The final stanza of Degenerate leads on from line to architecture and homes, particular the homes of those on the margins. What do these homes say about our society?
The final week saw us delve into the world of street photography. It’s not a genre that I’ve had lots of practice in, and I found photographing the street a confronting and at times frustrating experience. Opportunities can emerge from anywhere and disappears as quickly as they come, and it’s difficult to be always ready to capture them. Hence, I admire the work of photographers who are masters at it: check out the work of Trent Parke, Martin Parr, and classic photographers Eugene Atget and Vivian Maier. Such work must demand years of practice on the street.
Part of the assignment was to spend two hours on a cold winter’s night photographing Taylor Square. I contrasted these shots with photos taken in an hour one afternoon in the Central Coast suburb of Ettalong. Surprisingly, there is a definite thread running through it – one of social decay – hence the series title, Degenerate.
I have been getting to know the people at the Windgap Foundation (a not-for-profit that supports people with intellectual disabilities in the Eastern Suburbs of Sydney) through my volunteer work with them, and I thought that they would make great portraiture subjects. I was right.
The clients are so open and full of character that it was easy to take a great portrait. Added to that was the fact that I had gotten to know them for 18 months, so familiarity with the subject certainly helps when it comes to taking a good portrait.
Week 3 saw us delving into the world of portraits. I must admit it’s not a genre that I’m very comfortable working with – it’s quite confronting to work with people! But I gave it a try anyway.
As always, I started close to home – Gary is our local butcher. We’ve been his customers for many years, and he in turn has been working in the same shop for 53 years! Even chronic arthritis won’t slow him down.
He is an old-fashioned butcher who makes most of his products himself. You’ll find him at his shop early in the morning, every morning. His products are so good that he frequently caters for the surrounding cafes, clubs and schools. Sausages, anyone?
Landscapes in Sydney doesn’t just have to be about architecture, it can be about natural elements too. However, this tree does have something architectural about it.
And a natural landscape can be had by going to the nearest park or water-way, like Botany Bay, where twilight had a surprisingly gentle quality.
The second genre we tackled in Camera Craft 3 was landscape. It is once again an old genre that originated with the landscape artists of the 18th century. In Australia, it is mainly utilised outside of urban areas to capture the wildness of the country, but I decided to focus much closer to home for my assignment – in fact, my very own street.
Ah, those brick bungalows are iconic, aren’t they? So, it seems, are the palm trees.
But turn down the lights a bit, and the street becomes a bit more David Lynch.