Monthly Archives: April 2013

Inspired moving pictures

I have been slow to video in the context of some peers who have well and truly cemented themselves in the video/multimedia world. At present I am in the closing days of a two week long project at Newcastle Museum. This project has allowed me to almost exclusively document events in video. Shooting solely in moving picture is something I have incredibly enjoyed and its something I hope can become further integrated in my personal projects for the future. The Museum project I am working on is 7seven, 7 photographers between 7 & 77 are each producing a photo story in just 7 pictures. Late last week I produced this video teaser introducing the 7 participants.

The following are two sources of video inspiration. Recently something I found really fresh and surprisingly inspiring the cinematography from Major Lazer’s track Get Free. I am not sure who shot it or if it was in fact shot as a documentary. I have my suspicions that the video clip may have been completely staged intending to emulate the feel and aesthetic of a documentary. If so, I think they have done a damn fine job.

Tim Hetherington has been one of my early photographic hero’s. Tim’s tragic death in Libya alongside another coveted photojournalist Chris Hondros was devastating, the tributes these two generated highlighted just how prolific their work was. I first found Tim through his work as a photographer but over the years I started to follow his video work, namely  his most successful work Restrepo, an intimate documentary following a US platoon deployed in Afghanistan. Tim’s most poetic work in my opinion is Diary, this 20 minute film made after 10 years of war reporting is hauntingly captivating. I know for a fact I have watched this more than 20 times and it still moves me to the core. I love the visual connections Tim has employed to link the worlds within worlds he inhabits (something I can very much relate to), I would strongly encourage you to watch Diary here.

I am always looking to find new work to keep me inspired, if you have some please get in touch.

Flying high

As part of an ongoing personal project in late 2012 I attended the National South Sudanese Basketball Competition in Canberra. The 2 day competition was brimming with talent and the finals lived up to expectations. The role of basketball for young South Sudanese Australians is just one aspect of what I am looking at with my project Stories of the South. More aspects of this project will be featuring on my blog in the coming months.

Below are three pictures featuring Akolde Mayom, a friend and great basketball palyer. I first met Akolde in 2006 when he along with his siblings and mother moved to Newcastle. Akolde and I first connected around music and sport. We hung out making mixed cd’s featuring Bob Marley, Peter Tosh, Glen Washington and other reggae musicians and played daily football games in the park across the road.

Akolde Mayom (right) and other players wait for the ball.

Akolde Mayom (right) and other players wait for the ball.

Akolde and I also studied together at university and would regularly catch the bus home at the end of the day. It was during these many conversations and time spent pouring over online news that I started to learn more about South Sudan and the nations push for independence. Independence finally came after a referendum in early 2011, bringing an end to the long and brutal civil war which lasted 28 years in which 1.5 million people were killed.

 

Akolde Mayom (Centre) warms down after his team Nadus from Newcastle one their semi final with a final point on the buzzer.

Akolde Mayom (Centre) warms down after his team Nadus from Newcastle one their semi final with a final point on the buzzer.

When independence was declared on July 9th 2011, I made sure I was in Juba to document the birth of the new nation. To see my work  Birth of a nation which is on my website. The two months I spent in South Sudan were fascinating, challenging, colourful and overall an utterly tiring experience. Life let alone shooting in Juba was tough going, but overall I left with a deeper understanding of why independence is so important to South Sudanese people world over.

 

 

Akolde Mayom in defence during his teams semi final. His team, Nadus from Newcastle won with a final point on the buzzer.

Akolde Mayom in defence during his teams semi final. His team, Nadus from Newcastle won with a final point on the buzzer.

 

One event I covered that symbolises the hope and expectations of the new nation is South Sudan’s first basketball game. There is no doubt that many of the South Sudanese ethnic groups are naturally built for basketball, tall, lean and incredibly athletic. Case in point Luol Deng who was born in Wau, South Sudan and is now playing in the NBA for the Chicago Bulls. While Luol Deng is a stand out, I know a number of young South Sudanese basketball players in Australia dreaming to follow in his footsteps. With greater opportunities and more talent scouts on the hunt I don’t doubt there will be more success to follow.

 

 

Below are a few crowd moments from the finals.

A crowd gathers at the Australian Institute of Sport basketball stadium for the final games. Photo- Conor Ashleigh © 2013 All rights reserved.

A crowd gathers at the Australian Institute of Sport basketball stadium for the final games. Photo- Conor Ashleigh © 2013 All rights reserved.

A crowd gathers at the Australian Institute of Sport basketball stadium for the final games. Photo- Conor Ashleigh © 2013 All rights reserved.

A crowd gathers at the Australian Institute of Sport basketball stadium for the final games. Photo- Conor Ashleigh © 2013 All rights reserved.

A crowd gathers at the Australian Institute of Sport basketball stadium for the final games. Photo- Conor Ashleigh © 2013 All rights reserved.

A crowd gathers at the Australian Institute of Sport basketball stadium for the final games. Photo- Conor Ashleigh © 2013 All rights reserved.