ZoeFest 2009 Australia Mission Beach

…and we named him Octavius

Like most good things, it started with a delicious dinner.

A month or two before arriving at Mission Beach, Michael Marlborough and I met up to eat Ethiopian food and chat about travel plans (and before anyone says it, yeah, Ethiopian food – kind of an oxymoron, huh? But it’s awesome. Try it). Some wine had been drunk and we were throwing out ideas for shoots. There was a nautical theme going on – we talked about anchors, rope, and sailors. Then I said, “Giant squid!”

Michael’s eyes lit up.

Now, I wasn’t exactly joking when I started talking about cephalopods. You know those images you have in your mind, the ones you hope someday with enough time, resources and the right people to work with, you’ll get down on film? Well, one of the ones in the back of my head, taking up important room, involved a many-legged sea creature. Turns out my photographer friend had a similar affliction. Perhaps we were onto something. Since both of us live inland, shooting near the ocean is not something we get to do very often and our access to sea creatures is limited. We had to take the opportunity while we could.

Weeks later, driving from Townsville to Mission Beach, we procured ourselves the largest frozen octopus we could find, with the help of a very bemused fishmonger. This was Octavius.
He was so big that, once thawed in a bucket of iced water, we needed an assistant just to keep him in position. Plus rubber bands, several chairs and afterwards, a lot of soap. But we worked it out and Octavius turned out to be a pretty decent model.

There is nothing quite like seeing an image you’ve had in your mind, exactly as you saw it, finally come into being on the preview panel of a camera or a proof sheet. It was one of the best moments at Mission Beach and something I’ll never forget. The feeling of having a large octopus draped over my face has been largely blanked out, so there’s nothing but happy endings to this story. Oh, and some pictures.

ZoeFest 2009 Australia Mission Beach

More than just Pictures!

I don’t know about anyone else. But, there were countless times I was happy for the video capability on my iPhone. Below are a few videos from our time together.

The grounds at Eco Village Resort were situated directly in the rain forest which ran right into the ocean. It was a spectacular setting and I had to walk through to show everyone.

Zoe and Bink conquer the Rainforest in flip-flops –

Our first real night being at our get together we do a print trading session. Michael Marlborough is speaking about his prints that he’s offering for trade. (I’m sure he’s loving me for this)

5 nights of our stay we held nightly slide shows of our work. Stephanie Anne helped me by being my voice for the evening since I loathe talking in front of people, bonus was that she entertained us with Shadow Puppets!

Here is a mini-segment of Stephanie Anne’s slide show she presented on Wednesday evening.

And just to remember how calm everything is – here is still video of the view from my house I rented.

ZoeFest 2009 Australia Mission Beach

Did it really have to end?

Of course I know it did but I’m sure I’m not the only one that wishes it didn’t. Last week would have to be one of the best weeks of my life and I wish I didn’t have to wait a whole year to do it all again. Never before have I had the opportunity to work with so many amazing models in such a short time as well as socialise with both models and photographers and develop what I hope will be life long friendships with some very talented people.

A big thanks must go to Zoe and Michael Marlborough for organising this event. We all owe you big time! Thanks also to all the models I shot with as it was your special talents and collaborative efforts that helped me get some really amazing images.

I guess now it is all over I do have time to post some more images so here is a selection from my remaining shoots with Candace, Rebecca, Stephanie Anne, Vassanta, Muse, Madame Bink and Ivory Flame.

Keep in touch everyone, I miss all of you already!