EXCLUSIVE

Children playing with the ‘poor man’s pool’ this month’s Clique winner

It was another afternoon after school and Rowena Meadows' children were playing in the backyard with their hills hoist.

Meadows saw a brilliant moment unfold as one of her daughters dangled, the other frolicked with water, and took a shot.

This month's Clique winner, a moment in time for Rowena Meadow's children. <cite>Photo: Rowena Meadows/Clique</cite>
This month's Clique winner, a moment in time for Rowena Meadow's children. Photo: Rowena Meadows/Clique

That photo is this month's Clique winner, which was an open challenge.

"These are my daughters and playing with the hose is something they like to do in the afternoons, after school," said Meadows, a Melbourne-based mum and former psychologist.

"We call that bucket 'the poor man's pool'.

"I noticed that the bottom of the fence and the vertical pole of the hills hoist were sitting pretty well on the thirds lines.

"I stood on a chair so that I could shoot downwards to make the feet and water look higher and to eliminate the skyline above the fence from the shot. 

"I felt that the bright sky would really draw the eye away from the moment.

"Once I had my composition, it was just a matter of waiting for the right intensity in my daughter's face, separation in both their sets of legs, and a good amount of water droplets suspended in the air."

The unusual composition drew the attention of The Sydney Morning Herald photojournalist Steven Siewert, who judged the competition.

"[The photo shows] a lovely moment with the old clothes line and [is] beautifully executed," Siewert said, "with its timing and interesting framing with the legs dangling at the top of the frame."

For Meadows, playing with the hills hoist is part of a family ritual.

"No item of backyard equipment has ever provided so many hours of (slightly dangerous) fun as that hills hoist.

"I love how it's a bit rusted up and is framed by bushes with a relatively clean background in the middle," Meadows said.

Photography, however, has been a recent development.

"My husband has always had a pretty good camera for his job and about 3 years ago, I finally learned to use it.

"I did a family photojournalism course online under Kirsten Lewis Bethmann and knew there was nothing else for me after that.

"Documentary family photography allows me to combine my psychology background and desire to understand people's stories with my photography passion."

Taking photos of families continues to inspire the photographer.

"I love the idea of reframing how people see their family life," she said.

"I am drawn to demonstrating the richness in what may seem challenging, mundane and even ugly at times."

Meadows wins a Clique prize pack, including a portfolio review by a Fairfax photographer, a 12-month subscription to the Adobe Creative Cloud Photography plan, a custom poster from PosterCandy, a voucher from Momento Photo Books, and wine from Tulloch Wines.

To vote on the Clique People's Choice Award for the June Challenge, visit cliquephotos.com.au. Voting closes on Tuesday, July 4 at 10am AEST. The winner will be announced on the Clique Photos Facebook page.

Clique Photo Club is run by The Sydney Morning Herald and The Age photography departments. It aims to inspire and teach photography through monthly competitions, as well as workshops and events. To join, go to cliquephotos.com.au.