15 Summers to make family portraits with your kids 

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When you think about it, we only have about 15 summers with our kids before they start to want to go off with their friends and create lives of their own.  while we want them to grow up and become independent,  we will look back on those years as a tight knit family with fondness and a touch of nostalgia. It certainly makes you realise that it is important to make the most of these special years and to capture some of the joy and laughter that you share. for many of you, time is nearly up, and as the kids start to think of jobs and university, time together as a family gets harder and harder to orgainse. As we enjoy the last days of this summer,  now is the time to organise that family portrait that you have been talking about for so long - I know this because a week wouldn’t go past without someone coming into our studio and saying that they have wanted to do this for so long, but with kids at school, before and after school sport and busy weekend, it has always been push down the list of things to do  The long warm evenings that we are having at the moment are perfect for portrait shoots after work, the light is great, and its nice to take a  bit of time to be together as a family. Soon the leaves will be falling off the trees and Tasmania is at it’s most beautiful. Stunning scenery, Autumn colours and the cooler weather makes for the perfect combination when it comes to family portraits, and once the kids have gone off to work or  uni for the year the house will still be filled with the warmth and laughter that you shared on that day
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Then & Now

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32 years seems like a long time, but it has gone by in a flash! That's how long our studio at Upton Street has been open, and during those 32 years , we have photographed so many people in Launceston that we though it would great to go back through our archive and rephotograph some of our past clients.One of the joys of running a photography studio is that you get to record families as they grow. Over the years that we have been operating in Launceston so many families have passed through our doors, and we regularly get second and even third generation clients .Then and Now is a book project that matches current images with ones that we took. 10, 20 or even 30 years ago. We started before email was thing, so for the early years, we have some fax numbers on file, but they are of little use any more, so if you are a past client, or know some past clients, get in contact with us, we would love to say hi, and included you in this little piece of Launceston history.Weddings, commercial jobs, school leavers , family portraits or my Faces of Launceston project . If you have been in front of my camera at any stage during the last 30 years we would love to hear from you.The first step is to register your interest. If you can give us details of when you were last photographed, we will be able to find your old images, and we will then be in contact to organise a new shoot. There is no cost involved for the shoot, as past clients you never pay for session fees, and there is no obligation to buy any of the pictures , however if you are interested in seeing the images from your shoot, we will give you studio credit $100 to use towards updated images for your home.We need a minimum of 40 participants to create a stand alone book, and we are investigating the options for creating personalised dust jackets so that your family can be in the cover of the book . if for some reason, there is not enough interest, the images will still be included in our annual studio book.I am really looking forward to re-engaging with our past clients and seeing how their families have changed.https://tave.com/.../questionnaire/25cd02a4bc928e84e15d8442
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When is the best time to have family portraits done? episode 3

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Childhood is a very loose term!  Anywhere from 4 years of age through to driving lessons!

 This is when life gets busy and having regular portraits sessions is at its most difficult. This is why we offer a system where we can contact you at set intervals just to remind you that another year ( or two) has passed since we last made pictures. By now there is often other children on the scene, and if you thought having one child was time-consuming…Both parents and children have to adjust to the influences of school, and it is a bitter sweet period for  the parents as you realise that while you used to know absolute everyone about your child’s life,  your child now has a part of their life in which you are not involved. They are learing new skills and wanting to use them, and it is much easier for your photographer to build a relationship and to capture those special expressions and moments. At this stage, we ask the parents to take a step back so that the photographer has a chance to engage with the child in one on one conversation. Once this is happening,  all those emotions and expressions are never far behind. Five years if you have been following our Stages of Life program, it has been two years since your last visit, and there have been many changes. The very structure of their face is starting to change as the round baby face  gives way to a more angular, grown up look. They will be losing their baby teeth soon, and their mature, "willing to please" demeanour means that we can attempt one of our classical portrait studies. Less candid and printed onto our beautiful stretched canvas, this session echos a tradition of portrait painting that goes back through the ages. Visit any of the great art galleries of the world and  you will see a whole genre of portraits  made at around this time in a person’s life. An artwork that will be enjoyed for many years to come and which will be handed down as part of the family history.Seven years  Bridging the gap between childhood and  the next stage  of life -youth,  this is a sensitive age where strong bonds are formed with siblings . A relationship portrait that explores these emotions will provide a range of great images, of the individual children and of their relationships with each other . This can be done in the studio, at home or in the parks and gardens around the city. Any hobbies or passions such as music or sport can also be included.  It is also a good time to create an up to date family portrait
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Dawn at Mesa Arch in Canyonlands National Park in Utah.

