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For the love of writing | the absolutely no reason approach

We’ve all heard the term ‘itchy feet’…referred to by the lovers of travel and the need to go somewhere new.  I don’t often get itchy feet, but I do get…I guess you could call it itchy fingers.  The need to write.  It’s not something I share, but I suppose if you follow my blog here, you could possibly guess that I do love to write.  I can’t help but go on long tangents about pretty much nothing.  If I get excited about a topic, once I get started I simply can’t stop myself.

Today I sat at my computer and all I wanted to do was write something, anything.  But I let my own head get in the way, I over thought it and decided it was too much because I couldn’t think of anything to write about, but my head was full of…something.

So I spent the day with my photos instead, visualising, looking at adorable baby faces and sweet hugging families while I rode out the urge to write.  But it hasn’t left me, which has lead me to this moment.

It’s 4.55pm, the time when I am usually in the kitchen cooking dinner, or hanging out with my kids, but dinner is good to go and the kids all have their own lives and don’t seem to need me either, so I found myself drawn to the keyboard.

Clearly the mystery pull from this space was to just ramble on about absolutely nothing at all, because I have made it through 4 whole paragraphs, going on my 5th and I haven’t actually said anything of substance.  Perhaps this is me trying to think of something and by the end of it I will have a bright idea for the next post that will mean something a little more than this.

The more I think about it, I come to realise that my fingers have been itchy for a little while.  I have loved to write my whole life, but of course never pursued it in any way.  My love for photography and graphic design always pulled me in that direction, leaving the writing behind, but I still remember our Creative Writing lessons in primary school, we would watch BTN (Behind the News) and tasked to write a report on what we saw.  I LOVED it.  As I write this I wonder why I never pushed to do it more.  I was only in Grade 5 but I still remember it so clearly, that love.  It feels a little like regret.

In October last year, I was contacted by a journalist doing a piece for Capture Magazine, she wanted to interview me about Newborn Photography and I think that’s the day my itchy fingers were reignited.  It was exciting to be interviewed and viewed as an expert in my field, but I found myself wishing I was writing the whole thing!  How ridiculous right?!

The article was published in the most recent Capture Magazine released last week and reading it was awesome, Sophia Hawkes is an amazing writer – I was considered an expert in my field and interviewed alongside people I admire, super exciting!! – but again, I just wished I had written it.  Not because I thought I could do better, no way at all, but because I was filled with envy for Sophia and the work she gets to do.

A few years ago I was invited to write a piece for the East Gippsland Wedding Guide, back when I was photographing weddings regularly.  I actually don’t know if it was even published, I never got my hands on a copy.  But just the act of writing it was fun, researching and pulling my own experiences into the mix and offering advice to future brides from the photographers perspective.  I thoroughly enjoyed it!

Now don’t get me wrong, yes I love to write and ramble on…if you have ever sent me an email enquiring about booking a session, you will know exactly how I like to ramble on, it’s always relevant of course!  The love to write never overshadows my love for photography, my time with the camera in my hand truly makes my heart sing, it takes away any woes I may be battling, gives me pure joy, it will never ever be something of my past, it will always be my present.

But I think 2020 will see me giving into my itchy fingers a little more often than I have in the past.  I might just try to come up with a purpose before going any further next time 😉

Thanks for getting all the way through to here.  You’re a legend for riding it out with me!

Tiff x

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2019 Epson AIPP Victorian Newborn Photographer of the Year

I wrote this in July. Events followed my writing it which lead to me never sharing it. Today I woke up and decided that as I have just 4 months left until the next round of awards, it was time to share. so bare with me, this is long, so let’s just dive right in!

After a huge week of print judging, photographers from across the State and a number of Interstate visitors came together to celebrate their achievements, drown their sorrows and support the deserving winners of the 2019 Epson Victorian Professional Photography Awards at our annual awards dinner, held at the Harbour Kitchen.

