Southern Cross

I'm on the road to Melbourne this week. I  am staying  here for a couple of days  to work on editing the images  of the Bowden Archives book with Stuart Murdoch.  He has kindly volunteered  to help me. I am  just too close to the work.

I was able to do a bit of photography  yesterday around the Southern Cross Station

 I was waiting to meet some friends in Richmond  and I had a hour or so to take some photos around Docklands.




Richmond, Melbourne

When I was in Melbourne recently, I continued my  photographic exploration of  the Southern Cross Railway Station and the inner suburb of Richmond.  I hung around  in the former and I continued with my walking the latter. 

I had  briefly visited Victoria Street, Richmond,   with Stuart Murdoch after  our  Kodak shoot for a quick meal at the no frills Thy Thy restaurant. Whilst walking to the restaurant  I noticed that the Victoria Street  part of Richmond had radically changed from the one that I knew when when I lived in Melbourne in the late 1970s. I was working as a conductor on the trams and studying at Photographic Studies College. 

There were no Vietnamese restaurants anywhere in Victoria Street, Richmond.  The notable ethnicities  were Turks and Greeks.  Then Richmond was  identified as Struggletown. It was a working class suburb with cottages, pubs and factories. Richmond, by all accounts,   had started to become a little Saigon in the 1980s.

 Richmond  today is in the process of gentrification,  as a result of the exodus of manufacturing to the outer suburbs thereby making the inner city a much more pleasant place to live. Victoria  St is still  a gritty street,  and it has a vibrancy that Adelaide lacks,  and  what inner city Adelaideans long for and Sydneysiders now miss.   The Gouger Street precinct near the Adelaide Central Market doesn't really cut it. 

I  only had time for a couple of quick, hand held  snaps at dusk with the digital camera before the evening meal.  When walking back to the car after the meal I decided to return to Richmond  the next day  and  walk  Victoria St. I wanted to see if it was a food strip or more akin to an urban village. 

trip to Melbourne

We  leave Adelaide for Melbourne tomorrow morning.  We are staying  at Safety Beach  on the Mornington Peninsula in Melbourne with my sister Karen.  Jyl, my other sister,  will  be driving down  from Canberra. It's a family reunion of sorts---my birthday.   Ari, our 14 year standard poodle, will travel with us. We will be away from Adelaide for around 11 days. 

It's a holiday and a photo trip. Whilst Suzanne stays with friends in Geelong  for  several days  I will be photographing in the city  of Melbourne, picking up from where I left off when I was exploring Richmond in 2015: 
With a bit of luck  I'll may even  be able to do  some  large format photography in a topographical style  with Stuart Murdoch,  after he finishes teaching for the day at the Northern College of the Arts and Technology.   Weather permitting,  of course. 

We return to Adelaide via the Great Ocean Road and then the Coorong National Park. We have  planned to spend a  couple of days in the Ottway's so that I can explore the bush around Wye River  and Separation Creek, where the recent Victorian bush fires occurred. Then we have a couple of days  in the Coorong on the way back to Adelaide so that I can attempt to photograph the landscape. 

a note on photography

It is  now generally acknowledged that the photographic image has become firmly established as the predominant form of online imagery, and  that photography is now an increasingly pervasive mode of cultural production. 

However, the field of photography has expanded to such an extent,  with the various social media platforms,  digitalisation and the elaborate infrastructure, diversity of technologies  and computational processes,  that photography's specificity as  a specialized discipline or medium no longer makes much sense.  Photography is a form of art,  not a medium in the sense adopted and developed by modernist formalism in the late 20th century.  

We can go further and say that the  photographic is  no longer best understood as a particular art; it is currently the dominant form of the image in general in western culture. 

So we should think in terms of photography in art rather than art photography, since photography plays an important role in contemporary art beyond what we may call photographic art. One aspect of that role was the way that photography was used to change the status and thereby the character of the traditional ‘arts’ of painting and sculpture. 

 

    

 

in Melbourne

I was able to spend  5 days in Melbourne last week. The last time I was in Melbourne on a photo trip was  2 years  ago and I was photographing under the South Eastern freeway.  

The time was  divided  between  a scanning tutorial at Photonet on Wednesday and Thursday  for my (5x7 colour  and 8x10 black and white negatives) and  some photoshoots.  One on my own at Footscray on Tuesday,  and the second  one at Merri Creek in the Clifton Hill/Northcote area with Stuart Murdoch  late Thursday afternoon after he'd finished work at the Northern College of Art and Technology in Preston.    

As I was travelling light  on cheap Qantas flights (2 hand held cameras)  the Thursday photoshoot with Stuart was a scoping exercise  for a future 5x4 photoshoot. Stuart had photographed in the area 20 years ago and he was reconnecting with that body of work. 

I was walking around looking for  some suitable locations and times.  After walking around a bit in the drizzle we found something to work with near Rushell Reserve  in North Fitzroy looking towards  an old railway bridge: 

It is an edge land shoot.  What attracted both of us is the incongruity between nature and industry--Merri  Creek was the site of heavy industrial use throughout much of the 20th century, being home to quarries and landfills,  and a drain  for the waste runoff from neighbouring factories.  The best time is in the  late afternoon during  the  winter months.