Thursday, February 6, 2014
Images In My Head: Brad Gosney by Brett Kiellerop
The catalyst for many of the pieces I write for FH begins with a thought. I might be walking down the street, sitting at my desk at work or lying in bed at night. It is not so much a complete idea, instead more of a piece of something that I think I can pull together into something interesting, something full. I think a lot of art begins this way. An idea, an inspiration, a way of thinking about a concept that you then can use your talent to bring to life. The particular talent is really not important, it could be writing, photography, painting or sculpture. The talent is the tool that is used, but it is the what initially floated through your head that really began the creative process.
So this begs the question, what is an artist. Is it someone who paints well, or is it someone who is visually able to create a masterpiece. Stephen Hawking is no less a scientist because others assist in sharing his theories and ideas. As I watched the PBS documentary Hawking last weekend, I thought of how frustrating it must be to have so many thoughts, so many ideas, yet struggle to be able to bring them to fruition. It was timely that around this same time, I reached out to Australian photographer Brett Kiellerop about a feature on the blog.
I came to Brett's work the usual way. I was working on one piece for the blog, reaching a photographer and there on his MM was this captivating avatar photo of a shirtless guy in a white bow tie standing on the beach. The model in the image was 25 year old Brad Gosney from Queensland and I loved that there was such a strong sense of joy in his images. Although he did not take the bow tie image, many of my favorite images of Brad came from his work with Brett Kiellerop. I especially loved some of the unique vantage points and angle Brett used to capture Brad's body and form. When I contacted Brett he was supportive but worried his work wasn't really good enough for public consumption. He was on board though for anything that could support or provide exposure for the wonderful models he had worked with.
'Brad is a charming, friendly, funny kiwi, and the moment I met him I knew I had to try and capture his easygoing nature with my camera. We struck up a friendship during the photo shoots, and remain good friends even now.'
'I strive to create unusual, quirky images. Typically, I would do at least 2 photo shoots with a model. The first photo-shoot would be fairly standard, allowing me to work out which poses suited the model, what personality quirks they had, etc. The second shoot was about the quirky, emotive images. After the first photo shoot, the model and I generally felt much more comfortable and at ease with each other, and as a result the images from the second shot were a lot more natural.'
The photos shown here are from two different shoots on two different days. The outdoor nudes were taken at a beach called Tyagarah, near Byron Bay. Brett says that there were a few spectators, but most of the people tended to shy away when they saw a camera crew, especially given that Tyagarah is a nude beach. Brett says that Brad didn’t seem to mind the spectators at all, as he’s quite uninhibited and outgoing. The photos with Brad were originally for intended to be part of ‘Aussie Gods,’ a project which Brett had been working on but was forced to abandon due to issues with vision failure.
'I had big dreams for my photography and it was very frustrating at first because I had (and still have) so many images in my head that I wanted to capture… all sorts of quirky things with zombie clowns and stuff like that… so it was very difficult to accept that I couldn’t see well enough to do a big photo shoot anymore. I can still do a small, intimate shoot as long as the light isn’t too bright, so these days I stick to doing small TFP shoots for upcoming models, giving them some images for their portfolio.'
Since his early twenties Brett has struggled with intracranial hypertension. His body produces too much spinal fluid and therefore must have it drained via lumbar puncture every three to six months.Although the constant pressure caused all sorts of neurological problems, Brett says that up until last fall it had been manageable. On one morning this past September, Brett woke up to find he had an extreme photo sensitivity and a very small tunnel of vision. Initially it felt as if he were completely blind.
'I could not navigate around my own home, yet alone the streets. After 8 months or so, I started to be able to process what vision I had in a different way. I could navigate my way to the shops. My hearing became quite acute. I became used to scanning my tunnel of sight around to build an overall picture of my environment. I don’t feel sorry for myself at all, and I would never want anyone else to either. I am a happy, positive person and am very lucky in the fact that I’ve had an amazing and supportive hubby for the last 18 years. I make a living as a writer, but who knows.. maybe one day I will be able to process my vision well enough to be a little more experimental with my photography again. I look back with fondness at my days of doing photo shoots for ‘Aussie Gods’. I met some amazing guys, many of whom still keep in touch.'
Being an artist, there continues to be a passion, a compulsion even to actualize those images in his head. If you head over to Brett's Model Mayhem page, you can see his new work with model Jackson Lombardi. It is quite incredible to see the differences, and similarities to Brett's previous work, including his collaboration with Brad. Although the scope is more defined and view less panoramic than the images here, the beauty, especially the visual detail is clearer than ever.