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4 June 2012
end of a century [almost]
Now Playing: aimee mann - one
Topic: portraits

agnes hyde

Sometimes the information superhighway isn't so super, even in this day and age. Firstly, because some people still don't use it, so information doesn't always pass across the world instantaneously; and secondly, because sometimes the information crossing that superhighway is not what you want to hear.

I found out yesterday (Sunday) that my Grandma passed away last Tuesday. Her funeral took place at 2:30pm today AEST.

My parents were just arriving into Bucharest on Sunday, and finally had access to internet after not having reasonably priced access to phone or internet since they heard the news from my Uncle, and my Uncle is a Luddite (this is not a criticism, just a statement of fact), thus the delay. My Uncle had tried to call me a number of times, but he doesn't have to make international calls often, and it turns out he was only pressing '0' once before the UK country code 44, so his calls must have been going to someone else's Australian mobile number.

Either way, despite the fact I knew this was coming, it still felt horrible reading those words in the Gmail email preview as I clicked through to read the full message from my parents. It was like a kick in the guts, and after a relatively positive couple of days previous, was even harder to take.

When I left Australia I told my Grandma to look after herself, and that I'd be back for her 100th birthday. That last day I saw her, I knew I'd be emotional, but was totally unprepared for her crying as I hugged her and kissed her on the cheek and said my goodbyes. I was trying not to cry before I left, but as soon as she started I couldn't hold it in any longer.

I remarked to my parents about it, somewhat in shock, because my Dad's family have never been big on emotion. My Grandma, like all of her immediate family including my Dad, generally held her cards close to her chest. I mentioned it to my Uncle last night when we spoke on the phone finally, and he said that she told him about it when he visited the next day, and even she seemed surprised by her own behaviour.

We both knew that day that there was a pretty strong chance this would be the last time we would see each other. Neither of us said that, but our tears were pretty clear indication that we knew, though I'm sure we both hoped otherwise.

As with my Mum's mother, I only really got to know Dad's mum better as I got older, over the past few years. With living in different states most of my life, my interactions with Grandma were intermittent and brief. Probably the longest amount of time I spent with her was staying with her and my Uncle in 2002 because I was then living with my parents but they'd gone away for a couple of weeks. Not being able to drive, their then home in the Gold Coast hinterland wasn't as accessible as needed for getting to work, buying groceries, etc., so I stayed with Grandma and Uncle John.

Visiting Grandma about every second week during the time I lived in Brisbane (September 2009 to January 2011), we built up something of a bond, though generally not through conversation or shared interests. It just happened, maybe because there are so many things I have inherited from her - good and bad: stubborn Aries traits, small (especially facial) features, worrying and over-thinking things, a love of crosswords (shared with both Grandmothers).

I also keenly understood her frustration and rebellion against being placed in a home. It was a necessity - she was no longer able to look after herself, and it was too much for my family to take on, due to a very bad fall - but to go from being fairly independent and active to being in a hospital and then not being able to go back to your own home was something I understood would be very hard. My Uncle did take her to visit, but it must have been so hard for her.

She did end up enjoying the home, despite her initial feelings. The staff there were absolutely wonderful with her, and she quite clearly touched a nerve with them. Despite being of a generation preceding political correctness (I would often cringe at things she said, but knew it was just a generational thing, that she did not hold prejudices), staff at the home of varying ancestry loved her and joked with her. She often displayed a cheekiness with the staff that we as family rarely saw, and I finally got to see more of that over the past few years.

Also generational, I know many of the things I do (nude self-portraiture), the way I live my life (living with a partner before wedlock, piercing my nose), were concepts she would not have understood / did not understand (she did stop staring at my nose-ring when talking to me after about a week), because her life was so utterly different to mine, but she rarely judged, to my knowledge. Her comments, when she did make them, seemed more concerned than judgmental.

I do regret never asking her about Grandpa and her relationship with him. I would have liked to hear her talk about him, but I suspect she wouldn't have opened up much about that. Unfortunately she burnt a lot of papers and photos at one point, but letters my Uncle passed to my Dad give an impression of their love for each other, and their affectionate joking, with Grandpa referring to Grandma by her sisters' pet name for her, Scraggie Aggie.

I know that my wanting her to reach her 100th birthday was utterly selfish, and even though she didn't reach that milestone I am still proud of her. Since soon after I left Brisbane she was on oxygen, so was pretty much bedridden, and her quality of life dropped quite substantially. She would make comments to my parents about "how much longer", quite clearly tired of life, so it was really just time; I would not have wanted her to hang on for the sake of a number, or for me.

For all that I know that, it was still hard to receive that email yesterday, and still very hard today.

The portrait above was taken on my Dad's birthday in 2007, about a year before she had her fall and was put into the home.

