A picture is worth a thousand words.
Well, I am pretty certain whoever coined the above phrase meant not every picture, just the really good ones; the ones that grabbed the viewer by the scruff of the neck and demanded: look at me!
Since I was trained mostly to write news stories, my photography education was virtually non existent.
But I was fortunate enough to work in an era when news photography was at its best, even when it made the transition from black and white to colour.
I find it quite amazing, really, that there were so many great news photographers in the 1980s and later decades.
At the other end of the spectrum, there were so few mediocre shooters that I came across over 40 years I can still remember each by name.
So as a newspaper editor it was one of my jobs to choose the picture for the front page.
Inevitably I picked up some knowledge about what makes a good photo but I’ve never had any confidence I was a real photographer’s backside.
Life throws up some surprising challenges and mine four years ago was to start taking my own pictures to illustrate the stories in South West Voice in Macarthur.
I made a decision that an expensive camera would be wasted on me and so the iphone was it.
Four years later let’s just say there has been some progress but my photographic apprenticeship is far from over.
After having a look at my images from 2018 I decided there were just enough to compile a Top 5.
Here they are.
Number 1. Real photographers would probably find a ton of technical faults in the picture of Polly Grundy and Prapti Shestra (above), but I love it.
I love the obvious emotional bond between Polly, who founded the Mark Grundy Oesophageal Cancer Awareness Group Inc (OCAGI) and Prapti, a Western Sydney University researcher looking for a cure.
Polly set up the charity after oesophageal cancer claimed the life of her husband Mark at a very young age.
The photo was taken in the Himalayan store in Ingleburn, which is run by the researcher’s parents (her mother Bina is in the background) and is an image that will live in my mind for a long time.
Indeed I get a little emotional whenever I think of it.
Number 2. John Tsekas, who founded Macarthur Greeks a few years ago, pulled a few strings and somehow managed to get a group of visiting Greek presidential guards, known as evzones – to take part in a special 2018 Anzac Day ceremony in Camden.
Not content with this little coup, Tsekas also convinced local Indigenous people to perform a smoking ceremony and an army cadet unit to march past.
It was a wonderful event, weird in some ways to see Aboriginal dancers, the evzones and the cadets in the same spot for a moment in time.
And that’s what I’d like to think this photo captures: the meeting of two ancient cultures Down Under to commemorate Anzac Day.
Number 3. The Campbelltown Aboriginal elder Uncle Ivan Wellington was at the other side of my camera quite a few times in 2018.
He was quite tireless and rarely turned down any requests to take part in community events, from the opening of a new disability service to the unveiling of street posters of 10 famous locals, where this picture was taken.
I have my fingers crossed Uncle Ivan is named citizen of the year on Australia Day because I can’t think of anyone more worthy.
Number 4. Humour has its place in photography and veteran councillor and former mayor Paul Lake knows it.
“Lakey’’ can often come across as a prickly character, but under all that bluster at council meetings he does like a laugh.
So I was not surprised when he went straight to the Banana in Pyjamas and leaned on him for the photo, at the entrance to the current children’s ward in Campbelltown Hospital
The story was no joke; Lake was calling for a children’s ICU at the redeveloped hospital.
Number 5. Warren Morrison was one of the readers who reacted to our piece on the tyranny of ties this week.
The owner of Sleeping Giant and Campbelltown councillor messaged today to say: “As a slave also to a private Catholic school and a bank employee I got used to the tie after 30 years and continued on with it in my business, wearing them for the first 10 years.
“I changed after 2005 when Wests Tigers finally won [the NRL premiership] and I thought I’d let my hair down and give away the tie.
“In my opinion, you should look smart but wear what’s appropriate to your own comfort.’’
And doesn’t he look happy and relaxed in this photo (below) at Camden Lakeside where I interviewed him for a story in March.