Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Country bumpkins hit the big city

I have a love hate relationship with Melbourne. I love the leaves in the Fitzroy gardens in autumn. I love melbourne university where I learnt little from the prescribed texts but lots from my adventures there. I love the delicious food on Victoria Street. I love the late night coffees with friends. And the ding of the trams. Love that ding.

But I don't love the sleek roads during winter. Or the unrelenting pressure to be up with the latest restaurant/band/film/book. I don't love that everyone is always dressed better than me. I don't love the ticket machine's on trams. And I don't love that I can do anything I want at any time of the day or night. It just doesn't make sense! This little lady needs structure goshdarnit.

But I do absolutely love going there. I need regular fixes of the crazy city to balance the quietness of my home life. Todays visit was no exception. My friend Sarah was visiting from Bangkok, so I saddled the kids into the car and we headed up for the day.

As you can probably tell from the background to these photos of Sarah, we visited the museum.

Wrap me over the knuckles, I've never been before. I think I may have had a short sleep on it's steps many years ago on a long walk home from the pub, but I've never been inside. Ooo, it's wonderful. Lots of things to look at, and learn, and poke at, and explore. And the architecture is incredible. I'm already looking for my first couple to take their for photos. So many inspired spots.

Miles and Ryan loved it's guts out. I loved that it was totally kid friendly. Well, except for the display Miles managed to get into. And the fact that we lost Miles for a good 20 minutes. But we'll overlook that, shall we?

My other friend Clare came with us. I was greatful for her company, and the extra pair of hands with which to keep control of the kids. See what I mean about people in Melbourne dressing better than me?

Kids lost it towards the end of the day.

But perked up for their first tram ride.

(Check out Miles' little scabs below his nose. Fell over, not surprisingly. I think an ugly injury is a rite of passage for a kid. I had to endure a scraped face from a skateboarding accident once. Not pretty)

Back home now with all the things I love about Melbourne dancing in my head. This fix of Melbs should last me for awhile. Ding!


Saturday, May 23, 2009

Trying something new

I rush everywhere. From my bed to the bathroom in the morning. From the front door to the car. I even rush the milk to my cup of tea. I never used to, but it's come with having Miles and Ryan and always having to be one step ahead of them. It's also come from perpetually having something else that needs to be done (i.e washing, cleaning, making play dough).

Last Wednesday night was no exception. I'd organised to meet new friend and photographer Kyle Simpson at the Portarlington Pier for a bit of a casual landscape shooting. And I was running late. And I couldn't find Mile's shoes. And at one stage I couldn't find Ryan (he was under his bed). I threw them in the car messy faces and all, dropped Miles with my mum, and got the peir out of breath and frazzled.

And there was Kyle, standing serenely and quietly, taking in the sunset. I'd never met Kyle in person before, and he must have thought who's this crazy lady coming up the pier with a toddler under one arm, a camera under the other, and her hair all squiwiff. Hi, just me.

Kyle is a master landscape photographer. You can see his work on Flickr, Redbubble and the Bell Street Gallery. The way he captures the swirling, misty sea leaves me breathless. I wanted to go shooting with him to learn a little more about the art of landscape photography.

And boy did I learn! Not only did I learn about polarizers, waiting for the tide, and really long exposures (that's how you get that super swirly sea effect), but I also learnt I don't think I'm cut out for landscape photography. I loved capturing the sky and the show it was putting on, but I kept wanting to point my camera at the people on the pier. I wanted to capture the fishermen, tell their stories, steal them and put them in my camera.

Plus I couldn't stay still long enough! I'm used to rapid fire photography where the subjects are moving, changing every second. Not a slow moving sunset that wouldn't give me a cheeky smile. I thoroughly enjoyed the change, and will no doubt give it a go again. But put a person in front of the pretty sunset, then that's absolute magic to me.


Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Finding me

**This is a long story, but if you read to the end, you'll see the point. Promise**

This is me circa 1999. I'm the short one in the middle. It's the day of my high school graduation. I'm fresh faced and excited.

I was about to finish what had been the hardest year of my life to date. Not because of the study and pressure, but because I fell ill to depression during it, and had battled everyday to make it to graduation. During that year I missed umpteen classes because I was incapacitated by my illness. I was School Captain, but wasn't fit to lead myself, let alone lead a school. I made it to graduation, and the smile you see on my face here is one of sheer relief that I'd done it.

I wasn't to know when the photo was taken though that not long after graduation I would again become very ill. It took hold of me and didn't let go. I couldn't sit my exams. I couldn't join in the fun of finally finishing school. I had to battle to get better with every ounce of strength I had.

And it's pretty much been like that every since. Great things have happened to me in that time. I became a journalist, I fell in love, I had two children. I've always been able to cherish and love and adore these highs, I've just also had to deal with the hellish lows at the same time.

Why am I writing about all this now? Why today? Because on this day last year two people believed in me and it changed my life.

Sarah and Nick chose me to be their wedding photographer. When I say they chose me, I really mean they convinced me, because I was dead set against the idea. "I'll screw it up", I repeatedly told them. "I'll ruin your wedding day because the photos will be terrible." "I'll pay for you to hire someone else". Despite my pleas to be let off the hook, Sarah and Nick stood firm. And I can't thank them enough for doing so.

