Is Letter Writing a Thing of the Past?

I grew up writing letters.  It was something my whole family did, and more than I even remember.  I am one of six siblings and  we were lucky to all suffer from wanderlust.  The way we justified the gypsy nature of our existence was to write home from wherever we were, to mom and dad and to our siblings.   I have boxes of letters written to me by my sister and four brothers, not to mention my parents.  They are a record of a time when we would sit, reflect and compose a letter from our heart, in an effort to provide the reader with an understanding of ourselves at that moment, knowing that the letter would take some time before it was received and read.  By writing, we felt connected, despite long distances.  It was therapeutic.  And of course, receiving a letter was joyful and not taken lightly.  I would find a favourite spot to sit and read, absorb and remember.  Not long ago, my parents moved from our family home and had to declutter.  My mom, painstakingly, went through all of the old letters that she had stored in boxes and worked out who would most appreciate receiving them.  Any letters that were written by her six children, were returned to the author.  She had letters from her own brothers that she sent to her brother's children, knowing they would enjoy reading them.  It was a very thoughtful act, and one that has stayed with me.  We now all have this amazing record of our own writing at various times in our lives...a true treasure.  

The internet and mobile phones have certainly changed the way we receive and send information.  That transfer is instantaneous and seems to come and go more freely.  There are certainly many positives.  I am in touch with friends from all over the world because of Facebook and Instagram. I can chat to my family and friends over the internet at next to no cost and it is as clear as day.  I love it.    However, despite the incredible wealth of information and instant communication now available to us at our fingertips, I still get a thrill out of receiving a letter in the postbox.

As I sit down to write my Christmas Thank You Cards, I feel grateful that this form of communication still moves me.  As a photographer, I have had some of my images transformed into Greeting Cards...they are available for purchase via my website if you are wanting to make someone's day!!  Go to Greeting Cards...


For the Love of Trees...

This week we will start the installation of our "Trees" exhibition in Balmain.  Housed in the beautiful old police lock-up, the Balmain Watch House Gallery is a great place to visit just for the history and architecture.  Hope you can drop in to see some of my work as well as two other beautiful artists, Denise Barry and Deanna Doyle.


Below are the images that I will have on display for this exhibition. 

Tiny Tawny Frogmouth

With Springtime upon us, new life abounds.   I love watching the birds in particular.  Often I walk the Warriewood wetlands on the Northern Beaches of Sydney and this week I was thrilled to spot a Tawny Frogmouth with its chick.  They were on a low branch initially but then kept getting higher up in the tree as the week went on.  The first time I spotted them, the parent had its wing around the chick...literally taken under his beautiful.  What a privilege to witness..

Fine Art Prints are available for purchase.

Tiny Tawny by Pamela Pauline

Tiny Tawny by Pamela Pauline


ArtEdit Artist Spotlight

Nice to see this little feature this morning...

I am currently working on a series of Trees for my upcoming exhibition in Balmain in November 2017.  The exhibition will be held at the Balmain Watch House, 179 Darling Street, Balmain from 16 to 26 November.  The opening hours are 11:00 am to 5:00 pm daily.  Hope to see you there!

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Thorn Tree and Cheetah, Limited Edition Print @pamelapauline photography

Beauty and the Beast - A Lesson in Double Exposure

Recently, I have been using the technique of in camera multiple exposures to create images that draw attention to current social and environmental issues.  “Beauty and the Beast” below double exposes the iconic sails of the Opera House at Circular Quay with the repetitive geometric, weather stained concrete structure of the Sirius Building on Cumberland Street.   A landmark example of brutalist architecture, the Sirius building was built in 1979 for public housing tenants that had been displaced during redevelopment of the Rocks.   Despite being a cultural marker in the landscape of Sydney, controversial plans could see the 79 units of the Sirius building replaced by 250 luxury units.  Clearing the way for demolition and sale, the building failed to make the “heritage listing” on the State heritage register, despite a unanimous recommendation by the Heritage Council.   The government argues that divesting the site will fund hundreds more new social housing dwellings.  The debate continues.