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Dawn at  Mesa Arch  in Canyonlands National Park in Utah. The arch is an amazing natural stone arch perched at the edge of a cliff with vast views of the spectacular landscape in the distance. The hardest part about trying to photograph scenery like this is the sheer vastness of the image. The view goes on and on, and trying to make sense of all the elements is quite a challenge. I was travelling with my friend and fellow photographer  Peter Eastway having both been speakers at the Wedding Portrait Photographers International conference in Las Vegas.  We arrived in the dark, the carpark being about 1 km away and set up waiting for the first light the break over the horizon. Never having been there before, we only had our calculations to work out where we were expecting the sun to rise, and set up our cameras using our best guess. As we would be photographing directly into the rising sun, I knew that the window of opportunity to get a decent shot would be very narrow, and that as soon as the sun was fully up over the horizon, the scene would be rendered flat and uninteresting. Our only chance would be to capture the image at the very start of the sunrise. It is nice when you think about a shot before hand, make a plan, and everything works out pretty much the way you thought it would. The light was great, and lit up the landscape to highlight the mountains, and rock structures in the distance, and brought out the texture on the canyon floor. The light hitting the underside of the arch and the rocks below it caused the whole structure to glow and I was very happy with the shot. There was the usual flurry of activity, trying to get as many variations as possible before the light flattened out, but on this occasion, the initial image that I made was the best one. This image looks amazing printed onto a high gloss metallic paper and is available in our Art print gallery here:
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When is the best time to have family portraits taken Part 1

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The number one question we get at our portrait photography studio is "When is the best time to get family portraits done?" Such a simple question that is just so difficult to answer! Hindsight is a wonderful thing, and allows us to see things so clearly, the only problem is that when it comes to family portraiture, by the time you are looking back, its too late! You can’t get newborn pictures of a one year old, and even at 1month, your baby has changed so much from those first few days. We have put together a guide that will help answer that original question, and give you some things to think about when you come to deciding when to schedule your shoots.  The first Year in the first year, time seems to speed up and slow down all at the same time. Days roll into one amid late night feeds, day time sleeps ,and an amazing number of nappy changes. Every day there are ground breaking moments: the first smile, the first sleeping through the night, first steps, words, and teeth. I believe that there are 3 main shoots that you can consider in this first year. It might stemlike a lot, but the change in your baby is so great in these initial stages, with their body totally changing from a helpless little ball, to sitting and finally standing and walking and talking.  Newborn - 3 months Quiet moments just sitting and watching baby sleep. The delight in their eyes when they see your face, the amazing strenght with which they can grasp you finger. This is the perfect age for our Newborn Shoot. Beautiful, quiet moments , captured in black and white, which will capture forever just how tiny this little person was. In years to come, you will look at these images and shake your head in amazement as you pick up size 13 basket ball boots that are lying around  the bathroom floor. We aim to capture the closeness and security they feel when being held by Mum and Dad and marvel in the contrasts in size and texture This is a fleeting moment  that is passed through all too quickly. This is not a time for images of your baby smiling at the camera - it might happen, ( but that could also just  be wind ! ) These images are about the relative size. How tiny she was in Dads hands or how he snuggled into Mums shoulder. 6 months - 9 monthsIt’s amazing what 6 months can do! No longer the snuggling, helpless baby, at this age life is lived at full pace - with lots of naps!!Bright eyes and personality in spades, they have a full time job exploring the world that surrounds  them. Babies at this age don’t eist in the world by themselves, and Mum or Dad are never far away. We like to show this in our pictures , and sometimes  parents are just represented , perhaps just a protective arm or a helping hand. This is the perfect age for our relationships portraits. It is also the perfect oppourtunity to make some beautiful, soft impressionistic portraits of Mother and baby together. 12 months The first year has zipped by, and a cake with a single candle is the first of many more to come. A moving target full of energy and personality, with a clear idea of what they want, and when they want it! This is the perfect age for a candid environmental portrait in your home. This gives us the opportunity to make images that capture them in a time and place, and in years to come, where every you end up living, these images with automatically transport you back to this special time. This portrait session  should include a relaxed family portrait in your home, with cats and dogs and all the wonderful things that make a house a home.
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A visit to Canberra

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A visit to Canberra is always a great experience for a photographer. Not only do you get to feast your eyes on numerous exhibitions and architectural works, but you also get to play with your camera a lot! A visit to the National Museum of Australia has so much to offer. The building and the surrounding grounds are full of architectural angles and interesting juxtapositions so the longer you hang around, the more you see. Whether it is 50,000 years of Indigenous heritage, the story and artefacts of colonial settlement or just a look at Phar Laps heart this place has it all. In an internal courtyard, the  Garden of Australian Dreams is a wonderful subject to photograph. It is hard not to think about Jackson Pollocks Blue Poles ( which we saw at the National Gallery ) or of Jeffrey Smart and his very precise paintings of traffic signs. The square white box in the centre of the garden represents the Australian dream of home ownership with its own palm tree, and the floor is covered with maps of regional areas. This image is one in our Artprint gallery and looks amazing printed as a large square.
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1964 Porsche 356 SC

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In my last blog entry, I talked about the fact that I feel very lucky to be able to pursue my hobby of photography while at the same time being able to have another part of me that can do photography on a commercial basis to an extent that we have been running our studio for the last 30 odd years with no other form of income other than what we make from photography 

