Personal Goes Public

A city stroll lands me a Government gig

I try not to actively go seeking acknowledgement of my work. I let it speak for itself and hope my clients appreciate the work I do for them as it's more a passion than a professional vocation. Yet, I do appreciate it when I get recognition for my work from avenues I wouldn't have expected.

Almost 4 years ago to the day, my wife and I and some friends went for a walk around Melbourne to enjoy the Melbourne Open House experience. This is a great way to see parts of Melbourne that you wouldn't normally have access to, from the depths of old buildings to the roof tops of new ones. Bringing your camera with you is a must and as photographers, this is what Joel and I did.

It wasn't until the end of the day where I decided I wanted to take a shot of some trains at Southern Cross Station. I'd seen various tilt-shift photos before, where the photographer makes large objects look like miniatures, but I didn't have one of my own at the time. Thankfully, there's always a way to do this with Photoshop and that was my plan. Too simply take a photo of the station, give it a miniature look and then post it online.

Here is the image as it appears on Flickr, posted on July 24, 2010.

I've met a few good friends with my time on Flickr, including Joel mentioned above. Back in the day it was a great social place to share your photos with friends and just enjoy photography in general, but over the past few years I haven't really been back there much at all.

On this one random day late last year I went back just to see my old photos and noticed I had an email waiting for me in my Flickr inbox. It was from a lady who was working at the Department of Transport, Planning and Local Infrastructure (aka Mouthful Inc) who had found my Southern Cross Station photo on flickr and wanted to use it in a new internal Victorian Government planning document.

After a few emails were exchanged and a phone call to the office to confirm this was indeed a valid request, we came to an agreement for my work to be sold for use in the published book, and I can't tell you what a great feeling it is for something like this to occur.

I had no intention of selling this image, I only took it because I wanted to try my hand at faux tilt-shift photography. I posted it online, shared it with the online community and just left it there. It was some 3 years later that someone searching for a particular image they needed for their book stumbles across my image, likes it, gets in contact with me, I coincidently check my long unchecked Flickr mail on the same weekend that the email was sent, my image is sold and is now published.

I was also under the impression that I'd be able to get a copy of the book once it was published, a nice keepsake for my collection, but it was not to be as the numbers were limited to select Government officials and offices in Victoria who were part of the planning group. Thankfully I have a few connections in various Government offices thanks to relationships my father set up many years ago and who still keep in touch with my mum so the wheels were put in place and within a week, a copy was wrangled up for me from 'rival' party offices. And it's now in my hands. :)

It may not be much but the process of getting the picture into this book and then the book into my hands was fascinating to me and it really goes to show that no matter what you think of your work, the possibility of someone else liking it and paying money for it is all based on getting your work out there.

In case that flickr link doesn't work, below is the photo I took and edited to look like a miniature. It's not the greatest tilt shift conversion but as I mentioned above, it was never intended to be sold, it was only an experiment I played around with in my spare time.

P.S. Before I was told that there wasn't a physical version of the book available to be sent out to me, I was told I could view the entire book online in pdf format. Should you wish to do so yourself, it is available here (My photo appears on page 81).