Sunday, August 28, 2011

Water Stories

The exhibition has sparked off a few speaking engagements and other invitations.  Last week I presented at a wine and cheese evening organised by AECOM, highlighting some of the water connections and observations I made during my travels.  They ranged from the simple stormwater harvesting solutions I saw across the world from Asia to Africa as well as flood mitigation solutions such as raising houses in Cambodia.  It was a fun way to connect my work to my passion of travelling.  I got great feedback from the event and many of those present said they found it inspirational. 


Feedback..and a Winner!

As part of my exhibition, I asked people for feedback.  Many of my friends who attended the exhibition gave me very encouraging feedback but I was quite amazed to find that each time I went to the library to top up my business cards and flyers, there was a new stack of evaluation sheets filled up and placed in the box.

The evaluations asked for people to nominate their favourite and least favourite photos and for other comments in general.  The comments were all really positive and encouraging and it is very special to think that perfect strangers took the time to let you know how much they enjoyed your work.  I thought I would share some of the feedback with you…


As part of this process I had promised that the winner and their partner would be treated to lunch at the local Vietnamese Restaurant.  That was how last weekend, Steve and I found ourselves lunching with Lisa and her husband Brad.  Travellers themselves, they had previously done a world trip and come down under on working visas.  They loved it here so much, they have now migrated from Canada.  It was lovely to share stories with another couple who shared not just my love of travel but also other aspects of it such as photography.  Sadly, I didn’t take my camera that day..

“We will discover the nature of our particular genius when we stop trying to conform to our own and other’s people’s models, learn to be ourselves and allow our natural channel to open.” — Shakti Gawain

Crowd TV – Making an Online Documentary

I was intrigued when I first heard about the idea of making the world’ first online collaborative documentary.  My curiosity was further aroused when I heard the documentary was about Water Stories and would voice issues of concern to Western Sydney-siders.  Since I work in the field of water in Western Sydney and this was another link into the creative world I went along on a rather wet afternoon to the workshop to learn how I could be part of this process. 

CrowdTV is a social experiment to connect people and through the creation of documentaries they are interested in watching.  It is process that will link communities, help drive positive change in people’s values and attitudes to water and the environment and a rare opportunity for untrained people to be involved in the process of making a doco.   

Australian Documentaries and the Institute for Sustainable Futures, at University of Technology Sydney have come together for the making of Water Stories. The project is funded by the Water in The Landscape Program run by the Western Sydney Regional Organisation of Councils (WSROC).  The website states the film will be submitted to film festivals around the world and that a red carpet event will be held to celebrate this world-first, participatory and professionally produced documentary.

My Idea

After the workshop I decided to submit my idea title, Water & Culture: The Lifeblood of Our Planet.  My idea was to explore the connections of people from diverse cultural backgrounds in Sydney to water.  As I travelled the world I came to realise that water was intrinsically linked to religious practices from baptism ceremonies in the Christian communities, to burial ceremonies in the Hindu culture to Muslims using water to purify themselves before worship. Water also plays a key part in many of the dreamtime stories of Indigenous cultures.  In addition many people have a spiritual connection to water.  I thought a documentary that drew on these connections would be quite interesting.

 And the Winner is…

Imagine my surprise to read the August News Letter from CrowdTV and learn that my idea had been the winning one.  The community will now submit ideas and a movie about water in Western Sydney will soon be in the works..


Australian Documentaries interviewed me about my idea and how it came about.  I can’t wait to see how this process unfolds…stay tuned!

“The world is but a canvas to the imagination.” — Henry David Thoreau

Photography and Artist Talks!

In early August we have the chance to visit the Hornsby Library a couple more times to hear more artists share their stories.  The first was a talk on 100 Years of Photography by Richard Batterley.  Richard shares some stories about the origins of photography and brings along his collection of vintage cameras for people to look at.  He has cameras from every decade beginning from 1900, to the modern cameras of today.  I couldn’t Richard Batterlyreally see myself getting excited about cameras but he is passionate about his hobby and sources his cameras from ebay to local markets! 

Richard says that the use of cameras in Australia has gone from 1 million  to 10 million in the space of the last 100 years.  He talks about the first photographic image that was created in 1830 and shares some early photographs.  Interestingly, he mentions that the one part of a camera that has not changed in over 100 years is the screw at the bottom for fixing on to a tripod!

During the same week, the library organised for the author Tony Park to come along and share some of his stories.  Years ago, I had read about Tony Parkthis man in the local newspaper in an article that highlighted interesting careers.  Tony had grown up in the western suburbs of Sydney and now he and his wife split their time between Australia and Africa, where they own a tent and a land rover!  An idyllic life.  He writes on location, basing his stories on the life, times and troubles of Africa.  There is plenty of inspiration around him and he never suffers from writers block!

Check out his website:

I find his life fascinating and would love to do something similar one day.  I buy a copy of his latest book, African Dawn and can’t wait to read it!

tony park book

“Creativity is contagious. Pass it on.” — Albert Einstein


A few days after the launch we feel a load lift off our shoulders but my list of things to do never seems to dry up.  I am due for knee surgery just a few days after the launch.  It has been postponed for too long and the recuperation period will also enable me to catch up with a few projects.

Self Publishing 

A few friends have asked me to convert my catalogue to a coffee table book, so I started doing a bit of research about publishing.  I have found stacks of info out there and if you are looking for a traditional publisher then, this might be a good place to start..

However, if you are looking to do things online one of my favourite sites is Lulu.  Check it out..

This site will allow you to upload and create everything from photobooks to ebooks, then publish and sell on their site.  You set your own price and Lulu will print and ship your book according to demand, eliminating the need for a big outlay initially and the usual overheads!  The site is ranked #1 for self publishing sites.  You get an ISBN and the chance to sell your product in 4 continents. 


I was however, looking to create an eBook initially.  One that I could share both on my website as well as other places such as Facebook. 

As mentioned on the website, eBooks are electronic, downloadable books that can be easily accessed on a wide range of eReader devices and platforms, like the iPad®, iPhone®, and your home computer.  This gives you access to millions of customers who are constantly purchasing and reading eBooks everyday.  It is a remarkably easy way to share your ideas, creativity and information with people all over the world in a very simple way.  After researching for almost a day, I found this website called Issuu.  Once you have written your book, you create a pdf of it which you then upload to Issuee.   The website then compiles an eBook...which you can share with friends and family around the world.  People can also view, comment and share your material on other sites.  Check it out…

My catalogue can be found at this link or at the bottom of this blog..

Every artist dips his brush in his own soul, and paints his own nature into his pictures.” — Henry Ward Beecher