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18 September 2011
100 people - #21: Catherine
Now Playing: r.e.m. - be mine
Topic: 100 people


I met Catherine in year 10 when I moved to Stawell and started at the local high school. We hit it off pretty much straight away.

She was pretty, intelligent, articulate, a talented illustrator and photographer, very into music and a very good friend. Over the years, very little has changed.

Despite our respective movements around Australia (both of us) and the UK (me), and the odd loss of contact here and there, we have managed to keep our friendship alive.

We were always willing subjects for each others' various assignments; I acted in her TAFE black & white 16mm film (which I wish I had been able to see!); she let me drape her in chains and seaweed (on separate occasions).

We have both been supportive and encouraging of each others' art, whether it be visual or literary.

During my road trip with Philip Ivens through the eastern states of Australia, we were lucky enough to arrange to meet Catherine and her partner, Aaron, to spend a long Easter weekend on Aaron's family's property, Shady Rest, in Wombeyan Caves at the base of the Blue Mountains in New South Wales.

The time spent there was a great opportunity for me to catch up with Catherine and Aaron, but also turned out to be a very inspiring one, with the old home site at my disposal to shoot self-portraits and other photographs amongst what was left of the previous home. I felt very spoilt.

During my time there, I only managed to snap a few shots of Catherine. She is animated to the point that finding a moment of calm in her is often impossible. Her mind and her body move at a rate of knots most of the time.

And though usually I would avoid shots like these; shots where someone is playing up to the camera, and specifically dropping into a defensive stance - the single finger salute taking centre stage - I think this actually sums up Catherine quite well in some respects.

She is done with the niceties of life. She doesn't really care too much what you think about her and how she lives her life. She's all about being in the moment and living her life the way she wants to. And she does.

Posted by Bronwen Hyde at 23:19 BST
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1 September 2011
Now Playing: bjork - aeroplane
Topic: self-portraiture


The imprints of your fingers leave their mark on my neck like a psychologist's ink stains.

I still feel your fingertips, gently but firmly holding me. My neck, my waist. Exploring, investigating, supporting, caressing, teasing.

In the darkness I can imagine they still sear my skin; still seek me out.

That you're not thousands of miles away, and so far from my touch.

Why, sometimes I've imagined as many as six impossible things before breakfast.

Posted by Bronwen Hyde at 01:02 BST
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29 August 2011
an unquiet heart
Now Playing: mika doo - blues in 3 acts
Topic: self-portraiture

an unquiet heart

And when one day Rambert told him that he liked waking up at four in the morning and thinking of his beloved Paris, the doctor guessed easily enough, basing this on his own experience, that that was his favourite time for conjuring up pictures of the woman from whom he now was parted. This was, indeed, the hour when he could feel surest she was wholly his. Till four in the morning one is seldom doing anything and at that hour, even if the night has been a betrayal, one is asleep. Yes, everyone sleeps at that hour, and this is reassuring, since the great longing of an unquiet heart is to possess constantly and consciously the loved one, or failing that, to be able to plunge the loved one, when a time of absence intervenes, into a dreamless sleep timed to last unbroken until the day they meet again.

- Albert Camus - The Plague

Posted by Bronwen Hyde at 15:41 BST
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21 August 2011
100 people - #20: Becky
Now Playing: johnny cash - i walk the line
Topic: 100 people

becky daniels #295

I met Becky through Phil. They had worked together (they are both social workers by day) in the UK, and as she was temporarily living in Melbourne, she was kind enough to offer us a place to stay with herself, Alex and Vicky, and accompanied us on the first few days of our road trip up the east coast of Australia.

As she was unable to take much leave at the time, we stayed close to Melbourne to ensure Becky was able to get back to Melbourne at the end of the first weekend of our travels, but as I knew there were so many places worth visiting within day-trip-distance from Melbourne, I was more than okay with this.

Becky is originally from England, but feels a sense of belonging in India and, like myself, generally enjoys traveling extensively. Most of her travel seems to entail immersing herself in the various cultures, contributing to the communities she visits (whether through social work roles, or language teaching), and she is quite spiritual.

Much of the time whilst Phil and I were gallivanting around taking photographs, Becky was just as happy to be chilling out in a quiet nook of wherever we were wandering through, or remaining at our caravan or cabin, in order to write.

She is equal parts introspective and contemplative, and outgoing and up for anything.

Posted by Bronwen Hyde at 15:41 BST
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20 August 2011
oh hai
Now Playing: fiona bevan - us and the darkness
Topic: life

untitled #10

Though I've been posting bits and pieces here and there, it seems like ages since I have updated properly.

