Tales by Light - Season 3 Episode 1

For Simon Lister, photography is a window to other parts of the world. He first picked up a camera when travelling around the globe to keep a record of the places and cultures he had come across. It wasn’t long until the Sydney-based photographer’s focus shifted. After meeting many disadvantaged families and children, Simon wanted to use photography to bring the outside world in.

Now a photographer for UNICEF worldwide, Simon has focussed his personal passion on capturing the stories of children struggling to survive in the world’s poorest regions.

The documentary series Tales By Light follows Simon and UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador Orlando Bloom on their journey through Dhaka, Bangladesh. The film shares the stories of the lives of children living in the slums on the edge of a busy railway track, and trading school for work to support their families.

Simon’s moving photographs take viewers to the frontline of what it’s like to be one of these children working in hazardous conditions such as in balloon factories. It’s ironic, Orlando says, that balloons represent such joy and happiness at kids’ birthday parties. “These kids, do you think they have ever had a birthday party?"

UNICEF Brand commercial 2016

UNICEF's Brand commercial, featuring the voice of Liam Neeson with roll out over 190 countries around the world. Directed and shot by Simon Lister, music by Nylon Studios Jesse Watt, vocals by Lisa Gerrard, edited by Hecklers Andrew Holmes, agency Marcel Australia's David Nobay and Holly Alexander. For UNICEF David Ohana, Angus Ingham


"Of all the paths you take in life make sure some of them are dirt".
An adventure off road motorbike journey through the north east of Mongolia to the birth place of Genghis Khan. To a destination just thirty kilometers from the Russian border. Six mates and five days biking, covering over 1300 kilometers. Riding over the most amazing landscapes, and experiencing local beauty, wild horses and timeless culture. Tour operated by MotorcycleMongolia, filmed in fullHD with drones, discover this beautiful unseen country drenched in history and epic unparalleled riding landscapes.

Artbreaks "The Scimitar's arc"

This was a commissioned piece through writer and Creative Director David Nobay who wrote a poem on Bangladesh. This is the end result being showed on ABC iview Australia. Music by Nylons Jesse Watt, voice over by Lee Perry and visuals edited and graded by the talented team at Heckler. Filmed by myself in the amazing beautiful craziness of wonderful Bangladesh.

On the beach

A poem about Bondi beach, Sydney Australia filmed over the past two years, here are some shots of Bondi beach and its culture in the golden hours of light. I took on this project to learn about filming, light and angles and to sit back and watch the beach come alive with activity of life. Bondi has a unique wonderful culture and we are blessed to have this as our backyard to the city of Sydney. Created and realised for the people of Bondi and its visitors, this is not an advertisment or a paid gig, this has been only made for the passion of the craft and to share visual memories with my friends and fellow beach lovers. If you discover yourself as part of this project please hashtag your name, thank you
Video is an excerpt of the full poem below

Posidons Sons

Poem written by Jay Furby

From earth they emerge,
beckoned to sea from home,
for their essence is Alchemy,
of salt, skin and bone.
With salted head from day before,
to the beach they are born,
these sand dusted creatures,
blessed with strong limbs
and water smoothed features.

To the beach. To the beach. To the beach.

Where water cathedrals soar over men.
Archdeacons of surf.
Baptized by sea.
With board for rapier and bravery for foil,
and every wave fought for on hard knuckled soil.
Where slick bodies drip and hard bodies burn,
and jealous eyes, hidden from glance, on golden muscle yearn.
Where cameras take memories to far off lands.
with oohs and aaahs and gasps
and sockless feet that sink in sands.
Where tattooed tanks peacock, and those frail of skin
soothe their bodies in salt water, that hides other’s sin.
Where flags flutter, waves curl and slender shapes duck beneath glass,
to be King for a day is all that they ask.
Where some stoop for gold that will ne’er be found,
blinded to the salt skinned diamonds that glint all around.

On the beach. On the beach. On the beach.

