8am Flinders Street – “A homage to 5pm Collins Street”
Most people who call Melbourne home have a special reverence for the painting 5pm Collins Street by John Brack, a fact supported by its vote as the most popular work in the National Gallery of Victoria collection . We all know Melbourne is celebrated for its four seasons and its possible to experience them all in one day but winter is the time that tests us all and portrays the city in its harshest backdrop.
Brack. was well known for his dark / grey wintery depictions of Melbourne and he is one of my favourite artists. The painting 5pm Collins Street cleverly illustrates the banality and drudgery of the office workers life in a big city (painted in 1955). Interestingly the artist originally came under fire for 5pm Collins Street as people took exception to their life being cast in the bleak shadow of the routine of a Melbourne winter, and it was possibly a case of the truth hurting. In recent times people often use the painting as a reminder of what they don’t want to become, that is, a somewhat depressed looking foot soldier trudging through the city on mass to a boring office job to pay the bills and count down the hours to the weekend.
With Brack in mind I spent the best part of a few early mornings snapping away on the corner of Flinders and Swanston and Flinders and Elizabeth Street to see if a Melbourne winter still held the same connotations.
5pm Collins Street – 1955
It has been a lengthy absence from WordPress for me but I’m back with a vengeance thanks to WordPress mobile app. I’m a bit of a technological dinosaur , which is often highlighted by the growing number of millennials in the workforce who are more than happy to find amusement at my expense. However, I will not let this deter me.
One of the best features of instagram ( for me ) is the ability to share images instantly without the lengthy editing required for WordPress content, not to mention the instant gratification of somebody in Southern Guatemala enjoying the picture I posted of a rather mundane suburban breakfast in Melbourne .
Without further ado I have submitted my personal favourites from my instagram account for the lower tech savvy users and anti-instagram brigade to enjoy, with a promise to hit back with more regular content for WordPress followers in the future now I am armed with the mobile app.
Melbourne – Southbank
old Castlemaine Fire Station
Gardiner Creek – Glen Iris
Tatterstalls Lane Melbourne
Wall Art Hawthorn
off Lonsdale Street
Eureka / Arts Centre Melbourne
“The Scent of a woman” – most popular re-blogged image from WordPress.
This photo originally posted last year was thought provoking from a street photography and moralistic perspective. Although not as radical as watching Tony Abbott skull a beer it did cause a ripple of comments on social media and WordPress. The image, taken by chance, shows two male office workers looking, rather lecherously, at an attractive lady. I personally love the photo because it captures the moment perfectly and I love the setting of DeGraves Street, one of my favourite Melbourne lane ways, although not everyone agreed, some hinting that it was classic male chauvinist behaviour that they could do without seeing. Take it or leave it, but thank goodness we live in a world that lets me take the photo, post it on a world stage and let you ultimately decide what you think of it.
I recently watched an interesting story on morning sunrise about a retired teacher from the Adelaide Hills who has a very unusual take on his photography hobby. He takes images of people in a customised box, set up in his home studio. I had my doubts about his methods but the end result is actually really clever. His subjects included pensioners, students, and sporting teams. The most enlightening observation to come out his quirky photography style was that normally reserved people came out of their shell during the photo shoot, he went on to say that when people are in such a confined space they are forced to “find their own space, they’ve got to find their own comfort zone and the more you compress people, the more they react.”
I’m personally not a huge fan of any form of staged or (studio) photography, however I do like the finished product that David Brayshaw achieves. I couldn’t help but think that his adult subjects took the form of human mice in a cage. You can watch the whole story via the link below.
Most of you know about my love affair with the mighty USA , my USA obsession covers all things, from the food (you have to order a reuben at Katz Deli to know what I am on about), the people (bold, confident and proud), the Boston Red Sox (a ball park steeped in history), the beat generation father figure of Jack Kerouac (one of the most interesting people to have lived) and the best place in the world, New York, and one of my favourite places within that metropolis, Harlem.
Harlem was in the midst of Obama mania when I visited back in 2013 and it was a privilege to be able to witness the excitement first hand, the Harlem I first encountered was a gentrified version of the big bad old Harlem that I’d read and heard about for so many years. The modern Harlem featured expensive real estate, fair trade coffee shops and tourist buses roaming the streets on gospel church tours. A few streets on from the main subway entry I started to see what I had expected, abandoned and burnt out cars, shops with reinforced shutters and some mean looking gigantic gang type figures who appeared to be mentally calculating the value my camera as I walked past. We retreated back to the more gentrified streets past the famous Apollo Theatre and enjoyed a coffee whilst watching the passing parade of police power and African American pride. What an amazing place.
The fine art of posting photo’s of your friends and loved ones!
I’ve learnt my lesson the hard way with this one! I am notorious for posting photo’s from functions, party’s and other such celebrations un-edited. By this I don’t mean that I needed the express written consent of each and every person in my images, however I love to post “as it happens” and people generally don’t appreciate this. Who wants to be known for posting that shocking picture of Aunty Betty drunk and rolling in the gutter on Christmas Day or John at the staff Christmas Party vomiting in the middle of the dance floor?
Interestingly from a legal viewpoint street photography doesn’t require consent of the subject if its in a public place, but there is a judgment call on what is considered reasonable or respectable , and as we known people have different ideas about this.
Social media has heightened the tension around this issue and has led to the downfall of many public figures, just ask Todd Carney with the bubbling fiasco or Us Congressman Anthony Weiner and his sexting pictures scandal!
However I digress, my photos will not rock US Congress or be on the front page of New Idea, rather, they will annoy my friends for depicting how drunk they got or show the back of someone’s unfortunate hair do etc. This brings me to my girlfriend and our friendly battles over posting images in an ad hoc nature, usually over social media.
With this in mind (and to prove a point) here are my favourite photos of Eryn , completely unedited, ad hoc and without consent. Maybe I haven’t learnt anything after all!