I See a Donkey!

Photographed by Simon Jones while on the walk.
Photographed by Simon Jones while on the walk.

“I see a donkey.  What do you see?” I said.

“A donkey?  How do you get donkey?  No, don’t be silly – it’s a fish with legs,” she said, looking up at the same set of clouds.

Ever do that as a kid?  As adults, clouds are often something that we see (especially in Melbourne!) and unconsciously dismiss them without a second thought.  In fact, it is not just clouds but often elements of everyday life – the cars that drive by, the shops we walk past and the people we see.  This is a concept we explored on a recent Urban Adventure Walk in Melbourne – not with clouds, shops or people though – with architecture.

The walk, titled Architecture – Imagination and Space had a photography and architectural flavour to it.  The idea was to simply get out, shoot photos and have loads of fun doing it.  Like using the shapes in clouds, we took parts of different buildings and photographed them in different ways.

The results were fantastic.  It was amazing to see the different perspectives people came up with in the same area.

Simply by looking at something in a different way within a familiar environment, we can see something that we’ve never noticed before and perhaps even experience some of that ‘adventure’ feeling we get when we visit a city for the first time.  In fact, one guy even said “I’ve got to remember this place – this is great – I didn’t know it was here!”

I think this Henry Miller quote sums it up beautifully:

The moment one gives close attention to any thing, even a blade of grass it becomes a mysterious, awesome, indescribably magnificent world in itself.

~Henry Miller


Have you ever discovered something new about where you live after having lived there many years?  Leave a comment below and share it.

No Snake Charmers Here!

IMG_0196 copyOn a recent tour, a client was telling me how much he liked taking photos of people within their environment while he was on holidays overseas and used the classic snake charmer in India as an example.  This got me to thinking, surely it is possible to take shots like this without having to jump on a plane (although, maybe not with a snake charmer!)

So, last month, I ran a tour with a photography theme in Melbourne and set this as one of the challenges.  Now this by itself is challenging because of the fact that we are working within a familiar environment, which for some creates difficulty in seeing opportunities.  To make it even more challenging though, I added other elements into the task that required participants to ask the person questions after taking the photo.

I’m pleased to say, everyone who went on the tour took up this challenge and we all had a loads of fun doing it.  There were many great photos taken also.

Aside from the photos though, there were also a number of experiences people shared afterwards.  One person said ‘it was nice to interact with someone and not just transact.’  And in our all-too-often fast-paced world of ‘I just wanted to buy that and move on with life’, I think realising the importance of having that connection to others is a great thing.

The other thing that came out of the day that I would like to share is something that I think everyone who participated in this activity experienced at some point – the major challenge with taking any type of photograph involving people (especially strangers) is often not the settings on the camera but overcoming our own reservations about approaching someone we don’t know.

In closing, I want to finish with a quote that I think really sums up the secret of not only people photography but perhaps technology and life as a whole:

It is more important to click with people than to click the shutter.
– Alfred Eisenstaedt


Join us on the next Breakthrough Adventure in Melbourne on Sunday the 23rd of February – Architecture: Imagination and Space.  Don’t have a camera?  Bring your smartphone!

Contact me
for details.