Category Archives: street photography

love is . . . a street corner

I’m taking part in Susannah Conway’s August Break photo challenge on Instagram in August. Day 14’s prompt was “Love is . . . “

I wasn’t sure what would most represent this for me, but I spent most of the day sorting out my archive and backlog of photos in my Hobart Street Corners photo project from the past four years, and starting to put them on my website so they have a life beyond Instagram.

Hobart Street Corners photos from the early days of the project

I guess spending over four years on a project must mean I love it, right?

I mean, I do. I love the idea of documenting these places and how they change over time, and keeping a long-term record of this.

I can’t say I loved looking at some of the terrible editing I did back in 2018 and 2019 though, and I like to think I’ve improved a bit there. And I do sometimes feel I’ve set myself up to fail with an unnecessarily excessive volume of photos that maybe I don’t love as much as I want to.

Collins & Elizabeth Street, Thursday 18 January 2018, 7.19 am. Before I knew I was working on a project.

I’ve been thinking about this for a while. Where to with the project? What do I want it to be? How can I maintain the love?

I’ve recently looked at collections of photos by Stephen Shore and read his reflections on structuring his images, some of which are street corners. Not that I’m comparing my work to Stephen Shore’s, but his comments rang true for me.

In the 1970s and 1980s Stephen photographed, among other things, city intersections. He talks about how content and structure would guide him to where he would photograph and exactly where to place the camera, but that there was a bigger question: Why this particular intersection on this day, in this light, at this moment? He says thinking about this gave him the experience of deep connection with the content of the picture. (Modern Instances, page 61.)

It would be easy for me to say that the answer to that question is that I simply wanted to record the street corner that I happened to be walking past at this moment in time. It’s the reason for the very first photo from the project in February 2018. I don’t think this is a bad thing. And it’s very easy to do when you’re using an iPhone rather than a view camera like Stephen Shore ended up using for many of photographs. (Have you seen the size of those things?)

(Random aside, I think I read somewhere that Stephen uses an iPhone for some of his images now.)

Murray & Collins Street, Wednesday 21 February 2018, 8.48 am. The first official project photo.

But even with this reason, I feel like I can only sustain this for so long, before it starts to get same-y and uninspiring. It starts to feel like a chore and I start to seek more from the pictures.

I’m not sure what this might be. I’m not about to run out and get an 8×10 camera to force myself to slow down. This is an iPhone project, and it comes with the many limitations of using that as a camera.

But even just becoming aware, as Stephen started to be when he started shooting with the view camera, of the “continual shifting” of the visual relationships between the elements while walking down a street. “The telephone pole bears an ever changing relationship to a building next to it or behind it, this mailbox changes its relationship to the telephone pole.” These changes we can pay conscious attention to as we walk. (Uncommon Places, page 201.)

As he worked, Stephen would ask, “Where do I stand so that the camera makes sense of the space I can see?” (Modern Instances, page 59.)

The intersection he saw as a three-dimensional problem. Where am I going to stand? Where am I going to cut it off? How much am I going to show? Am I going to wait for a person to stand in or a car to stop? (Uncommon Places, page 201.)

These are things I can pay closer attention to when I’m at an intersection, even if my phone can’t capture all of the detail that a large format camera would.

Liverpool & Elizabeth Street, Monday 26 February 2018, 12.03 pm.

Bringing more awareness to what I’m including in the image, and why I’m making it at that time (apart from it being on the way to work) might make me slow down and think a bit more. I might make fewer photos but perhaps they’ll be more interesting or insightful.

By slowing down it will take longer for me to make a photograph, which I’ll then post on Instagram to be viewed briefly in someone’s feed. It’s a curious mix. The image maker and the image viewer experience very different things.

As Stephen says of his prints, “I can pay attention to small details, I can see relationships in space that may not reveal themselves immediately, and have all of this inform a picture which is then taken in very quickly by the viewer. So there is a compression of time in the picture: to be there and see everything could take minutes, but it all can be grasped at once on this piece of paper.” (Uncommon Places, page 201.)

But I don’t think this means I shouldn’t slow down, observe elements in place and be more deliberate in my framing. That creates the meaning for me, and that’s what I want to play around with for a while, and see where it takes the project.