 If you talk to any photographer in the world, the vast majority of them will tell you that they started with a hobby, which grew and morphed into a business. If you have the kind of mind that analyses a business to see how commercially and financially viable it is, your don’t come up with photography as the answer! Its a left and right side of the brain thing and I have the creative side ( I think that is left, but you would need to ask a right sided person to be sure) The hardest thing about developing your hobby into a business is that in most cases, you need to make a choice, and you end up losing your hobby to the business. Whenever I get people dropping into the studio looking for career advice, I warn them that taking photographs as a business is nothing like taking pictures as a hobby , and that they need to look very seriously at whether they really want to give up this wonderful pastime in favour of a business that is ever changing and more and more challenging each year. It can be done, I am a case in point, however you need to have a clear vision of how you expect to make all the bits work together in a way that suits you. I have always said that I don’t have a work life and a home life, I just have one life and I try to cram all the various bits into it as best as they will fit. This image  of David is a good example. It is a portrait - I make  portraits for a living, but it was taken as part of my Behind the Garage Door book that looked at some of the amazing cars that are hidden in garages around Launceston. The portrait also overlapped into my Faces of Launceston project that I have been shooting for the last 25 years ( this one went on display at the Automobile museum along with others from the car book ), and also ended up framed in the subjects home. So in some ways , this one portrait touched so many of the different things that I do. For the book and the exhibition, I took a series of images of the cars that were being included.  This one is a 1964 Porsche 356 SC which were produced from 1963 to 1965 with 1964 being the peak production year when about 4000 were made. Purchased new in Germany in 1964 by a United States serviceman, the car returned to the States with him at the end of his tour of duty. About the year 2000 it was imported into Australia by a company specialising in used Porsches, and has since competed in a couple of Targa Tasmania rallies. It is without doubt one of my favourites from the book. The car has beautiful lines and is such a beautiful object in itself. It’s not a car I could drive as my daily commute, I need something bigger that I can get into without having to manoavurer myself into the seat, and something that can take my gear and a bit of knocking about, but I can certainly admire it from afar. To get this shot using the brutalist architecture of Henty house as a background, we needed to position the car exactly, as the concrete walls were only just big enough to contain the car. At the time David had a very sore leg, and I felt bad making him climb in and out of the car on  number of occasions just to shift it a few inches one way or the other to get the positioning perfect.  You can read all about this beautiful car in my book Behind the Garage Door available here: http://bit.ly/PKPbooks
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Tuscany, Italy

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Seems like only yesterday, but it was in fact 6 years ago that I ventured out on a dark morning somewhere in the middle of Tuscany. We were staying in a small medieval  hill town which have views out across the valley, and after a splendid dinner in a small restaurant I planned out my shoot for the next morning.  There was a small castle on the top of the hill, and I had worked out a location about half way down the hill from which I figured I could get a nice shot of the castle.  The next morning I left in the dark and proceeded towards my chosen spot only to find that the road had been blocked and a detour was in place talking me right around the other side of the hill.  With no knowledge of this side of town, and my shoot plan out the window I started looking for something to photograph. The sun was coming up and I really didn’t have much time to play with, so I stopped at the local cemetery to see if there was a picture to be had - there wasn’t, but on my way back to the car, I decided to look over the edge of the hill, and was presented with a series of images that took my breath away.  The sun was creating some great colour in the sky and there was a low rolling mist that we had not seen before ( or after for that matter ) . The only thing that you don’t get to experience through this image is the doof doof music that was coming from across the valley as the people at the all night rave welcomed the morning sun.  From up on the hill, there was a great panorama of views and by zooming in with a long lens, I was able to create a series of images that were very pleasing to me.  This is probably a good time to talk about the fact that all of this type of photography that I do  is pretty much ego-centric , I shoot the images that please me, and while I am always surprised and delighted when other people love the images so much that they want to hang them in their homes,  in the first instance , they have to please me.  I feel very fortunate that I can make my living taking pictures for people. Whether it is a family portrait, or a commercial product shot, most of my working life consists of working to some sort of a brief. I have been lucky/worked hard to ensure that the people who commission me understand that they are asking me for more than just the loan of my camera, and that they want and need me to use my judgment and eye to create images that , hopefully, are more than they dared to imagine.  So when I go on holidays and am shooting in my role of hobby photographer, I want the images to be purely for my own enjoyment.  I think that the minute I start trying to make images thatI think people would like to buy, I will not only be less effective in making good images, but I will also lose the joy of having a hobby that I really love. This does not stop me from gaining just a little bit of extra joy if people decide that they would like to buy a copy of an image for their home! We actively encourage this, you can see some of the images that we have for sale in our Artprint gallery bit.ly/KuruvitaArtPrints This gallery has just a tiny selection of images, which we are  constantly adding to, so if there is something in particular that you are looking for, from Tasmania, Australia or from around the world,   send us a quick email, you never know what we might have. While the mist hung around for a while, the next half hour was spent making some of the best images from that trip, and as the morning light gave way to daylight, I felt like I had taken the images that were on offer that morning. With the sun streaming in I decided to head back, and came face to face with this beautiful deer just enjoying the morning sunshine. When I got back to our accommodation, Vicki was still asleep, and was woken by a hyper excited and happy photographer. 
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Dad's and Daughters