"Beauty and the Beast" Limited Edition Print by Pamela Pauline

So, how do you create an image like this?  Firstly, not all DSLRs or mirrorless cameras have a multiple exposure mode.  I use a Canon 5D Mark iii, which has a setting for multiple exposures. While it is easy to set the camera to the appropriate settings and then take two or more images that are combined, the difficulty is in choosing the images, framing and positioning these shots so that they blend well into one image.  

The first exposure is considered the base layer on which your second image will blend into.  In the shot above, I really wanted the Opera House to fit entirely in the bulk of the Sirius Building.  With that in mind, I tried to position the buildings when pressing the shutter in a way that would create this effect.   I kept the exposure the same for each of the images and was rewarded with the above multiple exposure.

Like with most photography, the best way to understand double or multiple exposure is to experiment.  While there are no steadfast rules, it is useful to remember that darker subjects blend more easily than light ones.  You don't want to end up with a bunch of blown out highlights.  Sometimes it is easier to shoot the darker scene first, then try a lighter scene on top.   Of course, there are exceptions.  If you are trying to create a silhouette of a person with its head or body filled with details from another exposure, shooting a dark silhouette first that has lightness around it, will allow the elements of your second exposure to fill in the void of the silhouette.  

There are many interesting kinds of multiple exposures.  I love clouds and ocean and am always trying to get the perfect double exposure in camera.  Sometimes I use a slow shutter speed to capture the ocean in motion, and then a faster one to capture the clouds.  I almost always use a tripod, and for my image below, entitled "Impending", I moved the camera ever so slightly downwards with the second image so that the end result looks like the clouds are just hovering above the water.  

"Impending" Limited Edition Print by Pamela Pauline

The 17th Pingyao International Photography Festival in China

Established in 2001, the Pingyao International Photography Festival has become one of China's most popular events each year.  Held in the old town of Pingyao, a UNESCO World Cultural Heritage Site, the festival combines ancient culture with contemporary photography.

Australia's own Head On Photo Festival is attending the event and staging an exhibition that features Artists from New South Wales.  Two of my images have been selected to feature in the exhibition.  "Freedom" won 3rd place in the Landscape Awards at Sydney's 2017 Head On Festival, and "Under the Weather" was a Finalist in 2016.  

Held from the 19th through the 25th of September 2017, the Pingyao Festivities will also include a short film festival as well as a lacquer art show.  Looks to be a wonderful, culture infused event.  

"Freedom" by Pamela Pauline

"Freedom" by Pamela Pauline

"Under the Weather" by Pamela Pauline

"Under the Weather" by Pamela Pauline

Amazing Aloes

For the past couple of weeks I have been overseas visiting family and along with my five siblings, surprising my parents for their 60th wedding anniversary.  What an incredible milestone and a successful surprise!    While in California, I had the opportunity to photograph the most incredible Aloe Garden.  I spent hours admiring and photographing these stunning unique gifts of Mother Nature.  Using in-camera techniques, I have created abstract artworks that make real statements when blown up large scale.  Contact me directly for more information about availability of these pieces.

Stay Kind Initiative - Thomas Kelly Youth Foundation

Yesterday I had the opportunity to spend time with the Kelly family, and to photograph Chris Lawrence and Luke Brooks of the West Tigers and Tim Mannah of the Parramatta Eels as they donned their new "Stay Kind" Jerseys for the inaugural Stay Kind Cup.  

Ralph and Kathy's son, Thomas,  was the victim of the coward one-punch killer Kieran Loveridge in King's Cross in 2012.  In an effort to curb alcohol fuelled violence, the Kelly's established the Thomas Kelly Youth Foundation following the loss of Thomas.  Tragically, their younger son, Stuart,  took his own life nearly a year ago.  As one of my own son's best friends, we feel this loss deeply but more importantly, the whole of Australia mourns for the Kelly family.  Their courage and hope for a better world is remarkable.