Initially I wasn’t going to enter the State awards this year at all.   Having achieved my Associate in 2018, I am now automatically seeded to be able to enter the Australian Professional Print Awards again in 2019, so the pressure was off. After not doing as well as I had hope at APPA in 2018, I had decided to give myself the year off, a chance to regroup and find my feet again. I needed a good solid foundation to work with before I could even consider working towards my Masters.

But then I had ideas that were bursting to get out, I had images that were going to be too old in 2020 to enter and I wanted them to have a chance to be seen and heard. So I slowly started to work through, some images needed many hours to reach their full potential, others I barely touched.

Much to my surprise each image that I worked on over the last couple of months was awarded the score it deserved and I am incredibly proud of what I achieved with my 12 entries. With a range of single capture and open images, I came home with 5 Silvers and 1 Silver Distinction across Portrait, Newborn, Family and Pet along with 6 High Professional Practice scores.

It’s been almost 2 weeks now and I am still not even sure how it happened, how it is even possible, perhaps I am still living a dream… Regardless of my disbelief, I was named the 2019 AIPP Epson Victorian Newborn Photographer of the Year. A title I never imagined in my wildest of wild dreams would ever have my name on it.   To say I was shocked is a complete understatement; I saw my name up there on the screen and just sat there staring for what felt like a lifetime.
VIC stamps - 19-15Newborn copyThis award was so far from my radar, that my speech was 100% off the cuff, I wasn’t prepared, I still have no clue what I said or who I thanked. I was at least switched on enough to record it on my phone, but after listening back as I waited for my ride home at 1am, I decided that it needed a little work. So as I sit here by the heater, with my shiny new trophy by my side, let me get started…

I’d firstly like to start off by congratulating all of the winners, some of the most talented creative in our industry, who I am so privileged to stand amongst!

2019 AIPP VIC Epson Professional Photographer of the Year – Keren Dobia APP M.Photog. II

Commercial Photographer of the Year – Sarah Jackson, Documentary Photographer of the Year, Family Photographer of the Year – Nancy Flammea, Illustrative Photographer of the Year – Rebecca Croft, Landscape Photographer of the Year – Mieke BoyntonNature Photographer of the Year – Joshua HolkPet/Animal Photographer of the Year – Belinda Richard, Portrait Photographer of the Year – Keren DobiaTravel Photographer of the Year – Steve ScaloneWedding Photographer of the Year – Frank CecconiEmerging Photographer of the Year – Jackie Winkelman and Student Photographer of the Year – Deborah Brown

In 2012 I was living in South Australia, working in a brand new photography business, winging it and having a blast. Loving photography and all that it was. I decided to apply to become an Accredited Member of the AIPP. Back then, the application process was relatively simple, submit 20 images to be assessed and you’ll get an email to say you’re in – or out as the case may be! I did this on somewhat of a whim, with no real thought put into it, I just wanted that logo to show to people that I was a pro and knew what I was doing! So I selected 20 of my favourite images and hit send. No consultation with anyone, no sought after advice, I pretty much thought I was the shit, that I didn’t need to be guided through this process, I had 20 killer images that I loved and I was going to get in instantly, in fact, I’d have them begging me to join!

I was brought straight back down to Earth pretty quickly on that, the email of rejection hit me smack bang in the face. I will never forget those 17 words, still carved deep into my heart ‘You have a long way to go before you can even consider calling yourself a professional photographer’. Looking back at it now, that person, who remains anonymous to this day, was absolutely 100% right…I did have a long way to go. But there is constructive feedback and then there are those 17 words. They weren’t constructive, they weren’t helpful, they were hurtful and they broke me. I was beaten down and didn’t know what to do, I couldn’t get up. Here I was, calling myself a photographer, but I didn’t belong anywhere, I had no right to hold my camera, I had no place in this world that I loved. I was angry, with that person who thought those words would ever be helpful, I was angry with the AIPP for even allowing that to be my feedback, I was angry at myself for assuming I was any good in the first place!

I was embarrassed and ashamed and lost.

As luck would have it, not too long after receiving this email of death, I was scheduled to attend a workshop with an incredibly talented photographer who I had long admired. While I questioned whether I should even bother attending, I picked myself up, brushed myself off and put on my brave face. I am forever grateful that I did, because on that day, I met my beautiful, kind, supportive, hilarious friend Karen, who has been a guiding light in my life ever since.

