This portfolio series features a set of still images taken during the filming of the Tease DVD. To view the full video see: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9G0xyVrdES8
The Tease album is where burlesque meets dubstep in a cocktail of sensual extremes.Sapphira is a Melbournian burlesque showgirl, pianist, singer/songwriter, belly dancer and teacher with international acclaim. She is founder of the record label Domina Records with a revolutionary agenda in the music industry to combine sound healing, positivity and self-expression with provocative performance art and powerful electronic music.
Art Deco Film Noire
This series of images explores the key design features of the Art Deco genre and how those feaures were manifested in the style of the contempory film noire photographic imagery. The images capture the power and confidence of the Hollywood prohibition era.
The first use of the term Art Deco has been attributed to architect Le Corbusier, in 1925. It refers to a design style which flourished internationally in the interwar period of the 1930s and 1940s. It is an eclectic style that combines motifs and inspiration from traditional arts and craft movement with the rapid industrialization and transforming culture of the Machine Age imagery and materials. The style is often characterized by rich colors, bold geometric shapes, and lavish ornamentation.
Ready for next Role
Ready to Party
Lady of the Manor
Master of the Manor
Girl with Fan
Seeing History through Colour
This portfolio of images seeks to illustrate how the different decades of the 20th Century are uniquely characterized by their distinctive colour palettes and decorative styles. The hue and saturation of the specific colours and the decorative shapes of domestic items provide important clues to the feeling and mood of the populace in that era.
The images investigate how the combination of hue, shape and materials used in these household items characterize each decade such that we can immediately assign a date to an item merely by observing what it is made of and the colours and patterns used in its construction. These attributes in turn tell us something about the attitudes, technology and cultural environment of the times as each era reminisces past eras, and replicates their fashions but rejects outright the fads of the previous decade. The fashion of the day takes what we have historically admired but then makes it ‘new’ again by uniquely combining it with a twist of what the current technology can produce influenced by the latest social ideology
1900 - 1910 Grand Flourishes of Exuberance
With the dawn of the 20th Century, Queen Victoria’s reign over the British Empire was at the peak of its world colonization. The Victorians overtly demonstrated their wealth and worldliness by embodying it in an eclectic, cluttered, decorative style. Furnishing colours were formal dark greens and browns, punctuated with the rich regal opulence of dark reds and gilt trims. Exotic parlour palms and indoor plants sourced from the far reaching colonies were used to further support their self-aggrandizement.
1910 - 1920 War time Simplicity
Upon the death of Queen Victoria, the people of the Edwardian era immediately rejected the stifling formal rigid constraints of her reign and embraced a simpler European style for their furnishings and fashions. In Australia this was also known as the Federation era and although we had started to see ourselves as being an independent country our fashions were still heavily influenced by Britain.
The First World War (1914 – 1918) was the most significant social event to impact the masses in the early 20th century. The lower and middle classes travelled for the first time to Europe and the Middle East and society became more egalitarian as all classes were thrown together in the trenches. At the end of the war people saw themselves as equals with a future and would never again be confined by the constraints imposed by class. The war also bought with it massive advances in technology and industrialization which in turn freed people to have more leisure time and the possibility to hope for a better future. The heavily ornate floral bouquets used by the Victorians were replaced with a more stylistic rendition of bows and rose trellises. This move towards simplicity and freshness was highlighted by the use of stylised black and white checkerboard
1920 - 1930 - Flappers
Finally women had won the right to vote and the suffragettes discarded the last of the formal constraints of the 19th Century and the flapper era had begun. As the Art Deco movement started to flourish fashions and patterns became simpler, more geometric and stylised. Blue and white and black and white were the colours of the period which represented this fresh clean beginning. The Great Gatsby era had arrived with the roaring twenties, an era of idealism and decadence influenced by the evolution of jazz music, greater sexual freedom and prohibition.
1920 - 1930s - Geometry and Simplicity of Style
The great Gatsby era had arrived with the roaring twenties, an era of idealism and decadence influenced by the evolution of jazz music, greater sexual freedom and prohibition.
