2016

Countries visited: eight.

States visited: three.

Plane flights: twenty-five.

Photos taken: sixty-two thousand, eight hundred and ninety-eight (on my two main bodies. Not including my 5D, RX100, Kiev 88, OM-2, Graflex Speedgraphic or Fuji Instax).

Most-liked photo on Facebook: This self-portrait, shot on the back porch:

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People photographed while they were sleeping: seven.

People kissed: six.

Of which, sober: five.

Days on which I exercised: one hundred and fifty-seven.

Furthest distance I ran: 10 km.

Furthest distance I swam: 3 km.

Song I most often had stuck in my head: ‘Oh, Had I a Golden Thread’, by Pete Seeger.

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Days that I was pregnant: thirty-two.

People who made me cry: one.

People I made cry: one, to the best of my knowledge.

Street lights that went out as I passed under them: fifty-two.

Favourite moment that I photographed: this one, as I told Mike Greaney that I loved him for the first time.

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Favourite films: ‘Hunt for the Wilderpeople’, ‘Train to Busan.’

Most-played albums: ’69 Love Songs’ by the Magnetic Fields, ‘Coming Home’ by Leon Bridges, ‘Hamilton (Original Broadway Cast Recording).’

Favourite podcast: Reply All, specifically the ‘On the Inside‘ episodes.

Favourite TV series: ‘Stranger Things.’

Number of books read: twenty-five.

Of which, the best: ‘The Narrow Road to the Deep North’, by Richard Flanagan.

Best gigs I saw: The Tallest Man on Earth at the Royal Albert Hall, Punch Brothers at Melbourne Recital Centre.

Best piece of theatre I saw: ‘The Money’ by Kaleider for Melbourne Festival.

Show I most enjoyed shooting: Rachel Perks’ ‘Ground Control’, for New Working Group and Next Wave.

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Favourite image I shot for work: this one, on-set for Oh Yeah Wow’s clip for ‘Bulls’ by the Cat Empire.

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Favourite thing I made: Contact Mic. When Fleur approached me, asking if I’d host a podcast with her, I never expected to be so proud of and pleased by the result.

Best decision: moving into Oh Yeah Wow, which gave me both some much-needed work/life balance and someone to love.

Decisions I regret: two.

People who told me they wanted to die: one.

Day that felt most golden: Thursday, December 1st. After two great, easy shoots that made me laugh, a swim at Northcote pool in the sunshine, speaking at the Centre for Contemporary Photography about my prize-winning photo and wine with family, I found myself standing at the Corner Hotel flanked by two men I love dearly, beer in hand, yelling ‘I don’t think Trevor is good for you, Carol!’, and I thought, ‘Nothing could be more perfect than this.’

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Moments I felt so happy I could burst:

Sitting in Batman Park at 2 am with Mikey and Jamie, drinking wine, playing guitars, singing ‘Creep’ at the top of our lungs (terribly).
Riding with no hands for the longest time ever, on the way to Lentil as Anything, to see people I loved.
Riding across the footbridge from the MCG to Birrarung Marr with Luc, sprinting uphill, sun on faces, laughing.
Running around the Heidelberg Rd athletics track at night, sprinting 100m up on my toes, faster than I thought I could run.
Standing in a circle of eight oak trees on my first day in London, leaves forming a perfect canopy, like being in a fairy circle, a place of magic. Sun through the leaves, wind shaking fat drops of rain onto my head. Then, walking down muddy paths, I slipped and nearly fell, and in that moment, such delight – to be on holiday, to be free.
10 pm, Federico II restaurant in Vienna, leaving, shaking the hand of the owner, the waiters, calling ‘Ciao! Ciao!’ to them and the customers at the next table, faces shining in candlelight.
Floating in an art deco pool in Budapest, ears under the water, everything silent and warm. Looking to my right, seeing a woman, eyes closed, lit by the setting sun, with this sweet, secret smile of absolute bliss on her face.
Rocketing down a waterslide in Budapest, speed, water, sky.
Sitting in Massolit bookstore, Budapest, in the back courtyard, in a sun-dappled armchair, with a cup of strong tea, a bagel with butter and jam, and 50 pages to go of ‘Huckleberry Finn.’
Waking up from a nap in Odessa to the sounds of The Frames filtering in from the kitchen, padding out to find Mikey waiting with lunch.
Skinny dipping in Ikaria with Mikey and Cam, diving into the most perfectly crystal clear water, waves carved like glass in the setting sunlight.
Riding a quad bike with my brother and my cousin, rocketing so fast through the Monapilla vines, chasing Mojo the border collie in the crisp morning air.
Lying in bed with Greaney on a sunny Sunday morning, tangled in each other’s limbs, laughing and laughing and laughing.
Listening to Luc and Jess’ wedding vows, looking around the room to see every face shining with tears of love and joy as two beautiful, beautiful friends spoke so honestly and profoundly of their love.
Driving in St Kilda with the window open, a leaf flitting in the window to tap me on the head and then shooting back out again.
Watching dear, old friends jam in a shed on Tom’s farm, dancing to well-remembered songs, under fairy lights and big skies.