The clunk of oar on boat, rowed hard to sea,
While others fall breathless and panting in lee.
From rocks up above young men launch high,
and way down below the azure sky,
the swish of hips makes old men sigh,
with wizened lips that curl to smile,
for scent of woman has been a while.
Where children cry out as ocean swells,
as skaters soar from concrete shells
and youth skips by on softest sand,
while wrinkles weep for what once was grand.

On the beach. On the beach. On the beach.

Where peach cheeks glow as sun takes its bow,
and milk skins turn lobster,
to make others howl.
Then the white horses shall lower their heads,
and those salt haired surfers must go to their beds.
With shoulders slunk low they mournfully sigh,
sad stares on weathered faces that signal goodbye.
For giggles must fade at end of day
and sun kissed faces drift away,
drizzled and blessed with ocean spray.

On the beach . On the beach. On the beach.

They leave at dusk.
The seagulls reign. The Emperors of sand.
And the sea that whispers and brushes with hand,
sings softly, Au revoir.
To fat bellied men selling ice creams from vans
and sticky dripped cones clasped in pudgy pink hands.
And huge muscled hulks from Eastern lands,
with the deepest, the darkest, the chocolate of tans.

On the beach. On the beach. On the beach.

Into shadows they melt, granite arms gripping boards,
whom Poseidon’s anointed, Princes not Lords.
Deities of wave, royal blood of the sea,
these stone marbled men carving nature’s majesty.
Sand will rub their feet again.
For the bluest hue of tide, streaked grey by dusk, sleeps black,
and with the lemon rise of dawn shall turn, start thunder rolling back.
The sun will lick the lip and the ocean will come,
with its bittered honeyed taste of savored salt on tongue.

The heroin of the gods.
The drug in the vein,
that once tasted turns its key, so all must remain.
It seduces with a lick.
charms men to its soul,
To dart as molten silvered fishes
swimming with the shoal,
That hallowed silky dance, of water on skin.
So dark night can pass and dreams can begin.

On the beach. On the beach. On the beach.

filmed by Simon Lister
Voice over Ella Lister
Graded by Resolution design and Simon Lister
Edited by Simon Lister and Julian Currin
Music by Mark Allen Nylon Studios and Damian de boos Smith
with thanks to Kevin Denholm, Alexander Housalas, Bruce Stafford, Pama Davies, Andreas and Thomas Thoma, Chris Prestidge, Leigh Jameson, Lara Allen
Shot on Canon 5D mk3, 100-400mm 50mm 1.2, 24mm 1.4 Canon C300 400mm

Art Start

Art Start is an award-winning and nationally recognised New York City charity that focuses on personal development through creative arts. Art Start’s mission is to utilize the arts to help homeless and court-involved youth transform their own lives by exploring the realms of possibility for their futures.

Whether they are homeless or facing rehabilitation from incarceration, Art Start provides a place of refuge for all of these children. Art Start’s participants are children and young adults aged 5-21 years old. They live in city shelters, on the streets, or in troubled homes. They are in foster care, or they are simply surviving with parents in crisis. They are facing pending juvenile court cases or have been formerly convicted of crimes.

The music program provides a place where youth learn lyric writing, vocal and verbal performance, music sound design and production. Through these processes, the program ultimately encourages and supports personal development, collaboration & team building from working with other students and the various volunteers, local teaching artists, and educators. For many students, this individualized attention nurtures direction, guidance and an outlet for expression while they are going through a time of disabling transition. For many, the experiences offered to them through Art Start are a once in a lifetime opportunity.

The video and campaign was produced for ArtStart by Simon Lister, Nick Carew, Mark Beckhaus, and Halle Petro. Dmitry Libman and Dave Robertson aided in on location audio recording. Jack Milas, Johnny Green and Oli Chang, Joey Reyes gave in house workshops and feedback on tracks created by students.