Things have been generally pretty good with me of late. Work is work, that's probably the dullest part of my life of late.

Apart from that, as posted previously, I've been wandering around the UK and Europe since I arrived in London just over 7 months ago now. Specifically Eastbourne, Arbroath and surrounds, Brighton, Paris, and visiting new haunts and re-visiting old haunts. This coming weekend, over the Summer Bank Holiday break, I will be heading up to Edinburgh to visit some friends and possibly sneak in some festival treats.

This last is thanks to a recent visitor from Australia, Sarah Jansen, who kindly donated her return ticket to Edinburgh to me :o)

Speaking of which, she and I and another Sarah also enjoyed some fantastic live music recently: Fiona Bevan, Mika Doo, Cara Sebastian, Vashti and Joseph Stokes at Zigfrid von Underbelly in Hoxton Square.

I'm hoping to catch up with more live music over the coming months, including another dose of Sarah Nixey and a long overdue catch-up with CW Stoneking.

Recently I also managed to make time and get up the cajones to finally visit Pimps and Pinups to get my locks cut, which I'd been meaning to do since late last year (I'd done a small trim in October or so, but wanted it mid-length for Arbroath, so hadn't gone the whole hack I'd intended).

We have a new housemate moving in any day, and unfortunately "lost" our lovely Angeline & James recently, though they're only about 10 minutes away.

As you may be able to tell from the above photograph, I'm greatly diminished these days. I'm down to about 4-5kg from my goal weight, which is awesome. I'd like to say it just fell off, but it has involved a lot of dedication to the free gym at my work and trying to eat at least moderately better (though I've managed it without cutting out alcohol completely, which is reassuring).

Creatively there have been some nice bits of news recently:

Four of my images were included in the re-launch issue of twohundredby200 magazine for iPad and MagCloud.

'Creeper' was included in issue #112 of Shots Magazine

The latest installment of i see a pattern forming is now online.

And I have still been participating in The Divine Diptych Project, for which there will be a new round of images hitting the site from early September.

Thankfully, although the recent rioting in London was somewhat nearby, especially on the first night, it had little impact on me. Sad to see the damage done to a city I am falling further in love with each day though.

Posted by Bronwen Hyde at 22:20 BST
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7 August 2011
Now Playing: cocorosie - werewolf
Topic: divine diptychs


Left: Me
Right: Pia

This round of The Divine Diptych Project, Pia and I were paired for the first time, and given the theme 'Nightmares' by geekgirly.

Those who have followed me for a while, will know I dream very vividly, and have quite bizarre dreams. Animals, especially strange ones, or animals behaving strangely, have featured in my dreams regularly over the years, but lately I've been having even more dreams and nightmares that have featured animals.

So when deciding what I wanted to do for this theme, something involving an animal was the obvious choice. The carousel in the square below Montmartre, re-visited on a recent trip to Paris, provided the perfect subject: a creepy, startled, angry-looking horse, which I've processed to bring out the colours to give that vivid, high intensity feeling I often experience in dreams.

I really like how Pia's choice of image of a Venetian mask reiterates the sinister feeling of exaggeration, artificiality, and creepiness. That mask hanging in a dark hallway, lit by the moonlight, would definitely give me nightmares!

For those who might be interested, here's a list of bizarre animals that have featured in my dreams over the years, in no particular order:

* a little black piglet that swelled when he got hot, and had to be splashed with, or submerged in, water to "deflate"
* a wolf with claws piercing deep into my back
* blue ants with whistles for tails
* an embryonic sheep with two heads emerging from a shattered eggshell
* dancing with a polar bear and a grizzly bear
* a praying mantis fighting against the pull of a vacuum
* standing still to try to trick a crocodile that I wasn't there
* a live platypus looking more like something made in a woodwork class
* a room full of animals, one of each kind
* a small, vicious kitten using nerves in my back as marionette strings
* two small, white, fluffy puppies, one called Lindsay, that's fur turned a dirty colour when they needed to pee, but returned to bright white when they had finished urinating
* small white termites or worms crawling in and out of holes in the back of a living girl's head
* poisoning a discarded cat by feeding it sultanas, which whilst not poisoned, cause it to convulse, though it continues to seek out more sultanas
* a large gorilla lifting a large cabinet onto a couch and balancing it there whilst he rummaged through the drawers
* a colony of ants feasting on a bag of raw bacon lying on the grass
* a kitten licking the pages of a small book, making an image of a landscape appear on the paper
* a Dachshund singing "I'm your rubby-tummy-baby" to me, as I scratched its belly
* the suggestion of leaping onto the shells of small tortoises that grew in size as they moved across a yard, as though the tortoises were makeshift roller skates
* tar-coated seals along the roadside as a marathon took place

