Constance Talmadge and her ridiculously cute face in “East Is West” (1922)dir. by Sydney Franklin
This was considered a lost film for decades until a copy was found in the Netherlands in 2005. It has been restored although about 13 minutes of it were damaged beyond restoration, the gaps have been filled in with explanatory title cards.
good friend Julian and I were on a year-long backpacking trip in Australia in
2008. At our starting point in Cairns, high up on the Queensland coast, we’d
bought a beast of a car - a 1995 Ford Falcon Estate - and were planning to
drive it all the way down the east coast to Sydney and onwards to Melbourne and
Adelaide. An long distance, but a well-worn travel route for backpackers.
couple of months into our trip around October time, we were preparing to leave
Airlie Beach where we’d paused for a few weeks to earn some money
glass-collecting at a local bar. We’d chosen Hervey Bay as our next
destination, where we’d tour Fraser Island. With very little in the way of
sights on the 10-hour drive, we planned to stay over in Rockhampton, about
set off from Airlie Beach - sun blazing, Led Zeppelin on the stereo, full of
our usual over-excited exuberance at the prospect of the next instalment of our
adventure. At one point we even stopped at the side of the road just to dance
around the car to John Lee Hooker’s ‘Boom Boom’. We were in great spirits.
few more hours on the road, however, and things began to change.
the late afternoon, it became heavily overcast - dark clouds hiding the
sunlight. A few drops of rain became a torrential downpour. We were used to
spontaneous short-lived outbursts from the tropical weather systems, but this
was unlike anything we’d experienced; rain lashed at us, streaks of lightning
strobed almost continuously across the sky.
the car to a steadier pace, window wipers straining hard against the deluge,
the highway merged from open bushland to densely-wooded darkness.
came the first mysterious incident. I noticed, quite suddenly, in the
passenger-side wing-mirror a motorbike approach quickly and tailgate us
closely. There was plenty of room to go around us, and nothing in front of us,
but it continued to follow for a good mile or so. We didn’t speak of it until
we went over a gradual hump in the road and, almost as quickly as it had
appeared, it was gone.
be clear, there were no turnings on this stretch of highway, it was just one
very long, very straight road. I turned the music off.
North Bondi is a mostly residential area east of the Sydney CBD, that borders Bondi Beach. The name “Bondi” is an aboriginal world meaning “water breaking over rock”. Indigenous rock carvings can be found on the rocky surfaces and cliffs near Bondi Golf Course, as well as at the nearby headland of Ben Buckler. Other carvings nearby are thought to have been the work of Portuguese sailors, who landed in the area around the 16th century.
I have spent the better part of the last three weeks travelling up the East Coast of Australia. One of the most amazing parts has been the sunsets everynight, always different, and always unique. So many colours and shapes, streching as far as the eye can see, disappearing into the horizon. Here are some of the more special moments before night set, all caught on my iPhone.
My favorite adventures/captures over the years. Many memories had with UxG when first starting until now, many more to come.
1. Abandoned Rooftop Garden - Sydney CBD 2. Giant Crane - East Sydney 3. Underground Double Tunnel - Sydney CBD 4. End Of The Line - East Sydney 5. Disused Abandoned Tunnels & Platforms - Sydney CBD 6. Abandoned Church - Sydney CBD 7. Large Hotel Rooftop - Sydney CBD 8. 3 Tone Sunset in Construction Site - Melbourne CBD 9. Underground Tunnels - East Sydney 10. Riding across the Sydney Harbour Bridge on a Commuter Train
The dress worn by Crown Princess Mary in Australia Women’s Weekly was a custom piece made by designer Alex Perry:
The Alex Perry dress came down to the wire, Alex had made two custom gowns for our shoot after Judith Cook, The Weekly’s Style Director and I had a fun meeting with him in his East Sydney studio. Alex sits in a room filled with inspiring fabrics, mannequins and gorgeous new season samples. Corkboards line his office walls and are covered with sketches from his newest collections. We talked colour, fabrics and we were all so excited to be working on this very exciting and top secret project. Yellow was our first choice, Alex had thought it would be best to have the colour dyed to our specific colour choice, as it would be too hard to get something ordered internationally in time.
So Alex got to work, he sketched and pinned tulle and lace on to mannequin in front of us to show us what he had in mind. Judith and I both left very excited about what he was about to create. As I left for Denmark some weeks later Alex was still awaiting one of the fabrics to come back so he could whip up his gown fit for a Princess; luckily it arrived in time for his team to drop everything and create a truly stunning gown which our Deputy Editor Juliet Rieden hand delivered to me when she arrived in Copenhagen the day before the shoot. It was such a special moment, as Crown Princess Mary stood in Grand Ballroom wearing the gown with the exquisite tiara and earrings she had worn on her wedding day to Crown Prince Frederik nearly 10 years before.
December has been a quiet month for me, and because of this downtime I have been looking over areas of my life, updating projects, sorting photos and reviewing the year. What I realized was that even though I have been active with social media, my writing output on tumblr this year has been tiny. I am living a life that is full of adventure and new experiences, and I want to share these with the universe, taking others on the journey and likewise partaking in their lives as well, creating friendship and companionship. Consider this the start of a weekly output.
The last six months have been challenging, but full of new experiences and a complete change of life. In 2013 I travelled across Europe in summer, leaving Sydney on my own. Even though it was by myself, I don’t remember feeling any fear. As the plane landed in London and I boarded the tube into King Cross, I was full of excitement and possibility. Landing in a foreign country, with an open mind and an ear for adventure, it was exhilarating. I made a promise to be a friend to everyone, and that promise enabled me to make lifelong relationships in various countries. Before I had slept on the first night, I had talked with a Belgium family on the tube, met a girl from New Zealand and explored central London, and as the sky darkened a French girl called Valentina decided to jump the fence at a Rolling Stone gig in Moore Park with me. It was wild and free, and I loved the opportunity to re-invent myself.
Returning to Australia after summer, I found myself wanting change again. Over the Australian summer I explored the East Coast, from Sydney to Brisbane, with friends and Jessie, a girl I had met in Europe. Summer ended, and I explored the Australian Alps on weekends, climbing mountains and finding solace in the silence. For Easter I went to New Zealand, tramping across the Tongariro Crossing (a famous hike filled with volcanoes), and seeing what the country was about. On the flight back, before the plane had landed in Sydney, I knew this was a country I wanted to explore more, and this girl, Jessie, I wanted to live life with her. And so I did exactly that. I quit my job, said goodbye to my friends and family, and within four weeks was back in New Zealand, living North of Auckland. It has been rad.
New Zealand is a country like no other. The North Island, through the rolling green forests, across the muddy pathways, dramatic coastal terrain and smoking volcanoes. The South Island, vast ranges across the horizon, grand mountains, great glacial fields and winding river systems populating the land. As a mountain adventurer and hiker, I am living in the dream. It hasn’t always been easy, but getting to this point in time has been beyond worthwhile.
Life is a constant journey of discovery, an amazing gift where we can choose, from a moment to moment, how to think, feel and experience the beauty of unfolding. There’s an utter, wonderful freedom of joy and perspective that comes from just focussing on the now. It’s also in relationship to other people that we understand ourselves the best, a very powerful recognition that demands we are able to give and receive the gifts of such a possibility. And when we find that passion, it is as if the rest of the world stands still, that it does not wait on us to complete the circle, making us understand what living in the moment truly means.
I am going to the South Island next week, firstly to Mt Cook and then beyond, and I will continue writing on the go where possible, to keep the flow of friendship open. I would love to hear about where your adventures are taking your feet also.