I was invited to document the Baptism of Despina. This is up there with one of my favourite photographic opportunities to date. I love documentary photography of people, culture and emotion. This was all of those things and much more. Stepping inside the Greek Orthodox Church in Darwin blew my mind. It feels like you have been transported halfway across the world. My family (and work colleagues) also appreciated the massive trays of Greek baklava and other treats that I brought home for them to eat.
I had previously met Despina when photographing her first birthday party, so I had already started to get to know her and the family. In short, they are a bunch of legends. Despina was born at 24 weeks (or 26, bad memory), and her survival is a testament to her strength. She is a remarkable child with the most peaceful, inquisitive, wise and joyful temperament. I hope I have captured this, along with the story of her baptism in these photos.
I know Lizzie because I have taken photos of her and Mycool before, and they go to the weddings that I photograph as a guest or bridal party member. When she hit me up for some maternity photos, I seized the chance to take them on an adventure. They consented by letting me know they had a 4WD. It would have been my husbands dream photoshoot because we spent the first 45 minutes 4WD'ing through some pretty rugged terrain, including spontaneously jumping out mid drive so I could get them against the backdrop of some dust that a passing dirt biker kindly created for us, with backlighting I might add; the gift that keeps on giving. Sometimes there was a fork in the road with an easy path and a really rugged one. As we heaved through the ditches, 37 week pregnant Lizzie asked Mick "why didn't you take the easy road?" to which he answered "there was no challenge in it." He seems emotionally well placed to become a father. Ha ha. I reflected on all the 4WD'ing of these exact roads that my husband and I did when I was a few weeks overdue and realised that I could have been a tiny bit more appropriate in my location choice for a full term preggo. But. I realised there was no need when Lizzie actively scaled some cliff faces a few minutes later. These guys are proper legend and I am so excited for the babe to arrive.
This week I had the pleasure of being invited to document a few hours in the life of this gorgeous family. Little James took me on a tour of the house pointing out his favourite things and activities. I predict he will become a future air guitar world champion, sprinter, gardener, or hat collector. He was such a little legend. By the end of the evening I felt like I was farewelling a little mate. I was pretty stoked then, to get a note from Kylie the following day to let me know he was asking about me. Ha ha. Meanwhile my daughters wanted a running commentary of every photo I edited. Luckily Darwin is small so we will inevitably cross paths in future. What a beautiful family. You can feel the love in these photos.
One of the guys in this family was my husbands best mate when he was little and living in country Victoria. Thirty years later this is still the case and they now work together in Darwin. In fact, if I can elaborate for a second, they even had daughters three days apart, who get confused when similar looking men, wearing matching work clothes, turn up in matching work issued cars. Frankly, it's this kind of behaviour that makes Territorians suspicious of southerners. Anyway. In recent years, there has been a strong migration north; 11 out of 14 of these guys live up here, AND three of the children/grandchildren have been born in the Darwin Public hospital. That makes them a legitimately Territorian family by my standards. Unintentionally, we really celebrated their love for the tropics by heading to the beach on a sweltering hot, humid evening in the middle of the build up. AND THEN. I made them stand in the hot sun to get these photos. I really push the boundaries of my professional and personal friendships... Either way. I love these guys and these photos...
One afternoon, I was musing to my mate that I really wanted a surf club wedding and a church ceremony. These two things rarely join in the same wedding and I was already at my self imposed cap for the year so I resigned myself to target these goals in 2018. A few days later I received an email from Tom and lo and behold, this is exactly what was in order. So, despite my cap, I was in. I mean, if the universe listens, you can't turn around and reject it.
It was an absolutely magic St Mary's cathedral service, a sunset reception at the Surf Club, and dancing late into the night. A dance floor mostly held to attention by the middle generation in attendance, though the 30 year old demographic got a look in at some points, even if they did have to stoop low with some attention seeking antics. I included one picture of this. I left at 11pm and the party, although ramping up solidly from about 4pm, was showing no signs of settling down.
