Melbourne was recently placed into its 5th lockdown since the pandemic began. I found this one more taxing the previous ones. By about the 7th day I decided I needed to get outdoors. I decided to walk aimlessly. Walking aimlessly is harder than it sounds.
So I decided to walk into the park adjacent to our house. Then once on the other side of the park wander in the direction of some incongruous land. This land runs between a rail siding and the medium to light industry either side of it. This gives me access to places that are inaccessible any other way. Carrying a large camera (and tripod) in this instance may not have been permitted by the lockdown rules I suspect. So I carried my small Canon point and shoot as well as my iPhone 12.
I walked for about one and a half hours. I took approximately 6639 steps. Sadly I forgot to run my mapping software as I walked, so I’m using other software to trace my route. In this instance Aperture. I took very few iPhone pictures it seems, anyway. I manually added these images to Aperture’s map feature.
All up I took 189 pictures. Below is a small selection of them in chronological order.
The whole experience was definitely one of heightened senses, visual, aural and olfactory. This in my mind made the journey one that was entirely psychogeographic, even if only partially aimless.
Some changes are occurring in this area also. I have walked this area on and off since moving to Sunshine in 2000. When I next walk it, who knows? The ninth picture is about to undergo a major infrastructure project. This is one of the reasons I walked there. I shall return and use a film camera soon hopefully.
A week or so ago, I made some pictures of the houses in Wright Street Sunshine that may disappear in the next few years. With one empty block and 2 for sale signs in a strip of a dozen or so house this makes for some big changes afoot. What I neglected to mention or perhaps didn’t recognise was that most of these buildings follow a similar style and appearance. I’m guessing that at some point a government agency was involved with these house’s construction.
Thirty years ago there was an active RAAF base on a site that is now light industry and shopping centre a couple of Kilometres down the road. The site was sold to private developers in 1983(1)
There are some existing buildings of a similar style near the old site and they share similar characteristics to the ones I photographed in Wright Street. The common denominators that connect them are the materials. Fibre Cement is common. Small footprint and tiled roofs others.
The current formula that seems to be being applied to these old buildings, is the old houses are demolished. Then if the site permits several small units are built in their place. While these new units are dotted around the suburb, the danger of a homogeneous streetscape looms large.
Given that Wright Street is an arterial road then I doubt there may be that much new development going up. Keeping an eye on planning permits and council notifications will enable me to track these changes. Thereby producing a meaningful record of the suburb as it changes.
(1) Moca, P. 2015, Forty years ago May 28, 1975 Sunshine’s town clerk, Mr Bill Deutschmann,…[Derived Headline], Airport West, Vic.
I have begun working on a new photobook idea. It is nothing novel. Just pictures of the 14 or so public phones that are situated throughout Sunshine. This screen grab from Lightroom showing 11 that I have already photographed.
The idea has sprung from a larger project I am working on about Sunshine, the place I live. I have repeatedly returned to several places around the suburb. At one point I noticed the phone box on the corner of Station Place and Sun Crescent which I photographed. I then found a website that lists all the public phones in Sunshine, and in one afternoon photographed 11 of them.
My research has turned up some interesting information. I will add some of this to the final book. At this point I’m unclear if I will use film or digital to make the pictures for the final book.
In the middle of 2017, possibly after discussions with Gary Sauer-Thompson, I decided to deliberately photograph Sunshine. With an emphasis on the rapid change that is occurring. This has turned into slow burning project. Its final conclusion and outcome is uncertain.
I have lived in this suburb since the early 2000s. Digital photography at the time was still in its infancy 20 megapixel sensor DSLRs were still prohibitively expensive. I was predominately using film. My first digital camera was a Kodak DC 260. A capable camera by the standards of the time. Disks and storage in the early 2000s were also prohibitively expensive making archiving difficult. This was the era where the floppy disk at 1.5 mb was the standard. Still with that first camera I managed over 12000 pictures in its 4 year life. Many of these pictures were of anything and everything that caught my eye. I was at this stage a relative newcomer to Sunshine, so there was lots to explore and look at. Living near a major infrastructure site helped too. We have a grain silo on one edge of the park at the end of our street. We have both a busy Metro train service and a 3 regional rail services using the station near us. The land in and around these kind of service spaces have always fascinated me. Even before moving to Sunshine I would trek out to the Western suburbs of Melbourne looking for unique sites of neglected post industrial glory.
This project, currently housed on tumblr ticks away quietly now. There are some major infrastructure projects underway, with a major residential hotel planned nearby as well. So change is constant. I have discovered a new commemorative plaque nearby too. I think I need to capture all these as well now. They are useful for their textual information alone. I am building a page dedicated to the history of Sunshine on my static website too.