Clear water –
Memories of another life
I took these photos a couple of weeks ago. I had been planning to arrive for a sunset shoot but I ended up being slightly late and missed it. The dusk was still beautiful though and I think the photos turned out well anyway as the light was so interesting.
It was a bit of a strange photowalk for me as this part of Pinny Beach actually adjoins Caves Beach, the suburb in Lake Macquarie where my mother and I stayed with my grandparents after we had to leave Sydney following my father’s suicide attempt.
It was actually almost exactly five years to the day that we left Sydney when I took these photos and going back was a bit surreal. Caves Beach is a beautiful, peaceful place but it was not a happy time and I still see echoes of our experiences there when I walk around, particularly of our early days there and my grandparents’ dementia.
In retrospect I probably should have picked a different day and week to go but I’m glad these photos came out of it at least. Photography has been one thing that has really helped me to process and heal during these last five years… it’s very cathartic and I’m glad that I could capture the beauty there that day. Five years ago I probably wouldn’t have been able to recognise it and I guess that shows how far I’ve come.
Photos and haiqua © CJ Levinson 2018
Sitting by the water
I hear waves crash
And gulls call
And my heart sing
I took this photo last week while doing a photowalk near Pinny Beach. I was feeling a bit tired after walking for awhile and had quite a lot on my mind, so I thought I’d sit, watch the tankers on the ocean and let my mind wander.
I sat for about ten minutes and it occurred to me while I was sitting there that the scene might actually make for an interesting shot. I really liked some of the contrasts (particularly the rock with the sky and water) and I thought maybe if I put myself in it too, it’d give an interesting sense of scale. So I put my camera on my tripod, set a timer for about 10 seconds and then ran like a maniac to get back before the timer went off.
It took a couple of shots to nail the timing but in the end I think it worked well and captured the scene nicely. I think it also captured me quite well too, which I wasn’t expecting. The camera happened to catch me looking out over the ocean again and I think that kind of quiet reflection is quite true to my personality.
I guess I set out to take an interesting landscape and ended up with an environmental self portrait instead, which was actually better. Funny how that happens sometimes!
Photo and haiqua © CJ Levinson 2017
I am lost
And have no home
But I have all I need –
Love and my dreams
A home is more than
Bricks and stone:
It is the memories
In your heart
I took the photos in this post over the course of the last week. All of these photos are from around Caves Beach, which is a small town about two hours north of Sydney, near Newcastle. My mother and I are currently staying here with my grandparents and I took most of these from their balcony, overlooking the ocean.
Caves Beach is a beautiful location and is wonderful for photography. I’ve been spending a couple of hours every day exploring the beaches and lakes nearby and it’s been very therapeutic after a stressful few months.
My mother and I are here because we are essentially homeless at the moment; we both had to take out AVOs against my father as he became increasingly violent after his suicide attempt, which was one of the hardest and most painful things I have ever done, and without his additional income to support us, we were unable to pay the rent on our flat in Sydney and so our landlords kicked us out. All of our belongings are currently in storage while we try to find somewhere more permanent to live and it has just been the most awful time, first coming to terms with what’s happened to my father and now losing our home too. But coming here, being surrounded by such beauty, has been very therapeutic and has given me a chance to reflect on everything that has happened and begin to heal and I feel thankful for that much at least.
I’ve taken a lot of photos and will be posting more of them over the coming days but I think my favourite so far is the sunset above. I love the colours and how peaceful it feels but also the promise a sunset brings: how, as the sun goes down, you know it will rise again on a new day. That is how I feel at the moment: that despite everything that has happened and losing our home, tomorrow is a new day and will bring better things. Hopefully it won’t be long in coming.
Photos and haiqua © CJ Levinson 2013