Thursday, February 28, 2013

The New Dream


2010 was one of the best years of my life. I took a year off to travel and volunteer around the world. I made new friends and felt a sense of freedom I had not experienced for a long time. While I challenged myself to live a little differently and experienced many things outside my comfort zone, taking that year off had sill been a safe option because I had a job to go back to.

This time it will be different. On the first of February I said goodbye to a very secure job that had given me many things…from intellectual stimulation, friendships and financial security to the opportunity to make a difference in Western Sydney.

I had not been the same since coming back from my year away. I had a hankering to be more creative and to be the author of my own destiny. I was yearning for the sense of freedom I had felt when I had lived for a year with just the stuff I carried in my backpack.

I have always wanted to live life a little differently to the norm. However, escaping the gilded cage is fraught with risks, is regarded unfavourably and is loaded with insecurity; but what is life without a dream to chase? Better still, this time a dream that I can share with my partner Steven.

I have left my job to form a partnership with Steven at PolisPlan, the venture he started in 2011. While Infrastructure Planning and Flood Risk Management is our bread and butter we are planning to go back on the road perhaps for 6 months to research Eco-villages – intentional communities that aim to be socially, economically and ecologically sustainable. Our dream is to help design and build such interconnected communities, perhaps living at each one as long as our skills might be needed.

Steven and I have often asked if there is an alternative to the type of development we see all around us in Sydney. Unsustainable houses that are disconnected from the natural environment and people disconnected from their neighbours. Our ecological footprint in Australia is one of the largest in the world. While we embrace the advancements of the technological era we live in, we ask if we can learn some lessons by looking at how the more traditional societies used to function.

Is there an alternative way of building our cities? I invite you to follow our journey as we go in search of answers….


Friday, February 22, 2013

Photostart Exhibition

I am excited to hear that the photograph I submitted for Photostart, a pop-up exhibition of new and emerging photographers, has been accepted for the print category.  Photostart is an Australian Centre for Photography curated exhibition of student works from terms 3 & 4 in 2012.



My photograph is of Tom Ugly’s Bridge and I took this during my course on Camera Craft 3 when I was practicing my night photography.  It had been a fun course and introduced us to a new genre each week.  Tom Ugly's Bridge

It was exciting to be at the opening and to see my photo on the wall and watch people stop to look at it more closely.  Perhaps next time I might even win an award 


Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Chinese New Year

I don’t usually like being in the midst of a million people, vying for a spot so I can get a glimpse of a passing parade.  Yet, I am also torn by the opportunity of capturing a few good photographs and also experiencing everything the city I live in has to offer.  The fact that I had never been to a Chinese New Year celebration was begging to bug me so this year Steve and I decided to brave the crowds and am I glad we did.  We left early in the a2013 02 17 Chinese New Year (3 of 74)afternoon so we could spend some time in Darling harbour and have a nice meal.  It’s a sort of combined birthday, Valentine’s Day and Happy Chinese New Year celebration.  We are also celebrating the fact that I have just quit my job to join Steve in his consultancy…

We decide on the floating restaurant….something else we haven’t tried in this wonderful city and settle down for a bit of a splurge on a nice seafood meal in what must surely be one of the best cities & views in the world!! 

It’s the Year of the Snakes so guess what…snakes figure quite prominently in this year’s parade.  We’ve been standing around for about an hour…but it’s been worth it.  We scored ring side seats….except that  we are standing…but i2013 02 17 Chinese New Year (74 of 74)t’s great to have a an unobstructed view for a change.  The noise of clanging symbols, drums and fireworks fill the air as Clover Moore declares open the festivities.  Known as the Spring Festival in China it was traditionally a time to remember your ancestors and gather together with your family.  A time to cleanse your home, rid it of bad luck and make way for some new luck.

Red features prominently in the parade and in the decorations around us. From what I have read it appears that according to legend in ancient China, Nian a man-eating beast from the mountains, could infiltrate houses silently to prey on humans. The people later learned that Nian was sensitive to loud noises and the colour red, so they scared it away with explosions, fireworks and the liberal use of the color red. So "Guo Nian" actually means "Surviving the Nian". These customs led to the first New Year celebrations…go figure!

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We get a real sense of this festival.  Many of the items feature large red dragons who envelope dancers.  They run into the crowd and people reach out to touch the dragon and grab a piece of the action….as more fireworks explode above us.  After about 2 hours of non-stop action the parade comes to an end.  A lone cyclist reminds us that it will all be played out again next year…in the Year of the Horse!

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“A lot of people, they get all caught up in the New Year's resolution thing and I think it gives them an easy way, later, to say, 'Oh, that was just a New Year's resolution' and not take it seriously. People who really want to make changes can make them any day of the year, whether it be the Jewish New Year, the Chinese New Year or any day that suits them. You've got every day of your life to make changes.”  Dr James Wilcox

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Capture the Cover Winner

I am thrilled to hear that the photograph I submitted for the Yellow Pages competition, Capture the Cover is a winner and will appear along with a number of others on the cover of the Hills Shire and Upper North Shore edition when it comes out on the 16th of February! 

Hills Shire & Upper North Shore Yellow Pages

My photograph is the second from the left, bottom row – Boats in Brooklyn.  More news at: