A multi-talented man…


It’s a little galling when someone is granted more than their fair share from the talent pool. I’m sure you know the types – the ones who can’t decide whether to play professional tennis OR football; the musician with a hit album who also scores a lead role in a movie or the academic with a host of degrees who leads a secret life as a professional snowboarder…

Yep, these particularly gifted people really are a tad annoying. I know they are because I live with one. My husband. And yet I can’t also help but be proud. Let me explain…

Hubby - aka Alan Fletcher

Hubby – aka Alan Fletcher

Many of you probably know him as Dr Karl Kennedy – aka extremely talented actor Alan Fletcher. Before his life in Neighbours, Fletch played roles in dozens of plays for the Melbourne Theatre Company, made several notable films and was nominated for an AFI award for his role in the TV series EMBASSY. As if that wasn’t enough, he’s about to embark on a new TV show which he will film alongside Neighbours and THIS program is designed to showcase his talents as a PHOTOGRAPHER.



See? Bet you didn’t know he was also a talented snapper now, did you? Although many actors DO know this because taking headshots of other performers used to be a sideline job for Fletch. Over the years he’s studied his craft and worked on his techniques to the point where he’ll now be travelling the world and sharing with audience his best tips and his most inspiring photographs.

Here’s one of another ‘snapper’ from our recent trip to the United States:

Time for a bite?

Giant Alligator – by Alan Fletcher

That was taken during a swamp tour outside New Orleans. Well worth doing if you happen to be in town. We booked with Honey Island Swamp Tours – known as the oldest and best in the business. Who would have thought they’d jump so high just for the taste of a marshmallow? Yep, that’s what they feed ’em…

Here’s another ‘gator snapped by Fletch which I thought was pretty impressive… and cute. Funny how we all love baby pictures, no matter what species.

Baby gator

Baby gator

Here are a couple of other favourite photos I chose that Fletch took on our recent trip to the Deep South in the U.S.

This is an arty snap from a wet day on the streets of New Orleans:

New Orleans

New Orleans

Then there’s one of a steamboat on the Mississippi:

Steamboat on the Mississippi

Steamboat on the Mississippi

… And a couple from a bikie gathering in Memphis:

Bikie gathering in Memphis

Bikie gathering in Memphis


Bikies on Beale Street

Bikies on Beale Street

Of course, the photos look even better when viewed in a professional format but I’m sure you get the idea – he’s pretty talented, right?

So if you’d like to see more of Fletch’s work, stay tuned for when PHOTO NUMBER 6 takes to our TV screens sometime next year. It’s a travel show with a difference that will take you on a wild and wonderful ride.


For more details, check out the show website at www.photonumber6.com


I didn’t realise my husband was SO competitive – until today…


Generally speaking, I reckon men are more competitive than women. And sometimes, you even find that within relationships, couples can be competitive with each other. I’d never thought that about Fletch and myself – UNTIL TODAY.

There we were, happily enjoying some ‘time out’ – kiddie free – down along Victoria’s surf coast with my brother and sister-in-law. Early this morning, Fletch rose at dawn to take some photographs along the beach. Sunrise shots are his specialty. You may remember a few of his picturesque snaps from a blog I posted at Lorne last week. I stayed in bed and was probably snoring when he twisted his ankle among the rock pools.

We waited for him to return so we could ‘go out’ for breakfast. By the time he got back, I was starving. We decided to take a stroll through the scrubby bush lining the cliffs, down to the Anglesea Life Saving Club, where they’re renowned for dishing up a killer brekky. Fletch said his ankle would be fine, that it wasn’t ‘too bad’. Watching him power ahead of Penny and myself, I believed him. He likes to be the fastest and lead the pack. I’m used to that and didn’t think much of it.

After we arrived at the Life Saving Club, we sat on the decking, over-looking a sweeping view of the Anglesea beach. The tide was out, leaving a glassy expanse across the foreshore. While sipping on a latte and waiting for my eggs and bacon, I took a photo of my own and posted it on Instagram. It looked like this:

Jen beach

My photo of the Anglesea beach

Now, it’s a little over-cooked. I know, I know… My excuse is that we were sitting in the sun, and as you’re all probably aware, trying to peer into the dark glass of an I-phone to see ANYTHING on a sunny day is practically impossible. Fletch looked at it and nodded silently. Knowingly.