The video was filmed on location in New York City by Simon Lister and features Music by Nylon Studios Scott Langley, Guy Brown,WHITECITYLIGHT and Blair Joscelyne, Edited by Andrew Holmes @ Heckler.tv

Featured music by TStar Rich, Tory MD, Krhazey 80, Miky Hustles,Tracy King, Spiritchild and Mc K-Swift @ One Mic

Special thanks to, Nick Carew, Nathaniel Joyce, Will Alexander, Bonnie Law and Jordan Lister at The Colony New York city


Bondi to Bronte

Short video of the culture and life at Bondi and Bronte beaches in Sydney Australia, to my surfing mates and neighbours who live in the eastern beaches, this video is made up of a few mornings observing the morning rituals of life, fitness, surfing and just walking the sand. music – mammals mammalsmusic.bandcamp.com/

Morocco offroad

If you want to ride on rocks, harsh arid land and mountains I guess Morocco would be the place to go, and yep thats what I found.

This is definitely a hard barren place and the country is all made upon rock. I arrived by plane into the town of Ozauzazite at 2:30 am and met my guide who was going to take me on my tour. I wanted to travel by myself on this trip as I love to take photos and wanted the opportunity to stop were ever whenever I wanted and take photos without holding up a group. The experience of getting out of Casablanca to Ozauzazite was something out of a circus and arriving in a strange place in the early hours of the morning kept my guard up a little, and traveling for over 22 hours to get to this desert town I was eager to get my head onto a pillow and get some sleep.

My guide informed me that a tour group of girls had just had an accident and had been hurled out of a car with no safety belts on and were in a very bad way staying at their house waiting for a plane to arrive to take them back to Holland. One of the girls was too beaten up and had to stay in hospital with 6 broken ribs and a punctured lung, the other 2 girls at the house had a broken foot, broken back and shoulder and various cuts and grazers to the face and other parts of the body. Welcome to Morocco! It certainly was a wake up call in how dangerous this region is and with my 8 day trip off road on dirt bikes certainly made me rethink my safety. I got to sleep at 3:30 am and was a wake again at 6 am, I had breakfast with the girls and we then carried them on stretchers to the ambulance to take them to the airport to be flown out, I think their travel insurance company were eager to get them home and away from the local medical “state of Morocco”!.

By 10 am we were off on day 1, I was riding a Yamaha TTR600 and my guide was riding a KTM 950 Super Enduro, I had the option of getting a KTM 630 but as I was filming on the bike, the Yamaha gave less vibration for the camera, I was using a GoPro HD camera mounted to my chest, this is a great camera and is full HD, even though other parts of my male anatomy wanted the KTM (mustang) my safe brain intelligence suggested I should have the Yamaha!. We were off, we first rode to the foot hills of the High Atlas mountains, we crossed over flat desert type terrain and we rode on rock type roads in the mountains, occasionally we would go of the track and head up and over hills and also a lot of riding up dried river beds and also wet river beds, I enjoyed getting wet in the streams while riding as this cooled me down a little.

The terrain is epic in Morocco, at some stages you feel you are riding in the Grand canyon, and traveling between 60 and 100 km’s,took on a fast adventurist and thrilling ride the lack of people and cars around meant we could open the throttle a little and experience what its like to do Dakar style racing!!!. We spent a couple of days traveling to the dunes on the edge of the Sahara desert, to get there we rode for 8 hours in 47 degrees C,the amount of water I had- would be in the gallons AND I didn’t expel any liquid at all the whole day, the body really needs the fluid in these conditions, I had a camel pack on my back and I was drinking hot water from it all day, I would drink litres in one session and still be thirsty, in this dry heat and the type of clothes I wore while riding I didn’t sweat much either, I guess when I get back home in 2 weeks i’ll be sitting alot on the toilet!!!.

