Peter Drews: Asylum seeker street art

When Ari and I were walking Adelaide’s CBD last week I couldn’t help but notice the asylum seeker street art of Peter Drews scattered around the city. I only saw about 4-5 of the 36 that Drews had put up over a period of two weeks in early June. Some property owners were not pleased.

Peter Drews Quetta
Peter Drews Quetta

The posters are simply constructed around the individual stories of refugees and asylum seekers, both in detention and on bridging visas, that subvert the politicised stereotypes in the “stop the boats” narrative in main stream media.

pavement art

On a recent poodlewalk Ari and I stumbled upon a trail of pavement art that started from the Sturt St Community School. We followed it along Wilcox St to the children’s playground on South Terrace in the southern part of the Adelaide parklands. I would expect that the trail of brightly painted insects would be very popular with the local community.

red beetle
red beetle

Since Sturt St was where the trial of a separated bicycle lane was a failure it was good to see something to liven up the neglected south western corner of Adelaide.

a digital disruption

When I was walking around city west yesterday I couldn’t help but think about the digital disruption that is going to happen in the near future. This will be less from the proposed free wireless in the city and more from the National Broadband Network facilitating the digital economy.


What prompted these thoughts was the construction site of the University of South Australia’s new Learning Centre. I couldn’t help but think that many in the area have little idea of the forthcoming digital disruption.

Melbourne: near Macaulay Station

The topographic shoot under the South East Freeway on Monday with the 5×4 near the Moonee Ponds Creek was not successful. It took me ages to get to the Macaulay Railway station on the Upfield line from Safety Beach.

I arrived about 11.30 am, set up the camera, took one picture, then the cloud cover disappeared and the midday sun came out. It was too bright for me as was working in dark shadow on the south side of the freeway. So I scoped the picture I wanted to take and packed it in.

near Macaulay Station, Melbourne

As I was leaving to go to the airport on the Skybus the cloud cover returned. Them’s the breaks, I thought.

funky Melbourne

The Melbourne trip is coming to an end. Suzanne leaves for Adelaide today, and I fly out early tomorrow afternoon. The few days have gone real quick.

This picture is from Thursday when I visited Smith St, Fitzroy. It’s a little cafe near Johnston Street where I had a quick lunch before meeting up with Stuart Murdoch at the Centre of Contemporary Photography:

cafe, Smith St, Melbourne

Whilst at the CCP I glanced through an old issue of UN. magazine, which featured the work of Eliza Hutchinson who was exhibiting some work in Gallery 3.

urban texture + pathos

Just before the Xmas break I wandered the streets of the CBD with a medium format camera–the Rolleiflex 6006 and a wide angle lens. It was a dull and grey Sunday morning and I was looking for urban architectural texture with a slightly grungy feel.

French St, Adelaide CBD

I was searching for urban subject matter that would be suitable for a 5×7 shoot; one that referred back to the pictures of shop fronts in Rundle Street in Adelaide that were taken by the nineteenth century urban photographers. These early pictures (1860s-1870s) were known as carte de visite views due to their small size and they functioned like today’s business cards.

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.

word and way

One of the interesting aspects of Melbourne is its many laneways. You just don’t know what you will find when you walk down one. One I stumbled upon whilst exploring Chinatown and Little Burke Street was Heffernan Lane.This runs between Lonsdale and Little Bourke Sts between Swanston and Russell Sts, which is to say, between Greek street and Chinese street.

I walked past the “Commit No Nuisance” signs, on past the Kum Den Bar and Restaurant and Wing Cheong Food Service, then glimpsed what appeared to be a council No Parking sign:

Evangelos Sakaris, Untitled, Heffernan Lane

Heffernan Lane was the site of artist Evangelos Sakaris’s untitled installation for the City of Melbourne’s Laneway Commissions 2001-2002. Sakaris’s work involved the instalment along the lane of contemporary street signs bearing excerpts of ancient Greek and Chinese texts, to highlight the connections between these cultures.

preparing for Melbourne

As I am due to return to Ballarat and Melbourne at the end of this week, I’ve come down to Victor Harbor for break to allow the poodles to get into hunting mode and to look at the street style and architectural photos that I took when I was there couple of weeks ago.

I don’t have that many images on the computer’s hard disc, as I only took a few, and most of the ones that I did take were quickly eliminated. That is digital photography: edit, edit, edit.

Lydiard St Nth Ballarat

After spending the weekend in Ballarat for the International Foto Biennale I will stay in Melbourne for several days to take photos in the central business district. I plan to concentrate on skyline photos, as most of the photos that I took through the train windows didn’t really work.

from a car park roof

I continued my search for suitable high locations to use the 5×7 Cambo in the Adelaide CBD today. This was mostly spent checking out the highest floor of the car parks in my neighbourhood for their perspective on the city.

I also wanted to see whether I could get a lens through the grilled barriers around the car parks that have been erected to prevent people from jumping off the roof.

King William Street

Most of the perspectives that I came across were far too scenic—the snaps looked like picture post cards. I have no interest in pretty or pleasant representations of this provincial city as I am not doing a portrait of Adelaide; a tourist image; or a celebration of Adelaide as a liveable place.