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 :-)
ANZAC Day 2021
Photographs in your home