Looking through all the photographs Len Weigh and I have worked on since 2010 to this present day and can see a growth in many ways through our collaborations.
Similar to taking a selfie everyday for 100 days, you will see a change in appearance, attitude, location, etc. It is an interesting concept, like a visual diary of your progress and life, a reminder of who you once were. While, we have not done exactly this (could you imagine, wow!), it is a similar progress, only difference is you can notice the dramatic change in appearance… and well, they are mainly staged opposed to being a snapshot of one particular time.
(Photography by Len Weigh - 2010)
Although majority being random and spontaneous (it’s what we are good at), we have explored many concepts, many locations, many appearances and as of recently, the introduction to storyboards/ planned ideas. As a collaboration, the end results that have been achieved could not have happened without the other party - it’s a two way street. Len, provides the photography, sets, dress (occasionally), ideas, editing and spontaneity. I provide myself, ideas, makeup, editing, planning, dress and on set/ location assistance.
My role in this collaboration, is more than just a role, I see it as a way to search for myself and build up my self-esteem utilising Len’s photographic creativity when I can, at times, feel very lost and low. I can become someone that is outside to who I am in reality and be something I would like to be. While I love being me majority of the time, there is a part of me that would like to escape to be someone else or the personality I have always wanted to be - there is a lot of imagination and creativity that is involved in creating those scenarios.
Some of my main influences that I have looked up to and facilitated in these shoots with Len are Debra Harry (Blondie) and Joanna Lumley (Absolutely Fabulous) - both very attractive and smart women, who stand for what they believe in. These are qualities are fundamental (in my opinion) to being a role model to a wider audience.
My appearance has changed dramatically between sets, and each time does make a statement of where I am at moment of time, whether that is mentally, spiritually, physically. And, with each location or set my appearance and body will be the messenger of those statements without using words. (As I type that last sentence, I can already hear some readers asking; “How is this even possible? You are just posing in ways that make you look like a model!” trust me you can read and understand a lot about a person without even speaking to them!)
Then, you have Len Weigh, the iconic nightclub photographer Ellway Photography, well known for DV8, 3D, PHD, Hard Candy, and plenty more. While photography is more of a hobby for him on the side of his family owned Scandinavian vintage furniture business, his creative photography is extremely experimental and vibrant. He has been on many trips around the world - with India being a common visit and love for the people, he can capture powerful and detailed portraits of his journeys.
Most people take courses or learning of a particular trade, especially in photography, however Len is very much self-taught in this field. After leaving school at 17 years old, he worked as a darkroom assistant as his first job before advancing into wedding photography within the West Footscray suburbs. This has allowed him to develop his own unique style and development of photographic techniques to which are very well known today and hopefully he ‘will not be taken for an officer of the law when out clubbing’ as a highlight of his hobby career. He looks for spontaneity in the people he photographs, whether a model or the club goers.
Noisey Vice, had written a wonderful article along with a very insightful interview with Len in August 2015, which is worth the read.
As time and the years progress, the collaboration between Len and myself is growing into more planned and well thought out projects that tells a story, like the recent project series, Coming Undone, which is an intimate look at who I am as a person now and the event (as dark as it was) that both haunted and changed me for many years. Like the 'Coming Undone' series, our collaboration (even with a few spontaneous shoots in between) will develop other series that explore different emotional and mental states of mind during life. One of the main influences of the next series created will be of Henri Cartier-Bresson.