Aiming to bring awareness to youth suicide, the Stay Kind (SK for Stuart Kelly) initiative now forms part of the Thomas Kelly Youth Foundation.  The initiative is about kindness and respect towards all people, fostering a supportive environment in all aspects of life and community.   It is about the opportunity to save lives.  The inaugural Stay Kind Cup will be played between the Eels and the West Tigers at the ANZ Stadium on the 23rd of July.   Donations on the day will go towards Lifeline.  The ANZ stadium holds 80,000 people.  Each year in Australia, nearly 77,000 people try to take their lives.  This initiative aims to make a difference.  

For support and information about suicide prevention, please ring Lifeline on 13 11 14.

HeadOn Photographic Festival 2017 - 3rd Place Winner

Again, the Head On Photo Festival is being held throughout the Month of May in Sydney.  The festival showcases works of Australian and International Artists in what is Australia's largest and most prestigious photography event.  Established in 2008, it has become the second largest photography festival in the world.  The Festival marks a vital place on the Australian Arts Calendar attracting highly acclaimed photographers as well as those that are newer to the scene.  Held in Sydney over three weeks, it offers free events, workshops and exhibitions as well as  talks by well-known and lesser known photographers.  

Dedicated to encouraging innovation and excellence in photography, the Head On Festival also offers the Head On Awards for Portraiture, Landscape, Mobile and Student works.  As a finalist again in 2017, I am honoured to have won Third Place in the Landscape Prize for my image of a Brumby in the Snowy Mountains of New South Wales.  The Landscape Prize Exhibition consists of the 40 Finalists and is held at the NSW Parliament House from Monday the 8th of May through to the end of the month.  

As part of the festival, I am also exhibiting in the AIPP (Australian Institute of Professional Photography) exhibition entitled "Storylines".  I will be speaking about my work at the Paddington Town Hall on Sunday, the 12th of May at 3:20.

Finally, I am also an exhibitor in AddOn, a curated exhibition featuring anonymous small square names, no titles, lots of room for interpretation.  This is also being held at the Paddington Town Hall, Festival Hub.  

Thank you to all of those people who worked so hard to pull together the HeadOn Photographic Festival.  

Freedom by Pamela Pauline, Winner HeadOn Landscape Prize -3rd Place

Freedom by Pamela Pauline, Winner HeadOn Landscape Prize -3rd Place

Wild Wyoming

While I haven't lived in Wyoming for 30 years, I grew up there and it holds a very special place in my heart.  With family there, I visit as often as possible. In January of this year, my husband and our three grown up children transversed the state from Laramie in the SouthEast, to Jackson in the Northwest.  The sparse landscape looks forboding and beautiful with the snow, the wind adding to the sense of isolation.  While there are many iconic images of Wyoming, most notably, those of Ansel Adams, I wanted to show it's simple everyday beauty.  This gallery aims to capture that simplicity.

"I Saw in Louisiana a Live Oak Growing"

In January of this year, I visited Avery Island, Louisiana, home of the infamous "Tabasco" sauce.  Invited by a member of the McIlhenny family and travelling with Jeannette Whitson from Garden Variety Design in  Nashville, we had the great privilege of visiting the areas of the island that are not open to the public.   The purpose of the visit was to photograph the beautiful trees but the experience was so much more.    Not only did we get to explore the extraordinary beauty of the island, but we were welcomed into the archives by the company's historian and curator.  These archives hold a treasure trove of documents, photographs and artefacts dating back 150 years.  As a beneficiary, the forethought of the early McIlhenny family to preserve all of this for future reference is remarkable.    Of course, we also braved taste testing a freshly opened barrel of Tabasco chilli mash,  ate what I consider to be the world's best Gumbo in the local canteen and were serenaded by the host (who grew up on the island) as she "called" an alligator to us while we sat watching the birds in the swamp.  And then there are the Southern Live Oak magnificent and graceful with Spanish Moss delicately flowing from the branches.  The tenderness  with which these living legends are preserved on Avery Island was absolutely heart warming and it was an honour to capture them on camera. 

What is Photography today?

In light of a lot of discussion on social media about the Australian Institute of Professional Photography and the highly competitive Award system,  I thought I would share some of my views.

