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Frida, heartfelt thanks and …. the winners are


Dear Friends, I can’t tell you how grateful I am for all the wonderful messages, shares, reposts and support I've had for my exhibition - Homage to Frida.  It was an amazing week.  From opening night, to celebrating Frida's birthday with champagne, re-creating our Frida look and doing the biggest, highest most colourful flower crown yet to talks about the exhibition (and my first Facebook live!) - it has been one big celebration of Frida and a whole lot of fun.  My creative cup is overflowing and my heart is full! To be honest, doing a solo exhibition was a big step for me on my photography journey.  It wasn't until my sister Meg pointed out that I was doing a SOLO exhibition, that it sunk it.  It was an OMG moment.  If I thought about it for too long, I may never have done it. It was only through the encouragement of friends, family and...

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The enduring legacy of Frida Kahlo

Frida with Costa Rican singer,  Chavela Vargas

I was first introduced to Frida Kahlo when I did an art elective during my science degree (we could choose two elective subjects from any discipline - most chose to enhance their major study, I chose to do an art and a music subject).  I vividly remember our lecturer talking about Frida, her life, and her paintings.  Drawn to her style and the way she depicted her pain and suffering through her paintings, Frida has had a lasting impact on me.   I've been fascinated by her art and her life ever since.  Frida's art, her incredible personal story, her strength and bravery touch people in deeply personal ways as many can relate to her life and see some of her experiences reflected in their own (even if only a little).  Her legacy seems to become stronger and stronger as the years go on with new generations of people and in particular...

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Homage to Frida – A photographic exhibition

Frida blog banner

This exhibition was inspired by four women who bonded over their love of Frida Kahlo and how Frida’s story connected them to their own stories of pain, vulnerability, and their struggles to make sense of it all. The personal nature of Frida’s work and her determined spirit are reasons why so many of us gravitate to her. The women who developed this body of work are photographer Kris Ashpole; hair and make-up artist, Sabrina Melei, performing artist, Carly-Anne Evans; and stylist and set designer, Meg Ashpole.   The series aims to tell the story of Frida’s experiences and her struggles with the traumatic physical and psychological events that took place during her life.  Objects and stylistic cues are used to reference the autobiographical nature of her work, the ever-present themes of death and questions of mortality, her strong individualistic nature, and her suffering.  Exhibition Events:   We are hosting several events throughout the week: Thursday 5th July, 6-8pm:   Opening night ...

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The life of a professional cabaret dancer


When you meet someone following their dream, leading a very different life to you; you just have to find out more.  From dance classes in rural NSW to the stage of the Paris Lido, Leah's amazing dance career has taken her around the world from the Cannes Film Festival to the Warsaw Opera, with 6 months in a circus motorcycle act thrown in for good luck!  Leah sure is kicking up her heels and living the dream. I had the absolute pleasure of meeting and photographing Leah in Paris recently - we had such an amazing time taking photos in some of Paris' most iconic locations. Currently dancing in a new show in Macau while on a break with Le Lido, Leah generously took time out from her schedule to put her feet up and chat about her life as a dancer. Tell us about yourself, your background and what motivated you to...

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Two weeks in Paris


In late October to early November 2017, I spent two weeks in Paris. Happy?  Absolutely!!!!   A fabulous two weeks with two beautiful girlfriends, spending our days soaking up Paris fashion, art, food, museums, markets and theatre.  We walked, we talked, we ate, we saw and best of all we laughed. Oh how we laughed!   It was a very special time.  I was in heaven - walking around Paris, taking in the atmosphere, camera in hand, photographing every day.  I followed my heart to walk round corners, up long windy streets, through open doors, taking me to new places every bit as breathtaking as the last.  Needless to say, I fell in love with Paris all over again. Paris is a stunningly beautiful city with a wonderful mix of romance, art, modernity, history, eccentricity and style - all intertwined in a very French way.  It is said that you can't describe Paris, you have to...

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A haute couture private portrait shoot


When my gorgeous friend (also a photographer) Jasmine asked me to do a portrait session with her, I jumped at the chance. I realised some time ago that I do my best work when I plan, visualise and immerse myself in developing a creative concept for each shoot.  Before I pick up my camera, I spend time with the person I'm photographing, talking about what they hope to achieve, planning their wardrobe for the day, finding props and and importantly connecting emotionally to the concept and the person I am photographing.  I often photograph outdoors and source locations that are reminiscent of European glamour, a touch of faded glory, lots of texture, the right colour and feeling to bring the photograph to life. Jasmine and I had done all of this and our shoot was on the Sunday - all locked and loaded. That was until 6pm on the Friday night when Jasmine rang with excitement...

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Portrait of an Actress – Angelic Angie


I loved every minute of this portrait session with gorgeous actress Angie Tricker at Studio Neon in Sydney's inner west.  It was such a fun shoot. Starting the day in a reflective mood, we then amped up the volume later in the afternoon to capture Angie and all the different moods and expressions she can create - and she was amazing. I think she is a bit of a chameleon (a good thing when you're an actress) - I can see a bit of Laura Dern, Angelica Houston and Meryl Streep in her. A bit about Angie - she studied acting at Australia's prestigious acting school NIDA - where many of Australia's actors have graduated including the eminent Cate Blanchet.  You might recognise Angie for some of her recent feature films including Pacific Rim 2: The Uprising, 2:22, Other World 1 & The Navigator.  She's also starred in numerous TV shows including guest roles in Top of the Lake, Love Child,...

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Portrait of a dancer in Paris – Part I

Copyright Kris Ashpole

Paris is a dream destination for many of us.  There is something about Paris - it gets under your skin and on this trip I fell in love with her all over again.  Being able to do a portrait shoot in Paris was this photographer's dream come true.  Just to add to the dream, the woman who I photographed is a dancer and I love photographing dancers - they know how to move and the camera loves them.  Leah is from Australia.  In fact Leah is from Orange in Central West NSW (where I went to high school) and has been dancing her way around Asia and Europe for the past 10 years, currently dancing at the world famous Lido, located on the Champs-Élysées. We started our shoot at the Airbnb where I was staying in the heart of Paris, then headed out to the Jardin des Tuileries.  As the sun set over Paris, Leah...

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The creative process of a Roman jewellery designer

John Hopper

Coming home with mementos from our travels is something we all love to do and I'm no exception.  I see so many beautiful things on my travels, but to be honest I get a little worried that something I would love to have at home just won't get through our strict Australian customs laws.  So sometime ago, I decided that I would collect jewellery - a great way to instantly bring back memories of my travels. Last year, my trip to Italy was short one and I was focussed more on photography than searching for a piece of jewellery that would remind me of Italy and that I'd love forever (my preference is stumble across it rather than seek it out).  Based in Naples and then Rome, it was a short trip and I came home empty handed, but with lots of incredible memories and a stack of photos. Back home, I...

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Photographing a Festival in Naples


Waiting for a vial of blood to liquefy was the last thing I expected to be doing on holiday but there I was in the Duomo in Naples camera in hand doing just that.  Festivals - as it turns out - are great to photograph. They show a city or village on one of its most important days and this was no exception. This time last year, I was photographing the Ceremony of the Liquefaction of the Blood of San Gennaro.  San Gennaro’s blood liquifies every September 19th and predicts how the year ahead will be.  If the blood liquifies, it ushers in a year of good fortune for Neapolitans.   Thousands of people gather in the Cathedral to witness the miracle of the liquefaction of the blood of their protector and Patron Saint, San Gennaro. Shrouded in myth and superstition, the liquefaction is a religious ceremony that dates back to the late 1300s. I...

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