They believed I could do the job. They were unwavering. I'll never forget how nervous I was as Sarah stepped out of the car. Considerable shaking was going on and there was a knot in my stomach the size of Tasmania. As Sarah stepped out of the car, she glanced in my direction and winked. And in that moment I knew I could do it. I could be their wedding photographer. I could capture their love. I could be the one to create the photos they would use to remember their wedding by.

And I did it. I was still nervous the whole time, but the nerves gave way to adrenaline. But I nailed it. Totally nailed it.

When I got home from their wedding I was exhausted but exhilarated. I talked and talked and talked. I think Amba may have fallen asleep while I was listing which lens I used for which part of the wedding (to non-photographers this is a complete *snore*). I woke up the next morning and was still buzzing. I was still banging on about it a week, and even a month later.

I started to toy with the idea that I would pursue being a wedding photographer. Just maybe, this is something I could do for a living. Heck, I would do it. I would become Meaghan Cook - incredibly amazing wedding photographer.

I started to feel excited about my day. This was a completely foreign feeling to me, and one I didn't recognise for awhile. I thought that I just wasn't as tired as I usually was. But then I realised that maybe I wasn't so depressed anymore. Maybe being a wedding photographer is what I'm meant to do for myself to make myself better. To finally beat the darstedly black beast I had to be a wedding photographer.

One year ago today I started my career as a wedding photographer. One year ago today I started my recovery. I can now stand here and proudly say: I am well. I'm medication free for the first time in ten years. I'm the Meaghan I was in the photo taken in 1999. Fresh faced, and with a smile in my voice.

My gratitude to Sarah and Nick is immense and shall remain for the rest of my life. They helped me start something I had not been able to achieve on my own. They helped me unlock the ability to enjoy my life that had been kept from me for a decade. They believed I could be someone great, believed that I could be someone more than what I was at the time. They believed in me.

So the equation to me seems quite simple: photograph weddings, photograph love, photograph people in love and I'll be well.

That's me, found.


Saturday, May 16, 2009

Autumnal antics

I've been away this week. Loaded the boys into the car and headed to Shepparton. I had people to see, places to visit, and autumn leaves to frolic in.

No really, Ryan loved the leaves. Ignore expression that makes you think otherwise.

We all know there's nothing Miles loves better than a romp outside. Except maybe ice-cream. Ice-cream consumed in a park makes his head explode.

Will be back on deck Monday.
* Meaghan

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Can you smell that?

That's my new perfume. My new mothers day perfume. It's all wintery and warm and spicy smelling. Smells so darn good.

And see that necklace I'm wearing. That's my new necklace. My new mother's day necklace. Hand picked by Miles. It's perfect, and something I would have chosen myself. Plan to wear it everyday, till the ribbon disintegrates and falls apart.

Feeling completely spoiled and loved.

In other news, I'll be out of the office this week. The boys and I are heading up to Shepparton for a visit. We are expecting lots of grandparent doting, coffees with friends, and a visit to SPC to stock up on tinned goods.

If you're wanting to contact me, just give me a call (0419335563) because I won't have email access.

And in completely unrelated news how funny are kids with mustaches?

Catch you all when I get back,
* Meaghan

Thursday, May 7, 2009

A dramatic arrival

Tahlia's arrival wasn't without a little drama. Just to make things interesting.

Her dad Kane was restricted to the corner of the birthing suite with a rousing case of gastro. He had to offer support and encouragement from a safe distance so as not to get anyone sick. Sheree wasn't alone though. Her mum was there to hold her hand, wipe her forehead, and say all the right things whenever needed.

But the bug hadn't passed by the time she was ready to go home from the hospital because her brother Jake had it too. More vomiting than one household with a new baby needs to deal with. So mum and bub went off to Sheree's mum's house till the illness had passed.

Hello Tahlia. Welcome home. Finally. Yes, you are as cute as a button.

The gastro has gone now thank goodness. But I can't say the family is quite in good health. When I arrived I was greated by Jake and his plaster cast. He broke his arm that week, and now Sheree had a newborn and a broken toddler on her hands.

But none of this seemed to be fazing any of them. Sheree's always been a take it in her stride kind of girl. How would I know? Because she's my cousin. We used to make up dances to Belinda Carlisle together when we were younger. And yes, we were awesome.

Are you poking your tongue out at me little miss?

Taking it all in. Tahlia was six weeks, but so alert and inquisitive. She chatted up a storm. Put me to shame, and I talk a lot.

Who looks that hot six weeks after giving birth? Sheree does, that's who. "I look pretty feral today", she said. Pish posh!

And I've just got to add that Sheree, Tahlia and I are all lucky enough to have Elise as a middle name. That's a tie that binds, and is incredibly special to me.

With all the smiles and talking Tahlia was doing for me, I'm sure she's going to be a very willing model for me for years to

Press play to view Tahlia's slideshow.


Going dotty

I was interviewed recently for the Australian bridal blog, Polka Dot Bride. Ms Polka ( she keeps her real name a seceret, sneaky!) asked me all kinds of questions from what inspire's me as a photographer, to what tips would I give brides.

I've been on the other end of the interview stick many times, so it was a little strange having to answer the questions instead. But it was a welcome change. Mush easier to answer than to ask.

Check out the interview and see my lame attempts at being witty and knowledgable or any of the other good stuff on Polka Dot Bride. There's HEAPS of killer ideas if you're planning a wedding...

* Meaghan


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