The Australian Institute of Professional Photography (AIPP) is  the premier membership body for professional image makers in Australia.  There are a series of steps a professional photographer is required to take in order to become accredited with the AIPP and it is relatively rigorous.  This accreditation is designed to "give the consumer confidence that your professional photographer is a proven, experienced, technically capable, professional practitioner who complies with all legal business requirements and a Code of Professional Practice".  To be part of the AIPP, one must also be committed to continuing their professional development.  More about the accreditation can be found at  Of course, not every professional photographer chooses to apply to the AIPP for a variety of reasons.  

Each year, the AIPP holds both State wide and National Professional Photography Awards.  The National Awards (APPA) were held a couple of weeks ago in Melbourne (end August 2016).  The National Awards are open to those photographers who have been seeded through previous Award results at the State level or have in some way proven their skill to the AIPP..   Professional photographers spend a lot of time and energy deciding which of their four best images to enter and into which category (ies).  At the National Level, there are 18 different categories that are judged.  While all of the image content must be photographic, some of these categories allow for digital manipulation, whereas others accept only minor treatment.  Having spent a good deal of this past year on work that I was entering into an International exhibition,  I decided to enter the Landscape category with four of my Exhibition images.  Winning a Gold with Distinction for my elephant "Connect" image was a huge thrill.  A Silver with Distinction and two Silvers completed my portfolio.  I was pleased with my results.  While the AIPP and the Award System may not be perfect, entering these awards has been the single biggest contributor to my professional and creative development in the past few years.  

Lisa Saad took out the Australian Professional Photographer of the Year Title with her portfolio of four images  that were entered into the Advertising category.  This category allows for significant manipulation, and her final results were brilliant.  However, this announcement triggered a great deal of debate on social media and the media in general.  Spearheaded by Ken Duncan, one of Australia's most well-known (old school)  landscape photographers, the debate considered "What is the line between Photography and Illustration?"  Lisa's images were very illustrative in nature.

As a past recipient of one of Ken Duncan's generous awards, 2nd Place in the Real Australia Landscape Awards in 2015, I appreciate the concerns voiced by Ken Duncan.   At the same time,  I feel it is a mistake to assume that if a photographer chooses to hone their post production skills, then they are a lesser photographer. They are using the tools available today to better tell their story.  It is photography, even if it isn't the way everyone chooses to do it.  Photography has been evolving since its inception and will continue to evolve.  I do not believe there is one right way in photography, or in life for that matter.  Good photographers are story tellers.  They choose certain lenses to better accentuate certain elements in an image or they may add a photographic texture to enhance a dull sky.  It is still photography, it is still story telling.  It is still image creation. Doing it well is the challenge.  There is a reason that certain images stay in our minds.  

I also believe that most professional photographers who are skilled at post production (more often done on a computer than in a darkroom today) also have the ability to produce a very high standard of image straight from the camera (or nearly...there is no such thing when shooting in RAW...all data needs some sort of processing to become an image).  I love capturing amazing landscapes when the light is just right, or the sky when it is full of ominous clouds..and there are many opportunities to award these types of images...the Moran Contemporary Photographic Prize, the Real Australia Landscape Awards, the Bureau of Meteorology competition, One Eyeland Landscape Competition, International Epson Panoramic Awards, etc).  But I would be disappointed if this was the extent of my photography, given the tools available today.  I would not want to be strictly limited to the technical knowledge and capability of a camera.  To my mind, this would be a very narrow view of the field of photography. I enjoy pushing my own creativity.  All of the images that I submitted into APPA this year required many hours of post production.  And I loved this process...something I consider an important part of my photography today.  And then again, when I see beautiful clouds looming, I grab my camera to capture the moment...



On Flaneurism, Frampton and Friendship

A French concept, flaneurism, is defined as wandering without purpose.  In today's world, if time is a luxury, then the ultimate indulgence is dropping into designer Jeannette Whitson's Garden Variety Design Studio in Nashville, Tennesee for a wander.  Located in the very trendy 12 South area of Nashville, the studio is an original 1899 home, cleverly renovated by Jeannette and recently opened by appointment only.  The studio houses a unique collection of beautiful antiques and other one-off pieces of art, primarily from France.  Jeannette's design sense and keen eye can only be described as eclectic, one-of-kind and stunningly beautiful.  