Murray & Liverpool Street, Wednesday 28 February 2018, 8.42 am.

Watching the Marine Board Building

In summer the sun rises early enough that I can often see the sunrise when I’m out walking in the morning before work. I posted some photos here back in January and February  As the days shorten and the sun rises later in the morning I miss that special pre-sunrise time of the morning when I’m outside. It’s dark and it’s cold and it’s harder to make myself go out.

At this time of year, as we move towards the Winter Solstice, the sun is rising after 7.30 am and if I leave home early enough I can see the sunrise sky from the window of the bus. To my delight, one day recently when I got into town earlier than usual, I found that the morning light just after the sunrise gives everything around the waterfront a magical glow that in the earlier months of the year I’d have to be there before 6.00 am to see.

The waterfront presents endless photo opportunities as the buildings light up as the sun rises. This, perhaps, is the incentive I need to keep getting up in the morning when it’s dark and cold outside—the reward of the beautiful light play if I get to town early enough.

One building I have been watching over the last couple of weeks has been the Marine Board Building.

I know.

It’s not a favourite building of many (any?) people in Hobart, especially given its size, colour and prominent waterfront location. It became even more controversial when the building owner installed the (ill-fated and subsequently replaced) wind turbines on top of the building in 2010. I’ve heard more than one person say they’d love to see it demolished.

I don’t have a lot of photos of it. One that I can think of, from January, other than it maybe appearing in a couple of street corner photos. I hadn’t really paid much attention to it. It was just a brown building that no one liked. Until about three weeks ago, when I was wandering around the waterfront looking for something to photograph for my 365 days black & white photo challenge I’m doing on instagram.

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Marine Board Building | 23 January 2018 |8.16 pm

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Marine Board Building | 23 May 2018 | 8.16 am

The Marine Board Building ended up being my photo that day and I started to think it was actually an interesting building. I’ve been to look at it on other days since then and have been noticing how it really changes as the light changes in the mornings.

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Marine Board Building | 31 May 2018 | 7.47 am

On Friday I tried to capture a sequence to show this.

When I first got there I thought that the light was all wrong and it wasn’t going to happen. You know how some days you get good sunrise skies and others you don’t? I thought this was going to be one of the “don’t” days and was getting ready to leave when the light started working its magic.  It was captivating. The way the building changes in the light in just ten minutes as the sun rises is spectacular.

At first, it’s a dull brown building.

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Marine Board Building | 6 June 2018 | 7.47 am

Then the light hits the wind turbines on the roof, then the top of the building, leaving the bottom in shadow.

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Marine Board Building | 6 June 2018 | 7.50 am

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Marine Board Building | 6 June 2018 | 7.52 am

Then it works its way down the entire building and lights it up with this almost surreal glow. It changes from brown to orange to golden. It looks like a completely different building in this light.

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Marine Board Building | 6 June 2018 | 7.57 am

I couldn’t stop watching.

Part of this exercise was trying to find the best spot to take the photos from. It’s difficult because, with a phone camera, which is what I had, I needed to be far enough away to have enough room in the shot to correct the perspective later but also to not get too much clutter in the foreground, which becomes more of a problem the further away I am. Also, there also seems to be a lot of tour buses milling round just outside at the time I want to take my photos, which is also a challenge and restricts where I can stand if I want a clear shot of the building.

And the red cross? That’s part of an installation for Dark Mofo. It also gets in the way of my clear shot of the building but I think it looks kind of cool and it casts a nice shadow on the building that’s only going to be there for a couple of weeks.


24 hour project (part 5)

A series of posts about my participation in the 24 Hour Project on 7 April 2018.

Part one

Part two

Part three

Part four

Hour 18: 10.00 pm to 11.00 pm

I was still in town. I’d walked past Pigeon Whole after I took the photo of phone lady and thought the bakers working would also be a good photo idea. I’d seen a few of those in the instagram feed and decided to give it a go.

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10.04 pm: Pigeon Whole Bakers busy into the night.

I only needed one more photo for to complete the night and I needed to wait at least another hour for that. My idea was to take a photo in the bus on the way home. (Despite my love of walking I wasn’t prepared to walk 10km back home at midnight.) The bus left town at 11.10, so my plan was to go back down to Salamanca, see if there were any final opportunities for photos of people out at night that might be better than the bakery one then head up to the bus route and keep walking until I got to a bus stop close to the time the bus would be coming past.