1920 - 1930s Blue and White
1930 - 1940s Arts and Crafts
Art Deco first arrived in the 1920s but it was the 1930s and 40s where it gained its full recognition, embodying the ideals of a new age of hope and freedom after the ‘war to end all wars’ had ended. The Art Deco style removed all the final vestiges of flounce and ornateness of the pre-war period. It embraced the new industrial age with the availability of mass produced materials such as chrome and glass and further simplified the Art Nouveau curvilinear flounces into geometrical shapes. But interestingly Art Deco borrowed many of its symbols, motifs and shapes from a much earlier time of ancient Egypt and Rome. Tutankhamen’s tomb was being excavated and grand tours to the continent Italy and Greece became popular. For the first time the wonders and uniqueness of Egyptian art became accessible to the masses and many of the Art Deco motifs (rising sun, lotus flowers, black cats and pyramids) were directly borrowed from these ancient art works, as were the colours of Nile green, sand and ochre.
1930 - 1940s - Art Deco Geometric
This decade embraced several overlapping fashions; competing with the chrome and glass of the Art Deco style was the more organic Arts and Crafts movement which was a reaction of the artisans against the mass productions of the industrial age and the traditional design motifs. It incorporated the geometric themes of the Art Deco designs into more organic materials such as wood, marble, onyx and ceramics. Colours used were strong and contrasting, designs were simple and angular. It was the time of the Great Depression (1929 – 1939) where unemployment in Australia reached 29% and resulted in widespread shortages in money and resources. Household items were produced as simply and as cheaply as possible further contributing to the sombreness in colour and plainness and simplicity of design
1930 - 1940s Deco Style
This decade embraced several overlapping fashions; competing with the chrome and glass of the Art Deco style was the more organic Arts and Crafts movement which was a reaction of the artisans against the mass productions of the industrial age and the traditional design motifs. It incorporated the geometric themes of the Art Deco designs into more organic materials such as wood, marble, onyx and ceramics. Colours used were strong and contrasting, designs were simple and angular. It was the time of the Great Depression (1929 – 1939) where unemployment in Australia reached 29% and resulted
1940 - 1950s Sombre Austerity of War
The advent of the Second World War (1939 – 1945) brought with it increased government spending and employment in the military resulting in the end of the Great Depression. However it also brought with it a feeling of grim despair for the generation who had survived the horrors of the First World War and the gloom and poverty of the Depression; as they once again buckled down and underwent a period of fear and austerity. The mood of the populace was sombre resignation, this combined with the shortages of materials and resources to manufacture household items, resulted in the muted organic colours of khakis, dull olive greens, greys and browns combined with a plainness of design.
1940s - 1950s Homecoming and back to Nature
The end of the Second World War was a time for worldwide rejoicing. Men returned home ready to start again and begin a new life in the homeliness of domestic stability. Women who had worked in industry during the war were summarily dismissed to make way for the returning soldiers and the prevailing attitude was to for them to create a safe nurturing home environment for the advent of the birth of their baby boomer off-spring.
Post-war the mood of domesticity is reflected in the more organic colours of nature which dominate the late forties and early fifties. The mint greens and canary yellows along with the ‘ducks on the wall‘ hark back to earlier times of life on the farm.
1950s - 1960s Peace at Last
The beginning of the new post-war decade brought with it a feeling of anticipation and hope for the future. This new found feeling of stability and world peace was reflected in the soft pastels that became popular for the first time. Cotton candy pink, pale yellows and greens accentuate the focus on domestic life and family.
1950s - 1960s - Brighter Future
Ducks, swans and geese feature heavily in household items reinforcing the return to nature. The world was once again at peace, but with the cold war looming this peace was an uneasy one.
The huge advances in technology during the war enabled mass production of items from new materials of plastics, Formica, fibreglass, aluminium and chrome and with it came the razzle dazzle expectation of a ‘rock and roll ‘future.
The decade was coming to a close when the launch of sputnik hurtled the world ino the space age. The decade finished on a high where science was the new religion; technology in the form of the atom bomb had saved the world and brought an abrupt end to the war. Science was anticipated to provide all the solutions for a bright future. The feeling was vibrant and alive as the baby boomers reached their teen years. Elvis and the Beatles were their heroes and rock and roll their anthem.
1960s - 1970s Hope and Faith in Technology Reigns
At the advent of the roaring 60s some of the emphasis on domesticity and nature was still in evidence in home decoration but the colours that emerged at beginning of the 60s were much stronger and more vibrant.
1960 - 1970s - Youth Energy and Optimism
As the decade progressed the mood was buoyed by technological progress demonstrated by ‘man walking on the moon’. Mass produced household goods were in the reach of most socio-economic groups. With this strong feeling of hope and faith in humanity a resurgence of the strong geometric forms from the pre-war Art Deco period were also evident but were now expressed in lipstick pinks, flame reds, egg yolk yellows and bright aqua and green.
