One photo that didn't make the cut from my book 'Little Big Town' on Melbourne's laneways.
I recently had the great pleasure of showing the crew from Malaysian Airlines who were in Victoria filming travel segments for their rewards club members around Melbourne’s laneways and this is the result.
Love some of the new of art appearing in the lanes, spotted this piece in Duckboard lane, it's by an artist who goes by the moniker of #n2o_jo
A fantastic mural down Duckboard Place dwarfs the man walking by.
I wondered why a steel fence had suddenly appeared on Niagara lane at the entrance to the tiny lane (20 ft long) on right of photo, apparently someone bought it for $600,000!
Digital vs analogue
A rare sight indeed, mostly artists do their best work by night!
Another innocuous mobile screen lighting up a face near you or in this particular instance one evening down Little Lonsdale st. I liked this apt description of the word innocuous from the dictionary - Something that is innocuous is not at all harmful or offensive. Both mushrooms look innocuous but are in fact deadly. See more at jmphototours
Spotted on one of my recent laneways tours this great piece of new art at the end of Croft Alley right outside the Croft Institute.
Taking photos of strangers in the street is a staple of street photography it's very satisfying when you get a great shot but it's probably one of the more challenging aspects of the genre. If you want to explore this area of street and would like to capture images with more than just people doing walk through's from a distance, and you haven't quite had the nerve to get up close and personal to your subjects, start with small steps. One way to get used to pointing your camera at strangers in the street is to photograph buskers, up close not from a distance, I come across many when I'm taking people on my laneway photo tours, yes they're an easy target but it still requires some effort to stand in front of one and fire off some frames trying to capture an interesting moment, it's one little thing but it's all practice and it'll help break down some mental barriers to lifting your camera up to get those elusive, candid street photos that we all love to admire and sometimes if we're lucky, take ourselves.
Oh and don't forget to leave a tip for your captive subject!
But there's one form of scribble that isn't art, commonly called tagging and it's ruining so much of the legitimate street art, taggers like to say it's their form of expression and somehow this gives a level of legitimacy to it, a form of expression it may well be but art it ain't. I've been taking photographers down Melbourne's labyrinth of laneways for the past three years and over that time I've seen a slow but steady increase in the amount of tagging, or more to the point scribble being done on the many art works in the laneways. Melbourne Laneways Photography ToursRead More
Street photography and how to capture those elusive shots, obviously number one is time spent out on the streets, looking for pay dirt (to use a gold prospecting analogy) and panning (photographing) for those elusive specs of gold, also a functioning camera helps a great deal and a willingness to step out of your comfort zone. Street Photography Workshop MelbourneRead More
Some jobs are a joy to photograph, and this commission was one of those, it was a pleasure working with journalist and publisher Adam McNicol Ten Bag Press, photographing for a book about the seventy year history of ‘Credit Union Australia’ (CUA), called 'For Mutual Good’
Sounds dry doesn't it, but as we traveled up and down the east coast of Australia meeting many past and present staff it soon became apparent that this was not going to be some dull tale about about a load of mergers and acquisitions (of which there were plenty) that led to the creation of CUA but rather the story of how 171 credit unions, some with their origins starting in peoples lounge rooms, came together over 70 years to form Australia’s largest member-owned financial institution - this as it turned out was an interesting corporate story with plenty of heart!
Canals of Bangkok
Serendipity plays a big part in my photography, I love nothing more than getting lost with a camera in a strange place and finding photos that perhaps I wouldn't have if I'd stayed on the beaten track. I was reminded of this when I was lucky enough to spend a month living in the beautiful Spanish city of Granada in Andalusia, home to the World Heritage listed Alhambra the famous moorish palace that looks out over the city, there was, to put it mildly an abundance of photo opportunities, a photographers dream location.
Most mornings after an orange juice, croissant and a strong cup of coffee I’d head out onto the streets with my camera, one day a local approached me and we got talking I mentioned I wanted to get a photo of the Alhambra from up high, to get the best shot he said I should take a walk up to a place called Sacromonte around dusk, from up there you can look down on the magnificent palace with Alcazar (fort) toward the snow capped peaks of the Sierra Nevada mountain range in the distance, apparently Bill Clinton recently re-visited this spot whilst on a trip to Spain as he had been there once in his student days and had never forgotten the magnificent vista. ( I was also told that plenty of people like to have a smoke of the good stuff while watching the sunset, although I'm sure Bill never inhaled when he first watched it as a student.)
On a warm clear afternoon I set off through the Albaicin the historic Moorish quarter located on a hill opposite the Alhambra where Muslims settled in the 11th century, the neighbourhood still maintains the layout of narrow streets from that era.
I must admit to not actually looking at a map before I set out, I figured I could walk in the general direction of where I thought Sacromonte would be, quite why I assumed this would get me there I’m not really sure, perhaps it’s got something to do with my habit of never reading instructions first. I thought I was making good progress as I ascended out of the Albaicin, past flamenco bars carved out of the side of the hill where people come to eat, drink and clap along to the sound of strumming guitars performing flamenco cantes and “quejíos until the small hours of the morning.
With the Alhambra high above me on my right and the sun sinking ever lower toward the horizon I decided to take a road on my left that I judged might get me up to Sacromonte, however after ten minutes or so of walking I came to a dead end with just a couple of cave houses in the hillside and a small fenced off plot of land holding two beautiful horses.
Back on the main road again I passed an old deserted monastery the city was now out of view nowhere to be seen and my anxiety levels were rising as the sun was setting, it was too late to turn back now and restart. To make things worse I now found myself in the midst of a pine forrest wondering if I’d ever find this damn view when finally I rounded a bend and emerged from the gloom of the forrest into an open field,
Away in the distance I could see Granada, I was surprised at how far I had walked, I was well and truly off the beaten track and there was no Sierra Nevada as the backdrop, the view was from a completely different angle than the one I had anticipated, it was now towards the floodlit Alhambra out over the city and valley beyond, it was obvious why the original inhabitants had built the fort and palace there with it’s commanding views making it easy to spot an approaching friend or foe.
With no time to waste and with the light fast approaching that sweet spot where the ambient makes away for the artificial, I quickly set up my camera, from down below in the ravine I could hear the sound of dogs barking and in the shadows I could see the outline of cave houses, I framed the palace and city in the distance with the shimmering glow of lights and got my photo, not the shot I had been seeking but in some ways a better one.
The sun now gone I was in total darkness alone up on that hill with the twinkling lights of Granda far off, a warm gentle breeze coming up from the south, I stood there for a while longer enjoying the moment until from out of the darkness in the distance I could hear the the sound of barking dogs approaching, a moment of panic gripped me, quickly I packed up my things and stumbled down the side of the hill in the darkness praying that I wouldn’t topple over the edge of that ravine, the street lights down below my only guide, eventually I made it safely back onto the main road that had brought me there in the first place.
I stopped for a beer at one of those little flamenco bars and sat out the front relaxing, two players on their way to a gig at another bar sat down nearby and ordered tapas and beers, one of them picked up his guitar and started playing while his companion accompanied him with some palmas (hand clapping) a fitting end to a lost afternoon in the Andalusian hills.
It’s always been a bit of a challenge to get a self funded photo story published in anything major and it doesn’t seem to be getting any easier, so I’m pleased to have a double page photo spread run the ‘AFR (Australian Financial Review) Weekend edition’. The photo essay is about ‘Walking the Camino de Santiago in the Wintertime’ which I walked parts of in 2013 and found it to be quite a different experience from the warmer months which I did with my wife Tina in 2011. Read more here