SUE JACKSON Therapist | Writer | Photographer | Activist

An avid blogger for the last fifteen years, I believe in the power of the word to change the world. I have participated in, and reported on, a range of protests during this period, including the successful East-West Link campaign and, more recently, our wonderful, home-grown Extinction Rebellion (XR). If you believe, like I do, that it is time for ordinary people to rise up in defence of the planet, I encourage you to explore this blog, share it with your networks, and – of course – take action.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

The Free-range Optimist

I like the title of this post; I hope you do too. I have my husband, Peter, to thank for it. He is great at coming up with titles. 'The Crowded Nest', 'Women of Substance', 'Running on Empty' are all his brain childs (?children).
I was reminded all over again of the importance of titles when earlier this week I listened to a podcast Luke recommended ( The speaker, Joe Romm, was analysing effective communication skills, particularly because his fellow environmental scientists are notoriously bad at convincing the public to take climate change seriously. Romm stressed how crucial it is to use short words, repetition and metaphor if you want to be listened to or read. And arresting titles are a crucial 'hook'. I found what he said fascinating and I recommend the podcast to you.

I had the daunting task this week of making a profile of myself readable; I just wish I had listened to that podcast first. It was for a new community newspaper in Melbourne called The Sweeney Flats Post. And even more daunting was the fact that the editor required a high res head shot to accompany the piece.
I now realise that for obvious reasons I have been avoiding close-ups for years. As my 25-year-old daughter, Emma, kindly put it: 'None of us looks great close up.' But as my conscripted photographer, she gave it her best shot. In the end we were laughing so much at how appalling the results were that at least I came out looking relaxed - as you can see above. I've decided next time I'll pay a a professional, who has photo shop capabilities and can capture me in good light (or probably, more importantly, artfully arranged shadows).
But back to Peter's title for this post: I think 'The Free-range Optimist' captures well my diverse interests in therapy, writing, photography and environmentalism and also the fact that I strive to be hopeful. I don't think Peter was inferring that I like digging up the dirt and poking my beak into places I don't belong.

I will finish by including the photo The Big Issue (#413) selected as the feature image for 'Running on Empty'. I was thrilled with how the article came up and feel so lucky to have discovered this new passion for photography.

Wednesday, August 08, 2012

The Sorcerer's Apprentice

I couldn't resist - I just had to add some more street scenes of Havana.

It's very interesting seeing which photos the Art Director at The Big Issue has chosen for my photo essay 'Running on Empty'. The magazine is out tomorrow and I am very excited. After I buy copies for all my family and friends our local vendor will probably be able to shut up shop for the day.
It's been a great experience collaborating with The Big Issue staff. I now really appreciate how much effort goes into selecting which photos to feature, displaying the images in their best light and interweaving the photos with the written text for maximum impact.
I imagined that when I submitted the article I would be handing over my photos for the staff to do with as they wished. But the actual experience has proved very different. I have been included all along the way and even though I am only a fledgling photographer my opinions and preferences have been taken seriously. It has meant that I have learnt a lot about the whole unfolding process - how what I saw and shot on a particular day translates into an artistic image on a page that hopefully tells a story and captures peoples' interest.
So if you see The Big Issue vendor when you are out and about over the next few days buy a copy and let me know what you think. I would love to hear.
Tonight we are off to the launch of 'Eros, Philos and Agape', a work by that wizard of photography (and my mentor) Ponch Hawkes. As the Basil Sellers Creative Arts Fellow for 2011-12, Ponch has been investigating the role of love, support and sacrifice in sport. Of course with all of us in the midst of Olympics fever, the timing of this work couldn't be better. The only problem is that the launch is at the MCG and Ponch keeps insisting that we are going to freeze, but nevertheless we'll be there with bells on (over our snow suits).