Salamanca was really noisy, which was incredibly jarring to me, as I’d been in my own head and silent for most of the day. Such a contrast to how quiet it had been in town. I didn’t want to stay, so I took a random crowd shot and a shot of a busker, who had turned his head away at exactly the wrong moment, and left.

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Didn’t make the cut: Salamanca, 10.27 pm

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Didn’t make the cut: Salamanca, 10.28 pm

Groups of people dressed up to go out walked past me and I remembered the days I’d go out at 10.30 pm rather than be heading home as I was now.

I finally gave into my sugar craving and stopped for ice cream, which I absolutely did not need, but appreciated very much.

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Didn’t make the cut: Ice cream hit, 10.48 pm.

Hour 19: 11.00 pm to 12.00 am

Into the last hour and all I had to do was not miss the bus. You can never be too sure about the bus timetable and have to treat the arrival times at stops with a degree of flexibility. Early is unlikely, but it has happened and the risk of walking to the next stop rather than standing around to wait is that you miscalculate the time it will take to get to the next stop and the bus comes sailing past you as you’re walking. I opted for the cautious approach, the bus was on time and I got my final photo.

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11.18 pm: On the bus.

I had survived!

My step tally for the day: 65,055, which I think is about 40 km based on my stride length. It was a good day, and my head was full of thoughts and ideas which I now have to sit down and process.

I really enjoyed the day and loved spending the time by myself, observing and documenting the city around me with no expectations of having to do anything or be anywhere (other than the school fair). I’m very keen to do it again next year and have started putting together a list of things to do and not do if I do participate again.

I think if I do this again and commit to the full 24 hours I might need a friend to keep me company, at least for a while. The organisers recommend doing it with friends, but I really enjoyed the freedom of being by myself, going where I wanted to and being able to be in my head as much as I wanted to be. I found the sitting, reflecting and writing to be valuable parts of the day. And necessary. I suspect if I did this with someone else for all or part of it, it would need to be someone who’s happy to not talk for long periods.

I think it would be a different experience doing it with someone else. It could possibly give me new insights and perspectives. Or it could stop me thinking as much, and that might not be such a bad thing every now and then. And being with someone else might make me feel less awkward about taking photos in the street because they’d be doing it too.

If I did the full 24 hours, I think the hours from midnight to about 5 or 6 am would be the hardest, as I’d be starting out when most people had already been out for a while on a Friday night. That might be a good time to team up with someone.

I reckon I’d need more than one phone charger as mine ran out of power by about 8.30pm, even after having the phone on airplane mode a lot of the afternoon and evening so it didn’t use as much battery. It would have been good to have had a base, like a friend’s (or a sister’s . . . hint hint) place close to town to be able to hang out at to recharge the phone (and even take a quick nap), get more water and some snacks.

I thought I’d have time to sit around and read, so I took a book with me. I didn’t. Book is not needed. Ditch the book. It just makes your backpack heavier. Definitely take a notebook though, especially if your phone battery runs out quickly like mine does. I also didn’t need headphones/earbuds. I do like listening to music, but I find it disconnects me from where I am, which is good in some situations, but I think it would have distracted me from what I was there to do. I didn’t listen to any music at all and didn’t feel the need to. It also would have drained my phone battery faster so it’s a good thing I didn’t.

One thing I regret not taking was sunscreen or a hat. I burn very easily and usually don’t go out in the middle of the day without a hat. It didn’t even occur to me at 5am that the sun would be up in a few hours and I’d be out wandering around in it all day. Take a hat!

I also think it would be good next time to jump on a bus and get out of the city for a few hours during the day and capture some of the suburban areas.

So that was my 24 minus five hours in Hobart. It’s now a week later and hard to believe this time last week I was into hour seven of the project. It’s given me a lot to think about and I’ve been thinking and writing a lot since I finished. I’m not sure what to do with all the thoughts so I’m letting them circulate in my head and on paper and form some conclusions on their own.

24-hour project (part 4)

A series of posts about my participation in the 24 Hour Project on 7 April 2018.

