STREET ARTISTS – Union Lane, Melbourne




Footscray, the suburb next door to mine, has residents from some 135 countries and while 10 years ago the population was mainly from Vietnam, China, India, U.K. and Italy, today, there’s been a major increase in residents from Sudan, Ethiopia, Somalia, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka and Myanmar (as well as refugees from other countries).


Over 80 languages are spoken which no doubt has some influence on the suburb’s wide variety of street art.

I decided to explore one lane opposite the Footscray Market late this afternoon after some shopping and liked what I saw.


I’m keen to explore some more another day.




Some of my favourite images over recent years have been made while standing at the bus stop.

The shot below was made yesterday, (while waiting for a bus to go through the city to an appointment).  I just hope it was not as windy up at that height as it has been on ground level in Melbourne and its surrounds in recent weeks.   I’ve been mostly at home waiting for Spring to come back to Melbourne.  With September being the wettest on record, perhaps I should just ‘write-off’ Spring and wait for Summer 🙂



STREET ART (and how to shoot a photo series)


In this weeks newsletter of Australian  (which I subscribe to), there’s an article on how to shoot a photo series.

I think I do a photo series every time I step out my front door.  I started this blog off with the intention of only uploading one Black & White image for every post (with no words or explanation of my intent) except the post Title.

I quickly ran out of steam because many/most of my online photo sharing in the past has been about A walk with my Camera.

I love Black & White, but simply could not do enough that I was satisfied with, to (post regularly).  I also found it too hard on my limited energy to keep up 2 blogs with regular posts.  Actually, I was running 3 blogs at one stage last year – one on Health subjects, treatments and Alternative Therapies (of which I have had much experience and formal certification).

But as to Photo Series……..

My afternoon excursions with my camera have usually involved a series of images, (close-up & distant), of whatever location I visit.

In the first part of the Australian Photography article they stress Planning Ahead – Plan, Plan, Plan.

I don’t.

I just make a series of images reflecting what I see on my walk and chose a number to upload in a post.  Now that I don’t restrict this blog to Black & White, there will be more colour series in the future.

Case in point is today’s post from my Street Art archives.  They’re old images, but  on the day I shot them in Hosier Lane in Melbourne’s CBD, they would have made a good “photo series”.  Actually, they’re bright and vibrant and maybe a little too much to share for the nature lovers.  But now that this blog is about varied subjects, not just B & W, it’s relevant to post them.

I’ve made hundreds of photos of Street Art from the city over the years, as the lanes and wall surfaces keep getting painted over by various artists (and some non-artists who just want to make graffiti or spoil artist’s work).

If you went to Hosier Lane today, you may well see a completely different series to the above.

(Both people in the above series consented to my taking their photo and using it on my blog.  I don’t usually ask Buskers or Street Artists unless I’m right up close.  I figure if they’re performing in public hoping to get noticed (and make money), then my followers or random viewers can publicly see the results).

STREET ART – Brunswick Street, Fitzroy

Apart from Melbourne’s lane ways, there are an extraordinary number of gifted and highly creative Street Artists who display their craft in the inner suburbs.


Brunswick Street, Fitzroy, dates back to the early 1840s.  Originally a working-class area of low rent and cheap shops, it is now home to many students, artists and bohemians.

I walked partway down one small section on the way to the supermarket in that area and made a few images of the Street Art (to share online) on the way.

(I must be the only person who carries a camera and lenses on the back of their shopping trolley to do food shopping 🙂 ).




Shop facades in Brunswick Street and surrounding side streets are usually unkempt and un-restored.  Those buildings/shops that are painted, are often  done with a ‘distressed‘ effect – I suppose there must be some kind of chemical which makes paint peel as it dries?  Some of the shop signs are works of art in themselves and Street Art adorns almost every corner or main building.  Even the 1st floor above the shops, which are residential, have the occasional window covered with a painted piece of art.

Even though I’m a Nature Lover at heart, I can’t help but be awed by these outdoor art galleries.  Since I moved to the north-eastern side of inner Melbourne 12 months ago, my main  bus route to the city centre leads me straight past many of these areas.  One of these days, I’ll walk down the main road from the city through Carlton, Brunswick, Fitzroy and Collingwood (which are inner suburbs along the bus route) and photograph some more of this extraordinary Street Art.

Ehrrrrrr……..not all in one day though 🙂

Photography and the Art of Seeing

I’m in the middle of reading Freeman Patterson’s book Photography and the Art of Seeing.

Freeman Patterson writes about Thinking Sideways and Breaking the Rules AND “Chance”.  “Give many happy accidents a chance to happen”.   So I did!

But it wasn’t until towards the end of this afternoon, just before I left Union Lane in the city centre to go home, that this image suddenly appeared before me and I had to share it with you.    I must admit I hit the shutter button pretty quickly and didn’t bother to check the camera settings (or where the focal points were aiming).


I wondered who the legs belonged to and why this young female was standing behind a half-closed roller door in a dark dingy freight loading bay with her teddy bear, baring a generous length of slim shapely legs.

