One day, while whiling away time in between lunch and dinner, like so many others in Melbourne, I walked down a street that I knew would be full of life and activity. My aim was to make some interesting pictures of the activity, it was St. Patrick’s Day. While Australia is relatively secular by world standards, there are enough Irish visitors and distant relatives of the Irish immigrants integral to our history to make the day busy. It was also the weekend.
My wanderings didn't amount to a great deal pictorially, but at some point afterwards one image caught my eye. It was of an empty shop, with green walls and a contrasting purple set of stairs strewn with some detritus at the rear, photographed using my smart-phone, for a variety of reasons. For some reason this image struck a chord with me, perhaps the colour, perhaps the objects strewn on the floor, whatever it was, it seemed a pleasing image. As I scrolled though my digital archive a few days after, I started to notice other empty shops I’d photographed prior to this one, most likely subconsciously.
All had a similar composition. It then dawned on me it may be possible to create a body of work that examined this phenomenon of empty shops, after all, Australia at this point was meant to be weathering the GFC quite well. Yet these shops were not difficult to find. I spent the summer of 2012~2013 walking the shopping strips that radiate outwards from the central business district. Breaking down the city by major arterial road and drawing a rough boundary at the approximate 10 kilometer mark I felt I could ‘document’ these strange edifices, all similar, yet subtly different.
I found the size and shape of my smart phone suited this project quite well. I could quickly and easily traverse long stretches of road photographing any and all I encountered, by the end of the summer I had almost covered ¾ of the northwest of the city. The size of the device and its design meant I could jam the camera hard against the glass and photograph through it. The composition was easy to recreate from shop to shop, again made easy by the way the camera on my phone worked.
As I wandered the shopping strips, I contemplated such ideas as the situationists and their manifesto, ideas of the photograph as documentary evidence, and typologies generally.
This project was in fact only made possible by technology, the smart phone I carried everywhere with its discrete form factor and portability meant images could be made any time anywhere and I would never need to gain legal access to the properties in question. I may never had considered it at all if I had not been successful at making a couple of interesting pictures through dirty glass. Currently this idea is hosted on flickr.com.
Bridge is at once a metaphor and a series of documents; I see the idea of a bridge forming strong connections, between to opposing sides of a chasm. Bridges will stand defiant, even if the traffic they formerly carried is diverted. Bridges often occupy incongruous places, unless you're a homeless person, then it is a place called home. However for everyone else they are often places of no-mans land or serve a utilitarian purpose such as a parking space. I began this project using a large format film camera; I continue using is to this day. Some digitised samples of the work are hosted on flickr.com.
In Australia, a property with a northerly aspect is considered more valuable than one without. In the middle of the 20th century big backyards were considered normal for most suburban houses. A combination of Northerly aspect and large backyard has the potential for many to be a really treasured experience. As a photographer, it has an added bonus, the light all year round sweeps across the yard lightning it in all sorts of ways. Combined with seasonal change and the physical movement of objects with in it sets the scene for a series of work that knows no end, a perfect web-based project; this work is hosted on tumblr.com
The cameras of the late 20th and early 21st centuries are really computers with a lens attached and a light sensitive sensor built-in. The information they gather at the press of a shutter is copious. They now can even provide specific geo-locational coordinates and even altitude. These tools now mean while a photo contains even more information about the time and place the picture was made, however the slippery definition of why a picture was made at any given moment continues to remain difficult to pinpoint. These images are made on my daily travels, I sometimes call them gestural photographs, made in passing and in fleeting moments. This idea is suited to the Internet as well and can also be found on a two blogs I originally created especially for that purpose. One on blogger.com from 2004~2009, the other tumblr.com 2009, to the present, as well as on flickr.com.
A map is meant to guide and describe the location and terrain between various points. Photographs of surfaces, can sometimes look like maps. Sometimes maps don't give the whole picture, photography is very good at giving only part of the picture. These small, silver gelatin prints attempt to mediate between maps and photographs between fact and fiction. Some examaples are hosted on flickr.com
Victoria University has its share of Grey institutionalised buildings, inside and out, room c511 is no exception, it is placed precariously in a way that turns weather watching into a past time. Every time I am in the room, I try to make at least one picture of the view. The view never changes, or rather very slowly, but the light and the weather always put on a show! Currently this work is hosted on tumblr.com.
In the late 1990s I bought a Polaroid spectra camera; the cameras and film were still common at this point. I experimented as best I could given the constraint of the cost of the film. The sequence here is chosen more for their strange pictorial descriptions of what existed in front of the lens when I pressed the shutter than anything else. Subverting a camera's controls to produce interesting pictures while constrained by the 'automated' features of a camera is a long unshakable desire of mine.
Freezing entropy; one noticeboard, changes, slowly, and the camera records it for prosperity, this work is currently hosted on tumblr.com
Doorways to the West
I live in an industrial area west of Melbourne. Manufacturing has declined sharply over the last decade or so. Life in the estates of small to medium manufacturing enterprises has diminished proportionally. Many doors are closed and will remain so for the foreseeable future. This is a typological study of the doors within walking distance of my home.
Concrete, the most mundane of all surfaces, is commonly found on many industrial and domestic buildings in Australia. It has become a dominant means of construction in the late 20th and early 21st centuries. It is invariably left its natural grey colour once buildings are complete. This then means with the right light it can become a fantastic abstraction. Add environmental changes such as moisture and the surface to the mix can then make the photographed can barely be recognised for the surface that it is.
"Art & Mathematics"
This body of work was inspired in part by a Frederik Sommer quote. And by the freedom that digital photography allowed me. The work subconsciously began with my first digital camera as it freed me to make pictures of everything around me to see what they looked like photographed; digitally. It came to fruition when flickr.com came on-line and I could then organise and free associate pictures any way I cared to imagine. Eventually I published a book of the sequence, due in part to the then new on-line services offering print on demand.
Dot or . as I like to call it, was inspired in part by Lewis Baltz's seminal body of work in the 70's, The New Industrial Parks Near Irvine, California, currently residing on flickr.com, I hope to publish this as a book; soon.