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I don’t know if it is because I have two daughters of my own, and I miss the little girls that they were, but I really love all the things that are going on in this picture. You can see the connection, you can see the tenderness and the sense of fun, and you know that this is an image that will resonate for both of them for many years to come.  Flower crowns and squishing noses are not things that last forever! All too quickly they grow up and before you know it the discussions are about work and mortgages and renovating the house. Don’t get me wrong, is all great, and I am thankful that we can still have great conversations about the things that are important in my girls lives, but this picture makes me feel nostalgic - and its not even my family! Imaging how this will work for this Dad when his daughter is 30! People come to us for family portraits for a variety of reasons. It is a way to have their family and loved ones close to them even though the realities of a busy, day to day life may mean that they are sometimes physically apart. They come to us so that we can generate a sense of belonging for their children - there is nothing like seeing beautiful pictures of you and your family in the centre of the family home , and to hear everyone who visits your home saying nice things about the pictures of you and your family to build a sense of pride and self worth in a young child’s mind. They come to us in an effort to build a connection to family, capturing memories, and preserve a particular time in their family's history, so as to leave a mark and to create ongoing history for future generations plus it’s fun!  That is a really important point, because if your family portrait session is a time when everyone is really present, and as a family you have a really great time together, the images become a memory trigger to that shared experience and the fun and the laughter and the sense of love and belonging will all come flooding back, regardless of how long ago it happened.  Time moves on, kids grow up and leave home, parents grow old  and pets live their lives 7 times faster than we do. Fnding time to organise everyone for a photo shoot, justifying the expense, knowing what to ask for or what is possible and feeling anxious that somehow you will be tricked or forced into buying something that they don't want, or can't afford are all very valid reasons why people say to us that they have been meaning to do this for years, but just didn’t get around to it. We understand that, and have developed a system that will guide you through every step of the way, answer all your questions ( often before you have formulated them for yourself) and give you the final say in every decision you make. We start with a consultation in our studio where we will show you all the options, and give you a price list  to take away with you so that at no stage are there any surprises ( no one likes surprises! ) At the end to the day we want to help you achieve you goal of having beautiful family portraits in your home that will warm your heart for many years to come.  To start a conversation and to find out a little bit more about how your ideas might be put into action, contact us and let's have a chat!
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Dried Row Scallops

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Every cook book that we make produces at least one recipe that somehow becomes a staple in our house. A recipe that is easy to do and which produces amazing results that never fail to surprise and delight anyone who tastes it. The recipe that has really taken my fancy from our latest book Island Catch, Seafood of Tasmania is one from the Tasmanian Divers Group and is a recipe for Dried Roe Scallops

 A very simple dish that has a beautiful twist. The first thing that you need to do is remove the orange roe from your scallops and dry them out until they are brittle. You can do this in a covered pan over a low heat, in an oven or in a dehydrator. it can take 1-1.5 hours for them to dry, but once dry they can be crushed into a fine sand. This dried roe powder has an incredible intense flavour which really lifts the dish. Once you have dried the roe and crushed it as fine as possible, you add crushed garlic, chilli, basil, olive oil, butter and lemon juice, mix it all together and cook your scallops in it for 6-9 minuets. Garnish with fresh basil and a squeeze of lemon and tuck right in! Ingredients12 scallops, including shellscrushed garlicchilli, finely dicedbasil, finely dicedolive oil2 tbsp of butterjuice of 1 lemon Dried Roe Scallops |serves 4 MethodRemove scallops from shells, clean and separate roes.Place roes in a pan over heat with lid on to dry out roes. This may take approximately 1-1½hrs.When roes have dried, crush as finely as possible.Add crushed garlic, chilli, basil, olive oil, butter and lemon juice and mix together.Add scallops to roe and butter mix and cook for 6-9 minutes.Remove from heat and serve on some of the discarded scallop shells.  We cooked these on an open fire on the rocks after diving for the scallops (we had the dried roe powder pre prepared ) The scallops had been in the water less than an hour ago and the flavour exploded in your mouth. If you like scallops you really should give this a go. This recipe and heaps of other great adventures for your mouth can be found in Island Catch available here https://kuruvita.com.au/index.php/shop/category/21-books 
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Every now and again, you come across an image that is just begging to be made!

