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Forward and back

December 31, 2012

Guest blog by Kelly Morgan

This time of year we always find ourselves looking back at what was, and forward to what might be. For me, 2012 has been an interesting year – some ups, some downs – but when I think about most of the memorable, enjoyable and ah-huh moments they always seem to involve photography, and Danielle Lancaster.

Very early in the year I was frustrated with life and at a cross-road; at the moment I was discussing that with someone Danielle called out of the blue. Next thing I know I’m part of a photography exhibition!

That whole experience was great – learning a bit about curating and selecting images, getting them right to print well, and hanging them in a gallery. (Hanging my own photos in a gallery exhibition wasn’t even on my
bucket list!)

My husband and I both grew up on farms so heading bush to wide open spaces, peace and fresh air has always been an easy sell to us, but the trip to Cunnamulla was even better than expected. Hanging prints in a gallery was so much more fun than I thought it would be – no stress, but lots of laughs. It may have been a different experience in a fancy city gallery (I’m sure they don’t usually allow wine to be imbibed while ladders are in use, even if the featured artist is afraid of heights). It was also wonderful and humbling to be welcomed by a great group of people, some who travelled a long way to be there for opening night.

There’s something about people from the bush – they can spin a yarn better than anyone I’ve met in the city. And laugh – genuine laughter from the bottom of their belly. Some of these people were actually in Danielle’s photos from many years before and I can see why she chose them as subjects for her portraits – it’s something in the eyes.

While being part of that exhibition was something I’m really proud of and a great experience, it was also a big catalyst for everything that came after. I’ve been made to think about what I really enjoy doing and what’s next (hard to top an unexpected exhibition!). I’ve focussed on writing and trying to publish my story about my time in Cambodia with Mr Douk. I don’t know if I would have pursued it at all if these things didn’t roll out the way they did.

After encouragement and constructive criticism from Danielle and the Bluedog team – I’ve also done two workshops this year – I’ve committed to focussing on photography and learning more, challenging myself to be better and do it at a level that deserves payment. An opportunity to be paid to play with a camera
seemed to come out of nowhere too! When a friend with a wedding photography business asked me to join the team I didn’t think I’d enjoy it, but it’s a real adrenalin rush and it makes me work harder to get better – I love it.
So this is a very long, round-about way of saying thank you to the top dog and Bluedog team – for the opportunity to learn more and be genuinely challenged, for pushing and encouraging me (and many others) to be brave enough to try harder and try something different, for sharing your knowledge and passion, and perhaps most importantly for your honesty.
That’s long and perhaps a bit gushy, but I wanted to say it, and before the end of 2012.
 Mr Douk formed the study for Kelly’s photo essay ‘Lessons from an armless man’

   Kelly, middle shooting during the Bluedog Photography Cambodia Tour
‘The road ahead with no idea’by Kelly Morgan
Here’s a link to an interview with Kelly Morgan on YouTube

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