I don’t go into Perth very often and when I do I’m constantly aware of the changes that have taken place. I spotted this the last time I was there. The undercover parking of a new hotel has a mirrored ceiling. I thought it was only a certain type of short stay hotels that had mirrored ceilings and they didn’t extend to the car parking. Perhaps it is catering to some sort of car fetish?
The Victorian era was a time of incredible innovation and some of the inventions and processes are still practiced in their original form. In the field of photography despite the march of technology some photographers like Sally Mann and Robb Kendrick use antiquated processes in a modern context to express themselves. Well besides my interest in all things photographic I am also interested in cycling. A little after I migrated to Australia I heard about the Australian National Penny Farthing Championships which are held at the historic Tasmanian town of Evandale and I put on the bucket list of things to see. Well the other week I noticed in the upcoming events column of the Mercury newspaper that the races were on and I just had to go. The whole idea that anyone wants to race, let alone ride, a penny farthing is to me totally mad while at the same time seems a perfectly logical steampunk activity.
Evandale is a pretty colonial era town just south of Launceston in the north of Tasmania. Every year in February, since 1983, the town puts on The Evandale Village Fair in conjunction with the penny farthing championship. This means that the town is a bustling hive of activity that attracts visitors not only from all over Tasmania but also from the Big Island, also known as the Australian Mainland.The fair has market stalls, live musical entertainment, Morris Dancing, vintage cars, costume parades and even a genuine old-time Punch and Judy show.
But there is no doubt, the star attraction is the penny farthing racing which attracts riders from all over Australia.The event lasts a weekend with the Saturday hosting the main short course events that are held on a course in the township itself. On the Sunday the longer distance races are held, including the Century Ride, which is a penny farthing tradition that goes back to the 1880’s, which is a 162 Km race or 100 miles. Totally bonkers!!
The details for next years event has already been posted on the website. If you want a fun, action packed and unusual day out then go to Evandale in February 2016.
As always clicking on an image will take you through to my online store.
Regular readers are aware that I my blogs have musical references to them and so here is the pop video for this entry.
“What?” cried the Rat, open-mouthed: “Never been in a—you never—well I—what have you been doing, then?””Is it so nice as all that?” asked the Mole shyly, though he was quite prepared to believe it as he leant back in his seat and surveyed the cushions, the oars, the rowlocks, and all the fascinating fittings, and felt the boat sway lightly under him.
“Nice? It’s the only thing,” said the Water Rat solemnly as he leant forward for his stroke. “Believe me, my young friend, there is nothing—absolute nothing—half so much worth doing as simply messing about in boats. Simply messing,” he went on dreamily: “messing—about—in—boats; messing—”
“Look ahead, Rat!” cried the Mole suddenly.
It was too late. The boat struck the bank full tilt. The dreamer, the joyous oarsman, lay on his back at the bottom of the boat, his heels in the air.
“—about in boats—or with boats,” the Rat went on composedly, picking himself up with a pleasant laugh. “In or out of ’em, it doesn’t matter. Nothing seems really to matter, that’s the charm of it. Whether you get away, or whether you don’t; whether you arrive at your destination or whether you reach somewhere else, or whether you never get anywhere at all, you’re always busy, and you never do anything in particular; and when you’ve done it there’s always something else to do, and you can do it if you like, but you’d much better not. Look here! If you’ve really nothing else on hand this morning, supposing we drop down the river together, and have a long day of it?”
It’s been a busy time at Paul Amyes Photography (PAP) Towers. I attended the Hobart, Tasmania Climate Change rally at MOMA this afternoon and then rushed back to the secret bunker “toute suite” to process and upload the images to be part of the global event that will culminate in United Nations Climate Summit in New York, where it is hoped that United Nations secretary-general Ban Ki-moon can talk some sense into our numskull leaders that the time to do something is now. Although Australia’s PM is in New York he has stated that he will not be attending as he has gone on public record as declaring climate change as “bullshit”, but this is probably because Rupert Murdoch, large multi-national mining companies and several prominent Australian billionaires have made up his mind for him. Hopefully the summit will be a success and the current government will have external pressure brought to bear.
It was a good turn out and everyone was in a happy and positive frame of mind despite the seriousness of the issue. It certainly wasn’t a “rent a crowd” gathering as our politicians and the Murdoch controlled media so often choose to call such gatherings. There was a broad range of social groups represented from kids to pensioners who were united in their concern at what is happening to the Earth that we live on.
Last weeks blog post was a bit unintentionally monochromatic. Although I like working in black and white I am I feel more of a colour photographer. In a previous post I mentioned it was Fujichrome RD50 and its successor that really turned me onto colour. To be honest though I’m not sure that I like many of us use colour effectively when we make our photographs. Colours are very powerful communicators and they have spawned their own fields of academia colour psychology and colour symbolism. Colour symbolism refers to the use of colour throughout a culture and is studied by anthropologists. Colour Psychology refers to investigating the effect of colour on human behaviour. The results are mainly anecdotal and the study generally falls under the heading of a pseudo-science and is regarded as a New Age phenomenon. Both terms are used to express the use of colour in a historical and cultural context. Cross cultural diversity may make interpretation difficult i.e.
- In Western Cultures white has signified purity, virginity and wisdom. It is the colour worn at weddings. In Asia white is associated with death and is the colour worn traditionally at funerals.
- In Western Culture pink is seen as feminine and wholesome, but in Japan pink is the colour associated with pornography.
