Sunday, June 15, 2014

Street Photography on My Way to the Shops Today

I'm usually terrible when it comes to carrying my camera everywhere and all the time. I mean to say, I don't have it with me often enough. So, today we ran out of bread and bananas, and a clear and urgent call to replace and replenish supplies of these staples meant I had to head off to the shops, a ten minute bus ride away.

At first I thought, no I won't bother with my camera; after all oftentimes for me "chores" and street photography don't really mix that well. But, then, I had a real strong feeling that I should take it. So, I grabbed it and a spare battery and headed off ten minutes too early for the bus.

So, I strolled round the corner to the busstop. On the way, I was really attracted to the house on the corner opposite to the one we're looking after. I'd walked past it a heap of times, but today for some reason I thought I would make a couple of photographs of it. I know, I know. It's not what you might call classic street photography, but it is very much documentary I think. I mean, this is how people live today in this suburb. And in a lot of others too of course. Anyway, here's the house, or rather my photo of the house.

Storm Brewing Over Suburbia (Melbourne Australia June 2014)

A few years ago I gave myself a project I called Hometown Houses (you can see the collection on my website here) while we were living in Echuca on the Murray River in northern Victoria. Other commitments took over and I fell way short of my aspiration to walk every street of the town and to photograph all the houses that appealed to me or spoke to me. And then we left the town to embark on our current journey, so the project is kind of asleep or on hold, or paused. Stopped anyway.

But, today photographing this house, I had the brainwave. Why not start up the project again? Just this time it will be hometown in the sense of whatever town or suburb we happen to be living in. Well, okay, not such a brainwave, but I think it's a good idea nonetheless. I mean, suburban houses have a special appeal all their own.

They are where a large percentage of the population live (in this country and of course in many others). They so very often are a reflection of the society, the time they were built in, the occupants' individuality and preferences for how they want to live or what they think is important, and really are an important element of our society that cries out to be recorded. After all suburbia, like all things, is in a state of constant flux. New houses replace the old; new styles take over every so often. Yet at the same time, there are pockets where you will find houses of all eras side by side. Then again, in some suburbs you will find acres upon acres, miles upon miles, of identical houses or apartment blocks all built at the same time.

In any case, that's one of my new, or renewed projects, I'm going to work on. Today was a good day to take my camera out. I've reconnected with this project, but I also came home with a few photographs that fit more neatly within my humanist street photography practice. Like this one for example. This lady was waiting at the busstop to catch a bus going the other way. She just caught my attention. And we shared a moment!

At a Suburban Busstop (Melbourne Australia June 2014)

Oh, all those storm clouds. They looked like they were going to turn into rain, but they didn't. And that was a very good thing as at the other end I had to walk a few hundred meters to the shop. You will be happy to hear that we now have a pile of bread and a pile of bananas. So, we should be okay for a while even if the storm does come


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