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 I had seen these  vintage boxing gloves hanging on the wall at my Osteo’s rooms and thought it would be good to make an image.  Josh let me borrow them and I went searching for a wall that reminded me of an old time boxing gym ( The kind of place a young Rocky would have been comfortable in)  Luckily , Launceston has a number of options, and I found a suitable background to make my image. I love it when a single image can build a picture in your minds eye. Can you feel the place? The smell of sweat and lineament, the sound of a leather skipping rope twirling through the air and  someone on a speed bag setting the tempo. Shafts of light streaming onto the central ring, and a sense of hard work and melancholy all rolled into one. Frank was Josh’s grand father and a part of him lives on in this picture. I have made large prints of this image, and the bigger it is the better it looks. Shot on a medium format 50megapixel camera, the cracks in the leather and the patina on the walls really help tell the story of a bygone age.
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Monument Valley

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Between the ages of 8 and 15, we lived in Sri Lanka, where , at the time, there was no TV, so going to the cinema to watch the latest movies out of Hollywood was a regular part of our weekly routine. The movies that we all were most excited to see were the westerns. The Good The Bad and The Ugly,  in fact anything with Clint Eastwood, Chatos Land with a non speaking Charles Bronson, John Wayne, Allan Ladd, and so many more. So it was with much excitement that I finally visited Monument Valley. I had been speaking at the WPPI conference in Las Vegas, and at the end of it, my friend and fellow photographer Peter Eastway and I hired a car and set off to explore the 4 corners region around Arizona, Utah, New Mexico and Colorado   This one area of Navajo land was the set for so many of the epic Hollywood blockbuster westerns that I had grown up with. It had all the elements that the movie executives thought were required to set the scene, and in the process helped form a very clear picture in the minds of the world of how the American west looked during the time of Sitting Bull, General Custer and the Wells Fargo stage coach ( I can imaging it now tearing up the road, chased by a band of Indians on palomino ponies with the horses at full gallop and the wheel looking like it might fly off at any second! ) We arrived before dawn ( as all good photographers should!) only to find that there was a gate and an entry fee and worst of all, the office didn’t open until 8am, long after the light was of any use for photography.  Luckly for us this had obviously happened before, and waiting patiently at the gate as this lovely Navajo guy with a van who offered to take us in via his village and give us a tour of the area.  The asking price was fair and we had an amazing tour of the area, along with expert commentary. The images we got were just what we had hoped for so much so that we decided to hire him again the next day, start even earlier and get to some of the other stops in this great landscape.  John Ford Point, named after the famous western movie director gave us a stunning  sunrise, and it was so obvious why they should want to shoot movies in this wonderful location.  For all the pictures that I got over the 3 days that we were there, the enduring memory for me is a moment when I found myself all alone in this landscape. The van and guide where down by the road, Peter had wandered off to photograph something and I looked around and all I could see was the desert, the rock formations and the clouds above me. At that point, I realised that recording everything on my camera was going to be impossible so I put my camera down, lay flat on my back in the cool sand, and soaked in the  experience. 
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some days you just need a picture that makes you smile every time you look at it!

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some days you just need a picture that makes you smile every time you look at it!  there are so many aspects of this image that I love, the fact that we were obviously trying for a straight studio portrait of everyone looking at the camera, looking relaxed and happy, and the fact that somehow or another, I don’t remember the exact details, but the giggles snuck in and that was the end of it! The two older kids on the ends are doing their best to hold it together and look at the camera but you can tell it is going to be a lost cause. In the centre, things have already  collapsed into fits of laughter, but through it all you get to see the real relationship that exists within this family. As I shoot Black and White, choice of clothes colour is not as important as the tones ( Light or dark ). While I don’t want everyone to be dressed identically, we need to avoid having 4 people in dark and just one person in light ( unless we are trying to make them stand out in the group). We also want to avoid big patterns, stripes and logos, so your Hawaiian shirt is probably a not go unless you all have one. At the end of the day, I want the clothes that you are wearing to melt into the background and not compete with those beautiful expressions and the interaction between the people in the photograph
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Tasmanian Books

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Ebooks and audio books might be fine for novels and books with lots of words in them ( not my type of book!) but nothing beats the feeling of settling down with a lavish book to lose yourself of an hour or two . The physical weight, the feel of the pages, and the vibrant colours that jump off the page are all elements that add to the delight. Because Vicki and I publish these books ourselves, with no outside interference or demands, we are free to make a book that is exactly what we are looking for in a coffee table book. First the subject needs to interest me - no problems there, each year we look at our list of possible topics for our next book, and decide what it is that we want to spend the next few months concentrating on. Because Vicki does the design and layout side of things, she is happy to go with whatever I am interested in photographing. The majority of my books deal with some combination of Tasmanian travel and adventure, food, and photography. So when people say “ you are so lucky to be able to do these things, and taste these dishes”, I always say that luck had nothing to do with it and that each book is the result of a culmination of a detailed and well executed plan. The fact that other people enjoy these things is where the luck lies. If I was interested in some niche that no one else was, perhaps I would not get the opportunity to keep making books the way I do. There have been books that don’t deal with Tasmanian food and adventure. My very first book was one on Africa that I did with my friend Alice Bennett. We were both going to be in Africa at around the same time of year so we decided to do “something” with the images when we got back. A book followed, and was the starting point for both of us to go one and publish a number of book each. We have also done a book about the fascinating architecture of Launceston. Having been an architect before giving it all up to run my studio, Vicki was very interested in this project, and even agreed to having her name printed on the front cover. What she didn’t realise was that she would then be required for press conferences, book signings and various other promotional activities relating to the book. That was the last time she put her name on a book, and now you need to look very closely at the fine print to find her credit. And she designs the books ( and because I am her husband ) I get no say in this at all! I have also done a book about some of the amazing cars that live in Launceston. Those who know me know that I am not a car person, and am in no position to have a conversation about overhead cam shafts or grease nipples. I do however see the beauty that these machines possess, and enjoy photographing their sleek lines. Priced at $50 these books make a great gift , either for your self or for someone else. Food, travel, adventure, cars, architecture, and of course photography, there is something for everyone. We have a number of businesses who use our books as corporate gifts, and the one thing that all these books have in common is that they promote Tasmania and all the wonderful things that we have to offer here https://kuruvita.com.au/index.php/tasmanianbooks
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ANZAC Day 2021



