Max Olijnyk

Photos from Sydney and photos in general

Like a lot of people, I’m obsessed with photography. I love taking photos and I love thinking about them. Though I’ve tried to approach it more as an art practice and think of images as part of series, I don’t think my brain is structured that way – I just take photos of what I see. To me, everything is linked and everything is significant, so I suppose all my photos are part of a big series about my life.

I try to be clever with my photographs. I try to get moments that look good, or interesting, or right. All that is central to why I take each photo: if it’s ‘right’. The instinctive understanding of what is ‘right’ has hopefully coalesced over the past 39 years or so, and that’s the filter everything I do passes through, to varying degrees of success. I suppose that’s why everyone’s version of what’s ‘right’ is different, and what felt right five years ago might not feel right now.

Cameras are magic little things. I love old cameras and new cameras, but my favourite ones are small and quiet. If I could have any camera in the world, it would be a Fuji x100T. It’s beautiful and functional, quick and silent, with a touch of magic about it. I think my life would be significantly improved if I had that camera.

A week or so ago, I found an ad for a second-hand Fuji x100T on Gumtree. The photos of the camera were blurry, the description short and the price was low. It wasn’t even listed under the Cameras category. I couldn’t afford it of course, but maybe I could? I responded to the ad. ‘Interested in the camera, please contact me on …’ and then I wrote my email and phone details. That afternoon, a guy called me back. He told me his name was Darren and the camera was an unwanted gift and he hadn’t even used it that much, and it came with a tripod and everything. I told him I really liked the camera and would be happy to pay $700 for it. He said ok, he’d send me some more pictures of it when he got home that night. I asked him if he wanted my email address and he said yes but told me his email address. ‘It’s Hugs are us oh one at gmail dot com,’ he said.

‘Ok, so it’s H-U-G-S-R-U-S-0-1 at gmail dot com,’ I said as I wrote it down.

‘Nah, thugs are us. T-H-U-G-S-R-S-0-1 at gmail dot com,’ said Darren.

‘Oh, thugs!’ I said.

‘Yeah, thugs are us,’ he said.

‘So is it T-H-U-G-S-R-U-S?’ I asked, confused again.

‘Nah,’ said Darren, ‘it’s T-H-U-G-S-R-S-0-1. At gmail dot com. Anyway, I’ll send through more pictures later tonight.’

‘You’ll send them to my phone?’


It was a slightly confusing conversation, but I was excited. This guy was going to sell me my dream camera for a steal of a price. I emailed him but it bounced back straight away. I tried adding the ‘u’ to ‘us’ and that didn’t bounce back.

That night, he texted me some photos, along with a short text revealing his name was actually Aaron, not Darren, and he lived in Perth. I texted back straight away: Thanks Aaron, I’m in Melbourne, would you accept $700 inc postage? He texted back: Yes I’m actually shopping with the girl at the moment I’ll call you soon Aaron….

The next morning I woke to find I had missed three calls from Aaron. He had also texted: Aaron here have been trying to call you but you’re busy. If your able too you can call me or send a message and I’ll ring you. Aaron & Tia….

I texted him back: Hi Aaron, sorry had an early night. Call whenever today. There was no answer and I figured he was at work, so later in the afternoon I texted him again: Ready to transfer funds whenever you can send camera, thanks Aaron. I followed this up with texts with my address and requesting his bank details so I could make a payment.

That night, he texted back: Just got out from making a report to the police I was at my girlfriends place and someone broke into my house and took my tv camera laptop tablet and all my electric goods. So I’m going to have to put things on hold until they get it back they got finger prints so hopefully they can get it all back sorry I’ll let you know what happens sorry Aaron Tia…

I texted back: That’s terrible! I’m sorry to hear. Hope it all works out, let me know if it shows up and you’re still keen to sell.

I don’t know what to make of all that. Was Aaron (& Tia….) having a lend of me, or was he telling the truth? There was something off about the whole situation. Had he changed his mind? Did he figure out that the price he was selling the camera for was too low? Was it stolen and he was busted? Or was it a hoax and he got cold feet after talking to me because I’m so nice? Or was his house actually burgled? Why would someone buy him that camera? It’s a pretty nice, expensive camera – not the kind of thing you’d just buy as a random gift. But maybe he’s got that mining money, seeing as he’s in Perth.

Here are some photos I took when we were in Sydney for Helen’s 70th birthday.


















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