Posted by Bronwen Hyde at 19:49 BST
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27 February 2012
Now Playing: lady gaga - paparazzi
Topic: portraits


I was almost entirely unaware of it until late in the day on our travels around the Tower of London and then Trafalgar Square on the Wednesday after Kyle arrived, but whilst I was snapping off shots of the sights around London, often Kyle was snapping off shots of me [as well as myriad shots of the sights].

Only when going through our shots on our respective computers or on the LCDs later in the day did I realise exactly how many shots of me he was taking. Mostly captured as I was taking photos, or perusing what I'd taken on my LCD, or wandering ahead of him here and there. He was actually shooting me here as I shot him, I believe.

I usually dislike being photographed by other people, especially candidly, but he managed to capture quite a few that I really like [including some very odd ones]; though there are also many of me, as I turned to find him aiming his camera at me once more, with an "Oi! Quit that!" look on my face.

Between his recent visit and his random screenshots from our Skype conversations, I think his collection of photos of me might now have exceeded that of my parents, though would still run second to my thousands of self-portraits.

He also captured some excellent images of subjects other than me during his stay, including some taken on a reconnaissance around the cottage we stayed in, that I didn't go on [I was enjoying a rare lie-in, savouring the warmth of our cosy bed as the sun rose].

Admittedly I was a bit rubbish on the exploration side, as the cold was getting to me, and my trainers really weren't appropriate footwear for clambering over fences and clomping through mud and snow. Add to that the cold I came down with [and still have!] on the Monday after we arrived in County Durham and I was a bit reluctant to venture too far from the car if I didn't have to.

I'm ashamed to say I didn't even manage any self-portraits whilst we were away, as we were also so rarely at the cottage we rented, as we had long days exploring the local regions and were usually knackered by the time we finally returned in the evenings, with only enough energy for imbibing a few cans of cider and Guinness, respectively, and a few quick games of Monopoly.

But sometimes you just need a holiday, right?

Posted by Bronwen Hyde at 19:29 GMT
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30 May 2011
Now Playing: the cure - the upstairs room
Topic: portraits


Posted by Bronwen Hyde at 17:21 BST
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25 October 2010
lovely ladies
Now Playing: bananarama - i want you back
Topic: portraits

lisa dempster

See this lady? This is Lisa Dempster*.

Not only is Lisa a crazy-talented young lass taking the world by storm as the author of Neon Pilgrim, a book telling of her adventures visiting the 88 temples on the Henro Michi; the editor of The Melbourne Veg Food Guide 2010 and the recently released Australian Veg Food Guide 2011; the publisher behind Vignette Press; director of the Emerging Writers' Festival; and equal parts passionate vegan, bike rider and Chihuahua owner; she is also one of the 10 supporters who have already shown their love for my project interior / exterior.

Along with those previously credited, Lisa, Mia Alexiname, Sarah Hoey and Holly Ringland have brought my total so far to $250! But I still need more to realise my project!

As Holly tweeted: "I'm supporting Bronwen Hyde's interior / exterior project. You should too! It's an invaluable warm & fuzzy exercise."

Thank you ladies, and to those who feel inspired to click through and add their support!

*This is Lisa a little over a year ago when she commissioned me to shoot her author photo for a second time. She is back to blonde and her hair has grown since then!

Posted by Bronwen Hyde at 15:07 BST
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4 July 2009
under the roofs of paris
Now Playing: pulp - different class
Topic: portraits

under the roofs of paris

It's been a busy week and a productive Saturday.

I submitted my application to Realise Your Dream yesterday then had great conversation, and a delicious dinner cooked by Lisa.

Then today I dropped my print for Unsensored09 to the framer and shot a friend's band, Under the Roofs of Paris in rehearsal and at The Fitz in Fitzroy, shown above.

Tonight I'm off to a friend's 30th, and tomorrow afternoon to the opening of a new photography exhibition at Obscura Gallery featuring the work of Deborah Hally, Sayraphim Lothian and Tebani Slade.

Maybe I'll have time to catch up on sleep next week...?

And thank you to those who bought prints recently in my sale or non-sale prints :o)

Posted by Bronwen Hyde at 10:30 BST
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18 January 2009
Now Playing: horace andy - skylarking
Topic: portraits

untitled #176

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These are the last of the shots from this session with Allison Browning.

Posted by Bronwen Hyde at 16:36 GMT
Updated: 18 January 2009 16:43 GMT
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pirate hats and accordians
Now Playing: supergrass - in it for the money
Topic: portraits

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child prodigy

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Posted by Bronwen Hyde at 11:29 GMT
Updated: 18 January 2009 11:35 GMT
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17 January 2009
candy striper
Now Playing: various artists - blue 'n' groovy
Topic: portraits

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Posted by Bronwen Hyde at 13:26 GMT
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15 January 2009
honey bunny
Now Playing: jose gonzalez - in our nature
Topic: portraits

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Posted by Bronwen Hyde at 11:31 GMT
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12 January 2009
secret garden
Now Playing: ida maria - fortress round my heart
Topic: portraits

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Posted by Bronwen Hyde at 08:21 GMT
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