R e f l e c t i o n
Well it is the final day of 2018 and a time for taking stock and reflection before we move on into a new year. Although Nick has been taking photographs for almost 2 years, it was a year ago in December that we launched the website/ company and held our first photography exhibition as stw studio.
W h a t d o y o u s e e ?
I’ve been mulling over this post for awhile now, thinking about what we see, what it is that forms and frames our individual perspective. Photography is about perspective, what captures someone’s eye, their unique way of looking at the world, how they compose a photograph to capture a moment.
What is unique about our photography? It’s the vision of a guy who has been clambering over Dunedin’s buildings and working on its streets, alleyways, nooks & crannies for 20 years. Can you see those years spent on buildings - working, assessing, visualising, cleaning, discovering - somewhere in his photographs?
There is a strong structural dimension, form and function playing a starring role in how Nick sees the architecture and the bones of the city that is his subject. The ‘feeling’ is often created through the fusion of structural composition with natures best - the light, the skies, the water, the landscape.
The subject, well it’s a place that is home - one man taking photographs of a city he admires, she’s grand, she’s old yet new, she represents past, present and future. She has a few secrets to reveal.
‘‘The extraordinary and the ordinary live side by side, only a moment away from each other. Yet most of the time we are so focused on the ordinary we can miss the extraordinary. Something i’ve been learning more and more is - you get what you look for, it’s like the act of looking invites the extraordinary whether it was there to start with or not.” (Nick Beadle)
A l i t t l e b i t a b o u t N i c k
W h a t d o y o u h e a r ?
18 years ago this guy and i were arguing over whether i should walk down the grassy outdoor ‘aisle’ to Jimi Hendrix ‘Angel’ (Nicks plan) or Shania Twain’s more mainstream offering of ‘from this moment on.’ Although i won that particular battle and had my ‘moment’, 20 years on i would make a different choice.
No he wasn’t neutered during his nuptials - Jacques Loussier Trio playing Bachs ‘Air on the G string’ was Nick’s selection for our first dance and on reflection his options have perhaps been more timeless than mine.
With an appreciation for a broad and eclectic range of music Nick is a self taught guitarist and spent a couple of years in his twenties performing on weekends with mates in a band writing grunge/nu metal songs and playing covers at pubs in South Otago, think ‘The Gambler.’
Of the practical persuasion one summer holiday project on the family farm in Marlborough involved making a Flying V guitar out of Mahogany using my late uncles woodworking tools and later constructing three guitar valve amplifiers, one for himself and two for other musicians.
In our early years as a couple, naive illusions of music as a vehicle for starry eyed romance were shattered when i discovered that my music man was not hearing Sixpence none the richer singing ‘Kiss me beneath the milky twilight, lead me out on the moonlit floor, lift your open hand, strike up the band and make the fireflies dance.”
No he was hearing dum dum de dum de dah dum, breaking the music into its parts, the bass line, the guitar rhythm, the drums.
What the heck does this have to do with photography? Well if you look you’ll see each photograph is carefully composed, it’s the sum of its parts. The photos comprise the vision of a practical guy who thinks about function and who sees shape and form, leading lines, vanishing points, symmetry, detail.
2 0 1 8
Stw studio was launched in December 2017 with an exhibition at a local cafe, this creative field was new to us but committed to DIY or die we learned enough to set up a simple website as an online shop for our photography and a blog, (purpose at that point undefined.),
My intention with the website was for it function alongside Nick’s daily social media posts as a space where more work could be shared and exploration of ‘visual’ aspects of the city could be grouped together. Initial posts were connected to inspiring words from photographers and creatives who had significant/insightful things to say.
Planning to give it a good crack for a year, we slowly built a hub for stw studio as a portfolio and platform for visitors to see Nick’s work and various projects we’ve worked on together. In a world clogged with opinions and noise, it was important that written content had substance with the overall focus being primarily visual.
Initially our traffic was very low (think…unread by close relatives) and lacked the connection between photography work and something of interest and value to our readers/community. (a.k.a nobody wants to read about what the window cleaner ate for breakie)
T h e m e d W e e k s
We had a bit of fun creating several themed weeks throughout the year - posting daily photographs on social media that focused on one particular part of the city or topical focus beginning with Uni Week. This was followed with beach week, tree week, cup week, The Warehouse Precinct week, reflections week and urban cloud week.
By the second themed week (beach week), an article was added on the development of the St Clair beach area in an attempt to connect images with factual content. This was a starting point but we figured out our content in Warehouse Precinct Week when in addition to an article on the area, we created ‘insider insight’ articles with four of the business owners in the area.
This was gold to us as we were able to connect our images (the visual story) with the substance of the people that are invested in that business - in essence a wee snippet of who they are, what they’re doing, how and why they’re building their wee corner of Dunedin. This was really satisfying work for us personally and we’d discovered something that people were interested in reading.