In between the service and ceremony we had a few hours to kill and it was HOT. So the bridal party went indoors for a cool drink at Stone House before heading into the blistering sun to get some photos. Bron and Tom were my spirit animals with this as they were loving the harsh light, colours and Territoryness of the spot. I did discuss this with them in the days before, not wait until after a few drinks at the bar to spring the idea on them. I can't see too many brides volunteering to stand in an inch of red dirt, or a burnt out pandanus swamp, and stare into the blistering sun for their photos. It's a unique look. Especially the squinting. I consider this a massive treat and LOVE the entire bridal party for being such mad dogs.
Tom and Bron, and their love and legendariness made this a cracker of a day. I am more than a little in love with these two actually.
Here are some of my favourite photos.
A few months ago I received an enquiry though my website with the subject "secret squirrel." Some Darwin friends were wanting to split their wedding into three parts; a romantic elopement on the Darwin harbour, and two massive parties in their home towns in Australia and Ireland.
It was absolutely brilliant. Tom and Bex rented an airbnb off some local Darwin legends, and chartered a massive catamaran to take them across the seas for their vows. Romantic doesn't begin to describe it.
They day was so chilled, and full of the best things, like the platter for lunch, a fair bit of time on the couch, cold beer, tunes and laughs. Bex and Tom called their immediate family to let them know the craic before setting off to sail. I was shaking when they made the calls, and I almost cried during the vows. It was pretty heart tugging.
The night finished off back at their pad with gin and tonics, a cigar, a nice drop of red, their first dance and a breathalizer for good measure.
I wish I could do this every month. So magic.
Amy Bowen is an old mate of mine, so it was a total win to be her unofficial fourth bridesmaid and document the wedding of her and Josh Davis. Amy is one of the most beautiful, loving, and hilarious people in the world. And she is also ridiculously gorgeous. Josh is suitably a legend and her total match. They also have two amazing little children who almost succeeded in stealing the wedding show. Almost.
Here are some of my favourite photos from their wedding.
I get to hang out with this legend from time to time. Inside this person is one of the best voices I have heard in my life. Caiti Baker. She is pretty gangster. Check her out. http://caitibaker.com
I was eagerly waiting the news of this babe’s arrival, as I was hoping to photograph her birth. But she stayed put until I was safely in another state before arriving in the world. I wasn't about to hold a grudge.
Little Coco was 7 days old when I got to meet her; so tiny and peaceful, with the most gorgeous little lips I have ever seen on a baby.
I was feeling clucky before I even walked in the door, so it's nothing short of a miracle that I didn't kidnap her. Joke. x
Laura and Adam contacted me last year for this wedding. I felt pretty cool getting booked in almost 12 months in advance. I mean, that means they would have had other choices and they weren't standing on the corner of desperate street.
Laura is a Darwin girl originally, "but" Adam is a southerner. You wouldn't read about it, but this marriage actually started on a Contiki tour in some part of the world, then continued by long distance in Australia; with the support of some astronomical internet data bills to enable Skype sleeping side by side and simultaneously watching movies. If that isn't new age romance, I don't know what is. The speeches left no rocks unturned as we got versions of the relationship from the Father of the bride and groom, best men and ladies. Adam got a bit of a shredding, which is fitting given his nickname "the hulk;" a tribute to his muscular physique. Although the groomsmen did point out during the speeches that a real mate doesn't let his mate miss leg day. Then went on to apologise for not being real mates and letting his miss leg day for 7 years, and then forcing them to wear really skinny pants to his wedding to hold them to account. I am usually too busy taking photos to actually listen to the speeches but I ended up forgetting to get photos as these ones went down.
I caught up with these guys for lunch and Laura said that she basically wanted two photos from the wedding, a bridal party shot, and one of them walking down the aisle. My fee does seem pretty astronomical if I only deliver two photos, so I put together a full gallery anyway. Here are some of the favourites.
I attract the most legendary bride and grooms. Seriously.