And to give you an idea of where she was standing, here’s an image I made on Monday of the same freight delivery entrance and roller door – this time  the roller door was completely open and there were NO legs anywhere to be seen 😀


My theory………..she was making an illicit transaction………. as I could hear a faint male voice nearby.  After a few minutes the roller door went right down to the ground and I decided to head for home, none the wiser as to whom the legs belonged to.

I have a few other interesting images to share, but I’d better check them tomorrow morning in the light of day to check their exposure and contrast, as I was shooting with my 50mm f1.4 lens most of the afternoon and “broke a few rules” (as Freeman Patterson puts it).

FITZROY (Melbourne’s first suburb)

IMG_2929Yesterday, I caught a bus, and then tram, over to an inner suburb I haven’t been to in many, many years.  I don’t know why (as it is renowned for its Street Art and one of Melbourne’s vibrant entertaining areas – very Bohemian in fact – great for artists, and………..photographers).


IMG_2939Superb weather and blue skies but I was overdressed and got so hot that I made it a pretty short walk (compared to my usual long stroll).  I spoke to one of the young local street artists taking a break in the shade of a building (opposite to the one he was working on).  He suggested I go to Rose Street, Fitzroy to see some great Street Art (which was some blocks away, a bit of a long walk for me in the heat of the bright sun).  But I made it.



Many shops were closed for the Christmas/New Year break, but there were many others, (including bars and restaurants), open.

Fitzroy was planned as Melbourne’s first suburb and is located about 2 kilometres north-east of Melbourne’s CBD.
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Brunswick Street is one of the main streets in the area and has changed (or should I say revitalised) into a lively stretch of old (about mid to late 1800s) terraced shops, hotels and eateries with a sort of …………. Grungy, Quirky style that is irresistible to someone like me with an interest in history, cafe society and camera in hand.

I love the peeling paint and multi-layered posters curling up on some of the walls – quite a highlight of the exterior façade of many of the buildings.




I’ll go back another day and make some more photos for you.  My 50mm f1.4 prime lens was fabulous in this area, but in the narrow lanes I had to resort to my ‘wonky’ unreliable 18-200mm lens because I couldn’t get far enough back to capture the whole length of the murals I saw.

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Many of my street photography images made in the inner city lane ways of Melbourne have stories behind them.  They may be my stories of an afternoon walk, or those of the people I photograph.  I rarely tell them.

The image above is of the bluestone cobbled lane way behind some university buildings at the northern end of the city.  I’ve never walked this way before yesterday, as it’s little used and probably just a lane way used as a shortcut to the back of some lecture halls or warehouse area.  I can’t help but wonder about its history?  Did horses and carts travel down its rough surface delivering goods in the early settlement of Melbourne in the 1830s (because it’s certainly very old, as is the bluestone cobbled lane behind my apartment building where I live in an inner city suburb).

Melbourne’s early buildings are mainly built of Bluestone quarried in nearby areas of the first settlement.  Sydney’s early buildings are mainly of Sandstone (so are those in Hobart, the capital of the island state of Tasmania off the southern coast of Victoria).

I walked through this area yesterday in search of some new Street Art and I certainly found lots to admire.


But about 5 feet to the right of the first street art image (above) I spied a couple of chain wire gates some 2 1/2 to 3 foot high.  I initially assumed they were the entrance to a cellar or underground access to utility pipes.  The two shirts hanging over the gates gave me more food for thought.  And then…….my senses were shocked to see what looked like food, a drink bottle(?) and an old transistor radio in the darker area below the white shirt (not visible in the photo below, but I can assure you they were faintly visible to my eyes).  Behind the right hand gate was what looked like rough bedding.

Was this a night-time shelter for a homeless person?  Were the shirts draped over the gates to block out the street lights at night?

Was this someone’s home?  I have often seen homeless people begging in the inner streets of Melbourne (or quietly drinking with mates in dark corners of city lanes).  Although I often wondered, I’d only actually seen bedding a couple of times before.

Did a homeless person live in this dark hole? Somehow, this thought seemed all the more shocking than seeing a beggar on the streets.  The thought of someone crawling into this dark, dank, dusty, freezing  hole in winter sent shivers down my spine and brought tears to my eyes.  Melbourne is ablaze with enormous cranes and construction of new high-rise inner city offices and apartment blocks at the moment, but who spares a thought for these hungry souls who have no shelter in the worst winter storms and early morning freezing temperatures.  Who gives a thought for some of these homeless forced to live like scavenging rats in Melbourne’s back lanes.  How can the Developers and Governments of our current times spend millions of dollars on modern skyscrapers and refurbishing luxurious office accommodation?


Who helps the Helpless.

I really don’t understand modern society.  There are certainly many philanthropists among Australia’s Rich & Famous.  There are certainly many charities and volunteers who give freely of their time to the needy.  The Australian Bureau of Statistics gives some figures from 2011 here


……and some more images from my archives (these images have been posted before on my old PhotoBlog).

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I spent most of yesterday afternoon wiping rain drops off my camera and lens.

The sun did appear from behind the dark grey clouds a few times, but it was generally lacklustre light conditions for photography.

The result………………some shots in focus, but many blurred as I hurriedly aimed and then tried to get out of the spattering of rain drops.

But maybe that’s the way it should be on a Dark, Gloomy Saturday afternoon in Melbourne’s winter.