I hadn’t intended on telling a single soul what had happened to me, the shame that shadowed the whole situation was too much to bare, yet throughout the workshop, surrounded by such beautiful human beings, I began to let me guard down and I eventually let Karen in on the secret. She was in complete shock that it had happened, having been a member for some time, she was well and truly on team AIPP and instantly encouraged me to try again. But there was no way I was even ready to consider the thought. It was too raw, I was and empty shell of the person I was and I needed to refill my cup first.

Fast forward to 2014, after a LOT of growth, many workshops with uber talented photographers across Australia and the world, a lot of personal development and plenty of endless encouragement from Karen, I decided it was time to try again. I am not ashamed to admit, that this time round, I was applying for no other reason but to prove that photographer wrong. To prove the AIPP wrong, that I did deserve to be there, I did deserve to consider myself a professional photographer.

So with Karen’s guidance, my 20 images were selected and after a lot of procrastinating, I hit submit and the email that came back almost a month later was the good kind, the happy kind, and the BIG relief kind! I was in. I was now an Accredited member of the AIPP. I had done it, initially I was proving everyone else wrong, but once that email arrived, I realised I really only needed to prove it to myself. I needed self validation more than anything else, I needed to be proud of me and my work, it didn’t matter what logo I had on my work, it didn’t matter who said I could or couldn’t do it, it matter what I said. But the professional tick of approval was of course a total bonus and very helpful on the days where I would question everything I was doing too!

Shortly after received my Accreditation, we relocated to Melbourne where I found myself in a new world of lost. I had no friends, no work, I had reached out to a couple of photographers, but was avoided like the plague…competition was harsh here in Victoria, I was considered a threat and no one wanted to let me in. All I wanted was to meet some peers, but I didn’t know how. Yes I was an AIPP member, but at the time, I didn’t know what that could do for me, I was in the dark on all things available to me and I just struggled through the months.

I had been in Melbourne for a year when I attended The Baby Summit on the Gold Coast, where by chance, I photo bombed an awesome chick who I didn’t know, but she looked like she could appreciate a cheeky head in the background of a good photo. Little did I know at the time, Emily would become a rock in my Melbourne world. Our friendship grew quickly, she introduced me to some other beautiful humans who have grown to be my Melbourne Tribe. The girls who saved my life.

Up to this point, I had heard of the AIPP awards, but I had never once considered entering anything, it felt so far beyond me and my abilities, and it seemed like a really overwhelming process. But in my friendship with Em, still very new at this point, I learnt that she along with those tribe member, had been entering for some time and APPA was coming up soon, and there was an awards dinner…I was super keen to join in the fun and go along to the party and all but booked my ticket to join them, but I hesitated. Again, I was stuck on those 17 words, I may be a member, but I still don’t belong here, I don’t fit in, I don’t know what I’m doing, what right do I have to go to an awards dinner?!

So instead of booking my ticket, I decided to wait and enter the State awards the following year instead. So I could go to the dinner. It may seem a relatively irrational reason to enter print awards, to put so much time and effort and money into something, just so you can sit at a table and eat a meal with your new friends, but I was just searching desperately for a way to fit into this world, to find my feet, somewhere to land on solid ground for a change.

In 2016 I entered my first Victorian Professional Photography Awards (VPPY) with 8 entries in the Portrait and Family categories. I set my sites low to begin with, I simply needed the professional validation that I was on the right track, so my aim was to be awards at least a 70 per image. Professional Practice. When my first image turned around, my anxiety was high, and I was blown away to be awarded 80, Silver Award. My other 7 images were scored 71-79. I had reached my goal, and really, blown it out of the park! And, I was going to the dinner! 😉

I have now been entering both VPPY and APPA each year since, and in 2018 at APPA, I scored the last of the points I needed to receive my Associate. The first step in my long-term goal of getting my Masters.

