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Art and about

I like to walk, I see more that way. If you go by bus, the route you takes determines what you might encounter. If you drive you need to concentrate on what you’re doing. Walking allows the freedom to go where you want, see what interests you.   These are chance glances, I hope you like them.

Art & about 4 Door rusty
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Building detail
Ian Potter Centre, National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne

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Art & about 3 Red box
Art & about 2 Water board
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Art & about 1 Doona
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Art & about 15 wall
Art & about 14 poster
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Art & about 13 poster

(S)macktown

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Thinking about Stalin brings on the blues










Art & about 10 nurses
Nurses, waiters . . . whatever
Art & about 9 Kudos-pola
Cyan, green and a hint of pink


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When walls collide
Art & about 6 blue black
C in blue
Art & about 5 abstract red blue
More red than blue
Corsi di Fiori 3
Square out of place?


When I worked as a volunteer at the Museum of Contemporary Art I was
fortunate to see exhibitions being prepared. These are creative doodles
done by the clever preparators.

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Ways of Seeing (water)

Water is not a solid wall, it will not stop you. But water always goes where it wants to go, and nothing in the end can stand against it. Water is patient. Dripping water wears away a stone. … Remember you are half water. If you can’t go through an obstacle, go around it. Water does.”
Margaret Atwood, The Penelopiad

Ocean

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Night waves crash on rocks at  Coogee. I was at a wedding reception at the local Surf Club, which was precariously perched on the cliff-edge above the Pacific Ocean. The Club was recently extensively damaged by a wild storm.

Reflections

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Circular Quay, Sydney
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Wet night, Newtown Station Sydney
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Yarra River, Hawthorn Melbourne
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Scotland 1989
fishing boat Scotland
Isla Urk, Scotland 1989
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Venice, Italy n.d.
Green House SF 76_1
Golden Gate Park, San Francisco 1976
Alhambra detail 3
La Alhambra, Granada, España, 1994
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Laberint, Barcelona, Catalunya, 1991
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Keukenhof, Netherlands 1963

The joy of a bad crowd

Arrival
My mother came to Sydney from Auckland, New Zealand, in December 1938. I was born in St Luke’s Hospital in Kings Cross in April 1939. My mother, Anne Urquhart, returned to Auckland leaving me in Sydney to be adopted. It would be sixty years before I located her, but she had died before I got to meet her.

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My birth mother, Anne May Urquhart

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My Supreme Court adoption document

I now had a new Mother,  Enid Annie James who came to Australia from England with her Mother, my future Grandmother, and lived in Homebush, Sydney.
Enid was sometimes not home for days and nights at a time as she was a nursing sister (Registered Nurse) and stayed at Prince of Wales Hospital where she worked.

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My new Mother Enid James
I didn’t know Enid was my mother. She told me she was my Aunty and that my  parents had died in an accident. I think she did this because if she told people she was my mother she might have been socially ostracised as an ‘unmarried mother’ and  therefore in disgrace in those extremely conservative times. I had no inkling that I had been adopted until I applied for my Birth Certificate in order to get a Passport so that I could travel overseas. I was twenty-three years old.
Enid loved me. I know, because she told me she did.

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My Grandmother Maude Ethel James, born 1879


I  think it looks a bit funny how she’s holding me so I won’t topple over.
Because there were railway signals right opposite our house lots of trains stopped there. During World War II there were plenty of troop trains going by, including those we called ‘hospital trains’ which were white with a large red cross painted on their sides. My Grandmother stood me on our verandah to wave at the injured troops who would hang out  the train calling to me, ‘g’day Snowy’. A very powerful memory which has not faded.
My Grandmother told me how she loved me very much. I loved her a lot too, we had a very happy life together. Maude died in her sleep in 1959, aged 80. I found her in her bed when I went to wake her with her usual cup of tea. I was totally devastated.
Within a month I was in Western Suburbs Hospital in a coma with a smashed up head and face after driving my car into a brick wall. I was in hospital and rehab for most of the rest of 1959. I was twenty years old.

