Stories from inside life's big top.

Posts from the “Photo Essay” Category

Close To You: Lucy & Molly Dyson

Posted on May 9, 2017

History is littered with creative siblings, often in music, sometimes in film, occasionally in literature…   See the Sisters Bronte and Arquette; the Brothers Grimm and Gibb; the Coen Brothers, Baldwins, Wachowskis and Gershwins; soft-pop super-duo The Carpenters, hard-rock guitar heroes Malcolm and Angus. The families Corr, Barrymore, Boyd and Mora.   Then there are my personal faves, Ann and Nancy Wilson from Heart. Seventies AM rock would have been nothing without these sisters, nor their songs Barracuda and Crazy On You. Nothing.   It’s come time to add a pair of visual artist sisters to the list: Lucy Dyson and Molly Dyson. Both are from Australia. Both live in Berlin. And both are starting to leave their mark in a serious way.  …

Pulse Of The Rhyme: Cedric Till

Posted on January 6, 2017

One of the most impressive things about Cedric Till is the respect that he has for words.   About to turn 28, the Berlin-born rapper and spoken word artist stills rowdy rooms with the power of his poetic expression. You know something special’s about to happen when he gets up on a stage, quietly smouldering with the intensity of not only having something to say, but having thought through how to say it a thousand times over…   Up there, he lights a fire, digging deep into the machinations of his experience and fashioning carefully-chosen phrases into rhyme, rhythm and reason. No-one draws a breath until he finishes his gentle speak-singing narratives, usually flashing a wry, shy grin in conclusion.   In “a world…

Land of Balconia

Posted on July 6, 2016

Berlin balconies are spectacular – especially in summer. Look up and you’ll witness some of the city’s most creative spaces. You don’t have to be a poet or painter to live here: being a keen home gardener will do just fine.   Balconia: part-urban balcony, part-Narnia – a fantasy land just outside your window (instead of down the back of the wardrobe). A magical space to cheer you up on grey days (and there are many in Berlin), and on long, hot summer nights a paradise where you can find a cool breeze, a grill going and friends over for a feast. In all likelihood Berliners like dogs more than they do people, but they dig their balconies, taking great pride in both their…

New Romantic: Stella Turner

Posted on June 22, 2016

“I love William Turner: that’s why I took ‘Turner’ as my performer name,” Stella Belinda Franke tells me as we walk down a busy Berlin street, looking for an impromptu photo shoot location.   Her eyes glint with inspiration as she speaks the Romantic landscape painter’s name. It turns out the artist now known as Stella Turner loves to talk about art, and music. As we dodge cars, dog shit and stinging nettles, she manages to cram a lot into our brief conversation. Her aliveness is palpable.   Stella Turner also loves to play music. I first saw her belt out a couple of well-honed originals late one open mic night in Berlin. While clearly in her formative stages, she had something special to…

A Community Of The Spirit

Posted on June 16, 2016

Bubble Wizard I

There is a community of the spirit. Join it, and feel the delight of walking in the noisy street, and being the noise” (Rumi)

Circus Folk + Flower Punks was a performance and portrait photography exhibition at the Australian Embassy in Berlin, a co-exhibition between myself and Berlin-based Australian music photographer, Kate Seabrook (aka “Flower Punks”). On in the foyer space for three months, it celebrated the various musicians and performers we’d both had the good fortune to photograph over the years, doing what they do best on the stages of Berlin and Australia.

 

I chose 25 colour and black-and-white photographs to go up on those dignified walls. Opening on International Women’s Day 2016 (March 8), it ran until May 27, which in my estimation officially makes this Embassy “the most rock on the planet”.

 

The images I included enthusiastically embrace those among us who venture into the world high of spirit, with something delicious to say, dressed in the accoutre of the unabashed and the fearless. Regardless of which city they call home, the individuals pictured below share fascinating everyday stories that speak of the passion, inspiration and courage cultivated by their artistic calling. They beguile, bewitch and  enrich our lives; they entertain and engage us in the ‘tough’ conversations, often without much in return. They are a community of marvellous misfits, whose calling it is to connect us all, through moments of empathy, insight, beauty and mirth.

 

I’m grateful to all those I documented, and to the staff at the Australian Embassy in Berlin for the opportunity, and support. Many thanks also to my collaborator Kate Seabrook, my husband Oliver Budack for his endless encouragement, and to everyone who came along and supported the exhibition.

  • Click: on the photos for titles and complete credits.
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  • Words & images: Megan Spencer (c) 2013 – 2015
  • Copyright: all images are subject to copyright and may not be republished or reproduced without express permission of the copyright owner, Megan Spencer.
  • Feel free: to link to the images, but please don’t steal!
  • Read: ‘A Community of the Spirit’ in full.
Alessandro Eramo Amelia Jane Hunter Another_Other Bubble Wizard II Day of the Dead grrrls Hanna Nordqvist Hannah Day Hannes, Phia & Jonny Janni Froese_B&W Janni Froese_COL Jenny Divers Jeremy Conlon Leon Cole B&W Leon Cole COL Maria White Modern Secular Reasons To Sing 2013 copy Marie Hirondelle Molly & Liliana Oliver Phia & The Dienstag Choir Roc Roc-It Rosalind Hall The Cannanes Tim Peters Wasp Summer

Buzzing + Humming: Samantha Wareing

Posted on March 16, 2016

Sam Wareing and I first met when I visited Berlin in July 2014.   It was the height of a stinking hot summer, extremely humid, and glorious as Berlin summers are wont to be. I remember being shocked that a Central European city could have such capacity for a ‘Darwin summer’, a place I’d also lived, with weather I’d been equally astonished by.   My husband Oliver and I spent 10 days soaked in sweat zooming around the cobble-stoned streets, getting to know the city. At the back of our minds we were scoping it out hopefully, as a potential place to live. Meeting Sam, and listening to what she had to say about it, helped clinch the deal.   I was also there…

One Adventure In A Whole Day: Hanna Nordqvist

Posted on March 10, 2016

A long distance relationship made it possible for Hanna Nordqvist to leave her home country of Sweden for Berlin – plus a few magical nights when as a teenager, she visited the ‘City of Dreamers’.   Hanna is one of the women featured in my photo series for Circus Folk + Flower Punks, the photo exhibition put together by myself and Kate Seabrook. It opened this week and Hanna was at the vernissage, along with around a hundred other people…   Living in Berlin as an adult, she has moved through academia and publishing to find her way to studying the Grinberg Method, a particular bodywork therapy currently on the rise in Europe and the US. This year she will to graduate as a…

Circus Folk Photo Essay: Leon

Posted on March 23, 2015

All photos by Megan Spencer © 2014

Recently I needed to do a photo shoot for a job I was applying for.. One with ‘a local’ who I’d like to also write a story about.

I ended up withdrawing from the application process (I decided to move countries instead!) but walked away having had a rewarding documentary experience with a generous and humble skateboarder, dad and artist, Leon Cole. Well known in Central Victoria as a veteran skater – and a photographer obsessed with analogue technology – Leon has managed to convert his own history on ramps into a (sometime) present, coaching at regional skate clinics and mentoring young artists.

He is a talented, kindly, generous soul. Thanks for sharing your time, talent and lovely little tackers with me for the shoot!