Which brings me back to the present. Those who know me well, and those who are friends with me on Facebook will know I am a long term, very open suffered of anxiety. Sometimes the anxiety is mild and a beast I can tame, and other times it is a debilitating monster that won’t release it’s hold on my life. This week has been full of highs and lows. While my images all received what I said they would, those that weren’t awarded held their disappointment at the time, and those that were awarded gave me such joy, that the rollercoaster of emotions was exhausting.

Over the years, my award entries have become a outlet for this illness. I seek comfort in the colours and the shapes, the emotions, the stories. Every entry has it’s own story to tell, there is hidden meanings in them that most judges can see if they look closely enough, if they talk to the print and work it out. But the meanings hidden even deeper are mine and mine to keep.

A darker image may have been created in the midst of a full-blown panic attack, where as the lighter images were potentially born from the light of the anxiety finally lifting after too many dark days.

In saying that, every one of my images I have ever entered have been created from client work, images captured during session and evolved into something more. I don’t shoot for award purposes, I shoot for my clients, and sometimes I see a little light in there that eventually becomes an entry.

In 2017 I discovered a love for the Illustrative Category. A category that I guess confused me a little, but a place where I could send my anxiety away, disguised as an art piece. I don’t for one second consider myself a Photoshop expert, but Illustrative has opened up a world where I can experiment, I get to explore the endless possibilities that are hiding within the program and I can just be free.

I have found myself waking up after hours and hours spent at the computer, not knowing how I ended up here. I come back to reality to see an image on the screen that is almost foreign to me, as if I am looking at someone else’s work. But that’s when I know the piece is complete and ready for print. I have been freed from the hold that anxiety has had on me, whether it have been for just one day, or an endless painful marathon of difficult days, a finished creation, is a lighter me.

We all as creative, have our own reasons for entering the awards, whether it be self validation, marketing, ego..or something else entirely. For me it is healing. I wish I could say it is a cure, unfortunately we all know mental illness is with us for life, but there is a release here for me that allows me to breathe again without ache, without tension, without the mess. These images are my why and I love them, I am proud of them, every single one.

Living with anxiety for as long as I can remember, I have developed a super power that allows me to push it away, I hold it like a black ball of burnt cotton wool in my chest and lungs where no one can see it, I bury it with a smile and a laugh, always giving the outside world the best me I can muster. Yet that effort is a marathon in itself, together with the shortness of breath and racing heart that I hide, at the end of it all, I just collapse.

I enter the awards for the high of a kind word or a nice score, but they are incredibly exhausting. So yesterday, after 3 full days of being ‘on’ for everyone, I woke up and crashed. I could barely get out of bed to be Mum to my kids, I couldn’t bare the thought of leaving the house, I was weak, I wanted to but couldn’t cry, my breath was short, my knees weak, my head busy, my palms sweaty.

I did manage to bury it enough from the kids, I did do the Mum thing and I made it through the day, but I made it pretty clear that attending the awards dinner last night was probably not going to happen. In came my knight in shining armor Emily, who drove an hour in peak hour traffic in the opposite direction to pick me up, to get me out of the house, to get me there. I am forever grateful to you Emily, because if I had missed my moment to prove that anonymous photographer wrong, I would have never forgiven myself.

So with that, I would like to thank a lot of people, some I managed to remember last night, others were missed by pure accident amongst my ramblings and I apologise for that as you all deserved public acknowledgment for what you have done for me…

Firstly to the families who have chosen me as your photographer. Without your support and trust, none of this would have ever been possible. Finding the perfect photographer for you is such a personal and at times vulnerable process. I don’t take my job lightly, it is a privilege to be chosen by you and I am so grateful for the opportunity to create memories with you and for you. Thank you for allowing me to use your images to grow myself.

Huge thank you to Epson and Kayell for your endless support to both the AIPP and the awards events and for your amazing printers and paper that have always printed my entries beautifully.

To the AIPP, for giving me my family of photographers who are always there to support, guide, laugh with and cry with.

To the Victorian Council and the Awards team. This year I volunteered for the first time and I found a whole new family. Thank you for making me feel like I belonged and for everything you did, not just this week, but for the hours and hours spent behind the scenes allowing us to have this chance to grow.