 Jeannette and I met nearly 25 years ago in Jakarta, Indonesia.  We connected immediately, sharing a love of adventure, curiosity, beautiful things and laughter.  We travelled through the back alleys of Central Java, Jeannette searching for genuine antiques and me documenting the lives and landscapes of the people through research and photography (I was working on a USAID contract at the time).  Our years in Indonesia were instrumental in inspiring our creative careers.    

Through marriage and children, our lives took us to different corners of the world, but our passions in our respective fields continued to grow, as did the respect for each other's work.   For some time we have been talking about collaborating, so it was with great enthusiasm, 25 years after first meeting, that I accepted Jeannette's offer to host a photographic show in her studio when the space was ready.

We had a fabulous week together in June, inviting designers and art collectors to the studio.  It is always deeply gratifying to develop an emotional connection with buyers or potential customers.  Naturally, it was a thrill when the unassuming Rock Star Peter Frampton visited the studio, taking home  my "Kookaburra Sits".  That said,  regardless of the owner, it is always a great honour to have my work hanging in the privacy of people's homes, and something that I never take for granted.  

The Southern hospitality is hard to beat, and we are already discussing my return.  




HeadOn Photo Festival May 2016

Each May, the Head On Photo Festival showcases works of Australian and International Artists in what is Australia's largest and most prestigious photography event.  Established in 2008, it has become the second largest photography festival in the world.  The Head On Festival now marks a vital place on the Australian Arts Calendar.  The festival attracts highly acclaimed photographers as well as those that are newer to the scene.  Held in Sydney over three weeks, it offers free events and exhibitions as well as affordable talks by well-known photographers.  This year, there were over 100 exhibitions across Sydney and the region. 

Dedicated to encouraging innovation and excellence in photography, the Head On Festival also offers the Head On Awards for Portraiture, Landscape, Mobile and Student works.  I was pleased to have been selected as one of the 40 Finalists for the Landscape Prize with my image of a storm over Sydney Harbour.  The exhibition was held at the NSW Parliament House throughout the Month of May and will be closing any day now.

As part of the festival, I was also invited to exhibit in the AIPP (Australian Institute of Professional Photography) exhibition,  having been a category winner in the recent NSW AIPP Awards. It was an absolute honour to also be asked to share insight into my work as an artist at the AIPP event one evening with an engaging audience.  I was very impressed with the quality of the work produced by the AIPP, what an exhibit.  Finally, I took part in AddOn, a curated exhibition featuring anonymous small square names, no titles, lots of room for interpretation.  

Thank you to all of those people who worked so hard to pull together this inspirational festival.

Under the Weather, Head On Landscape Finalist 2016

Under the Weather, Head On Landscape Finalist 2016




NSW AIPP Epson Photography Awards

Each year, the Australian Institute of Professional Photography (AIPP) together with Epson, host the State Professional Photography Awards.  This year, the NSW awards were held mid-March in Sydney.  The purpose of the awards is to get an understanding of where your work sits in comparison with your peers.  By entering your work to be critiqued, you gain independent, authoritative feedback from professionals.  It is a nail biting experience with some terrific highs and the inevitable lows.  No system is perfect, and no judge is perfect, but sitting back and listening to judges talk about your work and where it can improve is humbling and invaluable.    The lead up to entering the awards seems like it should be straight forward, but if you are like always gets a bit stressful towards the end!  This year, I somehow spaced out getting one of my images matted, so missed out on being a candidate for the Wildlife category by submitting only three as opposed to four images.  Then, two days before the prints were to be submitted, I realised that somehow the mats were sized incorrectly!  So back to the framer with an urgent job!  I managed to get my images submitted in the nick of time...and then came the judging..yikes!  I wasn't able to watch the judging live, but did catch some of it on Livestream, which is such a terrific option.  