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Moment I felt coolest: Curled on a the balcony of an outrageously furnished Kiev apartment as the sun went down, writing, settling down to sleep under the stars.

Most beautiful thing anyone said to me: Mike Greaney, late at night –
“Being in love is like being in the deep ocean, and someone pointing you towards the surface.”

Most beautiful thing anyone wrote to me: Izzy Roberts-Orr, on Facebook messenger –
“I think that’s why it seems so urgent and important
I like almost all people
and I have a lotta love
and I will happily kiss people’s faces and spend time with them
but the ones that strike me
the ones that make the hair on the back of my neck crackle, make my spine turn to forest, my skin to ocean
like…fuck. there are so, so few of those.”

Favourite piece of drunk profundity: Cameron Ford, on a tiny Greek island, regarding love –
“Sometimes, someone has to take the torch in the dark and lead the two of you. Sometimes, you just can’t see it yet.”

Last year’s new year’s resolutions:
Carve out time to make your own art.
Listen more.

This year’s new year’s resolutions:
Keep the threads of friendship tight.
Make things with your hands.

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Titles of lists that I made:

Photographs I have taken of you with my heart.
Things I have seen in your eyes.
Parts of my body that remind me of yours.
THE MOST FAMOUS PERSON YOU’VE TOUCHED.
IMPORTANT QUESTIONS.
Hiraeth.
OKAY – BUT BE GREAT.
Tü Dü.
Couples thru space and time.
Finally, THE LIST of things to share between lovers.
The Money.
‘Indecent Composer: the Jamie Messenger Story’ chapter titles.

Things that gave me goosebumps:

Roddy talking about the history of cities, the layers and layers of time. ‘Where London Bridge is, there has always been a bridge there. Over and over, rebuilt and rebuilt. And there used to be stores there, on the bridge. Every now and then, a coin, a trinket, would drop into the river. If you could drain the Thames, just imagine what you could find.’

Fleur’s status from 3 years ago about London –
‘A postcard to the stranger I smiled at today:
In that moment, when you caught my eye, did you know you were witnessing one of the most beautiful moments of my life? Walking alone along the Thames, backpack full of poetry and plays purchased in my wanderings on a clear night, dark yet alive with light and the rustling of waves beneath us. I feel sure you must have known. How could you miss it? And, just as the cold on my face and hands was making me acutely aware that every particle of me was there, in that moment, my grief only made the joy more immediate and luminous. If we had spoken what would we have said? ‘This city shines’ or ‘hush’ or ‘you walk your way, I’ll walk mine and let’s never see each other again after this moment because what would be the point?’ Or perhaps we would have just murmured as we backed away ‘This, this, this, this, this, this, this’ in the darkness beside the river.’

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Alia singing Radiohead’s ‘Talk Show Host’ at the Brunny, backlit and glowing, melting into the lyrics – ‘You want me, well fucking come and break the door down.’

Talking with Kieran about ‘bit.fall’ at MONA in the hours after Bowie died – imagining these sheets of water spelling out ‘Bowie. David. Dead. Heroes’ over and over.

