Madrid, Spain | 16 May 2001
I was backpacking on my own through Europe in 2001. Everything was going fine. I was having a great time until I got to Madrid, Spain. I had just arrived and was looking for a place to stay. I had gotten out of an elevator and was about to ring the doorbell of a hostel when a man approached me. He began speaking to me in Spanish. Not knowing any Spanish I tried to communicate with him the best way I could. The conversation lasted for about twenty seconds then I turned away and pressed the doorbell to the hostel.
As soon as I did he grabbed me in a headlock and began choking me. I was in shock. He wrestled me to the floor. I was carrying a large backpack on my back and a smaller camera bag attached to the front of my body. I wasn't mobile. Another man then raced up to our flight of stairs and began yanking my camera bag from the front of my body.
It was the most hairy situation I had ever been in. I was in a foreign country on my own. No one knew exactly where I was or how to contact me. I thought they were going to drag me and my bags up to the top of the building and stab me.
As soon as they managed to wrestle my camera bag from me, the owner of the hostel opened the door and they disappeared down the stairs with my camera bag. The hostel owner saved me.
One of the things I realised after this event was how much I saw the world through photography. Not having my cameras in a new city was terrible. I didn't really want to do anything without them. Since then I have tried to resist the urge to obsessively document everything and just experience life without any ulterior motives. To really live in the moment.
It makes me smile now when I see kids with digital cameras and photo-blogs taking hundreds of photos every week. I was one of them. To this day I still have a large scar underneath my right elbow to remind me of that incident.
Mugged in Madrid, Spain. Stolen -
1 Nikon F90X camera body
1 24 - 120mm AF Nikon lens
1 Sekonic 401 lightmeter
1 Lomo camera
2 rolls of un-used Fuji film
1 used roll of Lomo film
1 used roll of Fuji film
1 Lowe Pro Camera bag
1 floppy disc
Approx. 70 photos of Sydney.
1 notebook of thoughts and ideas
1 Jazz on the Park Hostel NYC pen
1 CD marker
1 spare set of lugguage keys
Half a bottle of mineral water
1 spare set of photocopied documents
1 city map of Bilbao
2 lugguage tags
1 moisture absorbing pouch
1 red elastic band
The beginning of the set of stairs in this photo is where it took place. These photos were made with a disposable camera I brought the next day. My cameras were very loved. They had never been droped, bumped, or scratched. They were in perfect condition. I was lost.
Invisible Camera | 2003
This camera was created for the Five Dollars show. A group exhibition examining
the values placed on art in our society. The idea was to produce an artwork using
materials costing five dollars or less. All artworks were then auctioned off in a
silent auction to reveal their worth to the public. Invisible camera - $15 (film and
batteries not included).
Eggs | 2004
One morning I cracked an egg and there was two separate yokes inside.
Not one yoke split into two but two distinctly separate yokes. Is it possible
for chickens to give birth to twins? I felt very evil eating it.
Birthday Gift | 2005
One year my friends Thuy and Christine from Melbourne sent me a parcel
for my birthday. When I received it I noticed that the package had been
decorated with twenty colourful postage stamps on the front.
I have been recycling non-marked postage stamps and finding one through
the mail always fills me with joy. I feel like somehow the sender and I
managed to beat the mailing system. What were the chances of 20 stamps
making it through the post without a single one being marked? I was in awe.
This parcel was a small miracle.
Balloons | 2001
I witnessed a beautiful silent moment amongst the lunacy of over 44,000 people
at the Sydney Cricket Ground.
The Great Heist | 2005
I have walked pass this money exchange store hundreds of times. I assumed
it was just another permanent store. One day as I strolled pass I witnessed it
disappearing down a large hole. I couldn't believe my eyes. It looked like
someone was driving away with the entire store. The fact that it was a money
exchange made it even more intriguing.