I worked on my first Feature Film in 1983, 'The Coolangatta Gold' That's me, standing third from the left
Over the previous 5 years, I had been working as a Still Photographers Assistant. My interest in photography grew throughout my teens to the level where I saw it as a career. My father worked in advertising and was able to secure me a position with a photographer in North Sydney so I left school in 1978 and began my working life.
I worked with Konrad Photography for 3 years, it gave me a wonderful grounding in photography and set me up for what was to come. Leaving Konrad's I joined Ian McDonald Photography, another photographic studio in North Sydney that would change everything. It was here that I had my first taste of the film industry. Ian was moving away from photography and into directing commercials. A new world opened up to me, and one that I wanted to explore. I was given the opportunity to work on some of these commercials and I was hooked.
12 months later I happily left stills behind and started out as a freelance camera assistant. It took a while but in the end, I secured that first film and I could not have been happier.
Those years as a Stills Assistant had been great and they had gotten me where I was but I was also drained and burnt out. Too many long nights and early mornings cleaning studios with little pay and less satisfaction. I had no desire to shoot stills beyond the odd happy snap.
This lasted for the next 7 years but slowly that desire to shoot returned which coincided with the birth of my first son at the end of 1989. I needed no more of an excuse than that to purchase a new camera, a Nikon 801 with 35-135mm zoom.
I decided to take that new Nikon on set and began shooting the people I worked with. It was early 1990 and I was working on 'Waiting', an Australian feature film starring Noni Hazlehurst and shot on location in Cessnock, a small country town approximately two hours north of Sydney.
This was the beginning of what has become my tribute to and celebration of all those people who work in this world of Film and TV production. It has become an archive of over 100,000 images shot on film sets throughout the world over the last 35 years.
My cameras changed over time. Starting out with the Nikon 801 with its 35-135mm f3.5-4.5 zoom I moved to more compact cameras, with faster lenses, ones that I could carry in a pouch on my belt and be immediately available. The 35mm lens became my favourite, it's field of view was wide enough to include my subjects environment but not so wide so as to distort faces if I wanted a closer, portrait image.
I discovered the Widelux Panoramic camera with its 2.33 : 1 aspect ratio. Those proportions were very close to the Anamorphic film ratio of 2.35 : 1 and the wider view allowed me even more scope to include my subjects environment.
One camera on my belt became two when I added the compact Konica Hexar with its fixed 35mm f2 lens. My 'poor mans Leica' did the job very well and is the only film camera I still own.
In 2001 I had my first exhibition, a joint show with painter/artist and fellow member of the camera department, Jason Binnie, check out his work here. The results of sales allowed me to buy the camera I had always dreamed of, a Leica M6 with 35mm f2 Summicron lens.
In 2002 I shot my first digital images on 'The Great Raid' with a borrowed 4mp Sony. 'Charlottes Web' in 2005 was the last production I recorded on film and in 2007 I took the plunge and bought my first DSLR, a Canon 30D to take away with me to China on the 'Mummy, Tomb of the Dragon Emperor'.
The Mummy marked my commitment to digital and away from analogue. I loved the idea of no more long hours in the darkroom. Too much of that in my past to have any sense of loss over the romantic notion of the artist in his/her domain creating magic under the orange glow of the safelight.
2010 marked another change, the arrival of the smartphone. From this point on photography on set was forbidden due to the fear that imagery would find it's way onto the internet. This meant I was no longer free to shoot the crews as I had over the previous 20 years so my output was reduced considerably and any imagery was taken undercover.
This continued until 2014 when, having decided to move into Unit Still Photography, I secured my first film 'Killing Ground' and I was free once again to shoot as much crew as I wanted.
It's been a great run and I've had amazing experiences, every day on set is different and there is always something new to shoot. I hope to continue this process for many years to come and look forward to showing them here on this website.
I am currently working on my first book of images from the days of shooting film 'Observations' Vol one Analogue 1983-2005.