To the judges. Listening to your words of encouragement, advice and guidance has been invaluable to me. Thank you to those who saw the stories I was trying to tell and for fighting for the print.

To Camera House. Thank you for your support of the Newborn Category, a category I always intend to avoid, yet seem to have a full portfolio each year.

Massive MASSIVE thank you to both Tanya and Rocco at Capture to Print for your incredible talent, impeccable printing, words of wisdom and encouragement. Tanya who at the eleventh hour hand delivered my USB to the awards team after we together had struggled for many days to get those files on there. But not just that, after a complete file stuff up on my part, leaving two of my newborn entries measuring too small, you printed and matted and hand delivered the reprints at 8am on the day of judging! Without the two of you, this would not have happened. I cannot thank you both enough!

To Karen. I have tried so many times to find the words that are good enough for you, but again, I just don’t think they exist. Thank you for your guidance through these images, and images from the past. Thank you for staying up late, for proofing every single version of every single image, for telling me to stop second-guessing myself, for believing in me and getting me here today. I promise to give you a little break before I bombard you with APPA entries 😉 Mostly thank you for your friendship, it means more to me that you will ever fully understand and I love your guts! x

To my Tribe and Kool Kids, near and far, you know who you are and without you my world would be a very dark place. Thank you for your friendship, your love, your care and support x

To Mel, you somehow took on the role of my taxi for the week. Without you pushing me, I wouldn’t have leapt so far and I thank you for that. You got me out of the house, you ensured I didn’t run and hide!

To Fi, who was there when my ballerinas were photographed, for seeing what I was seeing and ensuring I slowed down long enough to shoot it the way it needed. But not only that, for being you, you beautiful human. I am SO incredibly thankful to Emily for introducing me to you, I couldn’t imagine not knowing you.

Emily, photo bombing you in 2015 was the best ridiculous move I may have ever made, the snowball affect from that day has been nothing short of a dream. You’ve introduced me to a world I never knew was even possible and to have you there with me on the night, literally holding my hand so I didn’t fall is something I will never forget.

To my family, I know the idea of me running an unpredictable business and being self employed scares the shit out of you guys every day, but you support me through it every step regardless. I wish so much that you were there last night to see this happen, I couldn’t wait to call you and tell you. To tell you that the difficult days are always going to be there, but there is light, and there’s a bloody bright one shining on me this year and I kicked ass! Love you all x

Nic, the MOST supportive Husband a wife could ever dream to have. You are there every step of the way, I know I don’t always let you in, I know I don’t invite you to the dinner, but you listen you ask, you say yes to pretty much everything I want to do, you try to offer advice that I most likely ignore, you drop everything so I can do what I do.

Last, but the most important of all is my kids. My anxiety has ruined a lot of great days, it hurts to know how it affects you guys, but you are always there and your unconditional love sees me waking up every single day ready for more.

Last night before I left home, Rory asked me where I was going. I told him I was going to a dinner where all the big winners would be announced. He asked if I was a big winner, of course I wasn’t prepared for this, so I said absolutely not! He replied in a quite voice, ‘you are a big winner to me.’

There is my validation.

To the anonymous 17 word photographer, I think I have travelled that long way, I now believe in myself, I am proud of myself and I am 100% considering myself a professional photographer, whether you like it or not. I thank you for giving me the fight to get here.

My name is Tiffany Selzer, I am the Mother to Hayden, Rory and Lily, wife to Nic, Sister to Megg, Grand Daughter to Val, Neil, Tom and Shirley, Daughter to Peter and Cheryl.

My name is Tiffany Selzer and I am the Epson 2019 AIPP Victorian Professional Newborn Photographer of the Year!

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Little Luca | Melbourne Baby Photographer

Here’s a Throw Back Tuesday for you…goodness me look how tiny little Luca looks!  I was looking back through files looking for something and stumbled across these…though, now is as good a time as any to write about Luca and his sweet little face ❤

Nothing is more humbling than being asked to photograph a family more than once. You become part of the family, and photo shoots become more like catch ups with friends more than work with clients.

