For the second year running the skies in Melbourne have been far more photographic and overcast than I remember in summer.
I really exploited this in the quiet period from when I started my holidays to the new year. Many construction sites are closed at this time of year. This makes it even easier to photograph these places. I have shot more than 3 rolls of 120 film and about 20 sheets of 5×4 film. The results at this point seem pleasing.
This year I didn’t borrow a digital DSLR from work so the only digital files I’m making are using my iPhone.
These are the images I’m adding to this post. I also used the quiet time to scout a few possible locations moving forward. I’m very interested in the infrastructure projects going on right now all around Melbourne. In particular I’m interested in the ones that are close to me ie the inner west.
These are going to change the fabric of these suburbs. For better or worse I don’t know. But change they will and I’m trying to capture as much as I can, while I can.
I have applied to the Sunshine Community Arts Space for another solo show in 2022.
Here are some images that formed part of the application and potentially part of the exhibition.
The images form part of a larger archive and at one level are simply images I’ve always connected to, but not actually printed to exhibit in the past.
Like the last solo show in 2019, these prints will be small about 18 cms square. However this time I am not framing, just pinning, to the wall.
The work comes from a place that I have been situated in since the beginning of the pandemic. Relying mainly on my archives and my darkroom. I initially set out to make a small artist book, using contact printed negs. This process lead me to realise I could make a small solo show or two from the images I collated. All up I looked at over 539 medium format contact sheets from 1988 to 2021. The first edit for the book culled this down to about 80 images. This was too many for the book I had planned. The excess images may then make up several solo exhibitions.
Much 21st-century architectural discourse has orbited around two dominant paradigms of urbanism: on the one hand, the rapidly growing city-region, exemplified by the Pearl River Delta; on the other, the shrinking post-industrial city, exemplified by Detroit.
Last weekend I walked from a small carpark west of the CBD to the Yarra river at Spencer Street. A distance of about 2.6 kilometres one way. All up 5.1 kms return.
Upon my return I noticed an electricity tower was partially dismantled. I returned 5 days later and it has been completely removed. This view of the western edge of the CBD now clearly visible from the edge of the Moonee Ponds Creek, only because of the removed tower. I have other pictures in my archive on digital and film from this location.
Photography often takes a back seat in January for me. Summer photography has been prolific this year for me though.
The weather continues to be overcast in the mornings. This is somewhat unusual here in Melbourne, in January. I decided to get out and exploit this on Saturday. I went looking for spots to make pictures in and around the infrastructure projects going on. Close to home.
This truck holding bay is a favourite of mine due to its location and topography. You can see the CBD easily and in the right conditions make some good pictures of Melbourne.
The blue screens on the Citylink off ramp are the only clue that construction is underway. All the action is behind me here. I wandered west with my ‘Blad and made a few pictures of some of the works going on. As I have yet to process this film it remains to be seen if I was successful.
At least I have some record of the changes that are occurring. This forms a major motivation behind what I am focusing on these days.
This view did not exist in 2019. I can’t remember the last time I drove along Dohertys road.
I am standing on a bridge built for cyclists that forms part of the federation trail. I’m not quite certain when it was completed. Google maps most recent picture of this part of Dohertys road is from 2019. The new bridge forms part of the larger infrastructure works going on around the Westgate. The works are affecting the peripheral and arterial roads that run off it. This trail will allow cyclists to ride from Werribee to the city. It crosses Dohertys’ road a dual carriageway arterial road.
As I had not had a chance to really explore this part of Melbourne since we had spent so much time in lockdown last year. I decided to investigate several areas nearby that I know would have altered radically.
Dohertys road used to be a single lane arterial road. Given the real estate in this part of Laverton there would have been many many large trucks using this road. It is now a dual lane road which no doubt means the numbers will increase. Melbourne’s cyclists can now cross this road safely using this bridge.
The weather on the day I was there proved to be almost perfect for photography. Unusual for Melbourne in January. I suspect this will be a regular location now.
This approach to finding locations underpins my work. Not being able to wander and just follow my nose while we were in lockdown was stifling to say the least. At least it means there will be plenty more surprises waiting for me; all within a 10 minute drive from my house.
There is plenty being written about the pandemic across every political spectrum. This article turned up in my newsfeed on Facebook recently. The title Melbourne is not a city in revolt. The truth is far more incredible (and far more boring) says plenty, but the article really sums up how many ordinary folks are feeling myself included.
In 1966, Ed Ruscha photographed ‘Every building on the Sunset Strip‘ in Los Angeles. It became a book and the original is highly sought after. I have seen the copy the NGV has in its collection. Such a simple and elegant idea. The book is one long accordion type book. It is small but intriguing. I have attempted my own version of the idea twice now. Once in Yarraville with a small stretch of houses that have since been demolished, for the Regional Rail Link. The ‘album’ is on flickr it is entitled Buckley Street Seddon. It took approximately 40 minutes to make those pictures.
I did the same recently, only this time I walked along Wright Street, Sunshine, from Stanford Street to Hampshire Road.
I started at the Stanford street and walked West, the numbers on that side of the street are even numbers. I excluded the corner houses. The photography component took all of 20 minutes.
There was one empty block primed and ready for redevelopment. And two other blocks with for sale signs on them. Big changes are indeed afoot. What form shape or size they will take remains to be seen I guess?