The Best Of 2016 – Street
I didn’t shoot nearly enough street this year as I would have liked to. I have been photographing Melbourne’s streets for close to 13 years and even if there is an air of familiarity about it all, there is still so much more that can be learnt and refined in the craft of street photography. I want to learn to get closer to my subjects in the years ahead and not be so voyeuristic in my shots. It is also time to explore other cities of the world and I plan on doing that over the next decade as I will be travelling a lot over the next few years.
Still, as predictable as Melbourne is becoming to me, I did manage to finalise a list of my 10 fave photos of the year.
They are all here for your viewing discretion. How they came to be and why they have been shortlisted is detailed below.
10: The New York Taxi Cab
On a quiet stroll through the city of Melbourne one Sunday afternoon, the parked taxis outside the Atheneum Theatre on Collins Street stood out like beacons! They looked gorgeous and were actual New York old-school cabs in use for Wedding cars. The yellow of the cabs was stunning but of course that detail would be lost in my monochrome treatment of the cars. Whilst the colour has been stripped away, the shape and texture hasn’t. I enjoy the flow of this image and the blurred background of Melbourne’s buildings adds a nice contrast and tone.
09: Moth To A Flame
I love photographing impending storm clouds. They are always so dramatic and sinister looking. Photographing clouds alone though can be a little on the boring side but add some scenery to them and you have a nefarious and foreboding image instead. A relatively busy Flinders Street crossing adds so much more to the drama.
08: The Three Angels
Old decrepit architecture I am a big fan of. There is a gorgeous building that fits such a description on the corner of Brunswick and Johnston Streets in Fitzroy which fits this criteria well. It is a tall, four storey old building that I would love to explore the inside of. However on this particular day whilst I was looking up at the guarding gargoyles, I noticed a girl standing on the balcony. The human element just makes photos more inviting for me.
07: Record Store Day At Greville Records
I love images such as these! The busier, the better! The more stuff everywhere, the better! No surprise that two such photos feature in this year’s top ten. I have a large collection of photos like this one I have taken over the years. They would look wonderful in book form or the theme of an exhibition. This one was taken at this year’s Record Store Day celebrations at one of my fave vinyl stores in Melbourne, Greville Records.
06: You’re So Vain
Street Artist Lush Sux made quite an impact on 2016 with his ‘controversial’ portraits of naked celebrities and other females adorning the walls throughout Melbourne and beyond. When this particular piece was painted on the Hosier Lane walls, it was quickly censored (as most of this artist’s work has been). On a very busy day, (when isn’t Hosier Lane busy these days) I waited and had planned for this shot. Surely, someone would stand in front and take a ‘selfie’ hey? Boom!
05: Living In A Multicultural World
I took this one way early in the year whilst on a stop over at Sydney Road. I love photographing in this side of town as there is always so much interesting stuff happening around. On this particular day, the three women with their phones and conversation framed a nice image in my mind and I took this shot as I was walking across the road towards them.
04: Ignorance Is Bliss
The lane was proliferated with a large number of homeless people this day. The tourist attraction that is Hosier Lane was now home to a number of homeless men who had set up camp there as they had been moved on from Flinders Street. At the same time, the cliched wedding photography set were shooting 3-4 different weddings around the homeless. The homeless ignoring the newly-weds, the newly-weds ignoring the homeless, and the wedding photographers getting frustrated that they could not properly stage their shots.
03: No Prayer For The Dying
To be honest, I am not really sure what was going on here. At the top end of Chinatown a man falls to his knees, assumers a prayer-like position and remained like that for several hours. Was he begging? Was he praying? I don’t know. He didn’t look homeless or destitute but he did look in pain. In situations such as these, you have to ask yourself if taking the shot is the right thing to do. I don’t like photographing homeless people unless I have their permission or if I can give them some money. Of course, the spontaneity is gone in such a situation but with such a powerful image – I opted to take the shot.
02: Crate Digger
As stated earlier, I adore these photos of pure cacophony – shit everywhere! Detail everywhere! You’re libel to get a ton of these sort of photos at any given flea market and Chapel Street Bazar is one of the best. I was ‘looking’ for this shot before I even took it and was hoping I could get someone (the human element) in the frame as well. I didn’t have to wait too long!
01: Stop Racism Now!
This one proved to be my most successful photo of 2016. It has been published several times in various media outlets as well as a council meeting AGM in poster form. How this photo came to be is also pretty interesting… I shot it whilst driving a car, turning from St Kilda Road onto Flinders Street whilst this scene was unfolding before me. I managed to compose it nicely, all things considered and I love the spherical sign in harmony with the Young & Jackson in the background. Dangerous and kind of stupid to be doing this whilst driving, but it was a scene that screamed to be captured…