How I landed the best job at the Bendigo Writer’s Festival

For as long as I can remember, I’ve always been ‘snap happy’.

I would grab Mum’s camera and insist on playing the photographer for special events. Mum would bring home the packet of processed images, as I would wait with excitement and anticipation like it was Christmas morning. I’d flick through the pack to find that most of the images were out of focus or the subjects would be photographed with half a headshot.

I’d like to think my photography has improved since then but it still takes lots of snapping to get one great shot. Nevertheless, it hasn’t deterred my passion and the importance I place on capturing those moments no matter how insignificant they may appear at the time.

They will one day become significant to someone.

Photos after all, bear witness to our existence. Eventually, our memories will fail us and all that will remain is the memories offered by photos.

In many instances, hiding behind my camera gives me confidence to approach and interact with others. Even though I prefer to sneak up and capture people in their naturalness – as devious as that may sound. I do prefer capturing subjects talking or just having a moment of reflection. I don’t favour ‘posing’ shots even though it’s inevitable and a great entry point into asking subjects to continue talking while I snap away.

As a photography hobbyist, it was only natural that I would be bringing my camera to Bendigo. I contacted my lecturer, Dr Sue Gillett prior to the festival and asked her if she would mind if I took photos of our workshops. This was the first time La Trobe University were offering a subject that was integrated with a writer’s festival, so I thought she would like a few images. I also asked whether I would be permitted to photograph festival events. It may sound strange to ask permission, seeing as so many people pull out their smart phones and snap away. But when you pull out a camera with all its attachments that looks like an aerial robot about to take off – people get worried.

Not my camera but close to it
Not my camera but close to it

Thank goodness, Sue is also part of the programming committee for the festival and knew who to talk to. It wasn’t long before Sue got back to me after consulting with the Artistic Director of the festival, Rosemary Sorenson.

One little question led to an idea that landed me the job of festival photographer and before I knew it, these two ladies had another little surprise waiting for me.

What is it, you ask?

Well . . . you’ll have to wait until next time to find out!


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