Part one

Part two

Part three

Hour 15: 7.00 pm to 8.00 pm
I had no intention of leaving Salamanca but I saw some people come out of the laneway that led to Kelly Steps and thought it might be fun to explore there. Dark laneways. What could possibly go wrong?

When I got to the top of the steps all I knew was that I was in Battery Point and that all roads led to Sandy Bay. I passed a couple of groups heading out but it was just too dark to take any photos so I kept going with no plan in mind other than knowing I was heading away from where most of the action would be.

I passed the Prince of Wales Hotel and tried to go for one of those trendy photos of patrons through the window. I would have walked past on the same side of the road, except people were sitting outside and might have noticed someone lining up photos out the window so I had to settle for across the road.

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7.12 pm: Saturday Night.

There’s a definite theme here isn’t there, and the limitations of a phone camera in low light and from a distance are fairly obvious.

I decided to keep going to Sandy Bay, get something to eat and then decide what to do after that. The next bus would be at 8.10 and I wasn’t exactly sure where I was or how to get to Sandy Bay. I just kept walking because every other time I’ve ended up in Battery Point I’ve just kept walking and eventually found somewhere I know. It’s never the same and it’s always a bit of an adventure for me. Even more so in the dark!

I made it to Sandy Bay Road eventually, as I’d known I would. It’s a big road. All roads in Battery Point lead there. Almost.

If it’s possible to have a favourite service station to photograph, the Shell on Sandy Bay Road is one of mine. I’m sure it violates all service station etiquette to be taking pictures of them on your phone but I think they’re a goldmine of opportunities for people who know what they’re doing.

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Didn’t make the cut: Shell Sandy Bay, 7.34 pm.

The big lesson from this photo is probably that it’s okay to actually stop and take a breath before taking the photo rather than stopping, snapping and continuing to walk all in the same moment. I should do this more often just to get the practice.

I went to the Taproom in Sandy Bay for a burger and drink and a chance to sit. I was the only person there. It was nice. And quiet.

Hour 16: 8.00 pm to 9.00 pm

I was finishing my drink and watching the guy behind the counter. I thought it would be cool to get a photo of him at work, but again it felt intrusive. I sat and debated with myself whether I should ask him if I could photograph him for the project. Finally, when he came to collect my plate, I pulled myself together and asked if he’d mind if I took a photo of him working. He was very cool about it and agreed, and we had a chat about the project and about social media in general.

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8.17 pm: The Taproom.

That was one of the hardest things I did during this day and, even though the photo isn’t very good, it reminds me that I can approach people I don’t know and ask for something. And sometimes they will say yes. And for this reason, I like this photo.

I had missed the bus home. The next bus was an hour away, which meant I had a chance for a 9.00 photo. And if I made a 9.00 photo there would only be two hours left in the project, so it seemed a bit silly to abandon it so close to the end. I suspected that I knew I’d reach this decision way back when I started. I was going to see this through to the end.

I started walking back to town.

Hour 17: 9.00 pm to 10.00 pm

The bus stop photo was always intended to be part of this project. There’s always people at bus stops. There’s my early hour photo. What to do now?

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Didn’t make the cut: Macquarie Street, 9.03 pm

I turn the corner and a lady crosses the road and strides onto the footpath in front of me. She’s talking on her phone and she seems in a hurry. A quick photo before she’s out of sight.

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9.03 pm: I’m talking to you.

It was dark and there weren’t many people around. They were all down at Salamanca. I wasn’t overly enthusiastic about going there, but I still had two hours.

I started thinking that I was still feeling okay after having got up at 4.45 am and started walking just after 5.00. I wondered if I’d be feeling this okay if I’d started at midnight, and my thoughts turned to whether I could actually do that. Already I was planning how it might work, who I could enlist to bring me supplies during the day and who might live close enough for me to sneak a nap in during the day and charge my phone.

To be continued . . .

24-hour project (part 3)

A series of posts about my participation in the 24 Hour Project on 7 April 2018.

Part one

Part two

Hour 10: 2.00 pm to 3.00 pm

I didn’t spend a lot of time at the museum but thought I could get this hour’s photo of someone looking at an exhibit. I took a couple of photos of people walking through the main activity area from above but I didn’t really like them.