Event management and styling: Girl Friday
Catering: Cannons Kitchen
Make up: The Tao House - Massage & Beauty Therapy
Hair: House of Rozario
Florals: Maria Okwa Florals
Cake: Little Crumbs
Brides Dress: Anna Campbell
I met Merrin and Cameron last year. I could tell right off the bat they were legends. They pulled together a food van, street party wedding on the road of Cameron's family home. It does happen to have one of, if not the best, view in Darwin. It has never crossed my mind to give out an award for the most chilled bride. But I am. And Merrin gets it. From organising her wedding dress in the days prior, to making her own bouquets and cake (the latter on the day of the wedding if I overheard correctly.) When I turned up to take photos she told me not to bother and just to hang out. I obliged but I also took some photos. Wood fired pizza, decadent pasta with bug meat and other delicacies, and eskies full of cold drinks meant that the shoes were off well before the speeches. And in other news, there will be a mini version of these two in a few more months. Love. Here are my favourite photos from the day.
A decade ago my sister made friends with this legend of a woman, who soon found this legend of a man. Their wedding took place at Mt Bundy Station; a nexus of deadly Territory outback and station charm, including a bull that likes to be patted, and join you by the campfire. The outback life brought on an insatiable thirst in the guests, and the wedding of the century ensued....
Warning, there are over 200 images in this post. I need to finesse my culling abilities.
The wedding of Emily and Liam.
The day started off with beaming rays of sunshine, but Melbourne lived up to its reputation by rolling in a massive storm when we were meant to leave to the gardens for the bridal shoot. So we made do in the foyer of the spectacular warehouse apartment block that they were getting ready in, and then drowned the remaining sorrows at the pub over the road. That's a joke. No one was sad. Nothing could wipe the smiles off the faces of these two. They didn't even care that it was bucketing down. Liam just thought a quick beer on the way to the ceremony wouldn't go astray, it wasn't like the wedding could start without them. I may have been the one to point that out...
It was a treat to photograph these two. The love and respect they have for each other is second to none, and it's inspiring. The entire crowd was stoked to be celebrating their official union, and these photographs tell the story. So much fun.
Loren and Cameron met at uni, and their friends filled us in on every tiny detail of their courtship during the speeches. It was so hilarious, I was laughing so hard that I actually had to put my camera down before I dropped it. Their wedding was 10 years and two children in the making. The love and festivity was brimming out of the barn. Here are some of my favourite photos.
Megan and Ruben live on this yacht. When I found out about this, I was prettty excited to do some "in home documentary" of this life. They were temporarily living in a house during the later part of Megan's pregnancy, and the first few months of Zeph's life. But as soon as they started going 'camping' on the yacht on their weekends, I put my hand up to join them on the tender out. They treated me with delicious Indian for dinner, some ginger beer, a magical sunset, great conversation and the gorgeous company of Zeph. Seriously, what a life.
My beautiful friend brought home her third son, Irah. I stole a few moments to get some photos of the two of them whilst the older brothers were out burning off some energy. I can't wait to get the three boys together in a few weeks. In the meantime, here are some quieter moments....
On the weekend I had to resist some of the strongest kidnapping urges I have felt to date.
I went to visit my old high school mate, Haylee, her husband Nans and their two daughters Elise and Charlotte, the tiniest little three week old who has inherited the size three million feet of her mother. My favourite part of the visit was when Elise was showing me around the house and took me to see Charlotte, who was sleeping soundly. “TOUCH IT, TOUCH IT” she ordered me, excitedly yelling some 5-10cm from Charlotte’s face, whilst hitting her sister on the stomach. Numerous times because I was obviously failing to follow instructions and needed to be shown how several times. The best bit about this is actually none of what I just told you. It is the fact that she was just doing the exact same thing to the robovac. Charlotte was firmly in the toy category. Also…how different second children’s lives are to their older siblings – can you imagine entering the house of a first born and seeing a scenario like this unfold? No… the parents would be flipping out. Second children are legends.
In between eating and drinking tea I got to “play” with the two kids. I sent the photos to Haylee and laughed a little too hard when she commented that “it was interesting to see what you and Elise got up to, moving around furniture, climbing on the benches… no wonder she wanted you to come back soon!” I assured her that I was actively supervising her.... through the lens….
Finally Charlotte was slept, fed and changed; ready for my photoshoot. The doorbell chimes and her cousins who live, literally, across the road, have come to day G'day. Hugh put himself to work drawing on the brand new walls whilst Clara gatecrashed my photoshoot and made it ten times more magical.
