Sydney, Possibly around Australia Day, definitely somewhere near darling harbour. Definitely in Sydney.
It’s 11:00pm and on a warm summers night amid the celebrating crowd of proud Australians and having just enjoyed a wonderfully pathetic kebab on the steps outside the arena I contemplate if what I have eaten may someway come back to ‘haunt’ me. Deciding I would know one way or another I pack my gear up and head up stairs. This has to be the 30th time I have photographed this Gig or something like it and like all journeys in life you sooner or later turn around and ask yourself how the hell did I get here?
Let’s go back in time.
Before I talk about the how let me talk about the where. I am photographing a LGBT night dedicated to a safe space for women who love, well, women. This would be roughly the 30th event have I photographed and every single time I always have the night of my life. Why? Well there is something truly liberating just hanging with a bunch of people that don’t judge you and who aren’t afraid it be who they are and love who they love.
You know the strangest thing? If my life was to be told in a terrible movie bound for midday tv there would be this scene where I am sitting in a rented house built in the 50’s which would of been quite the talk during it’s day but now resides on a street a little too busy and the place is a little too run down. Anyway I am ‘sitting’ there in the way a person may if they had firmly settled into a night of watching whatever was on TV. Then I realise, I promised to photograph an event located at one of the pubs in Fitzroy.
I am really comfortable, like really comfortable so much so I am almost willing to just tell them to heck with it and see if there is an episode of MacGyver on say channel 500ish. However a promise is a promise and well bloody hell a promise if a promise, dammit. I mean it’s located in a dingy pub, so best case scenario I am going to be there, what five minutes or so? Then back to this sweet sweet couch, who knows.. It may still be warm.
So when I pulled up outside the pub and a line was going on around the corner I was convinced I had arrived at the wrong place. A man, huge in nature yells at me looking clearly flustered that I am “that kneebone photographer” and without even waiting for an answer (I guess my backpack full of kit said enough) he thumbs behind himself like a man keen to have of his thousands of issues to deal with off his list and says “you better get in there, now”. So I walk in, and in the Amber light I see an opening movie sequence in front of me. People are turning to me and screaming you had better get out there the show is about to start?
I step out through two black curtains realising that I was in fact back stage all this time and as I see a sea of about 150 tightly packed people they immediately start to scream and in unison realise I was not who they were looking for and immediate stop screaming (we have all done it, in that moment I just had it done to me, sobering, not going to lie) I make my way down to the end of the runway make some room, turn to the only other guy in the whole place and we give ourselves a look which says “I don’t know what look to give you so here’s this one” and then the show began.
The rest of the night was a blur.
Coming home I rush to jump into post edit and send the photos to the client ‘Natalie’ and then went…the hell…to sleep.
I awake to the sound of a phone call and when I picked it up I hear a screaming woman down the line. Now this was pre coffee so the brain was doing it’s best to keep up. It was Natalie who screamed to me that “MY GOD KNEEBONE YOU ARE NOW MY PHOTOGRAPHER FOR ALL MY EVENTS IF THAT’S OK WITH YOU!!!?” The question came in a form of not really being a question and of course I said yes. Besides how many of these events can there be?
Back to the present day…
So as I walk up the steps of Sydney I realise there can be a few, all over the country, and with more to go I was about to walk into photograph number 30. So by now you are wondering what’s the deal with the photo? The answer which is obvious and I am frankly surprised you haven’t figured it out is this. Whenever I meet this person to whom I never knew her name we would always have a dance off where we would both dance like robots. Now she was so amazing that it borders on bad special effects of a robot that is trying to look human. I on the other hand, was, not. The beautiful thing was it didn’t matter. A circle would form around us and chant for this was about to be a god damned robot dance of!!
Back and forth we would go dancing like a robot, back and forth back and forth, then give each other a friendly hug and that would be that.
As I took all these photos of her, I then for the first time not knowing what would happen or how it would be received put down my camera. Then started, to dance, like an awesome freaking robot.