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1825 & Photographing An Online Experience.

It is night one of a two day conference. First time my routine changed from coffee, all black clothes, a ginger shot to a cup of tea, pj’s and my bed. Guess you didn’t see that one coming? Did I ever think about photographing a conference through a screen? No. But here we are, 2020, the year of everything moving to an online platform.

I have to admit, it was a wild card and I was willing to play it. This week in particular has not been easy. If you follow the event/ live entertainment industry, you would have noticed that we joined a movement called #LightSAred. For me, the last few days were quite heavy and you best believe that my frustration of not shooting for 7 months has caught up.

Backtrack to Thursday night, 24 hours before Worship After Dark started. I got this silly but slightly strange epiphany to shoot the conference from the comfort of my own bed. 

My introvert self really enjoyed the online experience. But to be honest, I missed the rush of doors opening, young adults running over chairs to find seats, only to realise that the first 20 rows are already taken. I miss the overdose of coffee and the tangible atmosphere we are so good at creating. It’s 7pm on a Friday night and the only thing blasting through the speakers of my own brain is the thought that this might fail.

I guess you can’t fail if you don’t try. So here I am, in the darkness of my own room staring at a screen. Thoughts were rushing through my head. Why the 1825 Conference? Why now? It’s been a year since I started noticing The Movement and for quite some time my brain couldn’t quite grasp what is happening. An age group known for a “me generation”, suffering from depression, anxiety, failure, and the list goes on. But if you walk into a 6:30PM service it’s quite the opposite.

I’ve noticed a group of young adults wanting a change for this country because they know they are the next leaders in charge. I’ve noticed that it’s an all or nothing spirit and everyone is welcomed and very simply put, a group that is not scared to ask the tough questions. You can’t help but like where it’s going!

For the next 15 hours I had one idea; portray what is happening. No words, just photos. I eventually substituted the tea with coffee and waited, waited patiently. Slightly excited yet nervous. It felt like my room transformed into the backdocks of The Grand West Arena. The atmosphere was buzzing and the countdown clock started. No runsheet, no shot list and no idea of where the camera will go. I’m sitting on a chair relying on someone else’s vision. Click. First photo. Click. Second photo. It was raw and unpleasant to the eye.

An online experience is truly not the same as an actual event. No doubt about it. But the rush was back. Taking photos as the event goes on, no pausing and not backtracking. Quickly edit, then upload and make sure you stay ahead of the game. 

There are obviously things you need to know when trying to shoot an online event:

  1. Clean your screen. (Very important)
  2. You thought I was going to say check your gear? HA that’s a given.
  3. Don’t stress, you have no idea where the actual camera is going to. 
  4. Have fun!

The paradox of this however is one; the impossible is possible and two; us creatives suffer from a weird fatigue due to a desire of constant wanting to create. One of the creative leaders described it better but if you know me you would understand that I get somewhat depressed if I don’t have a creative outlet. 

As Australian adventure photographer Krystle Wright once said “My biggest fear is regret. So I follow my curiosity to the ends of the earth. To capture the fleeting moment, the soul of a place.” I too want to adapt that spirit. Now that we have established that you can, in some way, photograph a conference/live event through a screen. The question is; what is next? How far will creatives push themselves to continue telling the stories of others even during this time? 

This concept has been fun and challenging.

Until next time.



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