New Challenges

The next time I see Christian Blanchard is in Melbourne at midnight. He is in the bowels of the Melbourne Sports and Aquatic Centre, in the pump room underneath the main diving pool where he is shooting another short film for Trimapee, this time an underwater story involving birth. Time and again the models float to the surface – the man in white, the woman in black – oxygen bubbles and tendrils of fabric trail in their wake. Christian shoots the scene through glass panels.

The noise in the pump room is deafening. I step in over-sized gumboots, dodging puddles in the dim light to reach Christian who is alert despite the late hour and calm in the face of a tight deadline. They have to wrap the shoot by 3.00 am and get their gear out before the early morning swimmers arrive. He has no time to linger.

As we make our way through the tunnels to the main poolroom above, I ask him about pushing boundaries and keeping it fresh. He replies, “What’s kept me going year after year, shoot after shoot? I don’t like comfort. The moment things become easy I want to find a new challenge because I don’t ever want to plateau and feel like I can’t learn anymore, that I can’t get any better because then you become complacent and lazy and lose the passion in the process.” With Christian Blanchard you get the feeling there’s little chance of that ever happening.

Alison Stieven-Taylor is an author and photographer based in Melbourne. For more information visit www.realityillusion.com and www.astloveslife.blogspot. com. Her latest book, Rock Chicks, profiles the leading female rock stars from the 1960s to today.

Photographs by Christian Blanchard, copyright 2011