U n i W e e k
B e a c h w e e k
T r e e w e e k
W a d i n g i n t o a w a r z o n e w e e k - C u p w e e k
When we produced our ‘little bit of Dunedin on a cup’ designs our goal was packaging that looked good and branded well. We took this concept and upon locating kiwi and aussie companies ‘innocent packaging’ and ‘biopak"‘ who are focused on sustainability and producing compostable packaging products, we thought it could be a step forward.
However there was a lot we didn’t know including that compostable packaging can only be accepted by some commercial composters in limited quantities and many areas lack these facilities. While we still love our design concept, perhaps it would be best applied to keep cups.
W a r e h o u s e P r e c i n c t W e e k
R e f l e c t i o n s w e e k
U r b a n c l o u d w e e k
F a v o u r i t e W e e k s
Followers favourite weeks were beach week and reflections week.
Our fave - had to be reflections week although it might be time for a new beach week don’t you think?
Least favourite weeks, cup week, urban cloud week & tree week
P H O T O G R A P H S - S O M A N Y P H O T O S
We had a bit of a tally up and between the two cameras there have been approx 9,700 photos taken over 2018. That is a lot of bad photos and a few pretty good ones - listed below are the favourites from social media posts.
F a c e b o o k ( top 10)
I n s t a g r a m (top 10)
C a f e E x h i b i t i o n s
Exhibition No #1 - The Perc
Sometimes a journey begins via the encouragement or opportunities provided by others and we have Dunedin local cafe owner (& legend) Sarah from The Perc to thank for the space to hold our launch & first exhibition in December 2017.
Focusing on simplicity we had our most popular images framed in contemporary box style black frames with a wide white mat. Our first exhibition was not a raging financial success but it was an activator in many other ways and a great learning curve.
Exhibition No #2 - The Fix
This exhibition held in June/July was a lot of fun to plan, we extended our products to include larger scale photographs on boards, some custom white framed pieces and splashed out for 5 small metal prints from Australia where images are printed into chromaluxe metal sheets using the process of die sublimation.
We wanted to trial this product particularly for our reflections images and the image clarity and colour were amazing. Unfortunately the price point was just a bit too high.
Exhibition #3 - The Fix
A last minute opportunity became available to exhibit our work over November at The Fix and we jumped at the chance to print more of our photographs. This time round a mixture of metal boards, black and white framed prints and for the first time some oak framing which looked pretty great.
Thanks to Kev & Mandy at the Fix for the exhibition space and work involved with selling art and calendars!
I n s i d e r A r t i c l e s
One of the best things we’ve done is connect our images with informal interview style articles about some great Dunedin business people, sharing a little about their story, the vision that they have for their business and the focus of their work.
In an image saturated market we love the fusion of great images with content that has meaning and value. Really grateful to the business owners who took time to answer our questions and made space for Nick to point the camera around their premises.
2 0 1 9 C a l e n d a r s
After a few requests we sat down and decided to design a calendar, keeping it simple and printed on the best quality cardstock we could purchase. Dunedin Print did a fantastic job of producing these calendars and we appreciate all who supported our project.
T H A N K Y O U
This year has been an adventure for Nick and I, in addition to a window cleaning business that kept Nick occupied for 6 days of the week the photography has been creatively inspiring with endless possibilities and a tremendous amount of (self driven) work.
Growth needed to be organic due to limitations on our time and we feel satisfied with what we’ve been able to achieve over the year.
We’re extremely grateful for all who have purchased prints, calendars, framed photographs, web content or commissioned Nick for shoots. Although photography/art isn’t about money, running a viable business is and these orders and jobs have contributed to investment in equipment, projects and future projects.
Social Media is a weird and wonderful platform but we’re so appreciative of the support and genuine connections made through it and what we learn about this city via the memories and shared experiences of others.
T h e P h o t o g a l l e r y
Nick can take all the best photographs in the world but our end product is only as good as the printers and framers who produce it. Tim, Amanda & Merlin are highly skilled in their craft and between the three of them have all bases covered to ensure great service and very happy customers. We can’t thank them enough for their work producing quality pieces for us over the last year.
T h e L a d s
Denero & Fred
These lads look like trouble to me and they are sometimes, both of these boys have juggled window cleaning with uni studies and have been absolute legends over the year as Nick has been busy managing stacked cleaning schedules with photography and quite a bit of yarning on the phone (they tell me). Thanks boys!
H a p p y N e w Y e a r
If we’ve learned anything over the past year it would be the benefit of a couple of old dogs learning some new tricks, taking a turn off from the familiar pathways of life to explore a new track. On the eve of a New Year, our best wishes to you and yours, may it be a happy one and may you venture out into the ‘new’.
Closing the year with some inspiring words penned by Charlotte Bronte in Jane Eyre.