Fleur’s January News of the World – ‘This month, in your world, a man finished a scarf he started knitting seven years ago. It is wonky. Its width oscillates like a sound wave. He gave it to his son to show him that men can make soft and fuzzy things for someone they love.’

Scrolling through the Essential Theatre FB page, seeing the following quote and remembering Mark Wilson just drowning in these words as he read them to me –
‘My bounty is as boundless as the sea,
My love as deep; the more I give to thee,
The more I have, for both are infinite.’

Shooting ‘Taxithi’ at 45downstairs, these three voices singing so fully and with such raw emotion. The way that music can sometimes have more emotional power when you can’t understand it. And at the end, the women introducing themselves with their anglicised names and then the Greek pronunciation – the pride in those names, those stories, those words.

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The ‘Song Exploder’ episode about The Books’ ‘Smells Like Content’: ‘That’s where the last line of the song comes from. It’s written on the front of the Brooklyn Public Library – ‘And therein lies the garnered wisdom that has never died.”

Roddy singing ‘Northwest Passage’, stopping at the line ‘cracked the mountain ramparts’ to remark ‘That’s a great lyric.’

Ai Weiei’s ‘With Flowers’ 2013-15: ‘a daily act of placing flowers in the basket of a bicycle outside Ai’s studio, for the benefit of surveillance cameras trained upon it. The act was a form of protest against the Chinese authorities’ confiscation of the artists’s passport and restriction of his right to travel freely.’

Ollie telling me about an episode of the podcast ‘Theory of Everything‘ featuring an IT guy who said he’d done some work for Facebook. Mark Zuckerberg saying ‘I didn’t steal the idea for Facebook from the Winklevoss twins. I stole it from a German exchange student whose dad had worked for the Stasi. ‘What we need,’ he’d said, ‘is a form of surveillance without surveillance – where people willingly give up everything about themselves.’ Not knowing how much of this podcast is truth vs. fiction.

Fleur at ‘Picnic at Hanging Rock’, sitting next to two teenagers. Girl before the show – ‘I’d honestly rather watch ten hours of footage of a public toilet. At least they play the calming music while you poop.’ They then spent the whole show with their hands over their mouths, and at the end, the boy turned to the girl, hands on chest, and gasped, ‘My heart!’

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The Radiolab episode ‘Debatable.’ Ryan Wash speaking with such passion – ‘Nobody asks us about energy reduction. Nobody asks us about anything.’ Profound, raw, angry – a black, queer man speaking about how he is not asked to speak in his country about the things that matter.

Roddy tearing up while playing guitar as Fleur and I sang ‘I Can’t Make You Love Me.’

Reading to Steph the text of the undelivered moon landing speech.

Telling dad, Yvonne and Luke over lunch about Carl Sagan and Annie Druyan – the fact that somewhere in the universe is a golden record containing the heart and brain recordings of a human body deeply, newly, completely in love.

Fleur talking about Phillip Adams, presenter for ABC Radio National, who often refers to his listeners collectively as ‘Gladys.’ When the government threatened to cut funding to the ABC, listeners marched wearing badges saying ‘I am Gladys.’

Mikey telling me that the note of the Big Bang is an F#.

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The last minute of David’s ‘An Attempt to Perform Kill Climate Deniers’ – ‘the people of Australia cheer for their leaders, because they know there will be no bushfires, no floods, no droughts, no catastrophic global warming, no climate change, there is no climate change, there is no climate change!’ Bass riffs, music soaring, lights up, yelling, yelling, yelling.

David talking about being at a permaculture camp where the hosts killed a duck to cook and eat and asked all the attendees to bear witness, to help. A speech thanking the duck, the host in tears.

Tim Buckley, ‘Song to the Siren,’ last verse through dry land and grey trees –
‘I am as puzzled as the newborn child
I am as troubled as the tide
Should I stand amid the breakers
Or should I lie with death my bride?
Hear me sing, ‘Swim to me, swim to me,
Let me enfold you.
Here I am, here I am,
Waiting to hold you.”

Radiohead, ‘Exit Music (For a film).’

Ocean Vuong, ‘Beginnings, New York.’

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Listening to Roddy and Fleur singing ‘Summertime’ while driving to Mount Eliza.

