Thursday, September 18, 2014

Byron Bay beach art .....


Sometimes art can be found on the sand, ephemeral, temporary, individual, waiting to be washed away with the next high tide.

Sand art being created

Sometimes art can be a little more permanent, found on the skin of those who watch.

Skin art

Stay safe.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Life, love and loss.....


I walked through Byron Bay again today.
As usual the streets were alive, vibrant, noisy, colourful.
All manner of individuals were there. 

I met Liza who was walking around proudly showing her belt buckle.  She said that she has been "pulled over more than once by the cops".
I wonder why.


I met Joseph who was sitting in a corner trying in vain to sell his home made jewellery. He told a quite amusing story of trying to buy cigarette papers with an old 1968 dollar note - the kind that are no longer in circulation.  As no-one would take the money, he ended up using the dollar as the cigarette paper.  "It's made of hemp" he said. 
I don't know if it was or not, but the story made me smile.


In the main street I passed a young couple who obviously had deep affection for each other and were not afraid to show it.  

                               ".... Love, rising from the mists, 
                                     Promise me this and only this,
                                     Holy breath touching me, like a wind song, 
                                     Sweet communion of a kiss....." (Judee Sill, The Kiss)

The Kiss

I spent a few minutes on the beach.

Byron Bay, September 10, 2014

Normally the beach is crowded, especially on a day such as today.

Not today.  The beaches were closed. 

A few souls walked them, and most of those were not smiling or laughing the way that the beachgoers here usually do. 

No-one entered the water.

No-one other than the lifesavers patrolling on their jet skis.  Searching. Searching for the great white shark that killed a man just fifteen metres from this shore yesterday.

Byron Bay, September 10, 2014

Adjacent to the area where the attack occurred someone has planted some pieces of washed up trees.  I don't know if they are a memorial to the victim, but they weren't there last time I walked this way.  Knowing the folk of this area, one can be forgiven for thinking that it is a response to what happened yesterday.

A few individuals walked here today.  Some stopped at the spot and gazed toward the sea.  Who knows what their thoughts were? Who knows how the wife of the victim will find comfort in the coming days and years?

In time the make shift memorial will be gone, the warning signs will be gone and the people here will come and go; but that other world - the sea -  it will remain, and its waves will touch this shore as they have done for millennia.  The waves shall have their stories.  We shall touch them, and surely they will touch us.

Byron Bay, September 10, 2014

                               "..... While waters wimple to the sea,
                                       While day blinks in the lift sae hie ,
                                       Till clay-cauld death sall blin' my e'e ,
                                       Ye sall be my dearie..... "  (Robert Burns)

Stay safe.

Friday, August 22, 2014

Byron Bay faces .....


It never ceases to amaze me that someone will allow a total stranger to make a photograph of them.

Sharing a few minutes of time with them often is all that is needed for them to allow the camera to be used.

Here are a couple of interesting characters I met recently while walking around Byron Bay. 

Lester is a well known member of the local indigenous community.  He is the brother of the late Micky Kay, one of the most respected of the local indigenous elders who used to perform welcome to the country ceremonies at local events.


Dan was singing and dancing in the main street with a couple of friends. It was noticeable that a lot of passers-by would rather not interact with them.  Their loss.  We ended up having a great laugh.  I say suspend judgement, you may have fun.


If you are out walking around your home town try to make conversation with a stranger.  You never know what might happen.  If you carry your camera - all the better.

Stay safe

Thursday, July 17, 2014

The Rails .....


Another day in Byron Bay.

The local police were doing a sweep along the main street and around the beach.
Ten officers and one drug detector dog enjoyed a stroll in the sunshine.

Apparently it happens the week before any of the big music festivals for which the area is renowned.
Next week is the 'Splendour in the grass festival'.

Exactly a week ago the local force marched with the indigenous locals in the annual NAIDOC march.
That march started in the park adjacent to the old railway station.

This week the force was issuing 'move on orders' to those same folk, in the same park.

Strange days indeed, mama, most peculiar - (apologies to John Lennon)

For others however, it mattered little.  Sitting in the 'Railway Friendly Bar' known locally as 'The Rails', some simply enjoyed the day. 

Byron Bay locals at the Railway Friendly Bar

Stay safe

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Watching the waves .....


A stranger, watching the waves.

Sometimes in the ordinary can be found the awesome;
in the banal, the beauty;
in the mundane, the magnificent.

Sometimes all we need do is look and we shall see.

Stay safe.

Friday, May 23, 2014

Byron Bay black and white..... Jimmy


A couple of months ago I was walking around Byron Bay with a lens from 1977 attached to a camera from 1975.  Loaded with Kodak BW400CN film.

There is always music happening in this town.


As in, you can always hear it - unless you are deaf, of course.

With my wife I walked into a shop and there sat Jimmy, playing a black Stratocaster that usually hangs on the back wall of the store.

A couple of quick shots and we were gone.

His smile followed us through the door.

Great music, great vibe.

Stay safe

Friday, May 2, 2014

The Jester.....


Yesterday as I was walking around Byron Bay, I noticed this chap riding his unicycle in the car park near the beach. Picking the position with the least distracting background (hard to believe) I waited until he rode into position. 

Just another average day in Byron Bay.

