Monday, January 6, 2014

2013 in review

I'm a week late in writing this, but as I always say, better late than never right?

So what happened to me in 2013? I always say this and i'm sure everyone says it too, but 2013 sure went fast. For me it was a whirlwind year, one minute I was celebrating new years eve at my girlfriends house with her family and our friends getting drunk and eating too much food and then suddenly I was covering floods during Australia day, bush fires in winter, fatalities, murders, birthdays, grand openings and everything else you can think of.

I was enjoying myself in Gladstone, I had completed my cadetship, I had made some fantastic friends, was doing a large chunk of the photography at the paper and doing what I loved, taking photos everyday.

However, despite all this, a part of me wanted to leave and find a new challenge. Towards the middle/end of 2013 I had nothing more to learn, I had peaked, learning wise and was starting to plateau, starting to get bored and feeling unchallenged with what the Observer had to offer me. I wanted more responsibility, but I wasn't allowed, so for me, I knew it was time to leave.

Unfortunately for us photographers, jobs do not grow on trees and a good job comes once every few months (if that even) and you need to grab them as soon as you can. The market is over saturated with photographers and companies constantly under valuing photographers by advertising volunteer, part time, casual photography jobs hoping and knowing some sucker will apply and do it just to get their name out there in the market. I'll admit, when I first started I thought having my name out there would kick start my career as a famous photojournalist. I was wrong.

I lost track of how many jobs I applied for and I was getting disheartened in the hope of ever finding a new job. My biggest fear was to be stuck in central Queensland forever, never being able to find a job. 2013 was full of frustration and anger. I wasn't getting the jobs I wanted, constantly falling short of the finish line. Sure, I could've worked at any old photographic joint and made some decent coin, but i'm fussy, I needed to work for a paper, it was either that or nothing at all. Luckily I landed a gig in Wollongong. How I got it, I really don't know, however, this life is full of luck and sometimes things just go you way.

 So looking back on the year that was, I thought the best way to sum up 2013 was to go back and find my 12 favourite photos of the year, not necessarily my best photos but my most memorable ones. So without further adieu...

 - January - 


When I think of January 2013 I think of the Australia day floods. To say it rained in central Queensland is an understatement. It rained like I had never seen before. It was my first time cover floods and not gonna lie, I had a blast going out there seeing flood affected areas.

- February - 


We continued our coverage of flood affected areas in February. What I remember most was going to the Boyne Valley region, completed isolated and cut off from everyone during the floods, the town was left to fend for itself with limited food and water. One of the main sources of income for the locals was dairy production/farming and when the floods hit, many people lost a lot of cattle and farm animals. The town was littered with remains of dead cows. Many cows had become displaced and were left wandering the road.

- March - 


It was still wet and raining in Gladstone in March, but we had a little break from all the wet weather stuff and I went to my first dog show. Had a blast! I love dogs and animals in general and I thoroughly enjoyed walking around taking photos of all the different types of dogs. It's true, some dogs really look like their owners..

- April - 


We did a story about this guy who opened up his own tattoo parlour working from home. Bazaar, he worked from his garage which, as you can see, was very colourfully decorated. 

- May -  


How a car flips upside down I have no idea, yet these guys managed to do it after hitting a pole in a 60km/h zone.

- June - 


We went to the Ubobo fair, where they opened up time capsules buried 25 years ago. There was a series of them buried, all to be opened at 25 year intervals. I don't remember why this guy was there, but he was..

- July - 


Gladstone had a big concert/play organised with the Queensland theatre of arts - or something along those lines - and we had to photograph the different characters in the upcoming play. This shoot was with a bunch of stepford wives dressed up in cool 1950's clothing. I had never done anything like it before and was really happy with the results. 

- August- 


It was quiet for me in August as I nicked off on holidays for a month, so it was pretty slim pickings for August.

- September - 


This was my last photo for the Observer and it could not have ended on a more perfect note than it did. At the Observer we covered a lot of cooky crazy stories and this one was definitely up there. Old mate wasn't happy that he couldn't spend less than $5 on eftpos at a tool shop so he came to the Observer and filed a complaint. He wanted 2 or 3 screws but was denied when he was told that there was a card limit when purchasing goods. Apparently this was news worthy and that my friends, is how I ended my career at the Observer.


One of my first photos at the Mercury. Iron Jay is a wrestler who goes to events and stuff and runs a wrestling for kids kind of activity fun day. Turned out better than I thought.

- October - 


This was the first time I had photographed a dolphin. It just happened to be a dead one. 

- November - 


Like Gladstone, Wollongong is situated on the ocean, however, surfing is a lot bigger here than it is in Gladstone. This was the first time I had photographed surfing and I was pretty happy with the results. I have no idea what makes a good surfing photo  - in terms of surfing technique and such but aesthetically, I just like this photo. 

- December - 


Wollongong has opened a whole new world of opportunity for me in terms of learning as well as photographing new things that I had never done before. I had shot basketball in the past in Gladstone, but never had a shot a sport that was on a national level. Wollongong is home to the Wollongong hawks - my newly adopted favourite basketball team - and shooting a proper NBL game is pretty damn exciting and super fun. This wasn't the first NBL game I shot in Wollongong but this was one of, if not, my first photo to be published on the SMH site. chuffed. 

Ok, well, that's it. I've rambled more that I wanted to, but that was my year in review, I hope you enjoyed, i'm sure 2014 will be bigger and better than the last!

Chris.