Having just started experimenting with taking portraits of people, my goal before undertaking this task was to do something original. When I started taking pictures, I was a huge fan of shooting amazing landscapes to capture the beauty of the moment. But, as of recently I’ve fallen in love with the idea of combining both the aesthetic of a landscape with the beauty of an individual. Additionally, coupled with the idea of aestheticism, since having embarked on this experiment, I decided that each photo I took would have its fun filling tales of both adventures and misadventures. So, below I have for you my riveting and heart pounding experience of how I got these photos. Enjoy!
In frame: Jenny Lee-Gilmore
Sunday afternoon, I honestly didn’t know what to expect before I headed out to the site. A friend of mine was generous enough to take both myself and the model over to the site. But here’s where our story truly begins. Upon arriving to the location, the atmosphere was fairly calm and relaxed. The parking lot was fairly empty as well, so finding a parking spot was relatively easy; we stayed in the car for a good 10 minutes planing how we’d break in, like an episode of Prison Break.
We started walking towards the direction of the sulphur pile; then out of nowhere, a security guards pops out, and we’re all totally caught off guard. Geared towards me, the first question he asked was,
“What are you guys doing here?”
At this moment, I felt like my whole body went into shock and started pissing my pants because I didn’t know how to respond. Sweating frantically, I quickly told the guard,
“We actually work here and were actually just here to collect our pay cheques from the office”.
To my surprise, I felt both relieved and worrisome; two words that sound completely contradictory, but the fact that we easily bypassed the security guard was a bit disconcerting. The guard kindly pointed us towards the direction of the office, but we cunningly veered towards the direction of the sulphur pile when he returned back to his post. Unfortunately our troubles weren’t over, as another obstacle had appeared in form of a steel fence with warning signs like “STAY OUT” and “FEDERAL PROPERTY”, but the urge for taking a bomb photo overshadowed all sense of reality. We crawled under the fence that had an opening just capable of fitting the three of us through it; a sure sign confirming this was meant to be.
Finally arriving at the sulphur pile, a friend stood as a look out while I proceeded taking photos. With the sun beating down on us as well as the stringent odour of rotten eggs from the sulphur, I was able to capture a couple of photos before it all happened. To our surprise, a white jeep pulls out from around the corner of the mountain. At this moment, I knew we were all in deep fire, as the man said in an overpoweringly loud voice,
“HOW DID YOU GUYS GET ONTO THE PROPERTY?”
Trying to gather our words, we responded stuttering,
“Uh…we didn’t know, we thought anyone could just come in”
As if the situation couldn’t get worse, another man in a jeep pulls up from a different corner, and says,
“DO YOU GUYS KNOW IT’S A CRIMINAL OFFENCE TO BE HERE ON THIS PROPERTY?”
Looking like kids straight out of highschool (we’re all really in third year uni), we decided to use it to our advantage, acting extremely ignorant. After accepting what appeared to be an apologetic plea, they told us to leave the same way we came in, and stood watching us till we crawled back under the gate.
Clearly, not having learned our lesson, we decide to hang around the area because there were clumps of aesthetic green flower patches, and leaving was like a C bubble on a true-false quiz; it wasn’t an option. Our smiles quickly turned upside down when the Head Security of the property approached us, and with what seemed like no ounce of remorse he said,
“There were several reports of your presence on the property and THE POLICE ARE ON THEIR WAY”
At this point, my life literally began to flash before my eyes, mostly just thinking of what my parents would do to me if they heard I was in jail. I think, I can speak for my two other friends, when I say we all thought this was the end of the line. I figuratively went on my knees begging him and pulling out the “ignorance” card as a sign of plea. Couple of seconds after hearing it, he says,
“Don’t worry, the police are cancelled…”
Glancing at each other, with the same thought in mind, we knew this guy was probably lying. To cut the story off short, the head security guard took us to our vehicle, and cautioned us with a “slap on the wrist”, telling us to never return, as he took pictures of the cars’ licence plate, sending us away with our tail between our legs.
After this encounter, we all agreed that it was worth it. I can honestly speak for the three of us and say that we’d totally do it all over again. Each photo you take should tell a story; and as millennials, I feel we usually get lost in trying to get as many likes on Instagram as possible that we forget to make the most out of an experience. The photo can fade, but the your story lives on! Sounds literally like the most cliche thing anyone can say, but its true.
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