Next thing I know, he’s grinning as he also takes a shot and posts it on Instagram. His photo is,  OF COURSE, infinitely better and looked like this:

Fletch's photo of Anglesea beach

Fletch’s photo of Anglesea beach

Remember too, that he IS photographer and has dozens of special ‘Apps’ on his I-phone that I am blithely unaware of, so his creative powers are naturally, going to be far superior to mine. My eggs arrived. I felt I may as well wear them on my face after he’d shown me up on Instagram to be a failure. But it didn’t quell my appetite. I stuffed myself and the eggs were delicious. As were the mushrooms.

After finishing up, we walked back home along the beach and I spotted a row of fence posts that screamed artistic potential. ‘Great,’ I thought. ‘Now I can show the world what a brilliant photographer I am!’ And I took this:

My photo of beach fence posts

My photo of beach fence posts

I took more time with the effects and was quite chuffed with the results. That is, until Fletch saw my photo and then ran back to the fence posts. I watched in disbelief as he snapped away, knowing what he was doing. For the second time he wanted to prove to the world that he is a better photographer than me by shooting the SAME subject matter. Here’s his picture:

Fletch's beach fence posts

Fletch’s beach fence posts

Humph! Quite frankly, I think it’s a bit over-the-top. A bit melodramatic – don’t you think? But damn him, yes, it’s STILL stacks better than mine. Then I remembered him striding along the bush track to breakfast, trying to keep ahead of the girls, despite his twisted ankle. It suddenly dawned on me that he is one helluva competitive bloke.

I called him on it.
Jen: ‘Why are you doing this? Why are you so competitive?’
Fletch: ‘I’m not competitive.’
Jen: ‘Well, why do you take the same shot as me?’
Fletch: ‘If I see something and you see something at the same time, we both take the shot, that’s all.’
Jen: ‘But you see me take the shot, then copy me and do a better shot and it makes me look bad.’
Fletch: ‘No I don’t. Don’t be silly. You’re over-playing it.’

I’ll say it again. HUMPH! You’ve seen the photos. You be the judge.

But come on – we all KNOW he’s a better photographer than me. I mean, just take a look at these shots he took at sunrise:

Sunrise at Anglesea - by Alan Fletcher

Dawn breaking at Anglesea – by Alan Fletcher

Sunrise at Anglesea by Alan Fletcher

Sunrise at Anglesea – by Alan Fletcher

That last shot is my favourite. It’s pretty impressive.

So there you go, Fletch – you win. As you lie on the couch with ice on your swollen ankle, moaning, I tell you – you ARE a better photographer than me. Can you just stop copying my Instagram shots to show me up??? Thanks.

And by the way – here’s one shot I snuck in at the Life Saving Club that you DIDN’T get to copy:

My photo of classic teaspoons

My photo of classic teaspoons

Yep, all the teaspoons at the cafe are vintage classics – all different and probably sourced from Op Shops all over. I love them – their detail and craftsmanship – that each one has it’s own story and a past life.

So there, Fletch – bettcha jealous now.


Why my husband goes missing for hours on end…

Some women might get suspicious. Imagine the scenario. You’re on holidays with your husband and then suddenly he disappears for hours on end – mostly unable to be contacted. This happens again and again. Mostly in the evenings and sometimes you wake in the mornings, and he’s no longer in bed. Vanished again, for God knows how long…

Me though, by now I’m pretty used to it. And there IS a reasonable explanation.

Actor Benji McNair who played Mal Kennedy on Neighbours

Actor Benji McNair who played Mal Kennedy on Neighbours

Fletch has long held a passion for photography. In fact, some of you may not know it, but well before and during the first few years of working on Neighbours, Fletch also worked as a professional photographer, taking head-shots of other actors.

In fact, when I was writing for newspapers but wanted to break into the world of electronic media, I booked in with Fletch to take a headshot of me. This was before we’d even started dating.  Funnily enough, we never did THAT photo shoot as a newspaper photographer I worked with kindly offered to take my headshot for free, so I cancelled my session with Fletch – not knowing that in the future we would end up married.


