Posts Tagged ‘Sydney’

Day 33 of the project coincided with the Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras, and as it’s probably one of the most photographed events of the year I decided to take a different angle, concentrating on taking pictures of the photographers!


Johnson – Taxi Driver

One criticism often voiced by European travellers to Australia is that it’s vastness is not quite matched by variation. A town in rural Victoria isn’t too different from another about more than a 5 hour plane journey away in Western Australia. Certainly not the kind of difference you would see in Europe going from Madrid to Moscow. I spent a lot of time back in 2006 fruit picking in Northern Queensland and flew back to Sydney with a similar impression. There were similar structures, the familiar green of a Woolworths, a local Hotel (pub) on the street corner and people still hated AFL!

However today, it is different, as Queensland recovers from the horrors of a category 5 cyclone it’s difficult to image what they have gone through up there and what they still have to go through. A tragedy hitting even closer to home with practically everyone in the country knowing of friends and/or relatives  in and around the danger area. Yet on the street of Sydney life doesn’t miss a beat as this taxi driver dropped off a fare at a busy shop forecourt, while the patrons of the pub beside it boisterously celebrate getting one day closer to the weekend.

It’s the inevitability of life but all the same it leaves a lingering and uneasy sensation of how disconnected we all are. Even in the picture there is familiarity, the street lights giving the photographic scene a distinctive tungsten hue, the same hue that’s being emitted through our TV sets amongst the fragmented images of the storm at its worst last night, but the two pictures exist worlds away. The only similarity now is the comfort to be found from the compassion and reassurances articulated by Queensland Premier Anna Bligh whose presence over the last few days, and before that with the flooding crisis, has stood up as a symbol of Australia’s unbelievable strength and readiness for dealing with such disasters. Her role as much for those feeling powerless to help by geography as those powerless by human limitation against the forces of nature.

Meiron – Reggae Musician

Well, a dramatic start to the new 365 portrait project. I headed to work today in 40 degree heat with my camera and a minute by minute plan of my day which included going to a gallery opening, designing a poster, replying to everyone I need to reply to and editing my remaining photos (all 10,000 of them). At approximately 6.45 p.m., around the same time I had myself booked in for an amazing ‘random heat struck guy/girl in the city’ day defining photoshoot I discovered I had left my memory card in the card reader on my desk. About 10 more minutes spent with the sweat dripping down my back hanging around the underground passage at Central Train Station, debating how I could ask someone to pose for a photo using my phone camera and not appear like a serious weirdo, and my perfectly planned day was thrown right out of whack.

But things always happen for a reason, even if sometimes that reason is to piss you right off, and I ended up off schedule in Newtown taking a lovely photo of Meiron as the setting sun reflected against the galvanised cover of the old bakery shop. I’m almost tempted to leave it at that descriptive setting and neglect to mention the part where I stood around for 20 minutes trying to work up the courage to ask someone to pose for a photo and then walked away without asking the subject his name! Luckily Sydney isn’t Germany and he was still there waiting for the bus when I realised! Day 1 and I’ve a long way to go!

Day 365 – Sunset on Sydney

Well I eventually made it to day 365 of the ‘take a photo every day for a year’ project! Whew, it was a long year and a much tougher project than I realised. I mean it did sound easy, all you have to do is take 1 photo but the stipulation that you have to post it to a public blog/social network site meant that constant thinking went into what the image should be and the technical considerations to achieve that. It did take its toll in the end and I missed a few days but it’s something I’m very glad I did and would recommend to any photographers. It really focuses you on why you photograph and its uses as a visual art.

The photo above is of patrons arriving for a show at the Sydney Opera House with the sun setting in the background casting a shadow across the ground. I thought the sun setting was appropriate for the ending of the project but also in an iconic Sydney landmark which is the city i took most of the photographs throughout the year. It is typical of a lot of the images I took this year, part voyeuristic, part disengaged. A study of people and things without my presence impacting on the people within the image.

It is for that reason that I’m starting a new 365 Project but this time entirely of portraits. If I hid away to photograph the world last year, this time I will spend every day asking people can I take their picture, with the resulting image only happening in that unique way because of the connection between photographer and subject.

If anyone would like to be part of the project you can either take your chances on finding me on the streets of Sydney or give me a shout through the ‘Contact Me’ section above. I look forward to it!

