It is easy to forget that there is always choice… are you going to stop, or go? Are you leaving something behind, or are you moving towards something new? Even when we cannot change the shape of our path, we can choose how we walk it, and what details will draw us in. We arrange these choices behind us, like links in a chain, that always leads to now. Sometimes it’s worth reorganising that chain, so as not to let it weigh us down too much…
We leave ripples in the world as we move through it… some are larger than others. Sometimes we don’t even see them…
There is still life, and then there is very still life… so still, as to be frozen in time.
A slice of life, somebody’s life, tells its own tale of simple work, simple outlook, simple ornamentation. A simpler time, perhaps…
Time to start again. To throw open the window and let the chilled air in. To look out without knowing what to see, or where to go. Let’s see what’s out there…
This is it; the end of another 365 project. Today’s image is a very deliberate choice, for a simple reason. Looking back at my work from 12 months ago (and earlier), I’m inclined to believe that this image simply wouldn’t have existed before this project.
I wouldn’t have seen the shot in my mind before I saw it through my viewfinder.
I wouldn’t have anticipated the image within the surrounding context, waiting for the elements to arrange themselves before releasing the shutter. And even if I had anticipated the shot, I probably wouldn’t have taken it; I wouldn’t have had the courage to take a photo, in a public environment, of people I didn’t know.
I wasn’t that type of photographer.
If I think about the last 12 months, and my development over these 365 images, that’s what stands out to me: a growth in mindset, patience, and my own quiet confidence in my practice. Technically, I’m not sure I have developed so much, beyond the standard development that one would anticipate would result from such frequent opportunity to practise and refine a skill. I knew about aperture and shutter speed and creative exposure prior to the project, and I still know about it now. Where I do feel I have developed, though, is in the aesthetic aspects – I feel a little more inclined to experiment with the technical elements, to forgo the technical perfection I used to seek, and focus more on the mood, the story, the possibilities of a powerful urban scene (note I’m seeking, not necessarily attaining, this). I have gained a little more experience with tracking objects (usually large noisy ones like trams!), and although my wife still puts my skills to shame in this regard, it’s all valuable learning.
And maybe I’ve learnt a little more about Melbourne over the last 12 months too. I’ve seen some parts of it that I wouldn’t have, if I didn’t have an Olympus of one type or another hanging around my neck. I’ve particularly enjoyed the last little section, where I’ve explored Melbourne ‘Icons’, along with Sharon, and I think that’s as much from the perspective of enjoying the process of working with her as seeing more of the city. We’ve had something of a ‘hit list’ of shots, and that’s been engaging and interesting. I’ve enjoyed the challenge of finding the essence of the place, and I think that process of trying to communicate it has meant I’ve needed to actually identify it first. I’ve taken plenty of photos of Melbourne Central, for example, but taking it out of the background and making it the central concern required a degree of thought and challenge that was ultimately a great learning experience. Perhaps that’s been the same for the city as a whole – in my mind I’ve moved Melbourne away from being a backdrop that I shot against, to a place I actually felt I knew. It feels more familiar now, and not just the landmarks and icons, but also the line of trees alongside the railway tracks around the corner from my work, that seem to be slowly swallowing the street signs that rest lazily against them. And the uneven footpaths in the laneways of my suburb, which have reflected everything from golden sunlight to grey rain and hail across this year of documentation. Melbourne is all of this, and it’s trams, and it’s glossy buildings, and it’s stations, and people, and lights, and sounds, and dancing, and so much more to see and do and hear and feel. It’s great, and I really like it here.
In terms of this blog, I’m not sure what happens next. Last time I finished, I intended to have a day off, and then get right back into posting. I had the day, and then a lot longer, and my work meandered, not always productively, and then fell in danger of meandering all the way to oblivion. This time, I feel ready to keep posting. Keep sharing. Keep seeing. I’m not tired of making pictures this time around. Instead, I’m excited. There’s more I’d like to see. The city is seductive in this regard – there’s always colour, movement, stories, relationships, all unfolding just out of the corner of one’s vision. I want to keep chasing those corners.
Maybe you’ll check in here again tomorrow, and maybe I’ll have something new to show you when you do…
There are other cities with trams, for sure. There are other tram networks. But this one is ours. Oh, and it also happens to be the longest in the world. The world… All through the city you can hear them, clattering along all day and most of the night. They are as much a part of Melbourne as, well, the other 15 icons that have featured in the latter part of this project.
(Sharon’s slightly older model tram is on her blog here.)
The MCG… because every city needs its arena; its place to share, celebrate, cheer, jeer, win, and lose.
(Sharon’s interpretation of the MCG is on her blog here.)