On a chilly Melbourne night, we gathered in a dark private space, sipped cocktails and talked cameras. Sound like any photographic community event you have ever heard of? Well, it is true. Around a dozen members of Fuji X Aus were invited by Leigh, from Fujifilm Australia, to meet at the Waterslide Bar located discretely in the East end of Southgate. What followed was a risky experiment with cocktails and cameras. Cocktails & Cameras – that has a catchy ring doesn’t it?
The seasons have turned rather quickly here in Melbourne. It seemed like we were all complaining about the prolonged summer and the use or air conditioners and then all of a sudden it got cold. The older I get, the more it is evident that the seasons are messed up. Not like when I was a kid. So with this in mind, on the coldest day of the year to date, I went and organised a street walk with the crew from Fuji X Aus. As a reminder, I am one of the administrators of that exceptional group, and it is such a great community. They are my tribe, and most of my social events evolve around that group.
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A few weeks ago we came across an event listed in Facebook for a new and previously unknown lantern festival including a giant lantern dragon. Myself and Rena – the more attractive half of Clan Tan – jumped at the opportunity to host a Fuji X Aus night shoot. After doing a little research, it turns out that the event was called Light Up Melbourne. It was held along Birrarung Mar which is the broad pathway between Federation Square and the North Bank of the Yarra river.
Whenever we hold a meet up of some sort, I often get asked if we do this kind of thing often. My answer is always ‘as often as we can’. Now that is a personal and selfish response of course because the highlights of my limited social calendar are to catch up with my photography friends and do what we do best. There is usually some form of photography related activity – a workshop or a street walk. And of course, there is the social aspect of talking gear, skills, experiences and just talking life. Getting to know one another. Meeting new folk and catching up with seasoned friends. So ‘as often as I can’ is a true testament to this particular photographic group who has a core set of values around community, respect and support.
One of the greatest things about our particular photographic community here at Fuji X Aus is the delight we take in meeting up with one another. Be it for a more formal event such as People With Cameras – as organized by Fujifilm Australia. Or just our regular meetups with a bunch of locals for an afternoon. Delightful. In recent months we have had a number of interstate members make the trip down to Melbourne for various reasons. But we always aim to make an event out of it and organize some time to meet and greet, a bit of photography and a great meal where possible.
Something a little bit different from me this time around. Not going to interview anyone. Not going to review any gear. Just going to talk about what was an epic day. A day, for me and I am sure my fellow participants, that was all about community, friendship and of course photography. What more could you want? Oh yes, there was plenty of fine coffee. And of course, a day spent in Melbourne always includes amazing food. And the weather turned out to be not too bad after a drizzly start. So let me tell you all about the most recent Fuji X Aus Melbourne photo walk.
I have been a member of the Fuji X Aus Facebook group for a couple of years now and even had a stint as an administrator here in Melbourne. One of the key things that stands out and sets this group apart from other such groups, is its solid sense of community and shared values. I have joined and subsequently left other photography groups where poor etiquette and sometimes even nasty behaviour has gone unchecked. Individuals ruthlessly abusing others about their images or opinions that they have shared. It’s just an ugly scene and unfortunately a part of todays social media scene that I sincerely dislike. But in Fuji X Aus, the values of respect, support and encouragement are clearly evident. The admin team stand for no negative or disrespectful behaviour. So it is a safe space for people to share their work and opinions. And of course there is a shared love of all things photography and all things Fujifilm related.