In the end, I was happy with my results.  I won the Highest Scoring Print award for my Quelea Bird Migration image.  Of the 1000 images submitted for judging, there were four Gold with Distinctions awarded.  Two of these were for the Quelea Migration and the other for a Cheetah under a tree in the Kalahari.  I was also one of three Finalists for the NSW Landscape Photographer of the Year, along with Adam Williams and Ignacio Palacios.  Adam took out the award with some stunning images.  Below are my award images.  Having been a member of the AIPP for three years, I feel inspired to continue to improve my imagery and learn from all those creative people out there.  Later on in the year, there will be the APPA's, the Australian Professional Photography Awards, which include photographers from the entire country, not just NSW.

Our Profession just got Professional

As described in Photo Review Magazine:


Announced at the Canon AIPP Australian Professional Photography Awards by AIPP Chairman Felicity Biasi, the AIPP Accreditation standards, which have been in place for five years, have now received certification from Government body the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) as meeting the requirements necessary of a professional body for the grant of a certification trade mark. 

This means that effective immediately, only AIPP Accredited Members can appropriately call themselves accredited professional photographers or video producers.

It’s a bold statement, but in an industry with minimal regulation and sadly many ‘less-than-professional’ practitioners, it’s a step that many committed photographers have been calling for for a long time in order to safeguard their businesses and reputation.

The ACCC certification also helps create the first formal recognition of the photographic industry as a ‘profession’ – a grey area up until this point.

Defined by the Professional Standards Council of Australia as ‘a disciplined group of individuals who adhere to ethical standards, and positions itself as possessing special knowledge and skills in a widely recognised body of learning derived from research, education and training at a high level…’, the certification by the ACCC means that the AIPP is now the only de facto membership body for the profession of photography in Australia.

AIPP President, Ross Eason, comments, “We are delighted to have received the green-light from the ACCC to enhance our members professional status. For some time our members and photographers around the country have been asking the Institute to develop standards to protect the perception of the “Professional” within our industry and we have been working for five years to refine our Accreditation system to a standard the ACCC, all working photographers and the consumer can trust. We believe certification by the ACCC gives us this standard.

“Whilst we understand and respect that not all working photographers will see membership to the AIPP as necessary, for those that rely on consumer confidence and reputation, the ACCC certification is of great benefit. It acts as a clear benchmark of quality for anyone looking to employ a photographer and offers reassurance of that person’s trusted experience and commitment to improve. For our members we know that it will really make a difference.” concludes Eason.

See more details on the AIPP website.

Ken Duncan's REAL Australian Landscape Awards

I was very pleased to be awarded 2nd place in Ken Duncan's REAL Australian Landscape Awards in July, 2015.  Photography has become a controversial subject and Ken, as one of Australia's most well known landscape photographers,  wanted to award images that he considered "REAL", meaning very little manipulation, other than what could traditionally be done in a darkroom.  I am not a traditionalist, but also feel that there is a place for both.  My winning image was very "REAL".  When I saw the storm brewing on Anzac Day of this year, I grabbed my tripod, camera and husband and headed towards Bradley's Head from the Northern Beaches in the hope of capturing the magnificent storm over the city.  Caught in the hail, we had to pull over and I feared I may have missed the moment (must admit I do suffer from a bit of photographic FOMO).  However, just as we arrived at our destination, the hail began to subside and as it headed towards the city, I was thrilled to be able to capture it.  With or without a camera, the moment was magic as we watched Sydney engulfed in hail as the sun was setting.  

"Under the Weather" by Pamela Pauline, 2nd Place in the REAL Australian Landscape Awards

"Under the Weather" by Pamela Pauline, 2nd Place in the REAL Australian Landscape Awards

A couple of weeks ago, I was able to meet Ken.  He invited me to visit his gallery on the Central Coast to collect my prize, which was more than generous.  It was an absolute pleasure meeting Ken and his wife Pam.  Here is what Ken has to say about the REAL Australian Landscape Awards:

Pam accepting prizes from Ken at his Gallery on the Central Coast

Thanks again, Ken.