Sex during a thunderstorm, chests pressed together as the thunder rolled.

David and Jordan’s ‘The Comfort of Facts.’

Jordan, ‘MH370‘ –
‘And there’s that Chinese baby with grey, playground-marble eyes inspecting your hairline from the space between seats. And when his ears pop, he cries and he cries. These are his last waking minutes alive.’

Fleur reciting the last paragraph of her adaptation of ‘Slaughterhouse Five,’ sitting curled in an armchair in Kieran’s studio.

The rising inflections of ‘Woke up New’ by the Mountain Goats – ‘What’ll I do / what’ll I do / what’ll I do / what’ll I do / what’ll I do without you?’

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John Darnielle crying, ‘I am a babbling brook!’ in ‘Broom People’ by the Mountain Goats.

The shot of Beyonce walking down the burning corridor in ‘Lemonade.’

Talking with Greaney about the Voyager golden record, the beautiful, pointless, romantic gesture of that project. Greaney saying, ‘The golden record will outlast us all. That’s all of us that will be out there in the universe.’

In ‘The Events’, when the choir suddenly opened up into full-voiced harmony for the chorus of ‘How Great Thou Art.’

Listening to the Sinfonische Blasorchester at the Universität für Musik und darstellende Kunst, Wien, play highlights from the Jurassic Park soundtrack – the whole orchestra, after minutes of teasing, exploding into the ecstatic, brass-heavy main theme.

Listening to Roddy singing ‘You and Me Against the World’ –
‘We storm the barricades
With our banners held high
An army of two
Named you and I.’

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Fleur on Contact Mic saying, ‘It rubs me the wrong way when someone dies and people say, ‘They’ve gone home.’ No, I’ve been home.’

Anna crying while watching ‘The Orchestra.’

Standing in Jahman and Anna’s living room in the morning sun, listening to the Beach Boys cover ‘Old Man River.’

Katerina telling me about a photograph from the Russian invasion of Ukraine, an 80 year old woman holding up a mirror to riot police.

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Four priests singing at a wedding in the Kiev church – the tenor suddenly rising above the rest of the notes, filling the church. Gold reflecting shafts of light.

Mikey talking about Christopher Hitchens reading Proust at 50, and saying that was the right time to do it. Proust being about longing for lost time.

Mikey telling me that the longest period of the universe’s existence will be an infinite, cold blackness, once all the stars have burnt out. Then telling me about Arthur C Clark saying, ‘We’re lucky to experience the warm spring of the universe.’

From ‘Shalimar the Clown’, by Salman Rushdie –
‘”There is no Hindu-Muslim issue. Two Kashmiri – two Pachigami – youngsters wish to marry, that’s all…both Hindu and Muslim customs will be observed,” Pyarelal added, when his turn came, “To defend their love is to defend what is finest in ourselves.”‘

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Sonia Grover at the Medfem lecture about the Pill: ‘If my patients say that their mood is dropping on the Pill, I take them off it immediately. I’m not going to make them wait 6 months to prove that they’re depressed.’

Camille O’Sullivan lifting the veil from her face during ‘The Statue of the Virgin at Granard Speaks’ during ‘Ancient Rain.’

Christopher Jackson performing ‘One Last Time’ in a dodgy bootleg of ‘Hamilton.’

Listening to Augie March’s ‘One Crowded Hour’ in a sun-drenched car with Mikey, on the way back from Heide gallery.

The 99 Percent Invisible episode ‘In and Out of LOVE,’ with Edmund Bacon, the designer of Philadelphia’s LOVE Park, getting on a skateboard at age 92, to protest plans to renovate the park to make it less skateable. Supported on either side so he wouldn’t fall off, and wearing a trenchcoat and a blue bike helmet, he announced, ‘And now I, Edmund Bacon, in total defiance of Mayor Street and the council of the City of Philadelphia, hereby exercise my rights as a citizen of the United States, and I deliberately skate in my beloved LOVE Park.’ After, standing breathless in the park, he exclaimed, ‘Oh god! Thank you! Thank you! Thank you! My whole damn life has been worth it, just for this moment!’

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