I had a quick look at the 10 Objects: 10 Stories collection, which is a temporary exhibition showcasing objects from some of Tasmania’s small museums and collections, and then went to the Modern Age gallery. I like looking at the 20th century Tasmanian collection and took a sneaky photo of a guy looking at one of the exhibits in there.

After that, I decided I didn’t want another museum photo so I left and headed back down to Salamanca. The homeless rally was packing up, as were most of the stallholders, so I repeated what I’d done this morning with them setting up.

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2.52 pm: Last orders

Hour 11: 3.00 pm to 4.00 pm

It was coffee time. I usually have two coffees in the morning and that’s it for the day but I hadn’t had my second one and I felt like sitting down for a bit so I did. I was tempted to have a hot chocolate but sugar-free me said no. So coffee it was. And more water. Good.

I’d done my market packup shot already so didn’t want to stick around Salamanca. I saw a group of people standing round looking at their phones in the square so I thought that might make an okay shot.

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Didn’t make the cut: Salamanca, 3.22 pm.

But the actual shot I used for this hour is one of my favourites of the day, some people standing at the dock looking at something in the water. I have no idea what. It could have been the starfish in there or it could have been the shopping trolley I took a photo of for my black and white project a few weeks ago. Or it could have been none of the above.

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3.28 pm: Come and look at this.

This project wasn’t an excuse to not post my black and white photo for the day so I wandered around the waterfront for a bit looking for something to post before walking back into the city. I really wanted a parking inspector photo, which I should have probably done earlier in the day. I saw one but I would have had to turn around and follow him and that felt a bit stalky.

I let several potentially good photo opportunities pass me by as I didn’t have my phone out and I realised that for this type of photography you need to be ready to shoot something instantly because you might only have a fraction of a second to see it, react and shoot. You also have to decide to do it and do it, not walk back and forth past the scene with indecision. Do it or don’t do it, and move on.

Hour 12: 4.00 pm to 5.00 pm

And it was this mindset that I stopped and snapped a shot of a nail salon, which ended up being the 4.00 photo. I’d hoped it would be the 3.00 photo, but I was too late for that. In hindsight, I’m glad because I ended up liking the photo I posted for 3.00.

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4.00 pm: Nailing it.

I also wanted to photograph some more street corners for the street corners project as I don’t often get into town on a Saturday and they look quite different from the way they look during the week. I ended up at Hobart Brewing Co and sat down with a refreshing beverage to write some notes. Not surprisingly, because this is Hobart, one of my workmates was there with some friends and came over to find out what I was up to.

Soon it was time to go back up to town to find the 5.00 photo. An hour really isn’t a long time.

Hour 13: 5.00 pm to 6.00 pm

My first picture was inside a cafe. It was the early in the hour backup photo. I don’t think it’s too bad for a walk-by, notice, stop and shoot picture.

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Didn’t make the cut: The mall, 5.09 pm

I saw the guy on the bike talking on the phone. He was standing still. I could pretend to be taking photos of the bank and he could end up in one of them.

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5.11 pm: I’ll be home soon.

It’s funny because most of the time I’m taking photos of buildings and I don’t want people in them. But there I was trying to focus on the people, not the buildings. I kept getting drawn to the buildings, wanting to photograph them and wishing the people would hurry up and get out of the way. I had to keep reminding myself that the people were the subjects today.

After I had finished photographing the bank, I mean the guy outside the bank, I walked up Elizabeth Street. I wanted to capture the corner of Elizabeth and Warwick Streets while it still looks like it does now (Saturday 7 April 2018, 5.32 pm) as I understand there is a development proposal for the site that would change this view significantly.

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Elizabeth and Warwick Streets, Saturday 7 April 2018, 5.31 pm.

Shambles Brewery beckoned on the way back, so I took the chance to sit down again and write some more notes. It was starting to get dark and I was wondering if this was the time I might start to wish I were doing the project with someone else. The project organisers suggest doing it with friends but, until now, I had been perfectly happy with my own company, doing my own thing, going wherever I felt like going.

I wasn’t sure if the darkness would change that. I didn’t think I’d feel unsafe. I never have walking through Hobart at night. But I wondered if boredom might kick in when there wasn’t as much to see and internal areas of the city started to be closed off and the people went home.

