starting out in the city

Yesterday evening’s poodlewalk was Maleko’s first walk in the city. We had just returned from a week of walking and playing on the beaches in and around Victor Harbor in the morning and evening.

Encounter Bay
Encounter Bay

We walked along Sturt St to Whitmore Square, then back along Wright Street to the townhouse. Maleko was a little unsure of himself, as there was so many strange happenings and sounds on the city streets compared to the coastal quietness of Encounter Bay in the early morning.

empty shops

One of the things that we keep on coming across on our poodlewalks in the CBD are the empty shops and offices. They seem to be everywhere we walk. Does that suggest that small business is doing it hard because consumers are not spending?

empty shop
empty shop

Some of the signs on the windows say that some of the small businesses are moving out of the CBD to the inner suburb, presumably due to the lower rents. I would think that others would have gone into debt and they have to sell up. The dreams become nightmares. The economy is not booming and the job opportunities are no longer abundant.

However, what I do notice is that the empty shops are not being filled with new tenants. They remain empty for long periods of time. What does that mean for the CBD’s economy? Is it structurally changing? Or are people just hanging on?

Wright St, Adelaide

I walk past this building almost everyday and I’ve been wondered how to photograph it. This photo was made early on a weekday morning around 6.30am before there was any one around. There was just a security guard collecting money from the parking meters and she was hostile. Security guards are just suspicious of photographers these days.

I also look at the beginnings of the redevelopment of an open car lot to its left along Frew Street. It is an affordable housing project. Most of the year has been taken up with digging out the contaminated soil and replacing it.

Wright Street, Adelaide
Wright Street, Adelaide

I understand that the development will done in several stages, and it will allow low and moderate income households to live in the CBD. It is part of the Council’s strategy to encourage more people to live in “a vibrant, populous and sustainable Capital City built upon Adelaide’s heritage and lifestyle”.

urban grunge

This architectural urban decay is locked behind a fence that protects a private carpark for those working in the lawyer precinct. It is difficult to gain access to the car park because the gate is always closed and operated by a card. I was allowed in because Ari did his cute act.


The site is earmarked for development–glass tower office blocks, judging from the advertising. Nothing much is happening, even though this site is in the heart of the CBD in the central market precinct.

in Gilles Street

I’ve finally recovered enough from an illness to start walking the streets around Adelaide with Ari with a camera. It was a short stint around my urban neighbourhood in the late afternoon on the long weekend.My eye was seduced by the windows of an empty shop in Gilles Street. It looked surreal:

shop windows, Gilles St, Adelaide

The empty shops in the CBD are increasing. People just aren’t spending. Some–eg., restaurants–cannot hang on until the postponed mining starts. So they go bust. Just after making the picture I was hassled by an aggressive paranoid schizophrenic who took great exception to me with a standard poodle walking the streets.

walking the city

It has been a while since I’ve wandered the streets of Adelaide on a daily walk with Ari and a digital camera. Today was the first day that I returned to walking the streets taking photos:

Ari, Adelaide

I was wanting to take more street level photography for the Adelaide book. The draft is top heavy with ‘birds-eye’ views of the city. I wondered if the digital camera become a tool of the flâneur who walks the city in order to experience the present conditions of daily urban life. This urbanscape in which we live which is often ignored or taken for granted.

The idea of the flâneur returns us to the Situationists concept of psychogeography, which is the practice of exploring places in unpredictable ways within the society of the spectacle. This is connected to a favorite practice of the dadaists, who organized a variety of expeditions, and the surrealists, for whom the geographical form of automatism was an instructive pleasure.

scoping Bentham Street, Adelaide

I haven’t done much photography on poodlewalks in the last couple of weeks. I have been preparing work for the Shimmer Festival organized by the City of Onkaparinga. I did manage to take a few location shots for a large format shoot with the Sony NEX-7. The location for the scoping was yet another carpark with iron bars to prevent people in a state of despair from jumping off.

Bentham St, Adelaide

It used to be the case that art photography was measured according to the conventions and aesthetic values of the painted image. The latest defence of that position was provided American formalist modernism. But that has changed now, as in the late 20th century the strict modernist boundaries between photography and other media like sculpture, painting or performance became increasingly porous–ie., with postmodernism.

Adelaide: Central Market precinct

I’m back in Adelaide after the brief trip to Melbourne. The smallness of the city of Adelaide was a bit of a culture shock after Melbourne. Adelaide really is a regional town.

I decided to spend the early afternoon exploring the area around the Central Market precinct by walking around the edges of the carpark above the market even though the lighting was too harsh. I recalled that the edge of the car park had grills but not wire netting so I would be able to stick the lens of my camera through the grill if the view of the city was any good.

I wanted to see what views the car park offered of the mixture of old and the new architecture, the historical architectural layering of the CBD, and people moving along the street space contained by the build environment.

Grote St, Adelaide

I was just looking for possibilities to explore with a medium format camera, hand held, as it is possible to get a lens through the carpark grill, or maybe with a bit of luck even finding an open space with no grill so that I could use the 5×4.

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.


I reckon I have found one location from my scoping for a large format urbanscape shoot with the 5×7 Cambo monorail. It is a carpark roof in Hindley St looking south along Bank St up to Currie Street.

Today Ari and I set out about 4pm to walk from our Sturt St townhouse to the Hindley St carpark to check out the late afternoon urban winter light in this location. It’s a soft light in winter in Adelaide–such a contrast from summer— and I wanted to get there just before the last rays of the winter sun disappeared. I wanted to see what this urbanscape actually looked like. The location looks a goer:

Bank St, Adelaide

I have chosen this time because I wanted people in the picture as opposed to photographing at night with no people. I was interested in people walking home to the railway after leaving work –looking small and overpowered by the mish mash architecture.