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3 November 2009
Now Playing: goldfrapp - deer stop
Topic: visible ink

visible ink #21

If you're in Melbourne, you should get along to the launch of Visible Ink's 21st issue at The Empress on Monday 9 November – from 7pm. Go along and help celebrate, and get in early to grab a copy.

There will be author readings — Alyson Hose, Moreno Giovannoni, Simon McInerney and Lu Sexton — music from Greer Turner (Modular Lounge) and Imogen Halstead (Indigo Hotel) — and gushing editorials.

Unfortunately I'm not in the state, but Allison and her Visible Ink colleagues will make you more than welcome.

If you want to know how to get your clammy hands on a copy in Melbourne, or if you're not in the state or not in the country but interested in picking up a copy, go here.

In case you've not guessed, that's one of my images on the cover, and I believe I have a couple of other images inside. I'm looking forward to receiving my copy!

Posted by Bronwen Hyde at 10:49 GMT
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31 October 2009
Now Playing: faithless - outrospective
Topic: self-portraiture


I haven't been photographing myself much lately, as I've been rising around 4:50am to catch the 6am bus to the city to start work at 7:30am. Working till 3:21pm, then often not managing to make my connecting bus at Griffith Uni, so having to sit at the busway station for up to an hour before finally getting my connection and arriving home about 5:45pm. By around 10pm I have to head to bed in order to get enough sleep to do it all over again the next day.

My latest mantra is "the end justifies the means"...

Suffice to say I don't have much time for much of anything at the moment.

And yet I'm going to give NaNoWriMo a go commencing tomorrow; I'm working on some plans for a couple of new stores on Etsy; and I am trying to edit my backlog of non-self-portraiture; making travel plans for Phil's visit in March / April, and for my trip overseas to hopefully commence in June 2010.

I'm still having trouble with my camera, so going to take it in for a service on Monday and see if it can't be sorted out. Otherwise I may end up having to buy a new one earlier in the new year than I'd hoped (I'd hoped to get one close enough to my overseas travels to buy it duty free).

On the good news front, licensing for one of my images in the Flickr Collection on Getty Images sold in September, so that will make a nice dent in my credit card debt; as is the pay from the work I'm doing.

If you're in Brisbane and have any suggestions of / access to cool locations for photography, and / or are a photographer, artist, writer or musician, please feel free to get in contact. I'm still finding my way around the city and getting to know people, so I'm keen to meet other like-minded folk around town.

I think I've also sussed out a pro lab locally, so if anyone would like to purchase any prints, please take a look at my store!

Posted by Bronwen Hyde at 09:36 BST
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11 October 2009
my pussy. let me show you it.
Now Playing: the divine comedy - something for the weekend
Topic: self-portraiture

my pussy. let me show you it.

Today I went down to the Gold Coast Arts Centre to see what bargains I might find as the costume store was having a sale.

I managed to pick up four wigs, a corset and this disarmingly creepy, but ever so cool, kitty. All for $65.

I've taken a bunch of photos with my kitty (unnamed as yet), but a lot of them have come up badly because my auto-focus is playing up and has been for a few months now :o( Time for an upgrade, but it will take me a bit of time to save up for my next camera.

Posted by Bronwen Hyde at 06:49 BST
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9 October 2009
always the bridesmaid...
Now Playing: the divine comedy - a secret history...
Topic: toyota travel award

always the bridesmaid...

It's been a rollercoaster of a week.

I tried to go to bed around 8pm on Sunday night, but of course didn't fall asleep until well after 10pm. Had to be up again at 1:45am in readiness for being driven to the airport at 3:30am for my flight at 5am to Melbourne.

A couple of hours spent reading over my presentation for the umpteenth time, catching a little bit of sleep, chomping on some Qantas breakfast, moving forward in time with the Daylight Savings the rest of the east coast outside of Queensland observes, and failing at pretending I wasn't nervous as all hell.

A quick drop in to Mat's to drop off my bags, change and pretend to someone else that I wasn't nervous as hell.

