Monday, November 14, 2016

Jean Claude and Kate Branch at Kirribilli house

 img alt="Kate Branch and Jean Claude Branch"

img alt="Kate Branch and Malcom Turnbull"

img alt="Kate Branch at fundraiser"

As a mother of two nothing is more important to me than our children. My husband Jean-Claude and I attended a fundraiser at Kirribilli house that raised money for five wonderful children charities. We were honoured to personally meet The Honourable Malcom Turnball, Prime Minister of Australia and his amazing wife Mrs Lucy Turnball. 

Jean-Claude and I were also honoured to listen to the address of the Honourable Dame Marie Bashir who also supports these charities especially Central Coast Kids in Need. Once again her Excellency Dame Marie Bashir said that children are the most precious resource we have. And that is very true.

We are very thankful to attend such an amazing evening. Below are the amazing charities that funds were raised for.

Bear Cottage is the only children’s hospice in NSW, one of only two in Australia, and the only one in the world affiliated with a children’s hospital.  We provide support, respite and end of life care for children with terminal illness and their families.
Bear Cottage is located on Sydney’s Northern Beaches, in Manly.  Our vision is to be as far removed from a hospital environment as possible. Staff don’t wear uniforms, no medical procedures are carried out in the bedrooms, and children’s rooms are designed to look like a normal bedroom.

CCKIN are a small volunteer group of 20 fundraisers, we get no government assistance and are a not for profit organisation. Central Coast Kids In Need raises funds to assist local families on the Central Coast with accommodation costs to stay with their sick children while undergoing specialised treatment in Sydney/Newcastle hospitals.

Muscular Dystrophy is a devastating condition, which results in the progressive deterioration of muscle strength and function. The most common form is Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy, which primarily affects boys.

SHINE for Kids is a registered charity which supports children with a parent in the criminal justice system. As many as 17,000 NSW children will go to bed tonight knowing that they have a parent locked away in prison. These ‘invisible victims of crime’ have done nothing wrong, but they suffer terribly. For over thirty years, SHINE for Kids has provided a range of services to help children and young people affected by parental incarceration.

The Burns Unit at The Children's Hospital at Westmead is the paediatric component of the NSW Severe Burn Injury Service. It is the referral Unit for all major paediatric burns in New South Wales, also caring for major plastic surgery and general surgical patients.
The Duke of Edinburgh’s International Award – Australia is a leading youth development charity, enabling and empowering young people to realise their full potential and build a brighter future. Open to all young Australians between 14 and 25, the Award’s program is particularly effective and life changing for high need and special need youth.

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Billabong retreat, Sydney

I was very lucky to escape to Billabong Retreat. Overlooking a billabong, this all-inclusive wellness eco-resort is 5.4 km from Sheyville and 8 km from Scheyville National Park.

What I liked most was meeting great likeminded people. First off if you are heading to a yoga retreat chances are you already into being a pleasant person. So unlike a Sydney dinner party it does not take to long to get past the "what do you do" conversations and into real enjoyable funny conversations.

Then there is the daily yoga...........Ah yes I forgot I had those muscles. Its great to remind oneself! And the food. Beautiful healthy food. And good food is always the starter to great conversation. The best bit- no flights. Just a 45 minute Train journey away. So no flights to drain away the yoga love.


Love Kate X

Billabong beauty.jpg
By Kate Branch - Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0, Link
Spectacular Billabong.jpg
By Kate Branch - Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0, Link

Beautiful Billabong.jpg
By Kate Branch - Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0, Link

Billabong Retreat Sydney.jpg
By Kate Branch - Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0, Link

Billabong Sydney.jpg
By Kate Branch - Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0, Link

Monday, October 10, 2016

Baan Dam and Nakamanda, Thailand

Nakamanda, Thailand.jpg
By Kate Branch - Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0, Link
By Kate Branch - Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0, Link
Baan Dam.jpg
By Kate Branch - Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0, Link
Thailand - 1 (4).jpg
By Kate Branch - Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0, Link

Nakamanda, krabi.jpg

We currently live in a world where the moment is being redefined. 

We sit in front of a mysterious and beautiful temple we have travelled far to see, the monks are chanting and we know we are experiencing something special and we then capture it with our camera. And there is nothing wrong with wanting a memory of that. Even though as a photographer I sometimes missed a shot to really breathe in the experience.

However imagine we are at a party. We are telling story about traveling to a far away land to see a temple. The story may resonate with some so much they one day visit that place and remember you, or they may forget your story in an instant. Either way your experience remains yours. 

Peace comes from within. Do not seek it without. -Buddha

Could you imagine, after you tell the story you then go to each individual and ask….so do you like or dislike my story? The story then is in danger of being told for ‘likeability’ more than the amazing experience that shaped you. And it then is at risk of not resonating with the people who could of been deeply inspired by it. 

