Are you a TED-head*?
I’ve been a TED-head for a long time now. I remember when I came across my first TED-talk on You Tube. I sat at my computer watching it, thinking “THIS is what the Internet was meant to BE!!”
Three years ago I was incredibly thrilled to be invited to be a part of the small but perfectly formed team of TEDx volunteers involved in producing the inaugral TEDxSydney.
I have to be honest and say that it’s now become my favourite weekend of the year! Not only do I get to hang out with other volunteers and attendees who believe passionately in the principle of TED, but I get to listen to the amazing performers and the talented speakers and contribute to the visual impression of the overall event. I also get free range to crawl all over the magnificent Carriageworks in Everleigh… one of my favourite Sydney locations.
We, the photography team, upload our images to the TEDxSydney Flickr account at regular intervals during the day. Almost livestream. It makes for a sense of urgency and accuracy (there’s no “fixing it in post” when your unedited images will appear on the internet within about 30 minutes) that I thrive on.
A more comprehensive selection of my images are on Flickr, but here are my favourites from the 3 days that I shot this year.
Day ONE : TEDx Rehearsals
One of my most favourite moments was listening to The Grigoryan Brothers and the Circle of Rhythm rehearsing in track 12. The accoustics in that room were amazing. And it was just them and me. At one point, I put my camera down and lay on the floor with my head in my hands just absorbing the most beautiful music being created right in front of me. It was an incredibly special experience. And they are all such SUCH lovely guys.
A little later on, the Sydney Children’s Choir arrived to rehearse their opening number with Stiff Gins. They were all so amazing! Listening to them sing in an almost empty Bay 17 sent shivers up my spine and gave me goosebumps.
Day TWO : TEDx Sydney 2012
The early morning late Autumn light that floods into the Carriageworks is beyond beautiful. But the Sydney Children’s Choir and the Stiff Gins’ opening number MORE than compensated for having to drag myself away from the ethereal light and into the dark theatre.
The speakers were brilliant. Every year seems to get just that much better in the level of talent that we get to hear. The performers this year were definitely worthy of their company as well.
FourPlay String Quartet showed us that there is nothing that they cannot do! They played on their own and then sounded like a symphony as they accompanied the gorgeous and talented songstress Katie Noonan. Tim Freedman wowed us with a few of his favourites, and Satsuki Odamura and the Sydney Koto Ensemble made me tear up with their beautiful melodies.
My favourite performers of the day, however, were definitely the Grigoryan Brothers and the Circle of Life. Quite possibly because when my sneaker squeeked on the concrete floor during their rehearsal the day before, they made me feel as though I was playing along and contributing to their awesomeness. But more realistically because they are just so incredibly talented and their music spoke to my soul.
Day THREE : TED@Sydney
This year we had an extra special treat. The Curator of TED, Chris Anderson, was conducting a global search for TED talent, and held auditions in Sydney on the day after TEDxSydney. It was wonderful! More amazingly talented speakers and performers!
One of the highlights for many people (and definitely for me!) was the amazing Darren Percival, who is currently doing very well in the Australian tv show “The Voice”. Darren performed at the very first TEDx Sydney, in 2010 and blew everyone way with his incredibly impressive vocal talent. I’m even luckier than most as I sang backing vocals for Darren at Sydney’s The Basement about 9 years ago. I can say, first hand, that he is one of the loveliest people I have ever worked with. Darren was auditioning to perform at TED2013. That act on it’s own, as he’s suddenly experiencing such commercial fame, shows how amazing and modest he is. He sang a lullaby that he wrote for his two children. He performed it with a simple ukelele accompanyment and a little talk about his priorities. He’s just SO deserving! I hope he makes it to TED2013! And I hope he wins The Voice!
The brilliant Australian conductor Richard Gill, whose TEDxSydney talk last year was a standout favourite for me, was also auditioning for TED2013. My son, Hamish (who is a very talented Trombonist), was assisting me for the auditions, and Richard spent some time in the green room chatting with him about his musical talent, his school, his future. A really lovely and kind man.
* A TED-head is someone who immerses themselves often in obscure but brilliant TED talks purely for the sake of stretching their brain