An inside view of the last days of the Gillard campaign
By all accounts this election has been really boring and as a photographer I wanted to do something different to get people interested again. I wanted to shoot it in a different way than the way we always cover elections in newspapers.
If I can borrow a phrase from this election campaign, I wanted to be seen to be “moving forward” with technology and doing something new and fresh. So when I got the call up to shoot the final week of the election last week with Prime Minister Julia Gillard I decided to shoot everything on the iPhone.
A simple no frills camera (weighing no more than a can of coke) with a fixed lens, and using the Hipstamatic app bought for $2.49.
It’s been an easy job to shoot in some ways. Newspaper photographers on the tour are all carrying 2 camera bodies and a 300mm lens with a monopod over the shoulder at all times, with a computer and metres and metres of cable to match.
So the iPhone is a “keep it simple, stupid” approach that appeals to me and I think delivers interesting results. The challenging part of shooting the election over the last three days with the iPhone has been that the camera is slow and therefore not very good in low light situations.
You have to pick your moments or shoot and hope it’s not blurred. It really is best used in strong sunlight or where you have sharp contrast. The other challenging part has been that because you are working with such a wide angle lens you sometimes have to get within earshot of the subject. An example would be the picture I took of the AFP security’s ear.
To get that detailed picture with the coil wrapped around his ear I had to be within 10-15cm from his ear. It’s a worrying moment because he’s not looking at me and I’m in his personal space. He might see my iPhone in the corner of his eye thinking that it’s something he should unleash his martial arts expertise on, take me down.
The other awkward moment was the picture I took of Bob Hawke at the Labor party’s official election launch on Monday. I basically had to get within 20-30cm of the former Prime Minister’s face to get a nice portrait of him.
Overall the camera is fun to use and I like the mood it brings to a picture. Especially in black and white. So here is a selection of the interesting moments I have caught while using the iPhone:
This picture was taken while I was videoing Prime Minister Julia Gillard’s official election speech on the back of my video camera screen.
I like the picture because it shows two Julia Gillards in the one frame. One in focus one out of focus and I wonder whether I am focusing on the “real” Julia Gillard or the other political Julia Gillard.
This is just a nice portrait of Gillard. The bags in the foreground raise the idea she might have to pack her own bags to go home this week.
I wish I could turn back time and cover an election with Former PM Bob Hawke. That would have been so much fun although I’m not sure much work would have been done with a bunch of drinking journos. He gave a great speech on the day and wears his heart on his sleeve and is a knock about bloke.
Here we are on the tarmac at Brisbane Airport heading out in single formation after a long day all eager to get to Townsville for a rest and some food. This is something that can happen four to six times a day.
It’s 6am and these blokes have been on the campaign trail for the last six weeks and despite the long day and the 5.30 wake-up calls they still read the newspaper every morning.
Here I am holding two tiny marbles which seemed to make a few people nervous on the bus out to the coal mine in Emerald in Far North Queensland. As part of entering the mine site at any given time you have to pick a marble out of a bag.
19 are red and 1 is black, if you pick the black one you are subjected to an alcohol and drug test which basically means you have to pee into a cup. Even the prime minister had to partake but I doubt very much that the black marble was in the bag at the time.
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