I love this family – they melt my heart.
In the morning, Matisse will be 3. Each time I remind her this, she reminds me that “I am still two and a half” - right up until tonight when she was technically 365 days past 2; one bonus leap day from becoming three. I put Elspeth to bed, and snuck out with Matisse to play in the bush for the sunset on her third year. I love this girl more than I could have ever envisaged I could love a person.
A wedding in the Sunshine Coast hinterland to celebrate Bridget and Luke renewing their vows on Australian soil.
I was invited to attend the launch of the Music NT Legends launch. Music NT is a brilliant organisation, and the backbone of the NT music industry. They are launching a philanthropic program to raise funds for their program, and in doing so, are offering people the opportunity to become legitimate legends, for the annual fee of only $500! That is the cheapest right to legendary status I have ever heard of.... So get amongst it.
Event planning by Amiable Communications
Event styling and set up by White Rabbit Design & Events,
Florals by Maria Okwa Florals
Catering by Event Solutions
Musical grandeur by Colin Lillie Music, Pulzanti, MANDY Garling and Stevie Jean Kyriacou.
A couple of hours in the life of Jemma, Dylan and little Flynn.
Dylan is a carpenter by trade, if my really terrible memory serves me correctly. Yet in his rare, spare time, he somehow manages to transform this house into a photography paradise. Even when I dropped their photos off one evening, like late on a Sunday type of evening, he was making a walk in robe for their bedroom!! I know a few people that would be scratching their heads reading this, wondering if he is a real carpenter. My husband is one, and he insists that he can't finish renovating our house because people won't take him seriously as a builder. He has solidly proved that point. It's been 2.5 years for our bathroom.
Anyway, enough slagging off my husband, and letting Dylan steal the limelight off baby Flynn, and the legend of a lady that brought him into this world a few days before I come around.
This gorgeous family, including their two dogs, are actually real. You might be forgiven for thinking this looks like a styled shoot from Vogue with all that love, beauty and magic light. To add insult to injury, Jemma was also pretty feverish this day. Yet she still pulled this off. If you know these guys, they also live next door to another set of legends. Looks like a good street to invest on if you ask me....
Kim and Adam are not just parents of two under two. They are parents of two boys, 13 months apart. They have to give out awards for this kind of stuff. She joked that she would be spending her life in A+E. I think she might have some industry experience to help her out, but we didn't get to finish a sentence because.... the mother life.
This session was a riot from start to finish. It was hard to remember to photograph Owen, the peaceful newborn, with action packed Lewis distracting me at every turn. He has some pretty good tricks for a 13 month old, like climbing onto tables and then jumping off, or diving to the bottom of the pool to collect the filter lid. He also rolled over Owen and narrowly missed kneeing him in the face, by about 1.5mm. These are the skills that your first child can magically acquire the second you arrive home with a new child. Meanwhile, Owen just peacefully slept, had a relaxing bath and lapped up the love and action. When I revisit this gallery I can feel the love and energy.
Thanks for inviting me into your home Kim and Adam. x
A very long time ago, when this lady was pregnant with her third son, we lined up a maternity shoot. I thought it would be a tiny bit badass, but it was proper badass.
We set out to a paperbark swamp where Aleece almost got sucked in by the super powerful suction mud, but I pulled her out. I almost fell in too, for the record, it wasn’t some heroic swooping action. Sadly, Aleece suffered a tragic double blow out on the way. RIP thongs (flip flops, for any non Aussies). This all unfolded on the side of a main road, so we were pleased to be providing a great community service spectacle for motorists that afternoon. No sooner than we started taking some shots, it started to rain. I wouldn't mind, except it's really freaking hard to spot crocs when the rain is dappling the surface of the water. So we checked the radar, and followed the storm to the beach where the wind, rain and clouds added several tonnes of drama to the shoot. So did Aleece, the mega babe. So take a scroll through this treacherous afternoon in the swamp and down at the nudist beach, with no nudity. The passers by were already getting more than enough heart palpitations watching Aleece roll around in the sand. In all of the madness of the afternoon, I forgot this legend was 39 weeks pregnant. And a few days later, a gorgeous little babe was earthside.