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2 January 2010
trailer park blues
Now Playing: beth orton - trailer park
Topic: rosebank, nsw

trailer park blues

When I was a teenager, and really, even earlier than that, I had a romantic notion about caravans, or trailers as they may be known elsewhere.

Maybe it was from growing up one of three children, though I was always lucky enough to have my own room. Maybe it was because we rented one for a family holiday one year when I was quite young. Maybe it was the romantic notion of nomadic life or transience which alternately lures and repels me to this day. I don't really know.

But from a fairly young age I used to attempt to convince my parents to buy a caravan for me to live in. I wasn't asking to move out, per se. I didn't have a license as I was too young; now I don't have a license and it has nothing to do with age. So it wasn't about trying to get far away from family. It was the concept of having a place of my own. Which, for some reason, was a concept I coveted even back then. Even if that place of my own was to be parked in the driveway of the family house.

There was something about having my own bedroom, kitchen and lounge in one. There was something about folding beds. There was something about diner-style tables and laminate. The usually kitsch-style curtains on the windows, levered windows and the shape of the caravans themselves.

The concept of caravans that had tops that could be raised and lowered fascinated me. The idea of a makeshift verandah created from a canvas awning and evenings spent outside in the heat watching storms. The inconvenience of navigating to a toilet block (or the toilet inside my parents' house) in the dark and rain obviously didn't register in my young mind.

Maybe it was the idea of having a home of my own but the freedom to move that so caught my imagination.

Like my mother, when I don't move house for a few years, I still find myself rearranging the furniture every six months or so.

I guess it's something to do with restlessness.

Either way, no matter how often I mentioned it - coaxed, pleaded - my parents' response was always in the negative. The word "firetrap" was used often. I'm sure "eyesore" featured in there strongly too.

But still every time I see one, I think of how much it looks like home. No matter how decrepit. And possibly even more so if it is decrepit. I realise the impracticality. The heat in summer, the cold in winter, and all the other negatives in between.

But for some reason, the romantic notion still remains.

Posted by Bronwen Hyde at 13:28 GMT
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31 December 2009
neither an end nor a beginning but a going on
Now Playing: david gray - say hello wave goodbye
Topic: self-portraiture

title or description

Well, here we are. The end of another year, another decade. Out with the old, in with the new, eh?

The past year has been none too shabby; the past decade was a mixed bag. The next year and decade are bound to be full of ups and downs, but if I have anything to say about it, they'll be full of adventures, creativity, travel, new experiences, and more photography than you can poke a stick at.

Some "fast" facts about the last decade for me:

I opened this decade (and the new millenium) in "style" (okay, Liverpool, rain, port-a-loos with busted doors and illicit drugs might not equate to everyone's idea of "style"!) at Cream 2000 at Pier Head in Leeds, after a wonderful few weeks exploring the UK and catching up with friends and family, local and imported. Orbital brought us into the new millennium with the theme from Doctor Who at midnight, and a mash-up of popular music from the past decade and beyond.

I spent the first 2 years and 4 months of the noughties living in the UK. I lived in 4 different homes during my time there: Bracknell, Reading, Clapham and Croydon.

In that time I traversed much of England, Scotland, Wales and the Republic of Ireland. Spent parts of two summers at the Edinburgh festivals: film, book, fringe, T at the Fringe, Edinburgh Festival proper; never made it to the military tattoo. Visited Copenhagen, Carcassonne and Toulouse (where I saw The Cure live), Frankfurt and Berlin (where I saw Radiohead play two nights in a row), Barcelona, and Paris (totally kicked arse over paint-balling as a team-building exercise!)

I seem to have left an important part of my brain somewhere, somewhere in a field in Hampshire, alright...

I took not nearly enough photographs, but did work experience at Hot Dog Magazine and was told I should show my portfolio to Dazed & Confused Magazine, though I never did.

I worked with some awesome folk at a photo library in Farringdon, then Camden, for most of my time in the UK. In fact, I spent far too much time in all working whilst living over there, but I did squeeze in time to scan photos and set up the early incarnations of my website.

My last new year's eve in the UK we became yet another statistic: "victims of crime"; with one of our crew being held up at gunpoint a mere 5 minute walk from our home. Thankfully the friend in question was treated, scalp glued, and back at ours in time for the countdown to 2002; though neither myself nor my housemate ever walked along that street at night again.

