson is but the memory still lives.
Memory 2 - Good times and great rock and roll - The Office - or rather, the offices.
I get to work with a fantastic crew each and every day. They are talented, funny and damn good at what they do. They pick me up when I am down and keep the wheels turning when mine fall off. They accept me for who I am and make coming into work each day a joy and worth all the challenges we face. And thank you guys - we face them together and that means so very much. Although I spend most of my time in the Melbourne office, the brilliant people in both Melbourne and Sydney are an inspiration. If I had to be stuck in the Hotel California - you’re the people I would want to be stuck with.
Memory 3 - Delirium hitting hard during the 24 hour project, a project to document the human condition.
Staying awake for 24 hours and posting a photo every hour. OK, so it ends up being that you are awake for 43-44 hours because of the whole going to work on the Friday before you start shooting at midnight. This is the 2nd year I have participated and it hit me harder this year than last year. May be because I had my niece’s naming day celebration to attend, may be because I am a year older. Either way - the crash came and stayed for a while. I did take advantage of a bed at my sisters for about 40 minutes. Word to the wise - this is not a good idea, a little nap will kill you. Theres a point during the project where you start taking what you think is a fantastic photo, but when you look back on it days later and realise you spent ten minutes shooting a garbage bin and a lamp post. The only way I was able to cope was through the support of an incredible group of photographers whom I like to call friends. Another huge wave of support came from some other fantastic people that I like to call family, I hope they don't mind, they could just be looking at me thinking I’m a crazy person and they don't want to tip me over the edge, but I like to call them family anyway (aw come on guys - you know I love ya). And yet, like child birth, the moment it’s over your locking in to do it again and dragging more people into it. Yes Renzo, put my name down for next year - may need a wheelchair and some oxygen, but I’m in.
Memory 4 - Getting snap happy - meeting with friends and shooting the breeze whilst we shoot the streets (or other things if you’re not into street photography).
The fantastic photographers of Melbourne that are always willing to share themselves, their knowledge, their last dollar and their last brain cell with you always make me smile when I think of them. Too many to name here individually - you know who you are. I wouldn’t be able to do what I do without you, or at least not anywhere near as well or with as many smiles. Wether it’s photography or just everyday life, the openness and joy they bring is infectious. You’re an awesome group of people and I will definitely be walking with you again in the future.
Memory 5 - Still making it - Living in New York.
WOW - just WOW, amazing times with amazing people that I have been meaning to catch up with for years. Incredible experiences with family and friends, and some solo missions that will stick with me forever. I will need to return to meet the people I didn’t get to meet and to see the things I didn’t get to see. I am loving every second of this residency, except for the banging radiator pipes that sound like a homeless person dragging a fully loaded shopping trolley up the fire escape - that I could live without. I WILL RETURN NY - you can’t get rid of me that easily.
Memory 6 - Getting my first paying photography assignment, and the subsequent gigs that followed.
A turning point? Yes. An achievement? You betcha. A game changer? Well it depends on the game - pointless if you’re playing monopoly, but a great move on my playing field. Enquiries continue to flow and opportunities present themselves in the most unlikely situations. Be more open to new things in 2016 - definitely.
Memory 7 - The ties that bind. Sticks and stones may break my bones, but whips and chains…
No, not those ties, this isn’t fifty shades of Carmelina, Family ties (now there’s a classic TV show). Without the support, love and occasional metaphorical slap up the side of the head when I get too far out of line, I couldn’t do what I do, and wouldn’t be who I am without you. You challenge me and test my limits and allow me to challenge you and test yours. The laughter is contagious and your hearts are always open. Love - just, LOVE.
So essentially, despite all the negative things that have come my way - and there have been a few, I find myself in an incredibly fortunate situation. I am one lucky girl, surrounded by people that love me, laugh with me (and sometimes at me), and will pick me up when I am feeling down, they allow me to invade their lives at will and they accept me for who I am. What more could anyone ask for?
They say you are the sum of your experiences, but I think part of the equation is missing there. We are the sum of our experiences, multiplied by the people in our lives. Mathematically that plays out as:
∞ ( ∞ ∞ )
∑ X ( ∑ + ∑ )
n=experiences (n= Family n= Friends)
Dear maths fiends, if this is not mathematically correct please understand that I studied pure and applied maths 28 years ago and haven’t used it since - well, not much anyway. Feel free to offer helpful tips and suggestions on improving the formula in the comments below.
Thank you to everyone that was part of my world in 2015, no matter how small the role, no matter how often or how little we had contact, you were part of my world, and for that I am truly grateful. I look forward to seeing what wonder, excitement and challenges will strengthen our bonds in 2016.
May your lives be filled with love and laughter and people that “get” you.