Posted by Bronwen Hyde at 01:03 BST
Updated: 7 August 2011 01:13 BST
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31 July 2011
this is sarah nixey talking
Now Playing: sarah nixey - the collector
Topic: gig photography

sarah nixey & kevin cormack #8

Toward the start of July, I had the chance to see Sarah Nixey play live a second time, having seen her for the first time performing upstairs at The Enterprise in Camden in late May.

Though AAA, the space downstairs from Archangel in South Kensington, wasn't an ideal set-up for watching bands if other patrons aren't there to see the bands, or are only there to see one band and are disrespectful toward the other bands (which was unfortunately the case that night), I was pleased to have brought my camera when I saw the stage was well-lit and predominantly with blue light (red light is great for ambiance, but terrible for photography; and too many smaller pub / club venues in Melbourne treat lighting as an afterthought, often not even aiming it at the stage).

Once the chatter died down and some inconsiderate punters not interested in the music moved out of the way, it was a very enjoyable gig.

I'm pleased to be able to see performers of Sarah's calibre in much more intimate settings than you'd have the chance to see them in Australia (if, indeed you'd have the chance to see her over there). I was also lucky enough to chat with her at both performances: a very lovely lady.

I'm looking forward to getting out and about to see more live music in future.

sarah nixey #26

sarah nixey & kevin cormack #44

sarah nixey #5152

untitled #10

sarah nixey #14

sarah nixey #2831

sarah nixey & kevin cormack #20

Posted by Bronwen Hyde at 23:37 BST
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20 July 2011
work is the curse of the drinking classes
Now Playing: the dead milkmen - beach party vietnam
Topic: sepulchre

oscar wilde

I returned to London today after spending a few days in Paris with Victoria, a friend from Australia who was in my hemisphere all too briefly, and who invited me to join her in Paris in an apartment overlooking Parmentier Metropolitain station.

We spent about 2.5 days together wandering around Paris. Our first stop, on our first afternoon there, being Pere Lachaise cemetery. Though I have been to Paris twice before: the first time with my family on a "round the world" holiday in 1991/92; the second on a "team building" day out with my work colleagues in 2001, I hadn't yet had a chance to visit this icon of cemeteries.

My obsession with cemeteries began only a few short weeks after my first visit to Paris. My family and I went on a tour of one of the major cemeteries in New Orleans and I fell in love. I would have to hunt through records to confirm 100% which cemetery it was, but it was majestic, full of mausoleums (above ground burial is compulsory in New Orleans because of the swampland), and full of history.

On my second visit to Paris, with co-workers, I didn't feel comfortable asking if we could wander amongst the dead so I could take photos, though we did wander freely through Pigalle (admittedly in the "downtime" of daylight hours).

So when Victoria sent me details of the apartment she had booked, the home of an American musician who was back home on holidays, and I saw it was near Pere Lachaise Cemetery, I was pleased to find she was as keen as I was to visit this fantastic cemetery.

Visiting there during intermittent rain on Sunday afternoon, we wandered amongst the elaborate mausoleums and statues, and even met a "local", a lovely man with the surname Papillon who was visiting his late wife and showed us her grave.

We both managed to get numerous photographs of various resting places in the cemetery; and we decided to forgo visiting Jim Morrison, but dropped in to see Oscar Wilde on our way out.

The few days we spent in Paris were really enjoyable: wandering around the city without getting too caught up in the tourist fray. Apart from Pere Lachaise Cemetery, the closest we got to tourist spots was Montmartre's Place du Tertre and Basilique du Sacre Coeur, both of which I'd visited before.

I found the Metro quite easy to navigate (especially with the assistance of an app on my iPhone), and actually felt much less daunted by the city than I expected, even with my limited knowledge of the French language (I recognise far more words in written form than I would ever understand spoken to me!)

One of the highlights of our trip was totally fortuitous: we had bypassed a cafe in the Marais area after quailing at the sight of the line for the free Impressionist exhibition at Hotel de Ville, and stumbled into Le Pick-Clops, a cafe down a side street, to grab a hot chocolate and a tea out of the rain, on Tuesday. Speaking broken French to the waitress, I was embarrassed to realise she was actually American, but she was very helpful with suggestions of places to wile away our rainy day, including Jeu de Paume where we were exposed to the self-portraiture of Claude Cahun.