And then I was at the Toyota Corporate Headquarters waiting to give my presentation. I was forty minutes early and had the pleasure of meeting Tim Craker, one of the other shortlisted artists. We talked nerves, presentation tactics, projects and wished each other well. Kylie Baudino provided calming distraction as she put the finishing touches on her sculpture 'Maximum Growth' included in the Toyota Community Spirit Gallery sculpture exhibition, Hybrid, opening two days later.

Almost an hour after arriving there, I had my turn. As Tim had reassured me on finishing his presentation, the set-up was quite conversational, and much less daunting than I'd expected, but of course that didn't allay my nerves completely.

Though on walking out of my presentation I was a bundle of adrenalin and felt quite positive, I had no real idea how I'd gone at all, and mentally prepared myself over the next 50+ hours for not being selected.

I was lucky enough to pre-occupy my mind in the interim with meeting up with my brother Rob, Chris Zissiadis, Michael Lau, Angus Gordon, Feih Kemp and Paul Ruiz; and Mat once again gave me shelter, which was much appreciated.

The evening of the announcement was enjoyable, with an artist talk by last year's travel award recipient Damon Kowarsky; and Lisa Dempster and Claudia Phares accompanying me for moral support. At one point in the build-up to the announcement, in the corner of my eye, I caught Lisa wringing her hands on my behalf and realised she was even more nervous than I was.

And then the announcement was made that Julie Collins and Derek John had won the 2010 Toyota Community Spirit Artist Travel Award, and Sophie Bray had won the $2,000 Encouragement Award, and it was all over.

Although it was, of course, disappointing to get so far and not reach the finish line first, I still feel extremely privileged to have even made it that far; and given it was always my intention to carry out my travels and project (though perhaps on a slightly smaller scale) irrespective of the award, I'm quite content with my lot. Just to have been a serious contender in such a major award makes me proud of how far I've come in the past few years.

I spent my last lunch in Melbourne catching up with Nick Kind, then left the city I used to call home without any regrets and with a sense of closure. And, strange as it may seem after only a month here in Brisbane, I felt truly like I was home when I hit the airport and turned my clock back an hour again on Thursday evening.

So from here the next step is to save as much money as I can to move forward with my travels in 2010, and no doubt I'll be in a city near (most of) you next year.

Meanwhile, I have untold amounts of editing to get through, given it's been neglected for the past 2+ months due to moves, upheaval and applications!

Posted by Bronwen Hyde at 17:23 BST
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3 October 2009
dreams with fishes
Now Playing: catatonia - goldfish and paracetamol
Topic: shots magazine

dreams with fishes

Five of my images are in issue #37: Signs of F-Stop Magazine.

And for the first time, I have an image in Shots Magazine - Issue #105!

Seriously stressing about my presentation on Monday,
but somewhat dulled at the moment by the fact I have come down with a cold :o(
Seriously bad timing...

Posted by Bronwen Hyde at 08:30 BST
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2 October 2009
neon pilgrim
Now Playing: the cure - world in my eyes
Topic: books

neon pilgrim launch

Lisa Dempster with her new book, Neon Pilgrim, and emcee and fellow author, Simon Groth at Avid Reader, Brisbane.

This past Wednesday night I had the pleasure of being in attendance when my friend Lisa Dempster launched her first full-flung, non-fiction book, Neon Pilgrim, at Avid Reader in the West End of Brisbane.

Seriously unfit and unmotivated, Lisa Dempster is an unlikely candidate for a gruelling outdoor adventure. But when her life needs a shake-up, she decides the only thing for it is to hike the henro michi, a 1200 kilometre Buddhist pilgrimage through the mountains of Japan.

Lisa plunges into life on the road, getting well off the beaten track and experiencing the highs and devastating lows of solo long-distance hiking. Along the way she sleeps in a public toilet, befriends a motley crew of wandering ascetics, falls in lust with a monk and tries her darndest to avoid the local wildlife. As the kilometres tick excruciatingly by, she realises that to finish the pilgrimage it's more than just physical hardship that she'll need to overcome...