1960 - 1970s Moderne Geometric Simplicity of Style
As the 60s progressed, technology enabled items to be made with neon hues which to give extra effect were often combined with black. The popularity of psychedelic colours in designs portrayed aspects of people’s experimentation into hallucinogenic drugs and their new found sexual freedom enabled by the ‘pill’.
1970 - 1980s Generational Betrayal
The youth rebellion had begun quietly in the 60s, but as the teenage baby boomers became the predominant demographic it exploded in the 1970s when they became empowered adults. Never before had the world seen youth predominate popular culture as the music scene provided the anthems for revolt against the older generations who were still mired in the memories of the old ways forged by the Depression and War. The Beatles, Bob Dylan, Peter Paul and Mary all called for revolution as the Vietnam War conscripted an unwilling youth for the establishment’s war machine. The general disenchantment with their parent’s ideals and the growing realisation of their innate hypocrisy, were exacerbated by the news of doom and gloom from the environmental movement. Respect for the ways of the past were further degraded by exposes of the corruption of the Nixon Government, events such as the US home guard killing protesting students at Kent State University. The women’s liberation and the civil rights movements further exposed the entrenched injustices and youth en masse rebelled to enforce change.
1970 - 1980s Silent Spring and Environmentalists
The intergenerational rebellion was expressed by a rejection of the sleek mid-century modernism, with and its worship of industrialisation and technology. There was a growing realisation of the long term harm products of technology were imposing on the environment. Environmentalists began to highlight the detrimental effects of air and water pollution and the risks from nuclear testing. The hippie culture which had started in the late 60s bloomed and entered into the mainstream in the early 70s with a move towards living in peace and harmony with nature. The organic colours of the early 70s embody the colours of the natural world; harvest gold, avocado green, mission brown and burnt orange. House hold items portrayed this homeliness with exposed brick and wood panelled walls, terracotta floors, home spun and woven clothing. Kitchen pots were hand thrown and predominantly stoneware, utensils were made of wood, rugs and hanging pots were macraméd. Exotic garden plants were replaced with native indigenous vegetation as we all embraced a simpler way of life. This organic ‘back to nature’ movement lost its impetus as the Vietnam war drew to a close and the rebellious baby boomers became parents themselves encumbered by mortgages with onerous interest rates (10%).
1970 - 1980s Baby Boomer Optimism
As the 1970s drew to a close the rebellious protesters became more conservative and mainstream. However they held onto their ideals, and as parents they encouraged their children to have a voice and be present in their lives. In Australia, towards the end of the 1970s overseas travel became available to the masses, television broadcasted international shows and our migrant population included many Asian nations. Our population was more educated and more worldly; they drank wine and tried new ‘exotic’ foods. The era of the formal dinner parties started as people experimented with cooking restaurant style food at home. Along with these changes, the advent of the microwave put an end to brown stoneware pots and fine china returned to the table.
1980 - 1990s The bold and the beautiful
The 80s brought with it all the excesses that had been suppressed in the previous decade. Technology enabled neon dyes, para silk, lycra and polyester. With the advent of the disco period, MTV and the worship of beautiful bodies, everything was taken to the extreme, hair and shoulder pads were oversized colours were fluorescent (pinks, purples and aquas ) and the love of all that was natural was again on the back burner,
1980 - 1990s Age of Excess
The 80s brought with it all the excesses that had been suppressed in the previous decade. Technology enabled neon dyes, para silk, lycra and polyester. With the advent of the disco period, MTV and the worship of beautiful bodies, everything was taken to the extreme, hair and shoulder pads were oversized colours were fluorescent (pinks, purples and aquas ) and the love of all that was natural was again on the back burner,
1990s - 2000 Peace and Tranquility
The 1980’s bubble burst with the stock market crash late 1987 and brought the excesses of the 80s to a grinding halt. Mortgage interest rates in Australia rose to 17% late 1989 and remained over 10% until 1996. The severe economic recession which prevailed for the early 1990s caused a reaction to return to the ‘good old days’ and the late Victorian country cottage look with its florals and antiques became popular.
1990s - 2000 Down Memory Lane
Clothes and soft furnishings used Laura Ashley prints and floral chintzes, shabby chic came into fashion.. Cottage gardens with rows of English box hedges and white standard roses, replaced chaotic plantings of native plants and rockeries. Colours were soft and pure with predominantly whites, ecru, pale pinks, dove greys, powder blues, sage greens.
