international fireworks symposium

The long awaited and highly anticipated 11th International Fireworks Symposium convened in Vallarta in April 2009.

I donated a photograph to the promotional cause which became their banner image, hung all over town and was featured on the badges of the hundreds of participating pyros.

The Tlalchichilpaneco team even incorporated the image into their own banner which a couple later used as a roof to protect themselves from falling embers! (I think molten plastic is worse than smouldering cardboard.) Novel use for a stock image!

That the symposium organisers didn’t present me with my own pass didn’t stop me from getting in close to the action.

The 4 nights of fireworks also incorporated the water frontage to good effect, using barges and remotely detonated charges.

I made 2 sorties into the fiery fray and as with any carte blanche self-instigated photo/doco assignment it’s often the serendipitous sightings away from the main stage that yield the most interesting photographs.

For more photos of the symposium event, the fireworks and its fringe go here

But if it’s just fireworks you want,

ignite this
and see more castillos and cuetes than you can poke a match at.

Making my way between the firewoks shows at the stadio and the malecon, I saw a political slogan ominously predicting the fate of street foodstall patrons. I made the connection after scoffing a few volcanes con todo….

“the movement follows”
Stay tuned for more bowel humour.

Australia Australia Land of the Waratah and Dahlia


My Mum’s 80th in late Feb 2009 was all the excuse I needed for a visit home.
It also prompted the long threatened acquisition of a mariachi suit….manifestation of a pretend mexican.

The other clincher to make the trip was the practical reunion of my builder brother Michael and me to reconstruct the elevated verandah at Mum’s house. It had been poorly made and even more poorly repaired over the years; we had the job of making it like new again. (MCsquared/Safety Third Productions.)


The verandah took 2 weeks and included the adaptive improvement to an existing pergola frame on the back of the house using the old deck boards.

The week after the party was work by day and socialise by night at a string of Sydney artworld events. The first being the archibald wynne and sulman prizes for 2009 at the AGNSW.

Socially a great event. Some great art too but difficult to concentrate on when the gallery is full of more beautiful people than beautiful art.

Visually inspired and sufficiently Iubricated, I wandered back to Circular Quay with all eyes on the citynightscape that I hadn’t savoured for too long. The roadworks scene outside the Mitchell Library reminded me of the cartoonish industrial works of Jeffrey Smart.

Another event in a week of exhibitions and openings was the Moran prize in early March. It was judged solely by my nephew Andrew Quilty which was a great honour but also meant he couldn´t enter the $A80,000 comp….Dean Sewell won. You can see the their work and other examples of the best of contemporary australian photography at Oculi.


Staying in Neutral Bay meant easy access to the ferry service – a glorious 15 minutes to the city, day or night, via the Sydney Harbour Bridge and the Opera House, neither of which ever fail to impress.

Sydney coastal weather often highlighted the already spectacular beachscenes. This one squall passed over the Central coast and metamorphosed its way south down the line of the northern peninsular beaches. (Shot from South Palm Beach.)

Then it was a hop, skip and a jump (plane, train and a car) to western Victoria for 5 days at Tyrendarra, to visit a mate, his missus and friends. Days were spent doing what you do in a happy home surrounded by the Australian bush.

Nights were spent carousing and making music.

Pete’s professional life is devoted to the study of the largest animal ever known on Earth, the blue whale which congregates annually along the Bonney Upwelling near Portland.

Dr. Peter Gill, also known as the biggest bloody clown on the planet also performs for us in a 4 frame movie.

And thence it was back to Sydney for a final wander and wonder.


hasta pronto