Wednesday, 2 April 2014

creating time capsules

It feels like forever since I've been here in a personal sense. I feel like I keep writing that bit..

I plan on getting back here. With real stuff. Stuff that is floating around in my head. All the important stuff. Like why people continually think my son is girl, simply because we choose not to cut his hair shortbackandsides like 90% of the male population. Or why my other son is such an emotional mess lately. Or why I'm envious of other photographers who can shoot on the weekend and blog the photos the very same week (CLEARLY they are childless - duh). Or simply share the shit parenting day I had yesterday. The kind where you cry into the sink at 4.36pm because you've been solo parenting for weeks and finally hit the wall and there needs to be some kind of release to make it to bedtime. A good whinge between friends always helps!

Like most of you, I cannot fathom that it is April. APRIL. The Easter Bunny will be here in a few weeks but before that happens - holidays. Friday cannot come fast enough to give this little family a rest.

Today, I want to talk about girl crushes. Yep. Creatively speaking, I could count on one hand the women in this big wide world who inspire me to the point where I can sit with my mouth agape at the computer, just staring at their work. Xanthe is among them.

I've mentioned Xanthe before. Every time I see new photos, or a new film she has made, I am blown away all over again. Her creativity knows no bounds and she is completely and utterly comfortable with her talent, her ability, her authenticity. The thing I love most about her creations, is the simplicity. Simplicity done right. Every single time.

Documenting my sister's pregnancy changed my photography. Without question, if I hadn't committed to the project the way I did, things would look differently right now. Something happened along the journey and I feel no shame in tooting my own horn on the leaps made along the way.

While I was a shy kid, I have never struggled with self confidence. I was brought up to be proud of who I am. Just because you may not say much doesn't mean you don't know yourself or have confidence in who you are. Baby Love gave me even more confidence with my craft, my journey, this path I have chosen. Confidence in myself. But I think that is just part of getting older too. Becoming a mother plays a lead role.

Late last year I made a couple of decisions to invest in my career. I booked my seat in a room with Jonas Peterson, and I signed up for Xanthe's six week e-course, Creating Time Capsules. Never say never, but I think that will be the extent of my attendance list at workshops. I gained invaluable knowledge from both workshops that could have taken me years to figure out myself. That's why we pay the experts to teach us these things. But there is much to learn alone. With no one to hold your hand or point you in the right direction. And I love that bit too. I'm walking down this road I chose to walk, just by myself. Yes, I surround myself with like minded creatives and friends who understand and support me wholly. But we are all walking alone. And there is so much freedom in that walk.

When I decided to take part in the Ford Choose Your Own Adventure Challenge last year, as part of Voices of 2013, I knew I wanted to make at least one film. The thought of doing three identical posts that I could write any other time outside of the challenge, defeated the entire purpose of participating. I had made slideshows before, but a slideshow is nothing like a film. A slideshow takes five minutes to put together and essentially, the computer does it for you. A film takes far more time, effort and consideration. I had never made a film before the challenge. I had never used iMovie. I had never used the video setting on my camera (so I annoyed my clever friend Lou for some answers). As I get older I find myself diving into the deep end willingly, rather than waiting to be pushed.

The films I made were received with great praise. While I didn't win the challenge, my films played on repeat, all night long, projected twelve feet high onto the wall of the venue, at the final Voices cocktail party to end the 2013 season. Looking back, of course I see the faults and mistakes I made, but that's just learning. You have to be an amateur at the beginning. It's the rules.

In the past five months, since the challenge, I've made 13 films (and more in my mind). Only one of them was made after I completed Xanthe's Creating Time Capsules course. More of those films should have been created with the knowledge gained from Xanthe, but I failed - fairly spectacularly I must admit - to complete the course when I was supposed to. I signed up to do the course from late November through to the end of December. Clearly common sense was lacking at the time I booked.. trying to complete all the things that make up Crazy December between family, home, school, kindy, work and Christmas - there was no room left for the course, as desperately as I wanted there to be.

Xanthe is a mother of two beautiful boys. (When I say beautiful, I'm not just being kind. If you've never seen her films, you will only need to watch one to know what I mean. I recommend this one.) She knows things don't always go to plan and juggling real life with online life can be tricky. So she allows another four months after the completion of the course for you to continue reading and accessing all the information online. I just finished it off last week. Yep.

I love her. I really do! When I finally made the time.. I loved sitting with Xanthe, at my computer. Reading her words, written as she speaks. Beautifully whimsical and honest. Hello my lovelies! Her guidance is gentle but solid. Her encouragement to push yourself out of your comfort zone is like a big warm hug. The course is littered with tutorial videos and voice overs. Listening to Xanthe, I can only compare to my old yoga teacher. I think you have to have a great voice to teach yoga. She had the sweetest, smoothest voice that would put you at ease at her first word. Xanthe's voice had the same effect. It was so easy to listen to film after film because I could listen to her talk all day long.

After watching more of Xanthe's films last week, and a bit of a hiatus from filming, I picked up my camera early last Sunday morning and filmed the kids. All of this footage was taken within ten minutes. It's not fabulous, or super special. Nothing interesting happens. I laugh when Eliot falls over. But it is real, and honest, and normal. And that is what Xanthe teaches you in her course - the ordinary stuff is the BEST stuff and it should absolutely, positively NOT be overlooked, waiting for the big stuff to come along. I mean - who thinks to make a film about their kitchen table? Pure genius.

In choosing to invest in my career with both of the workshops I participated in, two things were made abundantly clear.

I trust my instincts.
I am heading in the right direction.

Both Jonas and Xanthe showed me that the voice in my head is powerful and, nine times out of ten, right. Many of the things that were being shared and taught, I already knew, or already saw things in the same light. I don't mean that in a I'm a know-it-all kind of way. I mean it in the way that I spent a good amount of time during each workshop nodding. Nodding because I agreed wholeheartedly with what was being said and giving myself a little pat on the back for having recognised it, and already done it. Whatever IT was.

Whether you want to learn more about creating your own time capsules or simply be wowed by her sheer brilliance, Xanthe is your girl. (You do not need a DSLR to take part in the course. Xanthe shoots a substantial amount on her iPhone and directs specific parts of the course to its use. Creating spectacular films with your phone is achievable.. SEE! Yep, I watched that one on repeat..)

Music / Peter Combe / Green Green Green


  1. I honestly know the direction that you are taking has already been planned.....( in the universe/stars)........your words of wisdom, your passion for family & life go Hand-in-Hand with your Photography. You are an amazing woman & you never cease to amaze me. So very proud of you Tahnee xxx

  2. I absolutely adore your clips. It's something I aspire to do, so much so I also down loaded an ebook to learn (last year) but have barely had time to glance at it. You've inspired me to go and revisit that. Thank you.

  3. Hello my lovely! You are a legend. I'm so proud of you and can't wait to watch this journey of yours. Xxx

  4. You are one of my girl crushes, Tahnee. Always have been. I think you have a very astute instinct for emotion and composition and it shines in everything you do. I must check out Xanthe. She would be the Uber Crush if she's the crush of the crush... x

  5. Wow, what a way to make the ordinary, extraordinary. Will definitely be checking Xanthe's work out and digging deeper into your own blog Tahnee!

  6. Wow! 13 films. That is insanely impressive. I don't think I've seen much of your blog before, but you've hooked me in. Can't wait to learn more about you.

  7. I've dipped into Xanthe's blog and she's amazing. I think you are AMAZE BALLS too!!! I adore your photos and would give my right arm to have even a teeny tiny bit of your talent and creativity!! I think I've said so before...but thanks for continually inspiring me. xx
    PS Your written words are great also!


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