Composing the tableaus for the photographic images and writing the background of each decade has been an insightful experience; to stand back and think about the cause and effect of fashions in colour and how we cycle through the decades flip-flopping between a natural colour palette and a manufactured one depending on our feelings of gloom and despair and our levels of bright optimism for the future.
My observations for the decade just past is that for the first time in the last hundred years colour has gone almost completely from our life style palette; as we dress and decorate in the muted tones of a black and white photograph, punctuated intermittently with shades of taupe and occasionally introduce the odd red highlight to break the boredom. It is interesting to ponder the question of what does this complete absence of colour say about our collective psyche as we move forwards into the 21st century?
Speaking with Hands
These images investigate the profound capacity for visual images of human hands to communicate with, and trigger emotions in the viewer. The series focuses on one aspect of the human condition - death and deterioration of physical being, relationships and psyche.
As portrait photographers, we tend to focus on our subject’s eyes and facial expressions to communicate our story to the viewer, believing that is primarily 'our faces that portray the story of our life' and our 'eyes are the windows to our soul'.
However, whilst our faces are the first point of contact with which other beings seek communication; we often proactively modify how we want the outside world to view us, by controlling expressions or via cosmetic intervention. In contrast we are rarely aware of, or acknowledge the role that our hands play in communication. Hands play a very active part in the everyday process of living, and as such, are a much more revealing and unfettered canvas describing who we are , what we have done and what we have become. Hands reflect our vanity, strength, fragility, age, health, gender, ethnicity and social status.
Hands are our most familiar body part other than our face in which we have constant direct visual contact. Whilst people can often control their facial expression and tone and content of their verbal communication, they rarely think to control the instinctive and often subliminal communication provided by their hand gestures.
Hand gestures over time have been codified, communicated and perpetuated both in literature and art. They provide a universal language or discourse to a generic audience which has been extensively explored in mime, pantomime and dance. Body language involving hand gestures (although may be open to cultural interpretations) often intentionally or unintentionally communicate more to the viewer than the verbal communication. There is a parallel between the use of hand gestures to communicate and photography as both use visual non-verbal means of communication to express thoughts concepts or ideas. Both have the ability to invoke an immediate emotional response and a duality of being two things at once active and passive, objective and subjective.
We use our hands to make initial physical contact with other beings, they are critical to the initiation, development and maintenance of intimate physical relationships. As children they are the main point of contact with our carers. I have trouble picturing the faces of my grandparents but remember in great detail the unique characteristics of their hands which taught, fed, bathed and caressed me. Small children relate to their carer’s hands so strongly that their early drawings often depict their mothers with small bodies and massive hands. When viewing a portrait that includes the person’s hands, our eyes are first drawn to the face but the next point of focus is typically the hands. The significance of our hands as a means of identification via finger prints was recognized by forensic scientists as the first way of uniquely identifying individuals and soothsayers have for thousands of years read their markings to interpret our past and predict our future. Whilst their importance today in an age of visual and text communication is rarely acknowledged, historically and mythically they have played a significant role in human interaction. The oldest cave art ever found, from the Cave of El Castillo in northern Spain, was made over 40,000 years ago by stencilling the artist’s hands[i].
Michel de Montaigne (French: 1533 –1592) was one of the most influential writers of the French Renaissance who elegantly articulated the importance of hands “And what about our hands? With them we request, promise, summon, dismiss, menace , pray , supplicate, refuse, question, show astonishment, count, confess, repent, fear, show shame, doubt, teach command, incite, encourage, make oaths, bear witness, make accusations ,condemn, give absolution, insult, despise , defy, provoke, flatter, applaud, bless, humiliate, mock , reconcile , advise, exalt, welcome ,rejoice, lament’ show sadness, grieve, despair, astonish, cry out, keep silent and what not else with a variety of multiplicity rivalling the tongue”[ii]
Our two hands considered together further communicate to the viewer in that they have both a physical and a psychological dichotomy, of right and left-handedness and rational and irrational actions, combined with their socio-logical implications of righteous and sub-ordinance. This hierarchy is perpetrated in cultures that utilize the right hand for eating and the left hand for sanitation.
Surrealistic art has explored the use of disembodied hands to signify psychotic dislocation, a simultaneous experience of the familiar juxtaposed with the unfamiliar. The images portrayed powerful symbols of a liberated psyche confronting the more mundane concept of the rational whole. Freud interpreted the emotional stress that disembodied hands represented as the trigger to invoking castration anxiety[iii].