The only downside to the trip is the amount of weight I may have put back on from indulging in copious amounts of cheese and bread and wine. Even with all that walking, I possibly overdid it!

Posted by Bronwen Hyde at 23:15 BST
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10 July 2011
100 people - #19: Peter
Now Playing: my hyde & the jeckyls - you may have horses in your eyes, but you're no fuckin' cowboy
Topic: 100 people

peter hyde

I can't remember the specifics, but Pete and I met back in early July 1978. I was about 14 months old; he was fresh from my mother's womb and had a hole in his heart.

I'm sure we got on fine initially, though our friendship has been a bit up and down over the years. You know, the usual sibling competition and quarreling. I remember lots of horse bites and duck bites, and fights for the television remote, and pinning each other to the floor (usually these things were related).

I remember Pete knocking on my door with eerie regularity almost every afternoon when I was in primary school and early high school, asking what I was doing, to which I usually responded "Homework!" and closed the door on him. At the time I found it irritating and responded accordingly. Later I realised it was just that he wanted to hang out. I guess I found this kind of foreign as I was used to doing so many things alone: reading, writing, playing piano, etc.

Back then he always seemed to get away with everything, being the youngest and all. For example, if he didn't clean his bedroom, even after being grounded and flaunting that punishment, Mum would do it. He was always cuddling up to Mum and won her over with his affection.

These days he's a bit of an enigma to all of our family. He goes off and does awesome things, and then we find out afterward when he decides to let us in on what he's been up to: his record label, his bands, his travels (where I am drawn to the UK, he is drawn to the US, and he seems to spend about 3 months there most years).

He's been in numerous bands over the years: H*A*W* (depending on who you talked to, this was an acronym for Hippies Against Whaling, Hairy Axe Wound, etc., etc); Mr Hyde & The Jeckyls, Whitehorse, Occult Blood and Collapsed Toilet Vietnam. He also posts photographs to Never Nothing.

About the only thing he doesn't seem to do these days (which I miss) is paint or draw. He has the painting and drawing skills that I've never had, and jealously wish he'd use more.

Where Rob used to introduce me to his friends as "my little sister", Pete would tower over me and introduce me as his "big sister". Still most people who meet all three of us together don't believe we are siblings.

Though all of us Hyde kids have reddish hair in some lights (whether head or beard hair), Pete has killer genetics when it comes to facial hair and for years has chopped and changed between styles. He would grow a full beard (often down to mid-chest length), then trim to a goatee, or a 'chin curtain' (what I refer to as a 'reverend beard'), mutton chops, or what Pete affectionately terms a "wife-swapper" (somewhere between a trucker moustache and a porn star moustache, in my estimation).

The night I took this photo, the night before I left Melbourne on my road trip with Phil Ivens, he and the lass in the background of this portrait were playing distortion pedals in the open mike night at Bar Open's Make It Up Club, on Brunswick Street in Fitzroy.

Last week he turned 33.

Posted by Bronwen Hyde at 22:53 BST
Updated: 10 July 2011 23:02 BST
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4 July 2011
100 people - #18: Philip
Now Playing: black box recorder - start as you mean to go on
Topic: 100 people


Philip and I met in London in early 2001 when we both wound up working for the same company: a small photographic library which used to produce and manage product and lifestyle photography for Sony, Motorola and Argos.

Over mountains of invoices, we realised we had similar taste in music and films, and we both have a keen interest in photography.

Luckily for Phil (though, arguably, not at the time), he was only at the company on a temporary basis, and returned to Warwick after a few months; but we kept in touch on and off whilst I continued to work there until I left to return to Australia.

After I left the UK, we lost contact somewhat, but then came back in contact around late 2003 when Phil found me on Myspace.

Since then we've stayed in regular contact, our main topic of conversations remaining the same: photography, art, film, music, travel. We have quite different styles and preferences in regard to photography (Phil likes his verticals vertical and his contrast low; I have no quarrel with converging lines, and (mostly) like my contrast high); and drinking (he doesn't; I do); and sugar (he doesn't like sugar in anything; I can't drink tea without it), but we seem to get along well enough anyway.

Again, this portrait was taken at the Boiler Room Bar at Abbotsford Convent. I have some other portraits of Phil taking tea with a kookaburra that took a shine to us on our cabin verandah, but I'm not sure I'll get permission to post those!

Posted by Bronwen Hyde at 00:42 BST
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