44 x 60cm (17.3 x 24”)
Caran D’ache Luminance, Prismacolor Black, Canson Colorline 300gsm black paper, 103 hours, own reference.
For many of us avoiding risk and playing it safe is considered common sense. It also probably fair to say that for some of us, we spend time worry about the smallest of things, hesitant to take risks and therefore stepping back from anything that may create stress or put us under undue pressure.
For a selfless group of humans though, high risk, high stress and pressure situations bring out the best in them and coupled with a desire to be useful, a compelling sense of purpose, or passion to serve the community, their gifts and aptitudes are put to excellent use.
Nothing could be more true for our Firefighters in Australia, and indeed, around the world.
This is Russell Fox. A leading Firefighter in the MFB (Metropolitan Fire Brigade Melbourne). For 30 years he has served the community of Eastern Melbourne, revived people, put out their fires, consoled shocked and grieving families and dodged a bullet on many occasions. Yes, he, like all professional Firefighters, gets paid to risk his life, but the very idea of it to most of us is almost too much to bear. He is a hero.
When I asked Russell why, when everyone is running out of a building, why would he want to run in? His response “it’s not about what one wants, running into a burning building is counter intuitive to one’s first thoughts of survival, however this is how we make a difference, it’s our purpose and we press forward because we know we must, that doesn’t take away the danger but it makes it worthwhile.
In Australia, we love our Firefighters for reasons known to many who live here- we are a land of sundrenched landscapes, scorching heat and blistering weather, and that unique environment makes our country come together every summer when bush fire season hits. So many of my friends have been affected by bush fire. They have lost family, houses, pets, treasured memories and their sense of safety. And we have bushed areas everywhere- inner and outer cities and beyond. No one is immune to mother nature and her fury.
Russell is based in Croydon, but he, and his colleagues battle it all, from bush, house, car and building fires, and now in addition, on call with the ambulance, dealing with life and death and heartbreaking circumstances that we can only imagine. What they do, and the scope of their reach is unbelievable.
One thing we can depend on and always feel sure about, they’re always there for us when we need them.
And so, meet Russell. The perfect role model of a Firefighter. An Aussie hero. A champion man. A selfless, community serving professional. This drawing, his pensiveness, his stance, his determination and stoicism, is a mirror image of him in real life, and many just like him in the Fire Brigade.