I met some absolutely wonderful people, artists and otherwise, developing strong and inspiring friendships, locally and virtually. Some friendships became even stronger. Other "friendships" I severed, or "friends" I distanced myself from.

I visited New Zealand's North Island to visit friends and family and take many photographs.

I said farewell to both of my mother's parents; that was hard.

I spent the first half of the decade in relationships. The second half of the decade I spent happily single. I proved I can be more than a little romantic and spontaneous when I traveled to Hong Kong on a whim to meet someone. The romance only blossomed to friendship, but I did take many photographs in Hong Kong City, on Lamma Island, and in Macau.

At the current moment I'm on the verge of paying off my credit card debt for the third time within the decade. Though I was fastidious in paying the full balance off each month until April 2002, past years have not been so disciplined.

I started my own business, which I still run, but which consists more of being an artist than a photographer-for-hire these days.

I sold numerous prints and books to some wonderful people, and completed commissioned portrait shoots with some other wonderful folk. I thank you profusely for your continuing support, it means more to me than you will ever know.

I had eleven different residential addresses and one postal address in the past decade. This year I moved from Melbourne to Brisbane, which has turned out to be a refreshingly positive decision.

I had fifteen different employers, and in 2008 finally streamlined my superannuation down to one account from about six.

I staged my debut solo exhibition, Alternate Worlds, in August 2007 at Brunswick Street Gallery; and had my work included in numerous exhibitions in Melbourne and surrounds, and in LA.

I was shortlisted for the Toyota Community Spirit Artist Travel Award in 2009; and the Corangamarah Art Prize in both 2008 and 2009.

I saw my photography in print for the first time (and more), including two book covers and 10 short story covers, and collaborated with publishers, writers, other photographers, and even made my first doll. I self-published three books of my photography, and wrote about 700 words of prose in NaNoWriMo 2009. I also performed on stage in a public venue outside of a school recital or inter-school competition, playing glockenspiel, egg-shaker and singing (not all at the same time) in a then-boyfriend's band, The Toys.

This year closes on some wonderful and not-so-wonderful moments and experiences, and the decade ahead holds many surprises and dreams to be fulfilled.

Although I'd intended to travel overseas in 2010, and initially had hoped to relocate permanently to the UK, I've made a tough decision in the past few weeks that I need to postpone those travels until 2011 and close off some personal stuff in Australia during 2010 (nothing bad, just closing some chapters in my life).

I'll still be taking a ten-day road trip from Melbourne to Brisbane with Phil Ivens in March and April 2010. I'll still be upgrading my D50 to a D700 or similar during the course of the year.

I'll also be meeting with a Melbourne gallery in March to discuss a potential exhibition of my interior / exterior work in November 2010.

However, for now I will remain in Brisbane, and part-way through next year I'll no doubt end up looking for a place of my own here.

I have a list as long as your arm (my arms are short, so your arms are likely to be of a length more fitting to the extent of my list!) of projects, goals, dreams, intentions and resolutions that I hope to see to fruition and bring to reality in 2010.

I hope you'll stick around and see how it all turns out, and perhaps some of you will play a part in those projects and dreams.

Words can't even begin to describe how appreciative I've been of all the support I've received in the past decade. Whether personal, emotional, creative, inspirational or financial, or a mixture of the above. I have astoundingly generous, inspiring, encouraging and loving friends and family, and for that I am ever thankful.

I'd love to hear about your past decade, and your plans for the coming year and decade; and see and be a part of your futures.

I hope you have a wonderful closing of the old year, and welcoming of the new year, and I raise my glass to every one of you.

Posted by Bronwen Hyde at 13:21 GMT
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6 December 2009
le moribund
Now Playing: beirut - gulag orkestar
Topic: self-portraiture

le moribund

Thank you to Mel Brackstone for taking me to this abandoned house a couple of weeks ago.

That day I also enjoyed shooting around my ‘hood with Kelly, then op shopping with Mel, Kelly and Katrina before this shoot :o)

I've entered this image into this week's Saatchi Online Showdown, so you can vote for it until late afternoon Monday GMT.

Also, if you're after a 2010 calendar, I have three new ones available through RedBubble. Or if you're after a custom calendar of my work, comment or message me!

Posted by Bronwen Hyde at 03:30 GMT
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the walls keep saying your name
Now Playing: beirut - gulag orkestar
Topic: self-portraiture

the walls keep saying your name

Posted by Bronwen Hyde at 03:05 GMT
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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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