I love images that make me gasp with their beauty or originality. Their power to make me feel something. I love many art forms but the biggest, soul-bursting experience happens to me in a cinema. When an image is crafted perfectly for that story moment that I am lit up. Like the powerful and moving opening scene of ‘Apocalypse Now’… hot, sweaty, intense, dramatically lit, vivid warm tones. Or the absolute elegance of white layered on white in ‘Snow Falling on Cedars’, invoking love, beauty, pureness.
I knew I wanted to create for the screen so I started studying screen production in digital media. One of the introductory subjects was about film production and in it we learnt about the magical silver halide particles in celluloid film that transform with light. We were shown how to operate little 16mm Arriflex ST’s (old German news cameras) and were given 100 feet of B&W film to go shoot. I remember taking the camera, pressing record, hearing the film run through the gate and getting lost capturing shadows. That was it. I swapped to screen production in film & TV. My obsession for filming continued and I shot more than 16 short films over the next three years. I watched how light fell on the faces of everyone I met, I devoured American Cinematographer magazines, volunteered at camera rental houses and found mentors in the industry. By the end of my study I was a camera assistant on sets working under some veteran cinematographers.
Like many Australians in their 20s, the travelling bug bit hard. I remember walking down a cobbled lane in Ireland one freezing day, thinking my dream job at that exact moment was to be a film & TV colourist. Cinematography meets nice, warm room, meets playing with images everyday. Yes please. I worked in Dublin as a telecine assistant and then a telecine operator, through the years when film transferred to tapes, transferred to data. After eight years treading those cobbles, I moved back to Australia – back home to the sun – an experienced colourist. I worked in the colour team of Baz Luhrmann’s, The Great Gatsby, graded commercials for Gatorade, Mitsubishi and CBA. I graded hundreds of hours of TV drama and documentaries.
Experience has brought confidence. I want to work with people who are visionary, warm and respectful. People who have something to say. I want to collaborate to help produce images that make people gasp the way I did as a student, because it’s the power of the image that is my inspiration. If we can have a good natter and a laugh while doing it? Boom. All the better.