ANZAC day is a time for reflection and a time for us to thank the generations of young men and women who served their country in the never ending series of conflicts that humans are destined to engage in .

 We recently visited the National War Memorial in Canberra which houses an amazing museum dedicated to these conflicts. As you walk in through the front door you are confronted by a large landing boat that took the first diggers into the beaches at Gallipoli. No more than an oversized rowboat, the vessel offered no protection to the troops and the bullet holes that tore through the side of the boat leaves nothing to your imagination about how horrific that short ride from the warship would have been. As you make your way through the exhibits, from WW1 to WW2, Korea, Vietnam and then into the modern era of Iraq and Afghanistan, the equation is always the same: young men and women, full of life, vitality and hope looking out at you from pictures that are fading with time. A few years ago, I was one of hundreds of photographers from the AIPP ( Australian Institute of Professional Photography ) who worked together to try and photograph all the surviving World War 2 veterans. Over the course of about a year and a half we photographed nearly 6000 veterans from all around the country. The majority of these people were in their 90’s when we did this, and it was obvious that their experiences so many years ago had informed the trajectory of the rest of their lives. During this process, I met a number of veterans who I  asked to be involved in my 20th year exhibition of my Faces of Launceston Project. Starting in 1995, I have photographed over five hundred people who call Launceston home, and to celebrate 20 years of the project I has honoured to have a major show at the Queen Victoria Museum and Art Gallery. we asked each of the 100 people photographed for the exhibition for a short comment to go with their picture   I met Leo when I was at the RSL club on ANZAC day shooting for the reflections project. Dressed in his Polish army uniform, he had been invited to Australia by the Rats of Tobruk Association after the war. Leo Minol.Arrived in Australia at the invitation of the Rats of Tobruk after serving in the Polish ArmyWorked at Hydro, Comalco and railwayStarted as a street photographer- eventually running a photographic studio which was the first use colour film and colour processing  Another of the veterans that I met via the Reflections project who agreed to be photographed for my Faces of Launceston show, Max Saunders was a very young man when he was flying in a Lancaster bomber over Europe. At a time when the odds of returning from just one such sortie were not great, Max completed over 30 raids and received the Distinguished Flying Cross, but his achievements after the war is what he takes most delight in- a long marriage  to Merle, children and grand children and great grand children  Max Saunders5 to 11 years- Glen Dhu School11 to14 years Technical collage14 to 18  years Warehouse work18 to 21 years RAAF Australia and Europe21+ years married to Merle3 Children, 7 grand children7 great grand childrenWill never be as happy!  The book Faces of Launceston, the photography of Philip Kuruvita 20 years is full of great pictures and interesting stories of people from all walks of life in Launceston. The book and prints from the exhibition are  available here: https://kuruvita.com.au/index.php/shop-categories-listing/category/21-books https://kuruvita.com.au/index.php/shop-categories-listing/category/38-faces-of-launceston-25-years
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A Long Journey to Home

