I’m always trying to channel those personal emotions into my work. I don’t think about what other people will make of it. I shoot for myself.
If I think something might happen, then I will hang around. But most of the time I’m rushing from one corner of the city to another, just looking for stuff.
I used these strong shadows to obliterate a lot of the advertising and make the scenes blacker and more dramatic. I wanted to suggest a dream world. Light does that, changing something every day into something magical.
You walk around at times thinking the whole world is a painting. Light is my work. That is my defining factor.
Everything that I have shot in my life has been autobiographical, it has been a part of my life, it has to mean something to me. If it means something to me, generally, it will have some sort of feeling on someone else.
I take all these moments and events that happen to me on a daily basis, things that normally pass people by, and chance meeting with someone, and dream from that night, all of those things come in and I look for some sort of connection between them, and then a narrative starts to form.
What I do is I try and show it in an emotional way, not physically what the country looks like, but what it feels like emotionally to be living right now in this period of our life.
Photography is a discovery of life which makes you look at things you’ve never looked at before. It’s about discovering yourself and your place in the world.
What I love about photography [is] things that have influenced your life when you’re growing up, they come through in other ways. I am fascinated as to what I am drawn to, to actually take the picture.
My images are all real. I never set up photographs or ask people to pose in my personal work. Life is my subject matter. I am constantly watching life as still frames and moments. When I walk out my front door it’s like waking in a dream. I walk the streets watching everything, and I am in constant wonder.
I also don’t like to stand still because you attract attention to yourself. If you spend too much time in a place you tend to start affecting what’s happening around you. And I just want to capture things as they are without influencing the action in any way.
For me, it’s all about chance, coincidence, mistakes… it’s all about discovery for me, those things that change your perception of where you’re going with the next body of work.
Dream/Life was really about finding myself and my place in life. I wanted to present a truer version of Sydney – with lots of rain and thunderstorms, and the darker qualities that inhabit the city – not the picture-postcard views the rest of the world sees. But I also wanted to make images that were poetic.
The book is almost a fiction where I’m creating a story from these documentary pictures. It’s basically making a statement that the world’s going crazy.
Anyone can take a good picture, it’s about how you sequence that and how you take those pictures and make something more meaningful. That’s the secret, that’s the key, that’s the most difficult thing to do, and that’s the real art of what I believe I do.
I started bringing back pictures of players taking catches above the ground and shots the editors had never had before. You see I knew the game. In sports photography, if you wait until you see something happen, then, by the time you take your shot, the moment has passed. You’ve got to be watching things as they are building in front of you so that you get into position ahead of time. Ten years working as a sports photographer really gave me that extra edge when I was shooting on the streets because I could sense all the elements of a picture while they were still forming around me.