Behind the Scenes crew shots celebrate those who are the heart of any production. It started with happy snaps on my first films, ‘The Coolangatta Gold’ in 1983 and ‘Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome’ in ’85.
The idea didn’t seriously take hold until 1990 when I started recording my crew workmates on ‘Waiting’, an Australian feature film shot in and around the NSW country town of Cessnock.
This was the beginning of what has become my tribute to all those people who work in this world of Film and TV. It has become an archive of over 100,000 images shot on productions throughout the world over the last 37 years.
Through time my cameras have changed. I used the Nikon 801 from 1990-92, then one camera in my kit became two after discovering a Widelux F7 Panoramic camera sitting on the shelves of Panavision, Sydney. Rental negotiations concluded with Camera Prep Manager Andrew Collier agreeing to a case of beer changing hands, per film.
During a 1995 trip to New York, I purchased my own widelux and in 1998 replaced the Nikon with the far more compact Konica Hexar with its fixed focal length, 35mm f2 lens.
Three years later 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 sales allowed me to purchase my dream camera, a Leica M6 with 35mm f2 lens.
In 2002 I shot my first digital images on ‘The Great Raid’ with a borrowed 4mp Sony Cybershot. ‘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’.
That film marked my commitment to digital, no more long hours in the darkroom. There was no romantic notion of the artist creating magic under the glow of the orange safelight for me.
In 2010 the smartphone arrived, images soon started to find their way onto the internet and photography on set was forbidden. My output was reduced as I was no longer free to shoot. It didn’t stop me but any imagery was shot undercover.
I understood the reasoning but was extremely frustrated as I was the last person who would post an image prior to any productions release. In 2014 I made the move into Unit Still Photography. With this new role, I was officially allowed to shoot whoever I wanted and free to continue my documentation of crews on set.
It’s been a great run and I’ve had amazing experiences. I hope to continue this process for many years to come and look forward to showing them here on this website.
Update December 2020. It seems I may have spoken too soon, I have just purchased a Hasselblad X-Pan and will now shoot film on-set again for the first time since ‘Charlottes Web’ in 2005.
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