All that I am, all that I ever was…

I am more than my mental health. I am more than my homelessness. I am more than any one aspect of me. I am Addy. And this is…


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Behind the Lens #2: Hope

This week’s theme ‘Behind the Lens’ is a combination of photography and memory. Each day a random image will be plucked from my archive and – regardless of how good it is – showcased on the blog along with the story behind the image. Today, the image called hope that marked the end of my photography hobby.

Hope (Port Fairy, November 2005) © Addy

“Hope
Smiles from the threshold of the year to come,
Whispering ‘it will be happier’…”

Alfred Tennyson

This photograph was once described by my girlfriend as boring, uninspiring, monotonous, lacking in any aesthetic value, a complete waste of time and one of the many reasons she believed I should waste no more time on my photography hobby.

She may have been right. There are no curvaceous women, no point of reference, a somewhat obscure composition and little to hold people’s interest other than the seemingly endless sky as it plunges into the ocean below.

But when I look upon this image I see other things.

I see myself sitting on a beach in pitch darkness, a knife held to my wrist, as I contemplated slitting my wrists before wandering into the very section of ocean depicted here.

I see myself picking a stick from a crudely made fire and placing the flames against my skin in a vain attempt to feel something following a breakdown.

I see myself screaming into the night as I realized my life was over. That nothing would ever be the same again, no matter how hard I fought.

Photography is more than capturing a moment in time, space or place. It is a recording of emotion; of memory, dreams and life. When I took this photograph in late 2005 I was beautiful. I had a wonderful girlfriend, the beginnings of a social network, a job I was proud of and a whole life stretched out before me. Had I known what nightmares this beach would hold I doubt I would ever have taken the photograph, for no matter how many times I gaze upon it those hells have eclipsed the original emotion I was trying to record,

The emotion of hope; for my life, my mind and most importantly, for my soul.

A hope that was stolen by the winds of time and a few ill-timed words when I was most vulnerable.


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Behind the Lens #1: Punk Queen Pelican

This week’s theme ‘Behind the Lens’ is a combination of photography and memory. Each day a random image will be plucked from my archive and – regardless of how good it is – showcased on the blog along with the story behind the image. Today, a personal favourite titled Punk Queen Pelican.

Punk Queen Pelican (Philip Island, November 2004) © Addy

“King and Queen of the Pelicans we;
No other Birds so grand we see!
None but we have feet like fins!
With lovely leathery throats and chins!”
Edward Lear

In November 2004 my parents visited Australia for the first time. Having been down under for over two years, my then girlfriend and I put together a comprehensive program of events that would showcase as much of the country as we could. Given my mother’s love of penguins, a trip to Philip Island and their infamous penguin parade was a no brainer.

After two days of exploring Philip Island we were heading back to Melbourne when we came across a number of pelicans being fed. Although not as cute as penguins, there is something majestic about a pelican, so we pulled over to take a closer look.

It was whilst randomly snapping photos of the pelicans that I noticed the woman held in hypnotic rapture by the beautiful avians before her. Immediately my attention was drawn to her hair; the vibrant colours, the spectacular layers, the contrast against the subdued colours of the overcast day. In all honesty I think I wanted to photograph this more than the pelicans!

After lining up the shot, I waited for the pelicans to position themselves into the frame and fired off a few images.

As I was sans-digital at the time, the image was shot on slide film and then processed weeks later. It was only when I was studying each image in my flat did I notice the unfortunate positioning of a pelican’s beak which, given the text emblazoned across the woman’s posterior, gave the image its name for the rest of time.