Just a quick little update of a sweet little man as he recently celebration his first birthday and I couldn’t make it back for that. Luca was just a few weeks old when I photographed him last and I haven’t been able to see him since, so my oh my how he has changed in the last 12 months. The happy little face of his is one to break hearts as he grows I am sure ❤

Photographing him in his home, crawling around on the floor, playing with his toys, while his Mum made me a cup of tea and we chatted about life and all that has happen since we last spoke.

Tash you are such a beautiful friend, I am so grateful that we met all those years ago and I have been privileged to photograph and you and Adam and now Luca many many times. Until next time..

Tiff x

Eltham · Family · Uncategorized

Cousins, Aunties, Uncles, the whole gang! | Melbourne Extended Family Photographer

Have I mentioned how much I adore working with your WHOLE family?!  Every single time I open my inbox to read an email from someone wanting to get their entire family together in front of the camera, I quietly do a little happy dance!  These extended family sessions just make me smile, make my heart sing, bring all the joy!

This beautiful family were spoiling Grandma and I was so happy and honoured to be part of the gift giving process!  There was so much love and laughter here on this day, just look at those cheeky little smiles – let’s thank the bubbles for that shall we!

Sage, Lenny and Emily were three little delights to photograph, from Emily’s toothy grin and bit ‘WOWs’ to all the bubbles, Lenny’s cheeky cheeky face and Sage’s sweet smile of little giggles, I honestly could have photographed the three of them all day!

Bec, thank you so much for organising such an enjoyable session for me to photograph, Chris, thank you for putting on your best ‘model’ pose and always having eyes on the camera 😉 Ingrid and Matt, you guys have brought the most adorable little person into this world, please please please let me photograph little Emily again as she grows!!

Now to all of you future families out there thinking about getting your family together to brighten your homes with endless happiness and fun memories…do it!  Email me today, I promise you won’t regret the fun of one easy pease afternoon with me!

 

Family · Geelong · Uncategorized

A Mini Session by the Pier | Geelong Family Photographer

Oh goodness what a delightful afternoon it was with the Webb family down by Cunningham Pier in Geelong.  The weather was everything I hoped for, the sun was shining, the slight breeze was flowing through the girls hair, the smiles were full of cheeky, and everyone laughed!  This pretty much ticked every single box in my imaginary wish list for a session!

Mini Sessions are the most fun you can have in 15 minutes!  The speed ups the excitement and before anyone can say CHEEEESE it’s all over and no one got bored!

These three girls are just beautiful and while Poppy wasn’t the happiest of little people, I’d still absolutely photograph her over and over again any day of the week!  Sophie and Maggie totally stole the show though, would you just look at those ridiculously adorable cheeks!  Their cuddles for Mummy and Daddy and even each other were oh so sweet!  Maggie and her giggles, Sophie with all eyes for the camera.

Sharee and Tony you are so lucky to share your days with such love and laughter ❤ . Thank you so much for choosing me as your Family Photographer and for joining the Tiny and Brave Mini Session family!  I hope we can do it all again next year when I am back in Geelong!

Tiff x

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Fighting Anxiety with colour and shape | A Personal Journey

Anxiety.

I am a woman who suffers anxiety.

Some days it is deep, overwhelming, debilitating anxiety, other days it is the silent monster waiting under the surface for a moment of weakness where it can take hold. Some days I am able to put the smile on and share joy in the world, other days, I fear everything and nothing all at once.

I cry, but mostly I don’t. The monster has taken away my tears and holds them right in front of me, just out of reach. She teases me, it’s like she has them on the palm of her hand, but the thinest of thin layers of glass keeps us apart and that sweet relief that is crying is rare.

I don’t keep my anxiety a secret, I share it openly, yet silently. Here, my fingers do the typing and the words flow freely. I speak out, but I make no sound. You see for me, verbalising the endless pain that anxiety brings, does not offer reprieve. It does the complete opposite and sparks further doubt in my power to get through. Making noise simply releases further anxiety, a deeper angst and the monster tells me how incredibly weak I am.