[i]Clottes, Jean(2003).Chauvet Cave: The Art of Earliest Times. Paul G. Bahn (translator). University of Utah Press.ISBN0-87480-758-1.Translation ofLa Grotte Chauvet, l'art des origins, Éditions du Seuil, 2001, p. 214.
[ii]Michael de Montaigne . An Apology for Raymond Sebond, trans and ed. M.A.Screech 1588;London ‘Penguin Books 1987. P18.
[iii]Speaking with Hands Photographs from the Buhl Collection 2004 the Solomon R Guggenheim Foundation New York
Once fresh and ripe, time has wrought decay
Like sand through and hourglass...so are the days of our lives
How fleeting is our life when viewed from a position of age
External factors can lead us to feel trapped and tortured in our inevitable downward slide.
Life and relationships take many turns sometimes they trap us other times they free us to be ourselves.
Deterioration of Phyche
External factors over which we have little control may send us into the downward spiral into a dark place
Death of Libido
Th ultimate cruelty of aging
When the romance dies......
What starts as red roses and champagne can end in frustration and despair
Love is a two way street...
We are bound by who we love
Supplication and forgiveness....
When we hurt those we love the most.
Death of a love one...
Sometime love ends prematurely as we weep for a love lost
Remembering lost love ones
The consequence of aging is that we often lose the ones we love before we are ready to let them go.
Holding back time
Will we ever be ready for the clock to strike 12?
Remembering who went before
Life goes on, Loved ones pass and new ones are born.
Is there another life or just a dark void ?
Autumn of our lives
Substrate for leaf litter, time for the new generation to build on what we have left
Death and the cycle of life
One being finishes and another starts, the cycle of life.
Imitating the Natural World
An alternative title for this series is "Making the Ordinary look Extraordinary'. Photography is the art of painting with light to make something ordinary look amazing. In this series I photographed clear glass marbles under filtered light to explore the way that light refracts, diffracts and reflects through glass to change these rather mundane transparent spheres into something beautiful. Whilst I was working with these spheres it struck me how much of our environment is constructed from spheres from the smallest atom to living cells to our earth and our planets.
It must have been amazing for astronauts to view our earth from space and its breathtaking beauty of blue and green swirls. Our world looks blue from space due ability of water molecules to absorb the energy from low energy red light photons from the sun but leave the high energy blue light photons to reflect. The green light is reflected by plants whose pigment chlorophyll absorbs deep blue and red light but reflects the rest of the spectrum which we see the combination as green.
The complexity of living cells has long been a fascination at their ability to operate alone and in groups to provide specific functions and through selectively permeable membranes filter and extract what they need from their surrounding environment.
The aim of this series was to create a set of visually pleasing images of flowers that are harmonious in style and aesthetics but engage the viewer such that they are awed by the intricate structure and beauty of the natural world. These images provide a personal record of the flowers that bloom in my garden in early spring.
Botanical art is art that includes flowers and/or plants as the major subjects with aesthetic, artistic representation. It does not necessarily stand up to scientific scrutiny. Botanical art does not need to concern itself with precise details and can be purely an aesthetic interpretation of plants.
Botanical illustration is an accurate, scientific representation of plants, making it possible to identify the plants to the species, in the field. It may include a dissection of the plant as an aid to its identification. Even with its scientific use, there is an inherent artistic aesthetic quality that appeals to the viewer and critic alike.
Within this portfolio I sought to create images that are a hybrid of both these genres but take it to a further level where the images are more graphical in composition and artistically aesthetically pleasing.
I have always loved the natural world and qualified with a degree in Biological Science which involved studying plant physiology and taxonomy. I have continued to be fascinated with plants, particularly angiosperms (flowing plants) and have been a keen gardener for over 50 years. My garden has been the subject of much of my personal photography, but the images are just photos of flowers, I have never been able to find a ‘use’ for my plant photographs. This project provided an opportunity to further explore my love of botany and the natural world and develop my studio and post-development Photoshop techniques
Disdainful Arrogance - Bird of Paradise
The Strelizia's or Bird of Paradise flowers are unique in their size, strength and colour palette. When I visited South Africa where they are a native species I was awed by the sight of hillsides covered in their glory. They take years to establish in a garden to the stage that they flower vigorously but once they do they provide ongoing pleasure. They remain beautiful once picked for several weeks in a vase if water.
Small Faces - Pansey
The intricate unique detail of each flower makes them look like small human faces. Every winter I plant masses of them so that spring will be heralded with their amazing beauty.
