Posts Tagged ‘Town Hall’

Portrait Project – Day 2

Posted: February 2, 2011 in Portrait Project
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Daniel – A teacher relaxing on his day off at Town Hall

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Day 232 – The Rat Race

More procrastinating from assignments today as I visited the Town Hall on George St. With the movement of the city being so especially prominent in that location it was no surprise that the best pictures were the ones where I experimented with shutter speed.

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 184 – Holiday Snap

Today’s picture is quite a regular sight for anyone who regularly passes Circular Quay, or any other tourist monument for that matter. It’s funny because I’ve taken plenty of similar photos in front of similar structures in various countries, yet something about this sight at Circular Quay makes me think, in a kind of way, that they will probably miss the point and potential experience of travelling to another country.

What is it to take a picture of yourself or companions in front of a tourist attraction? Is it to send home proof that one reached the sight? Or to have a memory of your trip? Or to connect, in some strange way with the place or structure? To me the Opera House is a magnificent piece of architecture, one that represents Australia in a lot of ways, but I bet that a lot of tourists spend more time visiting places like the Opera House, Town Hall, Mrs Macquaries’s Chair, etc.. than they do interacting with Australians. Why do they need things that represent a place when you can actually experience the place from the point of view of locals just by talking to them?!

I think it’s probably one of the good things about photojournalism and documentary photography. You tend to have to talk to random people, whether to get a photo or ask them questions or just chat. The more you do it the easier it becomes and you end up with pictures full of personality and a better representation of a place than a static structure.

Having said that I’m a little obsessed with taking pictures of people taking pictures, especially in front of tourist attractions and the less relevant the attraction the better! Or maybe I just like it for the weird looks I get from the tourists when they see me taking a picture of them!

Quote of the day: Strangers are friends you have yet to meet

Day 33 – Bless the Broken Road

You could walk almost any Sydney street, or the streets of any major city and you will find one constant, the homeless. The annoying, dirty, sometimes mentally ill, guilt-inducing scourge on society. Or so we would articulate if it wasn’t politically incorrect? It seems to be an endless vicious circle to which no city has ever offered a workable solution. Some say fund more shelters, some soup kitchens, even more proclaim you need to “teach a man to fish, not give him the fish”. I don’t know about that, I mean maybe give him a fishing rod at least!

But something you probably wouldn’t know is that people who do not have shelter are called house-less. Homeless people are actually defined as people with “An inadequate experience of connectedness with family and or community” (Dominic Mapstone). And it’s true. Who do they have? Obviously not friends or family or they would not be on the streets. Who knows what kind of people they are, where they come from, what kind of situations they have faced in life? Not the ‘normal’ community, who pass by daily, sometimes offering money, sometimes not, but almost always avoiding eye contact.

I found myself at Town Hall this morning with about 20 of my classmates, sent to roam the city in order to find enlightenment in the field of street photography and take pictures of what catches our attention. A little after 10 a.m. I came across this guy, sitting on the pavement, drinking an undisclosed beverage out of a paper bag. I politely asked him would he mind if I took his picture and, to my surprise, he said no problem and started posing with his cigarette!

A few hours later when the class reconvened the lecturer saw my photo and asked me to tell the class how I went about taking the picture. I said I just asked and the guy was very accommodating, quite in contrast to my experience a little while later at Paddy’s Markets. He responded that maybe this guy was happy for someone to talk to him, someone to notice him even and honestly, I had never thought about it like that before.

Building shelters costs money, education costs educators, curing the mentally ill costs a lot more than what can be monetarily defined. Talking to someone costs nothing, even a few words, hello or hi. But how we can brighten someone’s day. Not only the homeless, but the elderly, the depressed, and the list goes on. Reaching out can be worth more to someone than you’ll ever know, we’re all human and have the same insecurities, worries and pain, but being alone isn’t something that we should add to it all.

Quote of the day: “Never take life seriously. Nobody gets out alive anyway”