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This blog is not about family portraits or my life as a portrait photographer in Launceston, but it does give you some terrifying insights into the journey that has included 30 years of running a portrait studio. If you are interested in reading more of this sort of stuff , leave me a comment, conversely, if you think I should stick to blogs about photography , let me know that too! Home is where you hang your hat - I read this years ago , not sure where or why, but it stuck. It resonated with me because up until recently ( well , the last 30 years ) home has been a movable feast. By the time I was 21, I had lived in 3 different continents, so the concept of home was a bit more fluid than most peoples. As I write this, in my home in Tasmania, there is a wrought iron candelabra standing in the corner of our bedroom which has become the resting place of  some of my hats. Interestingly enough, there are no APPA hats. My photographer friends would know what I am talking about, the peaked baseball style caps that we used to get for being a judge at the Australian Professional Photography Awards. Each had the year, the city that the awards were held in, and some sponsorship branding, and each year we would get a new one, wear it for the 3 days that the awards were on and then never wear it again. They are piled up in a cupboards somewhere, stacked in year order. There is a similar cap that I was given when I judged at the New Zealand photography Awards, and for some reason it is hanging on the hat stand/candelabra.    Along side the NZIPP cap are our outback hats, Vicki’s is an Akubra, mine a Kangaroo leather hat that I bought at El Questro station after I left my Akubra at the bottom of a waterhole when a couple of German backpackers asked us if it was okay if they swung from the Tarzan rope and swam in the waterhole in the nude. ( So polite the german backpackers! - I believe its a thing in Europe, that its okay to swim in the nude as long as you check with the other people around that they will not be offended ) We agreed that they should be able to swim how they wished, and I checked with them that they would be okay if I continued taking photographs, they agreed, and we were all happy. So happy that I must have left my hat behind.  There is a very elegant straw hat that I bought in the Cinqe Terra in Italy, its my dressed up, sophisticated look for events like weddings or horse races ( neither of which I go to if I have any sort of a choice ) where you have to be in the sun, but a sweat-stained kangaroo skin hat wouldn't cut it.  There is a Andy Capp style felt cap, its grey, and I have another one exactly the same which is black, and every time I am going to wear one, the black one wins, so the grey one gets worn from the bedroom to the hall mirror ( about 6 steps ) but that is as far as it ever gets. There is a black  Persian lambs wool hat of the style made popular by Lenin back in the day that is one of the last things that I have from my time in London. The hat belonged to my Dad ( more about him later )  I have a sneaking suspicion that it was given to him by my Grandfather ( the Austrian one - more about that too ) I recall that Grosspapa had a greyish version of this hat, and in the middle of an Austrian winter, it probably made sense. The hat has  a fold down section that covers your ears for those days when the winds are bringing snow down from the Alps and into the flat lands around the Danube.  When we lived in Sri Lanka ( I was about 14 years old ) The Austrian hat , with its ear flaps was what I used to style my hair. Being the 1970’s long hair was in , but the sophisticated people had very controlled, well groomed hair - ( think John Denver or Lobo and you are starting to get the drift )  My hair, when it was anything longer than a crew cut became curly and uncontrollable ,  ( think hippies and bands like Deep Purple and Uriah Heap ) and definitely not the look that I was looking for. Somehow I hit upon a plan of combing my  wet hair as straight as possible and then putting the  Austrian hat  on( with the earflaps down ,until it dried thus holding the curls at bay until they had set ) It sort of worked, and I was able to have long, well controlled hair for a small part of each day, but the combined action of a wool hat designed for the alps, wet hair and the fact that we lived in a hot humid country meant that the process was not without its challenges, and may in fact have something to do wth the fact that nowadays, my hair is thinning at an alarming rate, especially at the top where the heat and humidity would have been at its greatest. By the time we arrived in Australia in 1975, I had embraced the curls! The last hat on my candelabra/hat rack is a full fur Russian cossack hat complete with a red star badge and proper ear protection. Not just a flap like the Austrian hat , that fold up under the the hat when you are not using them, but the real thing with ear muffs that fold up on the outside of the hat and tie in a bit of a bow at the top. I suspect that that is just for transportation, and that in real life it is never warm enough to wear this hat with the ear flaps up. This hat has bought for me by my Mother ( more about her later too ) She went to Russia, and bought 2 hats for her 3 sons ( not sure who has the other one or why it was just 2, and in some ways I don't want to know as it adds a certain mystery to the story of why I have a Russian hat )  The only other thing on the candelabra as a pair of WW1 flying goggles, proper leather ones with  glass lenses that I bought at auction, along with a collection of fossilised shark teeth. Vicki wasn’t impressed with either purchase, but if at any stage I get the urge to wear the Russian hat with the proper ear muffs, I will invariably wear the flying goggles too.  You probably didn’t need to know any of this, and you won’t get those images out of your head , nor will you get the time you spent here back, but hopefully it might get you to look around your house and reflect on the many hats that you have collected over the years :-)
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Photographs in your home

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I understand when people say they don’t want to put a big picture of themselves up in their home. When you drill down a bit , most of the time they are talking about a close up picture of their smiling faces looking at the camera. So it is nice to be able to shoot a landscape picture in which they are just a small element  of the whole scene.  By using light and dark, and by using selective focus, it is still possible to make a portrait about these two people without it being too in your face. Because I deal with photographs every day in my working life, we tend to have paintings and sculptures around the house. There are only 3 places where we have actual photographs: each of the girls has a gallery of images taken over the years in the hallway out side of their old bedrooms, and in our family room we have a gallery of acrylic blocks with pictures of our extended families. We also have archive boxes that hold some of my Award winning images which we can bring out if we want to look at them but they are not on display. This image was taken quite a while ago. Since then I have photographed their wedding and family portraits, and now Sam shoots their family portraits every year. It is always so nice to have our families come back to the studio year after year so that we get to celebrate with them as they pass various milestones, and as their family grows. Thanks to our Lifetime Studio Pass, anyone photographed by our studio automatically  has the $150 photography session fee waived on all future shoots, so it is just a matter of contacting us to organise a time and location for your shoot. It doesn’t matter how long ago we did your portraits, if you are a past client, you never have to pay for photography session fees again. Give us a call, we look forward to seeing you again soon.
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Hinton Bay Kitchen