Tussled Frills - Purple Bearded Iris
I just love purple and blue bearded Irises and cannot go past buying new varieties every time I see another combination of their colours and shapes. Irises only flower for a one to two weeks at the beginning of spring and for the rest of the year provide a fairly bland garden bed with their spiky shabby spear like leaves. But for the time that they are flowering nothing can surpass them for their beauty. I pick bunches of them every day during their season and remain in awe of their beauty.
Symmetrical Perfection - Dogwood Tree
I remember the first time that I saw a dogwood tree and was awed by its amazing 3D pale magenta flowers. I fell in love with its luscious delicacy and just had to buy it for my garden. My tree flowered for 5 years before we had 10 years of drought and it succumbed to the heat. It is a native of the colder regions of Asia and Japan and not well suited to the hot dry Australian weather. As soon as the drought broke, I purchased another and this time planted it in a much cooler sheltered position, hoping it will survive the forecast el Niño event.
Frothy Pink Tissue Paper - Tree Peony Roses
I inherited four of these beautiful Tree Peonies when we bought our house. The original landscape plan from the 1930s included them so they are now approaching 80 years old and still flower vigorously every year with up to 20 blooms each plant. Each bloom can be up to 15 centimetres in diameter with masses of transparent pale magenta petals. Every spring, I pick baskets of them and fill the house with their exuberance.
Snowy Flamboyance - Snowball Tree
My garden has two snowball trees which in early spring are covered in these snowy mint green tinged fluffy balls. Unfortunately, the flowering period is only a couple of weeks but when the flowers fall it looks like we have had a fresh fall of snow.
Nostalgic Charm - Pierre De Ronsard Rose
I adore these old fashioned classic roses that combine a beautiful fragrance, with masses of showy pink petals and a long flowering season. They are much 'messier' than the modern standard roses and tend to collapse before they can be picked for inside, but they are still my favourite for the genteel elegance they bring to my chaotic cottage style garden.
Genteel Elegance - Arum Lilies
Arum lilies are another native of South Africa that grow well in Australia. They are most often associated with funerals, and traditionally symbolize that the 'soul of the departed' has received restored innocence after death. To me this association with death is an unfortunate legacy for these gracious elegant flowers. From bud to full bloom they always look so innocent and pure. Their beautiful waxy parchment like petals are so graceful and ethereal. I am grateful that they grow so vigorously in our local climate.
Bashful Spaniel - Bearded Iris
I just love the intricate detail and colour palette of Irises, particularly the bearded Irises. They are very sensitive to growing conditions and only flower when everything is exactly right and then only for a very short time. The Flowers once picked only last a few days inside but they give such joy in that time that the wait all year is worth it.
Petulant Haughtiness - Dutch Iris
The Dutch iris is much more robust and ‘in your face’ than its cousin the bearded iris. Whilst its colours of royal purple and gold are much more vibrant than the bearded irises, it lacks their detailed frilly delicacy of structure and hue. However one of its strengths is it is much more robust for transportation and picking and flowers readily under almost any conditions.
Petite Graciousness - Grannys Bonnets
The Grannys Bonnets provide and old-fashioned ambience to any cottage garden and their violet hue off-sets the vibrant greens of the spring foliage.
Metaphors - life is the sum of the decisions we made
Metaphors are powerful concepts that help us make sense of the world.From a young age, we instinctively embody our cognitive thoughts through the use of physical metaphors as our conceptual minds seek to make sense of the world through familiar physical objects. Our minds are pre-conditioned to reason and dream in terms of differences, comparisons, allegory, similes, parables, aphorisms and metaphors. While a simile compares two items, a metaphor directly equates them. A metaphor is a type of analogy and is closely related to other rhetorical figures of speech which achieve their effects via association, comparison or resemblance.
In attempting to achieve the wisdom of age by looking back over my life experiences I see that the journey is never a predictable straight line but in the words of the great French philosopher Albert Camus “life is the sum of the decisions we made”. This series of images seeks embody a sense of a life’s journey – navigating passages, traversing thresholds, overcoming barriers and making hard choices from the moment of birth, until our death when folklore tells us that we face the final verdict of where we spend eternity as a consequence of the those conscious and unconscious decisions. I produced these in black and white to optimise the message through the graphical elements and avoid the subliminal messages we receive from colour.
Birth - the first threshold
Whilst being born is not a conscious decision, it represents our first major threshold we transverse, from a dark cavern into the light.