- positive attributes are security, reliability, elegance, humility, respect, reverence, subtlety, wisdom and old age
- negative attributes are anachronism, depression, boredom, decay, decrepitude, dullness, pollution
- positive : intelligence, modernity, power, sophistication, formality, elegance, wealth, style
- negative: evil, death, fear, rebellion, anarchy, sorrow, mourning
- positive: passion, strength, energy, fire, love, sex, excitement, speed, heat, ambition, leadership, masculinity, power
- negative: arrogance, danger, blood, war, anger, rebellion, revolution, aggression, the devil. Red can have the physiological response of increasing blood pressure and respiration and it stimulates hunger which is why many fast food chains use the colour in their logos and decor.
- positive: male, productive, peace, unity, tranquility, calmness, trust, coolness, confidence, loyalty, dependability, cleanliness
- negative: winter, depression, emotional coldness, obscenity, tackiness, sadness, aloofness
- positive: great intelligence, nature, spring, fertility, youth, environmental, wealth, money, good luck, vigour, generosity
- negative: jealousy, disgrace, illness, corruption
- positive: sunlight, joy, happiness, optimism, idealism, summer, hope, liberalism, femininity, gladness
- negative: cowardice, illness, fear, hazardous, dishonesty, avarice, weakness, fear, greed
- positive: nobility, sensuality, spirituality, creativity, royalty, ceremonial, mystery, enlightenment
- negative: arrogance, flamboyance, gaudiness, profanity, exaggeration, confusion, pride
- positive: happiness, balance, heat, fire, enthusiasm, playfulness, autumn
- positive: over emotional, warning, danger, arrogance, aggression
- positive: calm, depth, natural, nature, rusticism, stability, traditional, earth
- negative: anachronistic, fascism, boorishness, dirt, feces, dullness, filth, heaviness, poverty, roughness
This is only the tip of the iceberg, but it gives enough clues as to why some of my photos may appeal more to viewers than others. People love sunsets because of the reds, yellows and orange hues, although a bit of a photographic cliché they make people feel warm, happy, positive, and hopeful. Seascapes are popular too with the various shades of blue denoting calmness, peace, tranquility, refreshment and confidence.
The photos accompanying this entry are of the 2008 Perth Inter Hash. The Inter Hash is an event organised by the Hash House Harriers, a club for drinkers who have a running problem. I went into Perth not knowing that this event was happening but as I crossed the concourse from the rail station into Forest Chase I could see all these people dressed in red and so I decided to follow them on their opening parade as they walked through the Perth CBD. The intensity of the light mixed with the brilliant reds made for a very compelling sight. The faintly ridiculous nature of the costumes over powered any of the negative symbolism of the colour and just highlighted the positive ones.
Certainly when looking at making a photo in the future I’m going to try to pay more attention to the colour element and use that in the composition.
More Tales from Tasmania
Salamanca Place – this row of old colonial warehouses are the remnant of Hobart’s whaling history and were built in the 1830’s. The area was originally called the Cottage Green, but after the Duke of Wellington defeated 40,000 French men in forty minutes at the Battle of Salamanca in 1812 it was renamed in a fit of patriotic pride. Wellington was very popular in Hobart, he also gave his name to the mountain.
As usual with anything historic or cultural in Australia the area fell into disuse and ruin and things stayed that way until the 1970’s when the penny dropped and someone realized that if the place was regenerated it might bring in some money. By the 1990’s the old quarry site behind the warehouse was also developed into a sheltered public square with shops and cafe and now the whole area is really the cultural and social area for tourists and locals alike.
In 1972 the town council thought that a Saturday market in Salamanca place would be just great. So the first market opened with just 12 stalls. Today there are some 300 stalls and it is reckoned that the market attracts 25,000-40,000 visitors every Saturday. The first stalls were granted on a temporary first come first served basis but now the permanent stallholders can pay up to $100,000 AUD for their occupancy rights.
The stalls now sell hippyware, tourist tack, fruit and veg, craft ware, art, secondhand clothes and all manner of other stuff most of which is exorbitantly priced, but with leases going for so much they’ve got to make a living somehow. To add to all this there is whole host of enthusiastic and energetic buskers who make up for a lack of talent with volume of sound. If all this sounds as if I’m down on the place, I’m actually not because what all this means is that the market is a Mecca for people watchers. Never mind the weather, its on every Saturday. As the saying goes “Be there or be square.”.
Wandering around with some time to kill is always a good excuse to do some photography. Photography gives me the perfect pretext for being nosey and I love roaming down alleys and back streets just in the hope of finding something interesting. I was attracted to this scene because of the big slabs of intense colour. The greens of the wall really made the blue of the rubbish bins vibrate and pulse, and the red accents of the bin lids really set the whole scene off.
We have become so familiar with colour photography that we don’t realise how powerful colour can be so visceral that it’s like being punched in the guts. I first became fully aware of this when I saw some photos of a bull-fight by Ernst Haas and now whenever I think of bull fighting those images are so indelibly etched on brain they come to mind immediately and bring up the raw emotions I felt when I first saw them. At this time I was shooting black and white film because that is what serious photographers did and I really didn’t make the connection between what I was doing photographically and what Haas was doing. Shortly after I started subscribing to the English magazine Creative Camera and that introduced me to the work of American photographer Pete Turner. That had the profound effect of making me buy bucket loads of Kodachrome and Fujichrome 50 RD – the precursor to Fujichrome Velvia.
My earliest successful purely colour photograph was taken while on honeymoon in Amsterdam in January 1986. I can still remember taking it as if it were yesterday. Shortly after a trip to Santorini in Greece and the discovery of polarizing filters and I was completely hooked. When we moved to Australia I found the intensity of the light could make your eyes hurt while looking at certain colours and that’s when I coined the phrase “retina ripper”.