I recently entered a very interesting photographic competition run by The Sydney Morning Herald, the main broadsheet in Sydney. The competition briefs were structured around the assignments SMH staff photographers receive on a daily basis. The idea was to get Sydney-siders to shoot – and think – like photo journalists and to look at their local neighbourhoods with fresh eyes.
There were three categories, namely:
Your hidden community
Whether you live in a small country town or around the lane ways of the inner city, your community offers an opportunity to capture fascinating and vibrant images of people and daily life. The brief: Capture an image of a place that only locals would know.
Be it sport, painting, stamp collecting or cars, everybody has something they are passionate about; one thing in life that captures their attention and offers an escape from ordinary life.The brief: Capture a photo of the one thing that represents yours or someone else’s passion.
The people around you can be a huge source of inspiration – they make you smile, laugh and cry. The brief: Take a portrait of someone who inspires you or is your hero.
I’ve posted my three images, in order, below.
The first image was taken in Testarossa Sammy-Santino Men’s Hairstylist in Double Bay. The owner, Sammy, has plastered every conceivable surface with Italian newspaper cuttings (mainly good looking Italian cars and women) and Italian paraphernalia. Double Bay is quite a stuffy, upper class neighbourhood and I love how this shop sits in contrast to the refined ladies boutiques that populate much of the area.
The second image was taken of some of the passionate bowlers at Double Bay Bowling Club.
The final image is the chazzan (cantor) at our synagogue. An all-round great guy with an inspirational and soulful voice.
SMH also offered an editing workshop which I attended on the Sunday morning before entries were due. They assigned each shooter to one or two members of the SMH photographic team. I met picture editor Mags King and a staff photographer who offered some great stylistic and technical advice. One piece of advice that really resonated with me was to be more aware of background photo triggers. For example, I presented a great, moody shot of the trees in Centennial Park, but having a person, or shadow in the background, would have added extra dimension to the image.
Sadly, I didn’t win the grand prize, (a Canon EOS 5D Mark III Premium Camera Kit (including EF24-105mm f/4.0L IS lens), but the competition really got me thinking about new kinds of local subject matter and shooting techniques.