First Impressions - Life is straightforward
Early infancy is straightforward, all our decisions are made for us. Life presents no obstacles and is all about eating and sleeping.
Sunny Days - Making hay while the sun shines
Early childhood is all about sunshine and joy, our decisions are basic as we explore who we are, what we like and do not like and what we want from life.
Danger Ahead - our first inkling that life may not be easy
As pre-teens approaching puberty we start to see that life is not as straight forward as we first imagined. The road looks smooth but we have warning signs of trouble ahead.
Unforeseen Obstacles - Just when the way ahead looked clear
Just when we thought we were in control and knew everything, and especially more than our parents, our way forward is suddenly blocked, and we need to be patient or find another route.
Stopped in our Tracks - nowhere to go
Just when we get comfortable our way forward is blockaded. All our hopes and dreams are on hold. We need to change course and navigate new passages.
Brave New World - new beginnings
When one door closes another opens. What we thought was adversity is actually an opportunity to transend our previous expectations. We need to take the challenge and look forward and upwards not backwards with regret.
Hard Choices - the lesser of two evils
Many times our choices are hard, we need to make a decision but neither choice looks inviting and both have unknown outcomes.
Easy Choices - between Heaven and Hell
Sometimes the choice seems obvious, do we take the smooth straight forward easy option or the hard challenging course with foreseeable barriers?
Death - Light at the End of the Tunnel
Interestingly we think of a Light at the end of the tunnel being a symbol for hope and better times, yet near death experiences describe just that phenomena, leading to the spiritual belief of a better life after death.
Road to Hell - Paved with good intentions
Folklore tells us that our life after death is determined by the life we have lead and the decisions we have made consciously or unconsciously . Good intentions alone are not enough to make our actions morally sound.
Stairway to Heaven - ooh it makes me wonder!
Camberwell – “I love it!”
Camberwell is changing rapidly from an enclave of affluent conservative elderly Caucasian professionals to a much younger more vibrant Asian Gen X demographic with a high disposable income. In the main shopping precinct bounded by the Camberwell Junction; the older style family owned niche shops that sold uniquely sourced stock, hand-tailored garments and rare antiques and collectables are being rapidly displaced by global franchise chains displaying imported modern readily disposable homewares and fashions. Prams and toddlers are replacing shopping jeeps and new shiny buildings are replacing discarded heritage icons. Some of our beautiful heritage buildings still remain such as the Rivoli Theatre and the Basilica Church but even those are dwarfed and visually consumed by the adjacent shiny new glass behemoth apartment building boxes.
Some of the Camberwell shopping precinct that I love has narrowly avoided the cannibalism by the global chains and overseas property investors and tenuously remains for the time being to remind us of times past. Special treasures that I hold dear are the:
·family owned cafes and restaurants each of which have their own unique cuisine and atmosphere, and loyal staff and clientele
·the fresh food market where flowers, fruit and vegetables, cheeses, meat and fish are sold fresh from local suppliers and not pre-packaged in a foreign country. The family traders have been trading at the market for decades and know their produce and its origins and are only too willing to share tips and recipes on the best way to keep it, prepare and cook it.
·the Sunday market has become like family – a community within a community, which rejoices in sustainable choices of reuse. This is where treasures from the past keep on giving as they are traded and re-traded and taken home by temporary adoptive owners. The traders and their clientele are an eclectic mix which bring colour and joy to the market experience.
It is this Camberwell that I want to show in these images - the old treasured traditional Camberwell juxtaposed against the new vibrant internationally influenced Camberwell that is becoming the future.
Camberwell Junction Reflections
Early morning reflections showing the changing nature of Camberwell Junction Buildings
New meets Old at the Junction
Light streaks highlight the frenetic pace of the Junction
Glowing Cupola crowned with Madonna and Child
Our Lady of Victories Basilica Burke Road Camberwell during restoration of the dome.
Open for Business - Saturday evening mass
Father Mathews preparing for parishioners at Our Lady of Victories Basilica Camberwell
Greet and Meet
The Bookstore Cafe - Cafes are very much part of the Camberwell social structure - the shopping strip boasts over 30 cafes.
Changing face of Camberwell
Camberwells demographics have changed radically over the years from an enclave of pension aged Anglo residents to a much younger cashed up Asian Gen X population.
A cigarette and a Bentley
The old world charm of Camberwell is captured in this tableau of vintage car , tweed Jacket, cigarette and panama hat.
Men at Work
The Rotary Sunday market attracts the quirky, offbeat hippy in us all. The whole family can find recycled treasures to take home and enjoy.