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Summer and fresh seafood! What a great time of year this is, and I am always grateful that Tassie doesn’t get so hot and sticky that you don’t feel like a bowl of seafood linguine! People think that I have the best job in the world, crusing about, taking pictures and eating amazing food- it is hard to argue against them, so instead I just say that it is my job to try every recipe in my book so at I can answer any questions that arise!  Hinton Bay Kitchen is set in the grounds of the Hinton Bay Vineyard, with sweeping views across Hillwood and out to the River Tamar at one of its prettiest sections. Hosted by chef and restauranteur Jane Bissett, her natural enthusiasm, and sense of fun sets the tone from the very beginning A cooking course at the Kitchen is a sight to behold! People of all levels of cooking ability getting stuck into making some mouth watering dishes, getting their fingers messy, and wondering why it looks so easy for Jane and why even the simplest things like wrapping some smoked  salmon around a piece of goats cheese can produce such varying results! Having a wine tasting in the middle of the cooking session does nothing to aid your dexterity, but adds so much to the fun of the event, and when it is all done, sitting down to a feast that you helped produce is a great way to celebrate life, friends and loved ones.  When I was producing my book Island Catch Seafood of Tasmania , it quickly because apparent that restricting Jane to just two recipes was not going to be possible!I wanted to try everything ! I mean a smoked salmon and avocado salsa stack sounds too good to pass up, and an  Ocean Trout Carpaccio that has “ Gin of your choice” as the second ingredient?  who’s going to leave that out?? The recipes in the book are all tried and tested and are designed to be attempted by people who may not normally cook, but who have participated in a wine tasting - you get the drift, you can do this, and you will impress your friends when they come around for dinner. get a group of friend together and book cooking class, you will be so glad you did!
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Newborns in the studio

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Whats so funny? The baby looks very relaxed and content, so how do you get great expressions like this from the parents? The secret is in what the baby is wearing  Absolutely nothing -  which makes holding the bottom end of the baby a  very hazardous operation! I don’t remember the exact timing, but I know that at some stage, either just before, or just after this image was taken, Mum copped a handful of wee!  Dad’s delighted expression is all to do with the fact that he is up the other end. In situations like this, there is  nothing that hasn’t happened in our studio before. I had one mother look down at her baby and say “ surely his empty by now!”  That day it was a lot more than just wee, but we just take it in our stride, there is always pliantly of baby wipes, towels and sanitiser, and I always suggest to parents that if they are planning on doing anything after the photoshoot, other than going straight home, that they should bring a change of clothes with them just in case. Getting images that show baby’s size and the way they curl up into a foetal ball is important in these first images.  It won’t be too long before everything starts stretching out and that phase of their development is left behind.  Those newborn pictures will serve as a benchmark. A starting point if, you like, against which all future images will be compared.  They are never that small again, and in the hustle and bustle of the early days of having a new baby in the house, the parents don’t really get a chance to reflect on the changes. Before you know it, 5 or 6 months have passed in a blur of broken sleep and feeding, and the baby is not as small and helpless anymore. When people ask me when they should do their newborn shoot I always tell them to come into the studio on their way home from the hospital.  Often they think I am joking, what mum wants to go straight from childbirth to a photo studio? But I tell them that its not really about the parents at this stage, it is definitely not about getting smiles or expressions from baby, its all about the size, and the relative size between the adults and baby. Besides, we have photoshop and a policy of looking after the Mums, so there is really no excuse, and if you miss that window on the way home, there is a good chance that you will get swept up in the vortex that a new baby in the house generates and by the time you come out the other end , several months may have passed.
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Sri Lanka

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In 2007, my brother Peter was writing his first book, Serendip, My Sri Lankan Kitchen, and his publisher sent both of us to Sri Lanka for 10 days. He was researching and  collecting recipes and I was taking local colour pictures to be used throughout the book. It had been many years since I had been in Sri Lanka , but more importantly, it was the first time that Peter and I had spent that long together since he had left home  to do his apprenticeship and I had moved to Canberra to go to Uni. Sri  To say it was a wonderful trip would be to understate what a great time we had. travelling around the country in a mini van driven by someone else meant that we could relax, take pictures and really get into the feel of the country without having to worry about where we were going, organising hotels or any of the other one hundred and one things that you need to organise when you are in another country. Peter had organised to meet some chefs and we went from one great experience to another, revisiting many of the places from our childhood in the country and reestablishing friendships and connections. On Dec 26th 2004 Sri Lanka was one of the countries hit by the tsunami that resulted from an earth quake in the middle of the Indian Ocean. At least 30,000 people lost their lives when a massive wall of water hit the south  and  east  of the country with water damage reported as far as 2 km inland from the coast.  This massive fishing boat was picked up by the waves and deposited high up on a rocky ledge above the water where it stayed, unable to be moved. I  tried to find an angle that simplified the image as much as possible while still showing all the elements. I enjoy  that when people see this image can make them stop and question "what is going on here?” There is a simple beauty to this image, which, when added to  the incongruence of a boat high and dry on the rocks,  attracts people, while at the same time standing as a monument to the powerful and destructive forces that created it and that affected so many peoples lives.  https://www.peterkuruvita.com/shop/cookbooks/serendip/
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