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This is one of my favourite Melbourne laneways; it’s featured here many times. I think it’s the combination of architectural styles – the dome in the background providing a classical oversight of the younger, more angular upstarts in front of it. A relatively new cafe has opened, which has added to the visual interest of the laneway, as it means there are generally large numbers of people sitting around. There’s always something happening here…

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Some time ago, I did a series of posts about Melbourne ‘icons’ – some of those recognisable buidlings, vehicles, neon signs, and so on, that really illustrate something of the character of Melbourne. I’m thinking now that I perhaps missed some of the other things that make up the experience of Melbourne, and I feel they warrant some attention. Luckily for me, this shot captures two: the busy, restaurant-filled laneways near Flinders Street Station, and slightly neglected but still completely excellent vintage scooters. This is a Vespa, and hence the very best of its breed…

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This was my third version of this image. I knew I liked the image from the very start – something about the pose of the guy in the background (not to mention his colourful shirt!) – he seemed relaxed, comfortable, and very much in his element. I liked the sightline that led me from his eyes to the eyes of the other guy to the right, who seems more directed, more ‘busy’, moving through the scene without pausing. I liked the contrast that created.

I write that this is the third version. In the first, I hadn’t cropped at all – there was more space at the top of the frame. But I set the image aside, and when I came back, I realised that there was a light grey awning (or something) at the very top left, that just drew my eye out of the frame.

Then there was version 2. There was actually two other people next to our man in blue – no, I didn’t ‘doctor’ the image or clone them out; I simply cropped it to exclude them. I did this only after actually uploading that version to WordPress. Seeing it small on the screen as part of this post really helped me to see that they didn’t need to be in the shot, and in fact they distracted from that core at the centre of the frame. So, a quick crop, and a new upload later, and here we are.

Technically, it’s not a great shot. At all. It’s blurry, grainy, and I just couldn’t find any way of resolving the visual ‘interference’ that the different signs cause at the top of the frame (and now you won’t be able to ‘unsee’ that!). But I like it anyway. And maybe there’s more to an image than technical perfection and a tidy frame – or not…

(Just in case you’re interested, here is version 1:

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…and version 2:

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…small changes, but I think they add up!)

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