In 2016 I decided to do more personal projects. I hoped to do one a year.
When I was looking through my notes from over the years, I saw some ideas about doing a project on me. The things I enjoy, the different faces that make me. I had started it - with a sensual me - years ago. And that image was exhibited in a joint exhibition. I still love it. My butt looks good. Hahaha.
The idea though was to take photos of different areas of my life that make me, me. The mother, the dancer, the surfer, the sensual, the creative, the business person, the friend… I never got around to taking more photos though.
After finding these notes, and looking at my bum staring at me, I decided to re-invigorate this project. But with a slight twist. I’d photograph things that I love - not me. Salty Girls was born. A project on the SurferGirls club I had joined. I photographed some of the girls out in the water at Middleton one morning, using my Outex water housing. I couldn’t see what I was taking so the results were very creative. I loved it. I exhibited these photos as part of City of Onkaparinga’s Shimmer Festival at Gemtree Wines. My first ever solo exhibition.
In 2017 I decided to do my project on another love, latin dancing. I approached La Bomba, whom I had known for years, and was now taking classes. Rather than just getting dance photos, I wanted a framework. Telling the story of La Bomba through her people seemed fitting. Dance is a sport or activity that anyone can do. It doesn’t matter where you come from in life, on the dance floor, you share the love of dance with others. It doesn’t even matter if you don’t speak the same language.
When I first put the idea out, I thought I would have four or five days of photography. The idea was to photograph people dancing, in a location they love, or that tells their story. I surveyed the participants to see what made them tick and then thought we would organise days at the beach, in the bush, in the city - and get photo sessions happening. How wrong I was.
It ended up being so unique that each shoot was individual. Shoots ranged from one hour to one day. I had shot at Second Valley to Murray Bridge to the Barossa - and everywhere in between.
We photographed in derelict buildings to fancy hotels. The beach to the hills.
Not everyone danced. Some threw a footy around, others got creative with flour flying, and I had my surfboard.
Common themes run throughout… it’s a freedom, it’s an unspoken language, I express myself, I gained confidence, I created beautiful friendships… Clearly, there are more benefits to this than exercise.
40 people signed up to be photographed for the project. It was a project of scale I never imagined. Would I do it again? Yes, of course. I co-art directed the shoots with each participant, we got creative together and had plenty of laughs. And the best part? I got to know everyone just that little bit better. I found out myself the diversity we have on Adelaide’s latin dance floor. And I love it.
The exhibition (and snippets of their stories) will be at Bacchus Bar, Henley Square (in Adelaide) from Sunday 8th April through til mid-May.