In 2017 I found a little escape. I discovered the world of Illustrative Imagery. I was photographing a wedding in Rosebud and had taken a photo of the Bride’s headpiece.  The act of photographing this was simply part of her day, capturing the details so she would remember it for the rest of her life.  But minute I looked at it on the back of my camera, I could see it as something entirely different. This began months of creative thinking, manipulating the image, experimenting with new concepts and just letting the image take me on it’s journey.

The final piece as you see here can mean something or nothing, it is different for every eye that looks at it, whether you look deeply in curiosity, needing to know what it is, where it began, what its story is, or you look lightly, see a beautiful pattern and are taken back through childhood, mesmerised by kaleidoscopes.  That’s the beauty of the illustrative Category, everyone will ultimately see your work differently, or open your eyes to something not even you have seen yet, even though you have spent countless hours looking at it from every possible angel.

I was completely shocked to discover the final image was awarded a silver at state level…completely blown away.

VIC2017-SelzerT-3
Silver Award, Illustrative Category 2017 Victorian Professional Photography Awards

The Illustrative Category for me personally, is the release I have longed for. There is no pressure on my shoulders to win awards, there is simply joy in seeing something that no one else can see. Telling a story of a concept you have created, hearing their view on it and hearing their version of your image.

When I first decided in 2015 to put my work out there and enter awards, the original purpose for me was to push myself a little, and to find a new social life in this world of Melbourne.

Little did I know, the work required for an image to be award worthy was exactly what my mind had need for so long. Personal projects were ignited and I could spend hours absorbed within an image, visualising what I wanted it to become.

VIC2017-SelzerT-3
High Professional Practice, 2017 Australian Professional Print Awards

In early 2018, I was in a world of pain.  I had suffered through a particularly long stint of anxiety, I hid it well as being Mum and a business owner, you need to get on with days, get up and about, carry on as if life is normal…I guess it was normal looking back now, because the reality is, anxiety is my normal. But to outsiders, I was creating a life for me and the kids that fit within everyone else’s normal instead.

But when all was complete and I had settled the Motherly duties, I would return home to find solace in the silence behind my closed doors.

In that time, I created.

I created so many pieces.  Patterns and colour, darkness and light.  Simple or complicated, endless stories that would take my mind completely away from where I was before. Always something from the most ordinary subjects and object.  This piece below is in my eyes, the bottom of the forrest floor.  A rug created from the actual forrest floor, delicate pieces of moss found growing under a cold wet fallen tree.

Moss
Silver Award, Illustrative Category 2018 Victorian Professional Photography Awards

Now brings me to my most recent image.  One I am so eager to display on my wall, a proud creation.

If you were to ask me exactly how this series was created, no word of a lie, I could not tell you. There was a day where I know I sat down to just play around. I was a little numb and my mind was definitely somewhere else, because at the end of the day, I sat back and took a breath. I looked at my screen and this is what I saw. It was like opening my eyes for the first time and seeing my anxiety had finally been given an identity.

I think everyone who suffers the burden of anxiety often share many similar symptoms and we all get it without understanding at all. We share common ground, but then someone will share their story and it will make no sense because that particular frustration is simply unfamiliar to me.

I don’t know if this will speak to anyone else, but for me, these three circles are exactly as my head feels amidst an anxiety attack. A fuzzy, thick, blurry, dizzy mess.

The day I created this piece was the day my release came. I sat there, with eyes wide open, with a fresh outlook and I cried. I remember the tears flowing and there was no end to them. I cried for what felt like days, but the clock gods tell me it was probably just an hour. An hour of sobbing, what I had craved for so long.

This image ended weeks of misery, I felt like my soul had opened up and everything came out, the weights that had been holding my shoulders down had lifted and my lungs filled to the brim with air.

When it came time to choose my entires for the 2018 State awards, I hesitated to submit this one. I felt my personal attachment to it was far too strong, and without anyone’s outside opinions, I assumed I was being far too biased.

