Wednesday, October 30, 2013

I'VE COME TO THE LAND DOWNUNDER: Some thoughts & a Story too!

Yes, my friends, it is true: our ten month sojourn in Europe has come to an end and we are now in Australia. Western Australia to be precise. Why WA? Well, it's pretty simple really: we wanted sunshine, beaches, a simpler life with fresh air, less complications and that "new world" vibe.
And, let me say right up front, I think we have come to paradise! Even if right at this moment we are a 20 minute walk to the  beach, we are very happy with the white sand, emerald green waters and lovely pine treed parkland to be experienced at the beach that is at the end of that walk. Next week we move on down south to the town of Bunbury, where we will be about 100 meters to the beach. More like it!
Our few days in Perth after landing there were put to good use: I had a couple of longish sessions on the street which I think produced a couple of reasonable photographs. I certainly felt I was able to pick up on the vibe of the street and managed to convey that, at least a little, in a few of my photos. We're in Fremantle right now, about 20 kilometers south of Perth city and it too has been very productive.
Apart from some good sessions on the street, I have noticed a bit of a new something creeping into my work these last days since arriving here. I've made a number of what I would call still life images of things noticed in the suburb we're staying in. Not only that, but they are in color. Not a lot, mind you, but enough to suggest a new trend or project or ... .
Here's one from yesterday:

Golden Elephant in the Aussie Bush

Pretty isn't it? But is it Street? Well possibly. Is it Social Documentary? I've given this a bit of thought and I've decided that, yes, it is. Let me explain the circumstances and you will see what I mean.
I was walking past houses just a street away from us in the really nice, but "average" suburb we're staying in. Next to one such house is this vacant field which, I think, once had a house on it but has been left to return to nature. Which is nice really. Anyway, plonked not two feet from the sidewalk, right in the midst of this patch of native grasses, sat this elephant. Yes, I know: sounds bizarre, but that's the way I found it. So, I knelt down on the sidewalk, and using the very nifty tilt screen on my Sony Nex 7, made this photograph (and a few more too, which may or may not see the light of day). I loved the way the elephant is facing the trees, and that chain link fence or barrier that looks like it might bar its march to the forest!.
So, you see, it is a document recording a moment, a situation in a suburb in a city, made from a regular sidewalk in a street full of houses with just this one vacant block. Does the photo tell a story? Is there a narrative here? I think there is. In fact, take your pick: How did this thing get there? Is it lost? Stolen? Dumped? Who put it there? Why? Does the statue have special meaning to someone? Or is it just junk?
While I personally think it is a beautiful object (although I don't like any animals "dressed up"), I can say that today I saw the garbage trucks emptying bins in the area. And, when I walked past this spot, the elephant was gone. You be the judge of what fate may have befallen our golden friend here.
I don't often post photographs that don't include people in them. But, for some reason, that is exactly what I feel like doing around the streets in this suburb. Why? Not sure really. Perhaps it has to do with the lightness (as well as the light itself which is wonderful) I feel here. It might be to do with me seeing with fresh eyes after so long on other, more crowded and layered streets. There is a sense in which I think I am seeing more things which in one way or another are forcing me to ask questions, to reflect and contemplate more. I don't know really, but I do feel I want to continue to document the little things I notice on the streets of the towns we visit in this place. 
Anyway, let me know what you think.