Adelaide: Gouger St

My local urban neighbourhood in the inner city of Adelaide is changing rapidly due to re-emergence of urban renewal after the global financial crisis and the influx of international students. Since I may be leaving this neighbourhood in a year or so, I’ve started taking a closer look at it–wandering around the Central Market Precinct looking for photographic possibilities amongst the daily life.

Gouger St, Adelaide

And so we step into the technological apparatus of the camera and its relationship to memory and history in modernity. Often what photograph’s preserve as remembered history is the nostalgia arising from a pervasive and intractable sense of loss from the relentless change of industrial capitalism; a relentless change with its desire to overreach history, overthrow all traditions, habits and conventions, in oder to reinvent the future as the line of progress.

poodlewalks in Adelaide’s CBD

I’ve decided to change my work flow for colour film photography.The old work flow wasn’t really working for me.

Instead of building up six to nine months work and then having it processed at a professional laboratory in one hit, I’ve decided to have the 35mm and 6×6 film processed on the day of the shoot. I can drop it off to Photoco’s one hour minilab in the Central Market on the way back from the shoot. The sheet film can be processed at the professional lab—Atkins Technicolour.

My reason is that it is cheaper, more convenient and I can quickly assess what I’m doing in terms of feedback. I did a dummy run on Friday to see how things would turn out:

carwash, Adelaide

I’m happy with the result. It works for me:

in West Terrace Cemetery

The carpets in the studio apartment in the city were being cleaned this morning so Ari and I went down to West Terrace Cemetery to fill in a couple of hours. I wanted to use the time to walk around the cemetery to sort out the focusing problems I’ve been experiencing with the Sony NEX-7 rather than express a general sense of foreboding within a utilitarian culture.

Up to now the focusing with my M mount Leica lens has been very hit and miss. I needed to figure out why and to find a more reliable way of working. 75% of pictures out of focus is not acceptable.

gravestone, West Terrace Cemetery

I’m finding manual focusing with the peak focusing technology slow work compared to using a Leica rangefinder. I’m also coming to realize that the Sony NEX-7 is not a point and shoot or a scoping camera for large format photography. It stands on its own.

walking amongst the dead

With Agtet gone Ari is listless and lonely. The poodlewalks have lost their sparkle and their joie de vivre. He just walks behind me. Last week he walked me down to the West Terrace Cemetery and then just stood amongst the gravestones looking for Agtet.

West Terrace Cemetery, Adelaide

Atget, Ari and myself had often gone to the West Terrace Cemetery together in the late afternoon for our poodlewalks. It was one of our favourite walking places. I could take photos and the poodles could hunt for rats.

on the Nepean Highway

The last poodlewalk in Melbourne was done by car. On my previous visits to Melbourne I’d seen some architecture on the Nepean Highway that caught my eye, whilst I travelling on the Frankston train to the CBD. So we–Suzanne, Ari and myself— cruised the Nepean Highway from Frankston to Mordiallic looking for “Custom Framing” and a big bold blue building.

Nepean Highway, Melbourne

It was the day that we had Agtet, our grey standard poodle, put down. We were to drive back to Adelaide early the next morning, and we had heavy hearts and time on our hands. A phototrip in the car was my way of filling in the afternoon. Suzanne drove the car whilst I looked out for the building.

without a digital camera

I’m lost without the use of my digital camera. I had initially bought the pro-sumer Sony DSC R1 to enter the world of digital imaging, to see how the digital work flow operated, and to judge the quality and look of the digital image.

Over the next couple of years using the Sony had become habitual, with it primarily being used to study a particular object or scene to see how it looked as a photograph. I’d post some of these images on the web–on Facebook, Flickr or on my blogs—and if the picture looked okay I’d go back to reshootthe object with a medium or large format camera.


The digital camera was my scoping instrument and sketch pad–a pocket sketch pad as it were.

When it was stolen in Melbourne I found myself back to using film and not knowing how things would look as a photograph. I didn’t like the process of taking pictures blind, especially when it came to using the 5×4 Technika in Ballarat before I caught the overnight bus back to Adelaide. I stayed close to what I could remember from my previous trip and which I had filed away as suitable subjects.

Dog + Duck

On Friday morning I raced home after the gym, had a quick shower and breakfast, caught a tram packed with commuters, and went on a photowalk along Hindley St St on Friday morning. I caught a tram packed with commuter.

I wanted to continue finding more locations for a 5×7 shoot, to explore new territory, take some snaps and search for a suitable location to take a photo at

Duck and Dog, Hindley St

I tossed the photowalk in after the 11:11 shot of the Hawke Building because the light was too strong, and there was too much glare.

Brunswick St, Melbourne

One of the pleasures of my recent phototrip in Melbourne was walking around Brunswick Street in Fitzroy with a digital camera. It was liberating after the discipline of large format photography.

I was returning to old haunts, as I used to live in nearby Gore Street whilst studying at the Photographic Studies College in Southbank, and working on the Melbourne trams. I started learning how to do photography (then 35mm black and white) on the grungy streets in, and around, Fitzroy.

Brunswick St, Melbourne

This time I was discovering Brunswick Street afresh as a photographer— exploring a world I knew, yet didn’t know, because so much had changed since I’d lived in Fitzroy.

Melbourne photo shoot

I’m preparing to return to Melbourne for four days for a photo shoot in large format urban photography.

I’ll be with Suzanne but I will squeeze in some photography whilst she is conferencing. I’m taking the 5×4 Linhof Technika and tripod to reshoot some of the skylines that I took on the earlier trip.

Melbourne, rooftop, skyline, digital, Sony

I’ll be travelling overnight to Melbourne by Greyhound bus. It’s years since I’ve travelled on a bus–I normally fly– but the bus is the most practical way to get the large format photography gear over to Melbourne. It’s excess baggage on the plane and that is very expensive these days. So I’m basically accompanying the camera gear on the bus. I arrive in Melbourne at 6am.

photography + surveillance

When I was in Melbourne I used to board the train at Frankston and travel daily up the city to do my photography. Since it I took around an hour I used to take photos through the windows. I took the photo below whilst the train was at Frankston station. It was just before it was due to leave for Flinders Street station, stopping at all stations.


It is a pretty ordinary photo of a banal shopping strip in Melbourne’s suburbia. Within seconds I was surrounded by 3 Victorian police wanting to know what I was doing. Taking photos in public is now a suspicious activity even when there is no obvious security buildings close by. I was placed in the position of having to defend what I was doing.