So due to this I have decided to share my photographs- my beautiful experiences through out this beautiful world on wiki commons in high resolution. 

This way you can use the images for your projects, learning material, or even share them on instagram as your say they are your own. (That is the risk I take giving away creative license) 
However when I think that someone in Africa or the US could use my images of a Thai temple in their university project, their inspiration board for their design project or just print as art. I get excited. 

Of coarse I ask you to reference me, or even share with me how they inspired you. But you are free to download my images high res. I am donating them to you world…..go an create. 

My latest images are from Baan Dam, Chang man Thailand. The amazing artist Thawan Duchanee vision just blew my mind. Part temple, part museum, part unique unto itself. Also there are some details from Nakamanda, in Krabi. A beautiful resort that is right on the sea. You can eat breakfast while looking at the ocean before a day of adventures. 

Love Kate 

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Wat Rong Khun

I have started donating my personal travel images to Wiki commons. These are separate from my art images. However, I am a photographer who loves capturing the world. I have been a photographer since 2000. I wanted to donate my personal travel images so that people can use them in projects, websites, artwork or just print them and enjoy. Some images are captured with my beautiful medium format Hasselblad (Like the Australian Outback) and others are with an i phone (Maldives, Chang Mai)

Here is my latest donation. These images are from Wat Rong Khun in Chang Rai Thailand. 
Wat Rong Khun, perhaps better as the White Temple, is a contemporary, unconventional, privately owned, art exhibit in the style of a Buddhist temple in Chiang Rai Province, Thailand. It is owned by Chalermchai Kositpipat, who designed, constructed, and opened it to visitors in 1997. 

Chalermchai Kositpipat, a local artist from Chiang Rai, decided to completely rebuild the temple and fund the project with his own money. The artist intends for the area adjacent to the temple to be a center of learning and meditation and for people to gain benefit from the Buddhist teachings. Kositpipat considers the temple to be an offering to Lord Buddha and believes the project will give him immortal life. Today the works are ongoing, but are not expected to be completed until 2070.

Saturday, April 9, 2016


Kate Branch getting blessed by Buddhist Monk

I have just returned from some amazing asian travels with my husband and children.  The great thing about my travels was that the two destinations Singapore and Chang Mai in Thailand provided two completely different perspectives. 
Singapore is an amazing city and is only 719.1 km² with around 5.4 million people. With such a high population compared to Australia which is 7.692 million km² with around 23 million people the lifestyle is vastly different. Modern technology fuses simultaneously with the fact that every thing is really close. You can catch an uber within seconds to any of the main districts. Shopping and eating out is easily accessible- and the food options: Malaysian, Thai, Chinese, or maybe Japanese fusion. It’s accessibility reminds me of Hong Kong and Tokyo. But its culture is uniquely Singapore. 
Chang Mai is a beautiful town in the North of Thailand. It dates to the 1200s. It steeped in history and culture  and it home to many elaborate Buddhist temples. 

Buddhism in Thailand is largely of the Theravada school. In fact 93% of the Thai population follow the Theravada Buddhist religion. Its a beautiful religion and I was lucky enough to experience the temples, converse with monks about how they viewed life and even receive a Buddhist blessing. I Thank everyone who made my experience so amazing and rich. 
I was very lucky to get such a beautiful insight into a culture that seems worlds away physically and culturally from my hectic Sydney life.  Even walking around and seeing the beautiful Buddhist shrines with their daily offerings of fresh flowers and coke bottles with a straw showed me how much the Thais integrate culture and religion into every day life. Quite a highlight was seeing Chedi, Wat Phrathat Doi Suthep. An amazing Buddhist temple that is high in the mountains and dates from 1383. 

I have seen many parts of the world even travelling on my own to Egypt to see the pyramids the day after my 19th birthday. But travelling as a Mum had its challenges. And to get to the temples and see what I saw I really have a sense of achievement. And my children benefit from such an introduction to another culture that goes beyond Pad Thai at the local restaurant. 

But I am not interested in only presenting perfectly photographed images of my experience. Yes as a photographer I have a lovely array of photos captured with my iPhone. See this post about what I think of the future of photography and why I did not lug my camera gear with me. But there are challenges travelling as a mum with young kids to a foregone country- you have to constantly second guess that accommodation has all the requirements, always check you have extra filtered water so that your beautiful bub can stay hydrated in a heat different to your home town (although with global warming thats debatable). The last over seas trip was the Maldives with just one child, I was very dubious about going with two, but glad I did. 
 No matter where you are in the world no matter how spectacular- there are always challenges that need a creative spin to fix. Like travelling into the mountains to see a temple from the 1300s may require not chanting of the traditional kind but twinkle twinkle little star and a teddy!