Lisa's journey from overweight dole bludger to intrepid explorer is a witty and fascinating insight into Japan's famed 88 Temple Pilgrimage.

Having predominantly been on the publisher / editor side of things, this was Lisa's first experience on the side of being a solo author (she previously co-authored Veg*n Shopper: an essential pocket reference with aduki publisher Emily Clark), and from what I've read so far, she has an extremely engaging and honest style of writing; and I have absolute respect for her in even contemplating the pilgrimage she undertook.

I met Lisa through a mutual friend a few years back, and completed a commission of covers for the first series of her Mini Shots series, as well as contributing to The Sex Mook and The Death Mook, and with this latest book, its preceding hike, and her role as owner and publisher at Vignette Press, I am always amazed at her energy, enthusiasm and tenacity.

If you have a chance, you should check out the following artist talks and Melbourne book launch:

1-4 October - Book launch and reading, plus panel appearances at the National Young Writers' Festival, Newcastle (NSW)

6 October - Author talk, Ashfield Library, Sydney (NSW)

10 October - Workshop at Art Jam Festival, Fyshwick (ACT)

14 October - Book launch at Readings, Carlton (VIC)

11 November - Author Talk at Whitehorse Manningham Library, Nunawading (VIC)

18 November - Author talk at Burnside Library, Adelaide (SA)

Posted by Bronwen Hyde at 15:12 BST
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Now Playing: nick cave & the bad seeds - let love in
Topic: collaborations


Photographer and graphic designer, Nick Kind, got in touch with me through my site about 18 months ago.

Hailing from Leicester, England, he's been in Melbourne for about 3 years, and we share a penchant for capturing the minutiae of everyday life. His series The Shore and some of his portraiture particularly caught my eye when I first visited his site.

Two days before I left Melbourne, we finally met up in person and did a shoot in the evening at a studio on Smith Street in Fitzroy. Nick wanted to explore the idea of feeling trapped and was looking for a model, so asked me if I'd be that model.

It was a lot of fun and really easy; much less daunting than I'd expected. Especially considering we only talked on the phone for the first time the night before, and had only met in person an hour or so before starting to shoot.

Above and below are a few of my favourite images from the shoot.



Posted by Bronwen Hyde at 13:05 BST
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27 September 2009
Now Playing: nick cave & the bad seeds - let love in
Topic: collaborations


My friendship with Claudia Phares began with a dead wombat. Specifically, this one.

A mutual friend, Melissa, told me she'd come across my print hanging on Claudia's wall at a party one evening. Though Melissa had never seen the image before, she instinctively recognised it as one of mine and asked if she could take it down to confirm the details on the back of the frame.

As the print had sold in a Dutch auction at Brunswick Street Gallery, and I'd not known the buyer, it was strange and cool to hear of a friend's random encounter with it.

Sometime not long after that, Claudia and I met each other at an opening at BSG. From there we became fast friends and I discovered that, not only is she a voracious collector of the work of emerging artists, she is an emerging artist herself.

After numerous encounters at openings, and meeting up to discuss art and photography over coffee, the idea arose at her engagement party that we should try to do some sort of collaboration before I moved north. As she was off to Western Australia and the Northern Territory on exploratory jaunts, and I was crazy-busy with moving and such-like, we only had a small window of time to create images and plan our collaboration.

So, whilst I was mightily hungover from my leaving drinks the Sunday before I left Melbourne, we managed to coordinate a joint self-portrait exploring the concept of friendship or amistad.

We wanted to express how friendship does not only exist if the two friends are in the same place at the same time. It is also about the nature of the connection.

Working with Claudia was fun and inspiring, and we both regret the fact we hadn't worked together until just before I left, but we do intend to work together again in the future wherever we may meet; and irrespective of where we are, we will always remain strong friends with a wonderful connection.