Quote of the day: 

“We can aspire to anything, but we don’t get it just ’cause we want it. I would rather spend my life close to the birds than waste it wishing I had wings.” – Eli Attie

Day 230 – Grand Final

Today’s picture was taken at Blacktown where Sydney Uni’s senior men’s team, reserves and U18s contested their respective grand finals in the Sydney AFL league. Unfortunately only the U18s were successful. The senior game was one of those frustrating games where the team you’re going for are continually behind by about a goal or so and just can’t catch the breaks to get in front. What made it worse was the fact that Uni were clear favourites going into the game. Thats sport I guess, sometimes it gives you a sense that no matter how hard you try or how much you wish or cheer, a victory for the other side is just meant to be.

Quote of the day: “Do you know what my favorite part of the game is? The opportunity to play.”- Mike Singletary

Day 202 – Beam me up Scotty

Emotional match at the SCG today as Swans captain and legend Brett Kirk played his last match at the SCG. It also marked the last game home game for coach Paul Roos as the Swans beat the Western Bulldogs to cement their finals place. It will be interesting to see where the Swans go next year without their two main leaders but we’ll be hoping their influence can carry on.

Day 195 – In Support of Gay Marriage

Had a busy day today, study in the morning, protest march at Town Hall at lunch, photos of Sydney Uni AFL’s Old Boys Day in the evening followed by the SWAFL Trivia night (which our table won!!).

Anyway for my 365 photo (s) for the day I picked some from the protest march. I still find it unbelievable that in a country like Australia, where the majority of people support same-sex marriage that the 2 main political parties both take the stance that they would not bring in legislation to allow gay people to marry. Julia Gillard believes now isn’t the time based on “where we’re at as a community now”, well then Julia when is the right time? Was the time right for women’s rights or the rights of the black people in the US? Was it ok that before the time was ‘right’ people were being lynched, murdered or treated as second-class citizens? I read a great quote from Martin Luther King recently:

“We are now faced with the fact, my friends, that tomorrow is today. We are confronted with the fierce urgency of now. In this unfolding conundrum of life and history, there is such a thing as being too late. Procrastination is still the thief of time. Life often leaves us standing bare, naked, and dejected with a lost opportunity. The tide in the affairs of men does not remain at flood — it ebbs. We may cry out desperately for time to pause in her passage, but time is adamant to every plea and rushes on. Over the bleached bones and jumbled residues of numerous civilizations are written the pathetic words, “Too late.” There is an invisible book of life that faithfully records our vigilance or our neglect. If we do not act, we shall surely be dragged down the long, dark, and shameful corridors of time reserved for those who possess power without compassion, might without morality, and strength without sight.”

There are some then who believe that marriage shouldn’t be allowed because religious leaders disagree with it. They think that gay people getting married will see moral society grinding to a halt or that it needs to be kept as just a religious sacrament. But which religion? The state recognises marriages of all religions, marriages involving atheists, marriages between people who have broken the law, murderers and child abusers in jail can get married but gay people still can’t. The institution of marriage even outdates most traditional religions, going back to Ancient Mesopotamia.

The part of the election campaign I had to laugh at though was Wendy Francis, who did her party no favours with an ill-thought twitter message after a debate involving gay marriage on one of the breakfast TV programmes. This is actually what she said:

“Legitimising gay marriage is like legalising child abuse” Firstly what a load of unintelligible crap from someone who is actually RUNNING FOR GOVERNMENT! Secondly what she isn’t seeing, and what a lot of other people don’t see is that children are already in these families, whether it’s children from previous relationships, by circumstance or planned. These families exist, and the lack of a formal structure, not to mind adoption rights to same-sex partners, make the children’s life considerably poorer than it could be. For example anyone can have a child in Australia (or any other country), anyone can have a same-sex relationship (even as Wendy says ‘all have a right to be homosexual), but if the paternal half of the couple dies then the other partner, who, for all intent and purposes has been a parent to the child for all of its life, then doesn’t have any rights to the child. It just doesn’t make sense.

