Freaks & Geeks

The story so far…

You've found me. Maybe you happened upon my site with no idea who I am, let me get you caught up. 

For the past few years I have been on a media career hiatus, working as a brewer throughout the Central Coast NSW, Sydney, Gippsland and Melbourne. Like a lot of people during COVID lockdowns in Melbourne, I started to re-evaluate my personal and career goals and decided it was time to finally return to my home state to be around family and friends and back to a life of full time artistic expression. 

Currently living in my home town, back in the room I lived in as a teen, while I establish my life in SA, I have been thinking a lot about where I came from, who I am and where I go next. The town has changed a lot, but in many ways, it is the same old place I grew up in, the key difference of course, is that I have changed. I have grown and matured far from the awkward, shy and angsty teen I was. I am comfortable and happy to be living here, something I never thought would happen, I am enojying being back in Kadina.

This is where my story began, as a teen during the 90s in a small country town in South Australia, where sport was religion and I had no interest in kneeling down to worship. For me photography, music, art, film and writing were the most exciting things in life, not chasing a ball around, wearing short shorts. This of course made me an outsider but in retrospect, my unique personality and the experiences it brought me were key in shaping the person I would become. 

The idea that I could make a living out of the wonderful hobbies I loved so much dawned on me in 1998, when I was 16 and trying to work out what I wanted to do with the rest of my life. I was playing drums in a band called Jesta with a group of fellow, art freak, outcasts and dreaming of a life beyond the peninsula. Spending all my spare time playing guitar and drums, shooting rolls of film, creating short videos and doing a lot of writing. Along with regular Dungeons & Dragons sessions, Star Wars and Planet of The Apes VHS marathons and good old fashioned underage drinking, this pretty much summed up my high school life. 

After surviving high school I managed to score myself a part time job at the local newspaper, The Yorke Peninsula Country Times at the end of 1999. I started out as a darkroom assistant and proofreader and quickly took on some photography jobs when the staff tog was away. I shot rolls and rolls of film, covering sport, local news stories and events. At the age of 17 I had my first front page photo of Premier John Olsen opening the new TAFESA campus in Kadina. It wasn't the most exciting story but to me it meant everything. Proof I could do it, I could be a real photographer. 

I was still playing drums in Jesta and to appease my love of music and to further my interest in the media industry, started doing a general music show on the local community radio station Gulf FM, called Dr Bert's Fabtabulous Funland. (I have recently returned to Gulf FM some 22 years after first hitting the airwaves but more on that in a future blog). 

In 2003 I was living my art student life, studying Photography at Regency TAFESA. I had moved to the big smoke a couple of years earlier, a country boy in the big city of Adelaide. The Crown & Anchor (Cranker) became my weekly hang out. One night as I was having a few beers at the Cranker and checking out a local band, I realised that for the first time in my life I felt like I belonged. Here surrounded by music loving, arty weirdo freaks, I wasn't the odd one out anymore. Just another punter enjoying the music. Finally validation that I wasn't wrong for being who I wanted to be. Ever since then the Cranker has held a special place in my heart. 

My community radio experience continued and Dr Bert's Fabtabulous Funland moved to 3D Radio. I continued playing drums in Jesta, as well as guitar in a new band, Nerd Factor 9 and spent as much time as possible out at gigs, taking photos of local bands. I started writing reviews and submitting photos and articles to the local Uni and street press around Adelaide. 

In March of 2004 I was given my first press pass and sent off to photograph Blink 182 at the Entertainment Centre. Shot on ISO800 film, pushed 2 stops, my camera gear was amatuer at best, the lighting was terrible and my skills shooting in the first three songs, no flash environment, were a long way from polished. I managed to get a decent shot of the drummer and that was about it, but it got published and I had my first taste of shooting with a press pass. The first of dozens I would collect during my career. 

Study was over by 2005 and I started working as a news photographer. First at Messenger Press, then heading off to Central Queensland to the Gladstone Observer, back to Adelaide to the Messenger and then a short stint at The Advertiser. During my news career I had the opportunity to experience and photograph a lot of amazing stories, met a rich and diverse range of people and saw some incredible places throughout Australia. 

By 2010 I was ready to move on from the news world and expand into other areas. I started running my own business shooting editorial, corporate, portraiture and weddings, along with some exhibition projects I was keen to do. I continued freelancing with the occasional shoot throughout my hiatus from full time media work and kept photographing bands in Adelaide, Sydney and Melbourne. 

From 2013 to 2020 I established a brewing career and worked for a number of craft breweries across Australia (more on this side career in a future blog) however, after enduring COVID lockdowns in Melbourne, I decided it was time to return home and to my true career passion. 

Of course the media and communications industry changed a lot between 2012 and 2020 and I realised the best option was to expand my photography skills into the world of Content Creation and Digital Marketing. I took on a role as a production assistant with How & Why Creative in Melbourne, started volunteering at a few places, including community radio station Triple R, to get more digital marketing experience and enrolled in online Marketing and Communications study. 

This brings us up to 2022 and the main motivation for this blog, apart from just being a lot of fun to create. I am exploring, deeper still, those lifelong hobbies I discovered over 20 years ago and turned into a photojournalist career, I am sharing my journey with you all via this blog. I hope you enjoy the experience as much as I do. 

I have a lot more to tell you all but I think this is enough introspection for now. Until next time...

Cheers, Carty