35mm

Common Wealth

Common Wealth

You hear a lot about ‘common wealth’, here: this is, after all, the Commonwealth of Australia - which is part of the Commonwealth of Nations (along with Canada, New Zealand, the UK, and many former British territories around the globe). We have a Commonwealth Bank, with branches everywhere, and Commonwealth St is just a few blocks from where I live and work in Sydney.

I like to imagine that all of this adds up to something, that the principles of the country are that good fortune is to be shared; and yet what we see more and more isn’t a collection of boats rising with the tide.

Re/Growth

Re/Growth

It’s funny - I hadn’t intended to write a companion piece to my last essay; but, here we are.

I was back in New Zealand last week, driving down the west coast of the South Island; and what struck me after a few years in Australia wasn’t just the colour - though the variation in shades of green are certainly striking - but the interconnectedness.

It’s a very wet place, the coast, and there’s a dark lushness to the forests; especially compared to the areas of New South Wales where I spend most of my time these days…

Home Thoughts From Abroad

Home Thoughts From Abroad

It’s funny sometimes, living in my third home country.

My first home was Canada; I grew up there, studied, worked in theatre, then took a ‘one year working holiday’ to come to Australia - which became a fifteen-year side trip to New Zealand. Six years ago today, I found myself back in Sydney, which has turned slowly into home, too.

Once in a while though, I’ll catch sight of something, or there’ll be a story on the news; and the feeling of those places will return…

The Race That Stops A Nation

The Race That Stops A Nation

The first Tuesday in November is something of a sacred day, in Australia; it’s the Melbourne Cup. Offices close for the afternoon, staff hold betting pools, and nothing gets done while the nation watches.

Of course, things happen outside Australia too - but, with the date line, US elections land on a Wednesday for us; and for some of us, they get in the way of work even more than the horses did…

18 October 2018 at 5:32 pm (Surry Hills, Australia)

18 October 2018 at 5:32 pm (Surry Hills, Australia)

Really, photography is about the questions we ask ourselves as we’re deciding what to photograph.

My background’s in theatre; and the key questions I ask myself when I see a production (or decide to work on one) are these: “Why this? Why here? Why now?”

By which I mean, why this story, at this time, in this place - what particular, specific resonance does a show bring to an audience? We interpret everything in the context we experience it; so what is it, in particular, that makes the script relevant right now, to the people of this place? The answer isn’t always obvious; and, sometimes, the context arrives just as the show hits the stage…

11 October 2018 at 7:35 pm (Surry Hills, Australia)

11 October 2018 at 7:35 pm (Surry Hills, Australia)

Sydney’s a city.

Sure, there’s a harbour, there are beaches, there’s the Opera House - but there’s also all the things that come with a large population trying to coexist on a small amount of land.

Traffic, construction, development - history getting plowed under for renewal and development, with little pockets saved by determined campaigning that, once in a while, succeeds in protecting the past…

27 September 2018 at 9:33 pm (Surry Hills, Australia)

27 September 2018 at 9:33 pm (Surry Hills, Australia)

I’ve been noticing the sun, this week - well, on the clear days at least, I have.

The sun, its effects, its surrogates - we miss it when its gone, we replace it with whatever we can find, we wait for it to come back; and in the mean time, we make do…

20 September 2018 at 10:28 pm (Surry Hills, Australia)

20 September 2018 at 10:28 pm (Surry Hills, Australia)

It’s not that I’ve led a double life. Not really.

It’s more like several, sequential, sometimes-overlapping (but often not) lives.

I was back in Canada recently, where my parents are (finally) starting to think about moving out of the home I grew up in.

But the side effect of that is, everything in the house has to go someplace else; so the things I left behind, when I went overseas “for a year” (in 1996), now need to be dealt with, sorted through, decided on. And, being a filer - someone who files things - I could hardly just throw everything out.

So one of those bags that came back from that trip was full of paper - and now it’s here. And it still needs to be dealt with…

13 September 2018 at 8:02 pm (Surry Hills, Australia)

13 September 2018 at 8:02 pm (Surry Hills, Australia)

Spring’s arriving.

Sydney’s warming up, flowers are blooming, and beaches are starting to fill up with sun-seekers, and even swimmers.

A birthday lunch on the north side of the bridge took us to the sandy shore, and the signs of the summer to come were everywhere to be seen.

The sun’s getting hard, again. The shadows are crisp and dark, without a cloud in the sky.

Spring’s arrived.

6 September 2018 at 3:40 pm (Surry Hills, Australia)

6 September 2018 at 3:40 pm (Surry Hills, Australia)

Sometimes, it's just the lines.

The intersections & collisions. The mix of new and old, of sun and shade, of hand-painted and computer-created - and, once in a while, a burst of something organic.

I guess because I've been away recently, the lines of Sydney are fresh to me again…