We rode over sand dunes in the evening as it was a bit cooler to ride in. It was a different way of riding in the sand, with deflated tires we would ride over the dunes at about 40 k’s p/hr to keep the momentum going so we wouldn’t get bogged down. Also a technique you need to have is to slow down at the top of the dune as you can’t judge the other side, I found this out fast as I cart wheeled down one slope after I went over too fast. Another moment was when I was climbing one dune and released almost at the top that I was riding over Erg Chebbi, the highest sand dune in Morocco with a height of 300 meters I realized that this girl was to epic to go over, so I freaked out and rode off to the side, the video footage of this is hilarious as all you can hear is me freaking out whoa whoa whoaaaaa!!!! might have to put it up on you tube for a laugh.

Lines on the horizon and thats about it, just flat hot dry land, we would cruise across these parts sitting on 100ks/p/hr awesome riding occasionally standing up to carry the bike over the occasional ditch, if its a deep ditch or hole the bike at this speed tends to glide over.

I loved the ride through the mountains, the terrain changed constantly, some hard tracks than others, we would venture up rivers with no tracks and you would see the odd Moroccan Berber riding his horse or donkey somewhere in no-mans land, what were they doing out here! surely I thought if they just moved twenty kilometers that way there is a oasis with palm trees and spring water to wash in. I guess the view up in the rock house in the side of the mountain with the dirt is better. I certainly shaw a lot on this trip, the way people live, the way animals were treated and also the harshness of the land and what religion and culture can do to shape a land, its certainly different to Australia from were I am from.

The last day of riding became the biggest day of the week, we weaved our way around mountain after mountain, one track was very rocky and demanding on the body, lots of technical riding around a road that was very busted up, we got to a village in the middle of nowhere, beautiful, surrounded by green lush fields, it was picturesque, I was told it has been used for film shoots in the past, and I can see why. We headed on the track around the back of the mountain and came across a slip that had taking the road out, a huge boulder had also dropped right in the middle of the once was track and the edge was a good few hundred meters straight down, we might of got the bikes around, maybe with ropes but the support vehicle had no hope of making it through, we had to go back and again over that darn rocky track, o’ my arms were feeling today. So we headed back the way we came, all two hours of back tracking, at one stage I lost my guide (he goes ahead a bit!!!) it really concerned me as I was catching a flight in the morning at 5:30 am (why such crazy hours!)and I knew we were no where near home, after 30 mins of riding in whatever direction looked right at the time, I came across Peter resting under a Olive tree,phew saved!, these trees are hundreds of years old and there are thousands of them all perfectly spaced throughout the Atlas Mountains.

By evening the sun was fading and rain set in as we rode over the mountains still, there came a time were I could not see in front of me, the light on front of the bike gave me only a few feet in front me, it didn’t even reach the roads surface, I couldn’t go on and Peter was too far ahead for me to stick close to to see where to go, I had to wait for the support vehicle to catch up and then it could guide me down the mountain with its high beam lights. This worked the vehicle caught up to me and stayed on my back wheel for the next few hours, big day, we finished our trip into Qzauzazite at about 10pm that night, we stopped and had dinner in town then unloaded washed the dirt off my gear, as I know it want get through customs in the state its in, I collapsed at about 1 am, the flight out left at 5:30 am so was up again at 4, to sort out damp washing and motorcycle gear. Goodbye Morocco.

This ride is one of the most epic things I have done and experienced, at the time I’m holding on and steering the bike down unknown tracks and paths that lead us into the unknown, but we hold on and we go forward, we know its dangerous, but we don’t think of the consequences of coming off and doing injury.

Each year I go and each year I come back, the experience of traveling over these grandiose landscapes is absolutely full filling and satisfying. What a great World we live in.
Guide: Peter Buitelaar Bikershome Tours Morocco

Joel Fitzgerald Surfboards

It has been an honor to share this story about shaping surfboards, and a real privilege to collaborate with Simon Lister. I appreciate all the energy that has gone into this project, and the skill of those whom make Joel Fitzgerald Surfboards possible. A special thank you to Rae Neil, Luke Howie, Dion Chemicals, Guy Brown, and to my wife Chrystal for her love, support and encouragement.