Thank you to Claudia for the concept for this shoot, and for instigating my most public, partially-clothed self-portrait, joint or otherwise, to date. Not only did we agree on meeting in Fitzroy Gardens in the centre of Melbourne, we also managed (unintentionally) to time our shoot to coincide with seemingly unending foot traffic from the MCG after an AFL match! Suffice to say our presence and odd behaviour drew quite a lot of attention.

Posted by Bronwen Hyde at 07:53 BST
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26 September 2009
drawing restraint
Now Playing: lamb - fear of fours
Topic: collaborations

by Paul Ruiz

About two years ago, Melbourne-based painter Paul Ruiz came across my profile on Artabase and got in contact with me about my work.

I was extremely flattered, as on viewing his work online, I was greatly impressed with his portraiture and painting technique.

When the next opportunity arose to view his work at Lindberg Contemporary in Collingwood, I was sure to visit in order to see his paintings up close.

Having gotten to know him better in person over the past two years I've found him to be particularly generous with his time, and willing to share his knowledge and experiences as a practicing artist.

I then also had the opportunity a few months ago to sit for him as a model for some sketches. One of his charcoal sketches from the session is shown above.

Aside from being rendered in caricature airbrush in a very short session by an artist-for-hire as a tourist at Disney World many years ago, I'd never sat for a painter or their sketching before. But knowing Paul's style of portraiture and being comfortable with him on a personal level made it really easy. We talked about representation, pricing, future plans, the sort of folk we enjoy portraying within our respective mediums, and numerous other subjects during the course of the afternoon, both whilst I sat for him, and over tea in breaks. The experience was very calming and inspiring for me, especially in a window of time that was otherwise quite stressful.

Unfortunately due to hectic schedules during the last month or two of my time in Melbourne, and his (at the time) impending wedding (now done, and he's relaxing in Thailand for a while), we weren't able to coordinate to arrange a second sitting, but I would definitely make time to sit for Paul when we are next in the same city.

Posted by Bronwen Hyde at 09:46 BST
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19 September 2009
Now Playing: tori amos - american doll posse
Topic: collaborations

untitled #15

An image from a recent collaboration with Claudia Phares

For someone like myself who is something of a self-confessed control freak, who enjoys self-portraiture specifically for the fact I have total artistic control over all aspects of the image, you would think I'd consider "collaboration" to be a dirty word.

Not so, however.

Though until recently it's been something of a haphazard happening for me, it is fast becoming an experience I embrace and relish the fruits of.

Obviously in portraiture there is always at least some element of collaboration. Even where the concept and intention is primarily formulated and directed by the photographer, few models are totally malleable blank canvases and will undoubtedly always give some direction to a shoot through their actions, expressions, and reactions, both verbal and non-verbal. This includes what I refer to as "cameos" by friends within my 365 Days series.

Other portraiture shoots I've done have been very much collaborative and free-form, with myself and the model improvising off each other, props, locations, etc.

Outside of portraiture, I've also undertaken indirect collaborations with artists working in other mediums, whether it be creating images for Vignette Press' first Mini Shots series and The Big Issue's fiction editions; or becoming the subject of an illustrator's interpretation of montaged versions of my self-portraiture and travel images.

In other instances I've created a series or single images as part of collaborative projects based on a theme, such as the series I produced with Aline Smithson for issue #34 of F-Stop Magazine.

However, it's only in the past twelve months or so that my collaborations with others have involved me taking on a modeling role directed by another artist, or a two-way dialogue with another self-portrait artist, the first of these being as a model for Paul Louis Villani's "Born from this earth..." series.

Over the next few posts I'll showcase some of the collaborations (or modeling roles, in two instances) I've recently undertaken with three Melbourne artists I admire, and I look forward to the collaborations planned as part of my overseas travels in 2010.

As much as I tend to be quite insular in my work and enjoy the ultimate control that comes with self-portraiture, there is something amazingly freeing and inspiring about being directed by another artist you trust and admire; and working with other artists you admire is a fantastic way to learn more about the way they think and work, and the creative ideas and impulses they have.

Posted by Bronwen Hyde at 14:12 BST
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