Sunrise on the top of Mt Batur, Bali

– Sunrise on the top of Mt Batur, Bali – 1989

Then, after dating for more than a year, we planned our first overseas trip and went to Bali for three weeks. Little did I know that Fletch had decided if we could also travel well together, he’d propose. I think he wanted to test me for patience too. Patience with putting up with his need to pull over the car at any moment to set up his photography gear to take shots. That took FOREVER. Like when we climbed to the top of Mount Batur for a sunrise shot about twenty-three years ago… I didn’t mind that so much. It was the daggy mustard-coloured photography vest he wore that drove me insane. I hated it. Threatened to throw it out several times but he’s still hoarding it. Ewww….


These days, it would take a lot to get me out of bed at FIVE AM. I’d usually say the same for Fletch, but on holidays, he’s as keen as ever to conquer new photography heights.

Here in Lorne, I must admit he’s taken some beauties. This is my favourite so far:

Lorne sunset 2013

Lorne sunset 2013

Then there’s a sunrise…

Lorne sunrise 2013

Lorne sunrise 2013

And a stunning snap of the Cora Lynn Cascades.

Cora Lynn Cascades

Cora Lynn Cascades


Just for fun, I thought I’d tape a quick interview with Fletch. In all our years together, I’ve never interviewed my own husband. The concept amused me. Here’s how it went:

Jen: So what do you love about photography?
Fletch: I love many things about photography.

Jen: But what keeps your out there for hour after hour? Don’t you get bored?
Fletch: No, because particularly with nature photography, you’re communing with nature and connecting with nature as well. You’re not taking photos the whole time. Often you’re just absorbing the scene and working at how you feel about it.

Jen: But for hours and hour and hours?
Fletch: Yes, it can take hours and  hours and hours because sometimes the sun is at the wrong angle and you have to wait for it to change. or someone arrives and puts their body in the scene and you have to wait for them to leave, or you have to experiment with different filters and exposures. And of course you need to wander around and play with your compositions as well.

Jen: And it’s also weather dependent…
Fletch: It’s extremely weather dependent. It requires a lot of patience.

Jen: And as you said people can get in the way, like when we were at Erskine Falls yesterday and you needed the platform to be completely still and tourists kept jumping on it. That must be so irritating. Did you want to hit them?
Fletch: No. Everyone is entitled to go to these beautiful places. The idea is to go to these beautiful places when not so many people are there.

Jen: Are you going to have an exhibition of your works?
Fletch: I’m not planning one.

The photographer at work.

The photographer at work.


Jen: Well what’s the point in taking so many thousands of photos?
Fletch: Well, you can develop a reputation as a photographer commercially without having exhibitions. And there’s a deeper satisfaction. It’s like fishing. Some people fish just for the thrill of the catch and then thrown the fish back while others make a living out of it. I’m more like the fisherman who throws the fish back. I do it for the love of it.



Jen: Do you think you might one day be better known as a photographer than an actor?
Fletch: Yes, that’s possible because people have very short memories. As an actor I’ll probably fade away quite quickly.

Jen: Rubbish. Dr Karl will never be forgotten.
Fletch: Perhaps. (laughs)

Jen: Where’s the reward with the photography then? Is it when you get that zinger shot?
Fletch: Of course.It’s exactly the same as for a writer.

Jen: So self-satisfaction is all you need?
Fletch: There’s all sorts of satisfaction. There’s commercial satisfaction when someone buys what you’ve written, but there’s also the pure joy of creating something yourself. Like for an artist – a pure piece of pottery or jewellery. For me, it’s a photograph that is purely my interpretation of a moment in time that contains your heart and soul.

Jen: Maybe you could ask the story-liners to write photography into the Neighbours scripts – that Dr Karl becomes a photographer and then you could show off your real photos on Neighbours and also become well known as a photographer?
Fletch: That sounds a  little manipulative to me. I’m already doing music on Neighbours.

Jen: Yeah, you’re right. Maybe I should take up photography too, so we could see more of each other?
Fletch: That would be a good idea. Photography and golf.
Jen: That might be a bit much.

Well let’s see if I have any natural talent. Here’s two shots of the same scene – one by Fletch and one by me. Guess who took which shot?

Erskine Falls (2)

Erskine Falls (2)

Erskine Falls (1)

Erskine Falls (1)



Yep, I bet you picked it. Fletch’s shot is the winner on the right. Guess I’ll stick to writing. And ask him sweetly when I need new photos for the Blog.