Of course, there were people starting to come out as well, so I was just happy to take whatever happened as it came.

And what pub stop wouldn’t be complete without the following conversation, based on the shirt I was wearing (a Samedog original):

Guy: I love that shirt. I’ve seen it on social media.
Me: Yeah, it’s a good one. I’ve had it for ages.
Him: You’re not @norfickchick are you?
Me: Yep, I was . . . . I changed my name.
Him: So did I. I was [who he was].

I figured out who he was a bit later on.

Hour 14: 6.00 pm to 7.00 pm

My next stop was the mall again. I thought I’d sit for a while and try to capture people walking past. It wasn’t super busy, as I expected but I did get a couple of shots. This was the best of them. (Says a lot for the others, doesn’t it?)

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6.24 pm: Walking through the mall.

I was starting to feel uncomfortable about doing this. Hobart isn’t a big place and, as evidenced by the above conversation, you could run into someone you know or who knows who you at almost any time. I know that there is nothing to legally prevent me from taking photos in a public place and doing whatever I want with them, but it still felt intrusive to be capturing people walking past and instagramming them. I was in two minds about phone guy and even more so about these two. Then I started to second guess myself about the nail salon and basically every other photo I’d made today and posted where the person might have been identifiable.

I wasn’t sure where to go from here.

I remember wandering around to the bus stop and seeing some girls sitting there and half thinking they’d be good subjects but again the obviousness and awkwardness put me off.

I eventually wandered down Murray Street to the waterfront. Town was pretty dead; here was where everyone was going.

To be continued . . .



24-hour project (part 2)

A series of posts about my participation in the 24 Hour Project on 7 April 2018.

Part one

Hour 4: 8.00 am to 9.00 am

Target guy moved just after I took the photo so if I’d checked the time and decided to wait until 8.00 to make it that hour’s photo I would have missed him.

Take the opportunities as they come. You might not get a second chance.

I thought I’d photograph the construction workers in Collins Street for this hour. They’re a pretty easy target because they’re there all day. I didn’t do it right away because there were so few people about I would have been really obvious. They would have seen me. I wandered past them and into Centrepoint where I got the idea of photographing a shop worker through the window of a shop before it opened. That’s not creepy at all, is it. A lot of the photos I’ve seen from others have this viewpoint.

The lady in the optical shop was looking right at me as I walked past and the lady in one of the clothes shops was too far away. I kept walking out into the laneway where I saw a guy on some steps who looked like he was talking to himself. I was tempted to take a photo but felt a bit intimidated by his appearance and the fact that he and I were the only two people in the lane, so I was also tempted to get out of there really fast. Get-me-out-of-here me won that one.

I ended up in the Cat & Fiddle Arcade and finally found my shop worker through the window photo. She was mopping the floor.

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8.32 am: Clearing the decks.

Hour 5: 9.00 am to 10.00 am

I thought I might get some good photos if I sat in the mall and waited for people to walk past. I don’t sit still well if I’m not doing anything. I always have to be up and exploring. It’s a tendency I know well and I suppose if I really want to make some halfway decent photos there will be times where I’ll have to get comfortable being in the same place for a length of time, waiting.

I didn’t do this today, however. I took a couple of photos of people passing by as backups and left.

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Didn’t make the cut: The Mall, 9.01 am

I had to leave town by 9.30 to meet Kramstable and take him to his school fair. This was going to be the challenging part as I wouldn’t be in town so I’d somehow have to work that event into the project.

On the way to meet him, I went back to Salamanca Market and found a sad example of the human condition in Hobart at the moment. People were setting up what I later found out was a rally and expo in relation to homelessness in Hobart. We have a situation at present where there is a lack of housing that has resulted in people setting up a “tent city” at the showgrounds because they have nowhere else to go. I couldn’t stay, so I made this my photo for the hour in case I didn’t get a chance to go back later and find out more.

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9.23 am: Homeless Anonymous.

Hour 6: 10.00 am to 11.00 am

I was a bit early for the rendez vous with Kramstable so I took some time while I was waiting to jot down some notes about how the day was doing, any ideas I’d had.

