Category Archives: In Their Element

Yael Stone. Photographed for In Their Element.

Thanks very much to Capture Magazine for the interview and feature on my series In Their Element.

‘In the age of digital imagery, social media, and online news, the lifespan of visual content and photo essays has arguably diminished. As photographers cover events on their iPhones, Instagram it from the scene and upload to Squarespace simultaneously, it would seem that the efficiency of technology has facilitated the ephemerality of practitioners’ engagement with their stories. But for Australian portrait photographer Alex Vaughan, commitment to long-term storytelling is paramount. So much so that her series, In Their Element, seeks to span the majority of her flourishing career. Thirty years to be exact. Sam Edmonds gets an insight.’

Read the full article and see the pictures here: The Story Of A Lifetime

“I wasn’t sure if I’d like you. That’s why I said I was only available for 2 hours. But you can stay now.”

Brutal honesty juxtaposed with quirky warmth, magical pianical (go with it) fingers and a slight element of distrust… I’m convinced these are key ingredients to Tim Minchin‘s brilliance.

It took me six months to finally get to him.

A warm overcast Los Angeles morning was spent listening to family recordings, being treated to piano and guitar solo wizardry, frank and witty dialogue about life and politics, and a short but lively jaunt into the local wilderness.

This is one of my favourite photos from our time together – I’d never seen him this way before.

His ferocious locks.
His painted eyes.
Gone.

And there he is.


Here is Tim being brilliant in this BBC sketch along with a bunch of wonderful talents including Dame Judi Dench, Sir Ian McKellan, Benedict Cumberbatch and Prince Charles.


‘IN THEIR ELEMENT’ – This project is an exploration of the more intimate aspects of life as an artist away from the lights of the main stage.

A study of transition in the lives of these artists over an extended period of time.

30 years in fact.

I’ve spent the last four years documenting actors, photographers, painters, musicians and directors in Australia, New Zealand, the US, and around Europe.

26 more years of observation, exploration and wonder lie ahead (I will be 58 years of age on completion of this series).

My philosophy is that images are of a place and time. Never to be repeated.

I feel the inherent value of this project will be in the documentation of how each artist morphs and changes over time, and the evolution of the landscape that I find them within.

Where will they be in 10 years? 20 years?

I don’t know, but I hope that I will be there to document their journey’s.

_DCN1635Tim Minchin in Los Angeles, California, 2016

Heather Lind vs Anna Strong.

The actor vs The historical powerhouse.

Heather is currently portraying revolutionary spy Anna Strong in AMC’s TURN. In just over an hour, season two debuts in the U.S. at 9pm EDT.

I met her for the first time about six months earlier in a bar in Richmond when I was photographing Australian actor and fellow TURN cast member Daniel Henshall for the same project.

Sweet
Gentle
Kind-hearted

These were my first impressions of Lindy.

It wasn’t until I spent an afternoon with her, that I realised the she has much more in common with her formidable character.

Conviction
Strength
Independence
Creativity

Perhaps this is why Heather Lind is so apt to portray such a renowned woman.

In an interview with Alyssa Rosenberg for the Washington Post, Lindy says:

“I love history, but you don’t hear women’s perspectives that much. And I think when you do, they’re sort of skewed through the prism of male experience.” (You can read more here).

One thing seems very clear. This role is important.

Here’s to strong women.

Let the revolution begin.

_DCN8911

On fire.

That would be a fair way to describe Sarah Snook.

On Friday, Snook took out one of the highest accolades achievable in Australian Film and Television – ‘Best Lead Actress in a Film’ at Australia’s equivalent of the Oscars & BAFTAs – the AACTA awards.

Her marvellously talented Predestination co-star Ethan Hawke had this to say about her:

“Sarah’s performance is one of the most incredible I’ve ever been a part of. It’s one thing to do a moving portrait of a transgender person, but to do it in a genre film is really an accomplishment. I really want people to see the film to experience what an incredible performance this is. It’s unlike anything I’ve seen before.” (You can read more here: http://www.news.com.au/entertainment/movies/predestination-star-sarah-snook-is-incredible-ethan-hawke-says/story-e6frfmw0-1227038716132)

So why did I invite Snook to be a part of my project?

For me, she has an element of mystery about her that I find hard to define in words. It underlies every one of her character portrayals. Perhaps it’s a combination of intrigue and a sense of playful mischievousness that permeates her performances.

This is true for her in person also.

Her ability to mesmerize.

To draw you in.

It’s unreal.

‘In Their Element’ – This project is an exploration of the more intimate aspects of life as an artist away from the lights of the main stage.

A study of transition in the lives of these artists over an extended period of time.

30 years in fact.

I’ve spent the last 3 and a half years documenting actors, photographers, painters, musicians and directors in Australia, New Zealand, the US, the UK and Paris.

26 more years of observation, exploration and wonder lie ahead (I will be 58 years of age on completion of this series).

My philosophy is that images are of a place and time. Never to be repeated.

I feel the inherent value of this project will be in the documentation of how each artist morphs and changes over time, and the evolution of the landscape that I find them within.

Where will Sarah be in 10 years? 20 years?

I don’t know, but I hope that I will be there to document her journey.

Sarah Snook, Los Angeles California. March 2014. By Alex Vaughan, Photographer Sarah Snook in Los Angeles, California last year (March 2014). This is the very first release of this image.

This is the first official photo from my series ‘In Their Element’ to be released. I was so suprised when I asked  photographer Tamara Dean if she would be interested in playing a part in this project – she said yes before I’d even shown her the work (this is testament to how open and generous Tamara is as a person and artist). I’ve always loved and admired Tamara’s work for the hauntingly beautiful narratives, the level of intimacy and trust she shares with her subjects, and the freedom her images portray. It’s Tamara’s receptivity and abandon that made the experience of photographing her so special.

Working on this series (‘In Their Element’) has given me the opportunity to explore the quiet determination and solitude of the artistic spirit. The isolation. The combined resilience and openheartedness required to overcome the many challenges that artists face. This photograph was taken at Tamara’s home in Sydney’s southwest. Hanging in the background is a canvas of her work ‘The Pack’.

I’m delighted that this image is one of 40 photographs selected this year for the 2014 Head On Photographic Portrait Prize finals, and will tour with the festival from Australia to New Zealand, China and the U.S.

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