Stay safe.

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

All in his hands.....


In a short lived era of musical brilliance, The English group ' TheYardbirds' effectively altered music and influenced many young musicians.

At various times the group had as members Eric Clapton, Jimmy Page and Jeff Beck.  All went on to bigger and better things and all remained a benchmark for others to follow.

Eric Clapton once said of Jeff Beck "With Jeff, It's all in his hands".

On Saturday night I was privileged to witness that for myself.  It was a show of subtlety, power and dynamics.  Watching closely, I came to see the truth in Clapton's comment.  With Jeff it is all in his hands. We too were in his hands.

I've now seen two out of the three Yardbirds guitarists in concert - Page and Beck.  Just one to go.

Stay safe.

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Byron Bay.....three surfers

I have waited a long time to make this image.

Many is the day when I've stood at this spot waiting for someone with a surfboard to come walking past.  Today, in the midst of a heavy rainstorm, he did.
I don't know where he was going, what his name is or where he came from.  I'm just glad that he walked by and helped make the image I imagined some time ago.

In the brief moment he was in frame he glanced in the general direction of the sign on the wall.  That was the icing on the cake.  It only took a few seconds from noticing him until he was gone. That was enough.

Street surfer

Happy surfing.

Stay safe...

Monday, March 24, 2014

Byron Bay streets .....


Wandering around Byron Bay will usually provide one with a vast spectrum of things to observe.

Especially so if one deliberately sets out to actually see what is there, rather than passively looking at where one might be going at a particular time.

From hippies to cashed up bogans, trendies to down and outs, surfers to international visitors,  it is all there.

Sometimes it is the little things that one observes that brings a smile to the face.  In both the following images, the people seemed to be having fun.

These folk seemed to be enjoying their ice creams. I'm not sure if the penguins were jealous.

Going, going, gone.....

I refer to it as a tickle, but it was actually a little bit more than that.

The Tickle

More to come....

Stay safe.

Thursday, January 30, 2014



I recently met Peter, a respected member of the Bunjalung people of Northern New South Wales.

He lives in Byron Bay or as the region is known to the first inhabitants, Arakwal.

After chatting for ten or fifteen minutes he allowed me to make a portrait of him.

In his eyes is his story.  In his eyes can be found history.

Thank you Peter.

Stay safe.

Sunday, July 14, 2013

A short story and a long tale…...



Short story.
These two images were made in July 1975.  
The images were made with a kodak 126 format instamatic camera - nothing special, but able to record history.  The shots were made within a minute of each other, the person with the camera changing position by a metre or so and changing direction slightly.

The young kid in the yellow jumper turned ten years old that week, or the next. His name is David.
The young girl in gray with her hand on the dog was maybe three years older. Her name is Sharon.
You can see the back of David's head at the bottom of that frame too.

That was July 1975.

Today, July 14th,  they celebrated their 29th wedding anniversary.  Congratulations to them. Last time I saw them they seemed to be still head over heels in love with each other. 

Long tale.
Take another look.  

The boy next to David was sixteen years old.
The girl in yellow next to Sharon turned seventeen years old that month.

They too were already friends, having met two years earlier and over the next eight months they cemented what they both were later to call the best friendship of their lives.  Unbeknownst to most of their friends, family and associates, the months of December '75 to February '76 saw them build a closeness that would not have been guessed at. It was suspected at by a few but was oblivious to most.

However. There is always a however.

However - youthful misunderstandings, external influences, other young potentials, missed signals, words unsaid that should have been said, words said that ought not have been said - these things and more conspired to prevent the happy ending that came to the young David and Sharon.

Life saw them take different paths. They both saw the highs of life - each had three kids with all the joys that come with that. Each had good friends, reasonable health, a full life with a variety of interests.
They also saw the lows of life - unhappy marriages with all the pain that comes with that. Divorce, loneliness, the occasional onset of sadness.

What they never did was to forget each other even though they had lost touch.   It turns out that they were sometimes just a few hours from each other and never knew.  There was a particular instance when they were in the same room a few mere minutes apart - yet never knew until more than thirty years later.

They saw each other briefly in August 1980 at the funeral of his sister.  The girl in yellow had a baby by then. The boy lived on the other side of the country. They were happy to see each other, but nervous too.  There were certain feelings and words unsaid. Status had changed.  A married woman with a child. A young single man.  Nothing could ever be the way it was. Friendships alter.

Or do they?

For over thirty years there was no contact. No knowledge. There were those who could have connected them, but for some reason chose not to.  

But they never forgot. Every now and then they would cross each other's mind. Every now and then they tried to find out about the other. For all they each knew, the other could have been dead for years.

A little over three years ago, after years of wondering and searching, he found her.  He heard her story. She heard his. His marriage had ended many years before and hers was in serious trouble.  Not all saw it that way, but there are none so blind as those who will not see, as they say.

Amid no small amount of condemnation, vilification, abuse and judgement (some deserved, some not so) they fell naturally into the friendship that they once enjoyed. This time however, the friendship became something else.  

How does the long tale end? 

The future is not yet written but they plan to get married later this year. 
It's thirty five years or so later than they would have liked it to be, but for the first time in three decades both of them are truly happy.

Stay safe.