I’d done a lot of walking by this point; my stope count was 22,651, which is more than I do most days. I hadn’t been bored at all. I’d said I’d go home when I got bored, which I jokingly suggested might be lunchtime, but I couldn’t see that happening.

I wrote that I’d been walking among and around people, but not with them. I think what I mean by that is I felt like I was apart from everyone else. They were walking around doing their thing and I was walking through them observing them.

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10.18 am: Sandy Bay Road. I finally got my cyclist!

Hour 7: 11.00 am to 12.00 pm

I took a photo of the guy running the jumping castle and the bouncy worm, just in case I didn’t get back into town before 12.00. School fairs are full of humans so there were probably heaps of things that would have fitted into the project but I also had to be mindful that a lot of the humans were other people’s children, who I’m not going to be posting pictures of on the internet. Bouncy worm guy seemed like a good subject though. As it turned out Kramstable’s commitment was running behind schedule so my plan to get back to town for this hour didn’t happen.

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11.14 am: Bouncy worm guy.

Hour 8: 12.00 pm to 1.00 pm

I was really hungry because I hadn’t had breakfast, and I needed to get back to town. My plan was to take an early photo and then have lunch somewhere and it wouldn’t matter if I went over into the next hour because I’d already have the picture.

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Didn’t make the cut: Just looking, 12.13 pm.

I couldn’t resist photographing a lady looking at clothes in a shop that I was walking past, and I finally got my construction worker photo.

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12.15 pm: Construction workers in Collins Street.

Thankfully where I had lunch had water in the fridge so I didn’t have to buy water. That’s definitely a lesson for next time. Take a lot of water. I had 1.5 litres with me but probably drank three litres over the day.

Hour 9: 1.00 pm to 2.00 pm

After poking round in a bookshop for a while, I started wandering again with no real idea of what to do in mind other than taking a photo of the people lined up outside McDonald’s in the Cat & Fiddle.

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Didn’t make the cut: Macca’s, 1.13 pm.

I wandered through the mall and into Wellington Court, where I saw a guy come out of the stairwell of Argyle Street car park. For a long time, I’d wanted to go up to the top level to take photos of the city rooftops. This seemed as good a time as any, as it’s unlikely there would be as many cars there as there would be during the week. I had my other camera with me for the other project I was photographing, so I got that back out and spent some time wandering and photographing the views. I finally had to remind myself that I was here to photograph people in the streets, not buildings, so I left.

I wanted to go to the museum so I started in that direction. On the way, I managed to stop a lady driving out of the car park who had left her book on top of her car. Community service gold star.

As soon as I got there I saw a lady sitting outside the museum looking at her phone. It was better than the Macca’s line photo.

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1.51 pm: Waiting at the museum.


To be continued . . .



24-hour project (part 1)

A series of posts about my participation in the 24 Hour Project on 7 April 2018.

Last year my friend Samedog took part in the 24 Hour Project,  where people across the world document their city for 24 hours, posting one photo an hour on instagram. It was interesting to follow his day in Melbourne in 2017 and I thought it would be a fun project to take part in this year.

I’d been thinking about it for a few weeks and wondering how I was going to manage it. I wasn’t sure that I’d be capable of staying awake for 24 hours straight, much less taking photos from midnight to midnight. I was mildly concerned about the prospect of being out on the streets alone, in the early hours of Saturday morning especially, and had visions of falling asleep on a park bench somewhere before the night was over.

You don’t have to do the full 24 hours, though the organisers recommend that you do. I thought maybe it would be possible to take part for 12 hours, from 6 am to 6 pm and maybe a bit later and eventually decided it was worth a shot.

Still, I put off registering. Then it transpired that Kramstable had a commitment on the same day that I’d need to be involved with, which was going to put a hole in my day and I decided it wasn’t going to be possible. But I still wanted to do it, so after we got the final details for that, I came up with a way where everyone would be able to do what they needed to do and I could participate in the project for as long as I was capable of.

Nothing like leaving things until the last minute, I signed up at 10 pm Friday night, two hours before the project was due to start. I set my alarm for 4.45 so that I could be out on the street by 5 am and (hopefully) start seeing people after 6 am, which was what I decided my start time would be.

