It’s Australia Day again, that time of the year where we barbecue in the beachfront crowds and I get nervous about all the flag waving and wearing that’s become so mainstream over the last five or so years…
It is a good reason to post some uncharacteristically jingoistic photos though. Recently, I drove home from South Australia to Queensland. Because of the Victorian flooding, we took a long-cut that saw us visiting, or at least driving by, some iconic Australiana.
I wanted to do them justice, but i also wanted to get home after nearly a week of being blocked by flooding. So many of these are quick phone shots, using Hipstamatic. Like the following:
This is a shot of the statue of Banjo Paterson in … hmm, according to Google, there are many of these, all in towns I know we didn’t go through. It was a nice town, there were roses in the park and a branch was hanging down jut over Banjo’s forehead. It was a nice town annd I’m bound to remember the name as soon as I press “Publish”. It was a long, hurried trip…
For those who don’t know, Banjo Paterson was one of Australia best known poets in the late 1800s. There was an almost equally famous poet by the name of Henry Lawson. For a long time, you were either a Banjo person or a Henry person. I’m more of a Henry person. Nowadays you’re either a person who knows who Banjo and Henry are, or someone who knows who the Hilltop Hoods are.
In this era, a bust of a nineteenth-century poet seems somehow redundant. And then there was that branch tickling his forehead. So I just looked at framing the lines and the shapes. I think the texture of the weathered metal is really complemented by the postproduction elements of Hipstamatic.
So to in the case of Ned:
The Ned Kelly statue welcomes – or maybe threatens – visitors to Glenrowan, a town that now mainly seems to exist as a monument to the memory oof the Kelly gang. There was a time when you either thought Ned Kelly was a hero or Ned Kelly was a murderer. Nowadays, there are Australian hip hop songs that mention Ned Kelly and the Hilltop Hoods in the same sentence.
I like what Hipstamatic has done here. It’s reddened and blued up the image, so the colours really seem to match the iconic Sydney Nolan paintings. Just in case you think that this looks too like a faux-Holga shot, I did also shoot this on a Holga 135BC (which, with it’s vignette mask, is something of a faux-Holga itself.)
And of course, when we reached Goulburn, there was the Big Merino:
I’ve written before about the way film and pseudo-film effects act to emphasise nostalgia. Looking at this image, I wonder if you could say that they also impose a kind of irony or detachment. Or has it just become impossible to see images such as this in a non-ironic way now?
In Sydney I did stop for a day, and did have time to be a little more considered. I’ll finish off with some shots from Sydney.
This image was taken on my D5000 using a Sigma 10-20 lens with an ND110 filter. The exposure time was about two seconds. My aim was to create an image that re-presented the very beautiful shape of the bridge, without being another redundant postcard image of something we’ve all seen a million times before. And yet, it is that image anyway.
When you shoot blur with an ND110, you take many, many shots hoping to find a good one. The image at the top of this blog post is a more abstract blur picture from Circular Quay.
I was travelling with my daughter, and she had her 35mm film Holga 135BC. We were both using it, and there were some happy accidents on the roll. My favourite iconic image from the trip is a Holga double exposure.
In the original print, the right hand portion of this image was much paler – the bbridge just seemed to fade out into a white void. This did noot scan well, so some digital level adjustment has been used here. I like the result. It’s like the bridge is linking ot the past, or to somewhere stange that the figure is nontheless confident of visiting.
What does this image say to you? Please leave a comment. I’d also be very interested tosee links to your photos of national icons, Australian or otherwise.
Have a great Australia day. If you can’t beat the flag-waving, photograph it!