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  • Writer's pictureJodi Webb

Let's start from the very beginning...

My love of photography, while I claim as my own, seems to have revealed itself as an ancestral trait through my father's family. After my grandfather and father passed away, a treasure trove of photographs, negatives, slides and super 8 films were left behind.

While I remember our movie nights as a child, watching films and sitting through slide nights projected onto a very professional slide backdrop on the mezzanine landing of our house, many of the other artefacts were new to me. And they turned up in the most unexpected places.

It's important to mention that hoarding is also an ancestral trait. There seems to be at least one in every family group, and unfortunately (or fortunately) it landed with me. So when emptying my father's house after he died suddenly, I felt physically ill watching people throwing things into a skip without careful inspection or understanding of the provenance of the household contents. I preferred to inspect everything and work out what was important. Flying back and forth interstate was not conducive to this process.

Due to time pressures with selling the property, and after the family had taken what they found special or important, I ended up boxing up the vast majority of the house of hoarded objects and bringing them to Melbourne.

So began a stuttered approach to uncovering vast treasures which brought me joy. Maria Kondo is not for me. So much of what I uncovered sparked joy - she would not approve. When I say treasure, it doesn't correlate to value or importance to other people. Treasure is when you find a tattered, peeling old wallet belonging to your Great Grandfather. Tucked away inside is an even older photograph, peeling and cracked.

It shows a strange man with a long beard on what appears to be the deck of a ship, holding a totem pole with dolls attached. He has a shaggy long jacket and is unlike anything or anyone I recognise.

So began a satisfying line of research, which uncovered (through communications with the immigration museum) that this could be a King Neptune ceremony, where crew on board ships would dress up as King Neptune as they cross the equator and be thrown into the ocean.

After further investigation, when I considered it could be a relative (and not a hobo selling dolls on the Suez Canal as I first imagined), it became obvious that this was my Great Great Grandfather, Dr Edward Robert Webb, ship's surgeon, leading the charge of the Webb doctors from England to make their way in the new country. His 5 brothers, all doctors, followed. The photograph was from 1874.

The other photographic discoveries showed great promise and interest from my Great Grandfather, who captured his in-laws and new son at the Gold Coast, in their 1917 bathing suits, visiting Stradbroke Island and Main Beach.

My Grandfather then took up the mantle and after my grandmother died at 47, his new wife carried on the tradition and was the designated photographer for the family for many years.

My father absorbed new technology and moved swiftly through various format film, black and white to colour, slides, super 8mm, very early video through to mini DVDs. He printed and shared endless (and I mean endless) rolls of film or digital prints with everyone in his photographs.

Our family would get so fed up with the constant recording of video when it was still a novelty, but now I look back with fondness and gratitude that we have those memories.

So then to my own journey. I always seemed to have a camera, at parties, on camp - then was fortunate to be at a school with dark room when I hit Year 11 and 12 - I managed to get away with majoring in Photography twice when I changed cities and schools for Year 12. I loved being in the dark room, I loved experimenting, finding new ways to communicate. I wanted to be a National Geographic Photographer. I had spent hours poring over those magazines my whole life.

I travelled extensively as a backpacker, as a young professional and then with children, photography being an ever-present part of my life. I even ran photography sessions with my daughter's year group in Prep, 1 and 2.

Finally I was able to put time aside and study photography, which has always been my dream. Sadly, that was the year my father passed away and soon after my mother was diagnosed with terminal Metastatic Breast Cancer. I was at once stopped in my tracks and yet also motivated by the urgency of death.

I decided to open my own business in the middle of COVID before we knew what was about to happen and that was that. I named the business Glimmer, as I needed a glimmer of hope with so much sadness, conflict and loss in my life. And that is how I got to where I am.

My passion? I love when people let go in a photo shoot, and that moment when they realise they can have fun. I love hearing stories and seeing new perspectives. And of course I love giving people the gift of memory.

Whether Family photography, pet photography, cake smashes, memory-keeping, memory-making, corporate headshots, personal branding or business branding..I find it rewarding to try and give people the image they didn't know they wanted.

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