I didn’t read any of the guidelines, so all I knew before I set off yesterday morning was that the project is a street photography project intended to document the human condition and that it supports the project’s work around women’s human rights.

In my mind, this meant that the photos would need to have people in them. The guidelines (which I have now read) suggest considering “the universal emotions of humor, love, sadness, joy, fulfilment, pain, loneliness” and capturing that in your photos.

I am not a street photography person. I feel self-conscious taking pictures in the street without people in them, especially with the big camera, and taking photos for my street corner project, which usually do feature people, still feels awkward. The idea of deliberately including people as subjects of my photos was mildly terrifying. It would be like taking the street corner project to a whole other level. The idea of trying to capture emotions in the photos was too much so I’m glad I didn’t know this.

For me, the challenge was going to be taking the photos at all. If I could get my 12 photos of people on the streets of Hobart between the hours of 6 am and 6 pm, I would consider it a success.

So with that in mind, I was ready to go.

Hour 1: 5.00 am to 6.00 am

I live about 10km from the city and public transport doesn’t operate at 5 am, so I had to walk into town. That’s no big deal. I do that sometimes. I like walking and it’s a nice two-hour trip. I wasn’t counting on seeing anyone at that time, which is why I set my start time as 6 am. But I do see people walking, running and cycling early in the morning so I thought there was a possibility of starting the project earlier than planned.

I hadn’t got far when I saw a girl sitting at a bus stop. My first opportunity, but I couldn’t bring myself to go over to her. I thought it would freak her out to have some random person with a phone approach her at 5.15, out of the darkness, and ask to take her photo, or if I didn’t ask, to stand over the road and do it. I know that would freak me out so I let that go. She was obviously waiting for someone as she got picked up just after I’d walked past.

A bit further along the road, I passed a lady walking the other way. There was my opportunity! I turned around and took a quick photo of her walking away from me.

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5.26 am: Walking in the suburbs.

As I walked I was still questioning whether I really wanted to be doing this. Surely there are better ways of spending a Saturday than taking shitty photos on a phone camera and posting them on instagram? Is it really worth doing if I can’t do the full 24 hours? After all, it is a 24-hour project.

After the first photo, I decided that I was going to do it, that some is better than none, and that I would think of it as a training run for doing the full 24 hours next year (which I would prepare for a lot earlier). So I was committed. No more doubting. The show must go on.

Hour 2: 6.00 am to 7.00 am

It was still dark, and I’d only seen one cyclist up to this point. I was hoping for a big group of them as that’s a fairly common sight on this road.

I got to Long Beach in Sandy Bay at 6.00. I’d seen people there in the past so thought this would be a good chance to get a backup photo for this hour in case I didn’t get the picture I wanted.

The conclusion I’d come to was that if I could take one photo early in each hour that would take the pressure off to find *the* photo for that hour. Normally my attention at Long Beach is on the lovely artwork on the bathing pavilion but today I was looking for people. I saw someone sitting on one of the bollards under the light and figured that was as good an opportunity as I was going to get and that if I approached from the side where I was walking, I could take the picture without disturbing the guy.

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6.02 am: Long Beach.

I kept walking and didn’t see anything that caught my eye enough to photograph, so beach light man was it.

Hour 3: 7.00 am to 8.00 am

My plan for when I got to town was to go straight to Salamanca Place, where people would be setting up their stalls for the market. I was sure this would be a great opportunity for photos of people doing their thing. This proved to be the case, though I felt extremely awkward standing around taking photos of the stallholders.

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Didn’t make the cut: Salamanca setup, 7.04 am.

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Didn’t make the cut: Salamanca setup, 7.06 am.

I didn’t stay long because there was something else unrelated to this project that I wanted to take some early morning photos of before too many people were around and I really really wanted coffee.

After coffee, I headed up into the city to think about my next photo. I sat down outside Target where a couple of people were also sitting. It dawned on me that this was a great photo opportunity, someone side-on rather than from the back, he was engrossed in his phone and would have had no idea he was about to make it into my instagram feed. Thanks, stallholders, but this is better.

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7.59 am: Target.

I can’t help thinking if his head had been a little higher or the Target logo had been a little lower, it would have been an even better photo for that caption.

To be continued . . .