Portraiture & presence of mouth

Yesterday I got a professional portrait done. I was nervous, I brought a few options for shirts that would put my best face forward. The mud brick studio had a white backgroud, two black panels and an array of various lights to create different effects. One window was draped but there was still natural light coming from two directions and the gum trees swaying outside were an nice to watch as Ben adjusted the lighting, reflectors and tripod.

He was quite clear which shirt he thought would portray a professional image and tho I do want that, to try too hard for that look would be insinscere. In the end we did some with the purple shirt as well where one of my fave shots ended up.

I was recovering from a cold and didn’t feel 100% so a bit concerned about being able to bring myself fully to the task but I trust Ben. He offered me some rescue remedy, I usually carry my own with me but didn’t have it and felt comforted being offered and accepting. I thought to myself, where else would you get this kind if care?!?

He was very open, invited me to see the effect on the camera’s view finder when we changed the background and stopped part way to check the images on the computer. He created an atmosphere that didn’t have a shred of professional elitism, making me quite comfortable and included in the process. I really appreciated that especially with my own interest in amateur photography.

I learned a lot being the portrait subject and it reminded me of the times I did fun photoshoots with friends in Victoria. I loved taking pictures of girls in various outfits, poses and states of undress! Seeing Ben at work made me realize just how amateur we were! But what fun we had!

I was so impressed with the level of skill evident in Ben’s portraiture. He was able to see if I was present, and not just as a whole, if I had “far away eyes” he’d ask me where I was, which brought me back. He could tell if my mouth wasn’t fully present & suggested moving it around, which brought my attention to it. Being wary of the nasty fake smile that can come across with posed shots, I was grateful.

Presence of mind was a familiar idea, but presence of mouth was a whole new distinction! And the way colour can add warmth, light bringing scincerity, posture create strength… It’s endless!!!

Needless to say I was very pleased with the process, the result and I highly recommend Ben Wrigley as a very personable and highly skilled photographer.

And he is also an artist. One who can make a prison look beautiful! Create sinister from the cute & cuddly, elicit weakness in petroleum transport all from images that can say far more than words.

Second Order Change

I met up with my friend Laurel before Sustainability Drinks last night. The city was hopping and the energy was frenetic. It took us a bit to get where we were going and the few drops of rain didn’t interrupt us once we got into conversation & catching up.
Sipping a locally brewed pear cider next to the Yarra, we talked about our work, her facilitation with community groups, reviewing a book etc. And she asked what I was doing with my business, a question I don’t enjoy much, just coming out of a reassessment and time of questioning what I’m doing. I wish I had something more definative and substantial to say. Seeking out collaborative opportunities, thinking about how to revamp my website, find new language to speak the value I have to offer. Starts to feel like blah blah blah sometimes.
Just before we headed up to Tjanabi she described what I was talking about, the work I want to do with my business, as ‘second order change’. I was intrigued by this term & asked her to say more. She described first order change as rearranging the deck chairs and the second as replacing the ship. This really struck a chord with me. It felt like something I’ve been strugling to name being articulated with such simplicity! Like a breath of fresh air, literally inspiring me! It gives me a new experience of what I’m doing is real, valid and important, not just a good idea inside my head!

Heaps of gratitude to Laurel for this revelation!

Southbank reflecting in the Yarra under Princes Bridge, we were at Riverland sipping cider, catching up.