But going against those instincts, I did enter it, along with 7 other images without showing another person first. I didn’t want to be told not to bother, I didn’t want to hear any feedback on what I could change, I just wanted to create something and let it be. This is my mental health on paper for everyone to see. Mental Health issues are so common, so debilitating and so personal. It is not something we could change, and no matter what anyone else says, we are stuck with it. So this is what I wanted to go in with. Love it or hate it, this is my Anxiety, shown in a beautiful and delicate way.

Judging day was awful, I was filled with regret for not showing anyone, what the hell had I done to myself! What a waste of time and money and effort, to go through all of this and not seek advice first! Dickhead!

And then it got a Silver. I was shocked and shaking and I cried again. I am grateful to this image for letting me cry. So much healing can be achieved through a good sob.

Now we come to this week. Without a second thought, in December I sent my Anxiety across to the other side of the world to be judged again. I find it so strange to have such angst over so much in life, but to put something so personal out there, knowing the feedback could be so brutal. But like I said before, Illustrative is so freeing for me. Of course I care about the judges thoughts, and respect their opinion, but that’s just it. It is the opinion of 5 people, 5 creative people looking at something with no explanation. So what if they don’t like it, when the creation of the work has already achieved what it needed to. The days I create my patterns, are the days where my head is clear. The patterns are born out of a complete mess inside and every creation is a complete surprise at the end.

Now my anxiety is is coming home with its second Silver award and I cannot wait for her to be on the wall for all to see, in my home, where I can seek guidance, where she can forever be my muse.

My Anxiety.

Soundwaves
SILVER AWARD, Illustrative Category 2018 Victorian Professional Print Awards + SILVER AWARD, Illustrative Category 2019 Wedding & Portrait Photographers International

You can see all of my personal achievements over the past 4 years on the Achievements Page.

Family · Montmorency · Newborn · Uncategorized

Baby Josh | Melbourne Newborn Photographer

Sometimes when I meet a tiny human in my studio, I fall in love instantly.  I mean, of course I completely adore every brand new baby I meet, who wouldn’t?!  They are tiny and squishy and sleepy and cuddly and precious.  Their tiny toes and fingers and eyelashes and dimples are completely delicious and you just can’t stop staring!!

But, there are times, where I just get a connection with a baby, it’s not a physical connection, more an emotional one…or maybe it’s not even emotional.  It’s not spoken, I just know it’s there when I look at their little face.  I find myself staring at them between photos, getting lost in a moment, quietly taking in all of their little details, the softness of their skin, the flakey bits of new skin their bodies no longer need, the almost invisible stands of hair on the edges of their ears.

As I write this, I grow more curious as to where this silent invisible connection may come from, and looking at little Josh here, I think, perhaps it’s that they remind me of my little ones, or other little ones in my family.  And then, you think that this little guy in front of you, is someone’s brand new.  Someone’s Son, Grandson, Nephew.  Perhaps he is the first, perhaps he is the first boy, perhaps he has many cousins eager to smother him with love.   I completely adore family, and the differences between every single one of us, every family is different and has something that makes them tick, and every one always has a funny family member that just makes us all laugh, roll our eyes, shake our heads in wonder…and perhaps, this little guy will blow the minds of his entire family as he grows and shares life with them.

I love that simply looking through these photos from little Josh’s newborn photoshoot with me, you can put your imagination to good use and plan his life, pretend you’re looking at the very next astronaut to land on the moon, a bright young man who will discover the cure for cancer, a writer of beautiful children’s stories, a football star, a doctor, a teacher, a dentist, anything.  Josh could grow up to be anything he likes and I know his family will surround him with endless, unconditional love no matter the path he choose.

Looking at the concentration in those little eyebrows frowning back at me I have a feeling he’ll be a little serious man for a while, or perhaps bury his head in books!

And that’s my ramblings for this Monday morning…probably got off track a little…but hey, it’s my blog so what are you going to do about it?!

Before I sign off, I’d like to introduce you to the adorable Josh Thomas Campbell, his big furbrother Franklin and his awesome parents Brooke and Simon.  You guys are legends, thank you SO much for sharing your family with me and allowing me to be your newborn photographer.

Tiff x