BRONWEN HEALY PHOTOGRAPHY

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25 April 2013

The great LEGO plague and the Freelance juggle

Today is Anzac Day.  Right on cue Canberra had a minus temperature.  We always say that you can expect the first frost by no later than Anzac Day.  It was -1.5 last night.  I worried about my mare Freelance, who is still not rugged up properly.  I cannot begin rugging her for the cold nights until all these days of being away are over, because the days are still just a little bit warm.  So at 10.30pm last  night I was battling the usual irrational desire to go and call her up in the dark, give her a warm feed, and throw a heavier and warmer blanket on.  It was only because I didn't want her shivering through the next few nights with the lighter rug on that stopped me, because I have been known to fly out of the house at Silly O'Clock because I am worried about my horse.

I'm using my child free day today to try to tidy my house, and catch up on overdue tasks.  My email isn't working on the new machine, and that's annoying as all hell, but in my too hard tray for now, so I've finally gone to the old machine which is a Minecraft zone when the kids are here, and gone through and sorted out my InBox, which took me over 30 minutes. 

And I've done the usual trail through the house picking up LEGO, so that the girl who hates to vacuum can get the vacuum cleaner out and not feel guilty about vacuuming stray and potentially precious pieces up.  Yes, I should be more ruthless, and we're getting there, but yesterday it was one argument too far, and at least I could walk through his room.  But LEGO seems to be like a plague, and it slowly seeps out of the boxes, onto the floor of his room, and then gradually makes its way through the rest of the house.  And before I know it, there is literally a piece on every surface.  And that includes inside the much maligned Dan, and inside pockets of trousers being washed.

In addition to my haphazard attempts at Domestic Goddess, and doing my other usual domestic tasks that always seem necessary by this time of the week and which also make me feel nice, I sat next to Maxie the Bad Ass in the sun by the window, with my toast and cup of tea, I was reading through the Walkley Magazine.  It had some interesting articles in it this quarter.  In addition to my thoughts about people putting band aids over problems that haven't, or cannot be fixed, and won't go away, and the whole issue of standing up for what's right and important, there was a couple of articles this issue that struck a chord for in the industry that I work in.

I've been thinking about these issues, particularly as it relates to me, my own personal situation and the industry in which I work in, whilst listening to music, going to and from my computer and while I finish the domestics for the day.  The music currently playing is Paul Simon's Kodachrome - 
"You give us those nice bright colours, you give us the greens of summer, makes you thnk all the world's a sunny day, I've got a Nikon camera, I'd love to take your photograph, so mama  don't take my Kodachrome away...."
One of the articles is written by Robert Burton-Bradley, who's recently taken the whole redundancy to freelance plunge, as I did several years ago and some people close to me have done more recently.  And it's in the environment of an increasingly digital age, and a frustrating tendency for editors and others to ask you to contribute your work in return for a byline.  I've long maintained that working for free doesn't do ANYONE any good, and that the editor is highly unlikely to suggest to ACTEWAGL that they turn the power switch on in return for a byline in the paper.  It's a nonsense, but there are those out there who accept it as an acceptable trade off, but a nonsense it remains. 

Being a freelancer, or running your own show is tough.  It calls for flying by the seat of your pants, being brave and tough, and also a bit of a capacity to wing it a lot of the time.  It's not always easy, its frequently demoralising, but when success does come your way, at the back of my mind is always that I did this, and I own the content, and I set my own direction and my own course.  We all have to shoot to briefs from time to time, but I think the years of surviving as a freelancer, where I make my decisions about what I will cover and how I will do it, and make my own luck has made me tougher.  I don't think a successful freelancer can ever be described as namby pamby, or soft.  We don't have an editor to set up our shoot for us, we have to earn our way in. We don't have an equipment locker to go and raid, and if our gear breaks or is stolen, the consequences are real and dire.  

My situation is currently the opposite.  My reputation has grown to a stage where I'm grappling with the prospects for expansion, because more and more the demand is there for my services, but having just one of me on the ground is tricky and difficult, particularly on courses such as Flemington and Randwick.  The added scope you can bring to a brief if you can cover, working together, from varying angles, is exciting.  In my case, there is only a small handful of people that I could consider to run this sort of thing with.  Firstly, I would need someone with a fine eye, talent, commitment and drive, and the ability to turn out work that comes close to my own standard.  And without being conceited, these people are thin on the ground.  And secondly, I would have to be able to trust the other person in what can be a cut throat industry.  It's a tricky issue, and one that I don't have the answers for.

Anyway, enough of that.  It is Anzac Day. My ace brother is going to come and get me, and take me out to a pub for lunch (he's driving, yay!), and after that we are going to go scooting.  I am going to wash my hair, so that it smells clean and nice.  I will put on my bright pair of red jeans and my new black boots (yes, taking a more sensible pair to go scooting in, using his super cool and fast scooter that costs far more than I could afford), and go out for the day.  My tiny house is looking sort of clean and tidy.   To the true Domestic Goddesses out there with nothing better to do, eat your heart out!

Postscript:

The pub is quiet and civilized. It is a far fry from the pub I used to work in when I was 21. If you were rostered on on Anzac Day there was no other day like it for sheer busyness, men gazing at you hungrily, and drinking like I've never seen before. And if you weren't rostered but were silly enough to try to sneakily enjoy the day, you had about 30 seconds after the first bar supervisor spotted you before you were thrown behind the bar to help try to stem the tide. My chicken parmigiana is pretty ace. It's no secret I like these. And given the weight I think I've lost lately I am sure it will do me no harm!! And as I get back into dear old Dan and look at his speedometer thingy that now reads 338,147km I ponder things such as new cars.




The great champion So You Think.  A special horse...
A quiet moment for myself and The Famous Pony Black Caviar





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