Sunday Morning Crossword
All you need is your pipe,pencil, eraser and whiteout and a good cup of coffee to solve the most complex puzzle.
Dwarfed by choice
Harrison Main at Nick and Sues Continental Delicatessan is overflowing with choice be it bread, salamis, cheeses or Sues homemade delights of pates and pastries.
Old world charm of Exotic Blooms
Camberwell Market Florist - Camberwell Fresh food market boasts three florists who take meticulous care in ensuring their flowers are fresh and beautifully styled.
Yummy Mummies - the new look of Camberwell
The older mum and dad family shops and antique stores have been replaced with global franchises targeting the younger X Generation
Walking with Intent
A young man strides past the wrecked facade of a disused builing in the main shopping strip Burke Road Camberwell
Riding off into the Sunset
Camberwell Junction is a transport hub serviced by two train lines and 3 tram routes. It is only 20 mins from the city
Reduce Reuse and Recycle
Our technologically advanced society accepts organ transplants as being commonplace. We recognise the enormous benefits of harvesting healthy body organs from the dying, to potentiate the lives of the living. The aim of this photographic project was to highlight other opportunities for society to minimise waste and optimise reuse, by taking this concept of recycling discarded items from the ‘outmoded’, to rebirth them in the ‘new’; across other facets of our lives, using the building industry as an example of one place we can all start.
Over the past decade our major Australian capital cities have experienced a massive building boom, as local and overseas investors have bought up choice suburban properties for high density development. The most lucrative properties are those with large blocks, close to the city and public transport, which unfortunately tend to belong to our city’s older heritage housing stock. These hand-crafted historic homes are being rapidly replaced with a swathe of modern multi-development town houses. Whilst we mourn the loss of these unique beautiful old homes, we often fail to consider the secondary more insidious environmental impact of their demolition generating tonnes of building rubble. It is estimated that over 90% of building demolition waste ends up in landfill, which overtime will become a significant environmental hazard as it decomposes and leaches toxins and hazardous substances into our soil and ground water. Much of the modern building materials used in the replacement buildings are synthetic composites, which consume non-renewable energy and resources in their manufacture, further contributing to the negative environmental impact of this knock-down and rebuild new approach.
Although over the last 30 years there has been an increased public awareness of optimising our domestic use of renewable energy and recycling our household garbage, unfortunately the building industry has generally been very slow in adopting a reduce, reuse and recycle philosophy;primarily because it is just not profitable. In order for this to change we, as a society, need to rethink our approach and encourage governments to incentivise demolishers to salvage and recycle their waste by either heavily taxing landfill or providing grants to those that employ technology, so they can cost-effectively extract, sort and recycle. But ultimately it comes down to us as consumers to reduce the waste in the first place by retaining our structurally sound buildings but if we do have to rebuild, then create sufficient market demand so that architects, designers and builders optimise recycled or reused materials as standard practice in their construction process.
The beautiful old Edwardian Cottage at 32 Chaucer Avenue Canterbury awaits its fate on the morning of demolition
Takes two to Jemmy
Jason jemmies the window frames with Peters assistance
Bring in the Chainsaw
Peter cuts away the external weather boards to enable window extraction.
Peter jemmies the sill away from the frame
Peter Digmillo jemmies the sill away from the frame amidst the swirling plaster dust.
Jason Drennan steadies the frame as it is gently lifted free from its contraints.
Just one more nail
Peter Digmillo gently eases the window free from the surrounding frame.
Free at last
Jason Drennan, Peter Digmillo and Ryan Poulter work together to safely remove the window from its mounts.
Waiting for a new Home
The window waits for loading on the truck to go back to the salvage yard.
Jason Drennan takes a well earned break from the hard work whilst his co-worker Ryan Poulter catches up on missed calls.
Salvaged windows and doors are gently stacked on the truck ready to be transported back to the yard for refurbishment.
David Gaunt and Brian Cunningham prepare to get the window ready for refurbishing before sale.
Smoke and Mirrors
David Gaunt saws the broken ledge to straighten it ready for resale and reuse.
Every last nail
David Gaunt ensures that all protruding nails are removed before the final clean up.
Removing all the nails
David Gaunt gently removes all the extruding nails and screws to allow the window to be safely stacked in the sales yard.
Spit and Polish
David polishes the glass to make it appealing to prospective customers
Adoption and Rebirth
David Gaunt and Ryan Poulter talk with prospective owners needing to match a donor window to a transplant building site.