Martin Luther King was right, there is such a thing as being “too late”. It’s too late for parents and children who are being affected by this now, and the worst thing is that it, in no way, affects the lives of those who oppose gay marriage. Not one little bit. They’ll never have to even contemplate what it would be like not to be able to have their relationship recognised in law, not to be able to be a legal parent to children they already are parents to, they’ll never be discriminated against or have to go through what gay people have to go through. Secular people, it can be argued are entitled to their views based on their individual reasoning of the facts, but religious people, of all dominations, are supposed to be compassionate and ‘good’ people by virtue that they follow a religion. Quite often they are the most hateful of all, judging something they don’t understand and uncaring regarding the pain they cause. The Phelps family in America think they’re going to Heaven? Don’t make me laugh! The problem is that people like them exist in every country, including a 60 year old woman I saw on this march, with a look of pure venom on her face, telling a nearby guy with a picket to ‘go take a bath’ that he was disgusting. And Julia Gillard and Tony Abbott are unashamedly basing policy on the fear of loosing their vote.

Day 114 – Cityscape

I got up this morning to take some pictures for another photojournalism assignment in the city. I was attempting to show the city at its calm morning state but even at 6.30 am it was fairly busy in Sydney! If I had got up any earlier it would’ve been too dark so I can’t win really! In the end I got a few shots and decided to post this one as it has a very ‘Batman/Gotham City’ feel to it. It was near Town Hall and that area in general could well be the Gotham City precinct of Sydney. It has a haunting quality to it.

Another thing with a haunting quality is this poem I read in this book I got from the library. The book is one where actors and directors present the poetry that inspires them. The poem below was selected by actress Swoosie Kurtz.

from A Norman Crucifix of 1632 – Charles Causley

I am the great sun, but you do not see me,
I am your husband, but you turn away,
I am the captive, but you do not free me,
I am the captain you will not obey.

I am the truth, but you will not believe me,
I am the city where you will not stay,
I am your wife, your child, but you will leave me,
I am that God to whom you will not pray.

I am your counsel, but you do not hear me,
I am the lover whom you will betray,
I am the victor, but you do not cheer me,
I am the holy dove whom you will slay.

I am your life, but if you will not name me,
Seal up your soul with tears, and never blame me

Day 77 – Just Looking

Well despite feeling like a truck had run me over when I woke up, the day ended considerably better! A pleasant trip to the gym to watch some of the AFL and catch up on the Iceland volcano updates, followed by an even pleasant-er lunch in the sun at Darling Harbour and topped off by a free gig by The Stereophonics in Hyde Park! Not that I’m much of a fan of the Stereophonics but I managed to get some good shots due to the lack of security (or people even) prohibiting me from getting right up to the stage!

They were playing as part of the Optus One 80 project, which I still don’t know what it’s about, but they showed some tv program trailers after which were fairly good and probably what the project was about! Only in Sydney can you get to see the Stereophonics for free on a random Sunday afternoon!

As for the volcano updates, feckin hell! The weather has gone mental, between tsunami’s, earthquakes, snow in Ireland in April and now a volcano thats disrupting air traffic across most of a continent that might keep erupting for the next few years! Are the global warming people right or is it all just a big coincidence? I might just make an extra effort to pull out, turn off and recycle this evening just in case!

Quote of the day: “All civilization has from time to time become a thin crust over a volcano of revolution” -Havelock Ellis

Oh and for more Stereophonics photos click on

Day 55 – Into the Sunrise

Picture: Bronte-this morning-7.30am

As much as I hate getting up early, and subsequently being tired for the rest of the day as a result, there really is no better place to be at dawn in Sydney than on the beach. The hundreds of swimmers, joggers and dog-walkers that frequent Bondi, Bronte, Tamarama and Coogee have already wised up on this! I mean the couple in the picture going for an early morning dip appear to be heading into the sunrise. How often in movies do couples sail/or ride horses off into the sunset? Why not the sunrise, a time full of the hope and promise of the day? Not the end of one.

Anyway as much as it pains me I really am resolving to get up earlier over the next month and try make it a healthy habit. I’ll even start tomorrow! Along with about 600 other football, hurling and camogie players heading off on the 5.45am buses to Gosford for the annual pre-season tournament! Now that reminds me of something, oh ya I’ve got to get to bed!! 4.30am wake-up call, oh good god! At least I’ve the packed lunch made!

Quote of the day: “Many things–such as loving, going to sleep, or behaving unaffectedly–are done worst when we try hardest to do them.” – C. S. Lewis

Oh and hard luck to the Swans tonight, but the season has just begun!