Vanessa is the first not-photographer to take on (and own) Twelve Frames. Vanessa took her roll to Tokyo, bought a 35mm camera as a gift for her sister, and shot the roll I gave her to test the camera out. Just, like, that. Which makes sense to me, because from the moment I met Vanessa, I could tell she was a doer. Vanessa is a dancer, one of the elite few, who has made a career out of moving more gracefully than the other 99% of the population.
She also happens to be a socially supportive, innovative and unstoppable dance teacher/therapist/smile instigator using her skills to enrich the lives of marginalised members of the communities she visits and lives in. Founding and running non-exclusive Groove Therapy dance classes from Sydney to Byron Bay to generate funds for her to offer free classes for others in need. These other classes are run for dementia sufferers, elderly hip shakers with dementia, refugees or any other human that could benefit from a burst of creative de-stress and healing. Basically, Vanessa works really hard doing what she loves and in doing so, brings joy to hundreds of people, everywhere she goes. Queen. Bee.
I asked Vanessa to be a part of Twelve Frames when I met her at my studio earlier this year. I didn’t know if she could take a photo but I knew she would bring a unique perspective. She said, of course, “I’ve never used a camera, but I’ll figure it out”.
Thanks for your time and your Twelve Frames Vanessa.
Vanessa Marian Varghese
In your own words, what do you do?
Walk, sit, sleep, snack, bathe and occasionally brush my teeth. I tell you what I can’t do – I can’t sit cross-legged because of a tight hip flexor situation.
What are you working on right now?
Being able to sit cross-legged is a big one. I stretch every day. I should probably add the disclaimer that I am a dancer by profession so it’s quite a profound inability. I am rather hung up on it. Can you tell?
When did you shoot the roll?
One roll, one day, a very quick glimpse into a time spent in Tokyo.
Where did you shoot the roll?
You know it’s a real bummer, but also a little magic in a way, that I shot this roll between things. I didn’t take a single photo in a dance studio. You simply can’t – it’s culturally poor form to be that invasive. So I took photos whilst strolling between classes, chasing light and the way it played with buildings etc. The second disclaimer is that I have never taken a photo before so don’t read this then go back to my images feeling underwhelmed. Soak them in the way you would a five-year-old’s crayon drawing. Also, none of it was taken while I sat cross-legged.
Take a frame at first light
Japanese Rooftop: At this point I hadn’t worked out that you’re supposed to turn the date off an old film camera.
Tree of the day
This twiggy one: Because Stefan was doing his 12 frames at the same time as me and I wasn’t about to compete with a photographer on a cherry blossom shot.
Shoot a self-portrait outside
Self Portrait: A self-timer and a brick wall.
Shoot a space you feel creative in
Hotel room: I feel most creative in cities. I feel calm in nature, but not creative. I enjoy the noise. I am triggering so many Byron people right now.
Shoot the weather
Building: I mean it’s colourful and poppy, like the sun was that day. There was little wind and not a cloud in the sky.
Photograph someone you love
Stefan Hunt – Imagine if his middle name was Easter Egg.
Shoot a stranger
Always with the peace signs: Kawaii
Shoot your backyard
Japanese view: My backyard for the day.
Shoot yourself before bed
Legs on the wall: Like some photography school graduate, I shot a photo of my legs with shadows etc.
Shoot the contents of your bag
Contents of your bag: How great is my bag though. Let’s all take a minute to appreciate how great it is.
Shoot something that makes you happy
Blurry kittens: Because kittens.
Take a frame at last light
Last light, last shot: Shot right outside the building where I had to get it developed before it closed. Deep. Developing lab was about to close, I had five minutes to hand in the roll, there was one shot left and the sun was setting.