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England 1963
School
When I was five years old Enid sent me to a Catholic boarding school in Bowral, in the Southern Highlands of New South Wales, so that I could have a ‘good education’. I don’t recall much about my primary schooling, but I do have vivid memories of the nun’s ability to control us through punishment using the favoured Catholic instrument of torture of the time – the leather strap. I think it did little to encourage learning.

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With my friend Barry Gardiner at school

From there I went to Chevalier College high school in Burradoo also in the Southern Highlands of NSW. I had a truly terrible time there: I was mercilessly teased by other boys and sexually abused by one of the Sacred Heart priests. I am certain my homosexuality was becoming evident. I left there and went to school at Lewisham, not far from home. Though I wasn’t sexually abused there the Christian Brothers were brutal. I left school altogether after three years of high school.

In nineteen sixty-eight my Mother, Enid, asked me to ‘change my way of life’ or find somewhere else to live. To my Mother’s mind  my way of life consisted of being homosexual. I was unaware that she knew I was camp (‘gay’ was not yet in use to describe homosexuals). I asked what brought her to this challenging position but she didn’t want to talk about it.

I left home forever the next day; I was no longer welcome there. I moved to a flat in Kings Cross. Years later I discovered that the building to which I moved was next door to St Lukes Hospital where I was born. I was familiar with the area as I had regularly socialised with friends in gay bars there.

I had a series of menial jobs for which I had no qualifications. Eventually I found a job with a textile manufacturer and later with department store David Jones (DJs). It was at DJs that I met gay men who worked there. It was difficult making initial contact as we had closeted lives. When I was accepted they became wonderful friends. I travelled with one of them to the UK and Europe. Some of them would visit me at home. Enid met many of my gay friends; they came for dinner or just to hang out. One of them regularly knitted with her. I was not surprised that Enid couldn’t recognise my homosexuality but I was surprised that she never asked questions. Apparently she did eventually work it out or someone else worked it out for her.

Water – without out you I’m nothing

Praise the sea; on shore remain. John Florio

Yachats ORYachats OR, USA
I remember feeling connected to the Pacific Ocean in a way that I had not felt at home in Sydney, Australia, on the far side of the same wonderful ocean.

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Pacific Ocean at Coogee Beach, Sydney

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Coogee Beach
The surf  rolls in as the melanomas develop. I’m disappointed to see people ‘sun bathing’ without covering up from the harmful rays of the sun. When I went to the beach as a child my mother, who was an ‘English rose’ with an aversion to being in the sun too long, covered me with sun protection gunk including pink zinc. Not a good look, but my skin has survived seventy-seven years of Australian sun.

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Entrance to the rock pool.

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Boom, crash, ocean.

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Rock pool at Coogee.
The pool is kept clean by natural filtration through a narrow opening in the rocks.

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The Pacific Ocean, Coogee at night.

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On the rocks at night below the Coogee Surf Lifesaving Club in Sydney.
I was at a wedding reception at the Club; the roaring crashing waves demanded attention.

A walk by the ocean.
Many Sydney ocean beaches have cliff-top walks connecting them. Gordons Bay is on the walk from Coogee beach to Clovelly. The walk combines the beauty of the environment with the possibility of exercise due to a couple of steep stairways to negotiate.

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Gordon’s Bay

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In this part of Gordon’s Bay there is an underwater nature trail for SCUBA divers. The bay is also a popular SCUBA training facility.

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Sign illustrating some of the marine creatures commonly found in the bay

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Clovelly ocean pool is popular with lap swimmers as it is generally protected from heavy swells. There is an access ramp here (not shown) for people using wheel chairs or other mobility aids.

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Clovelly.
Lie back and think of . .

Venice Chineese restaurant
Venice, Italy

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Venice, Italy

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River Yarra at Richmond, Victoria

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Georges River National Park, Sydney
“Here we are
Stuck by this river,
You and I
Underneath a sky that’s ever falling down, down, down
Ever falling down . . .”
(By This River, Eno)
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Point Reyes National Seashore CA, USA

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Point Reyes National Seashore CA, USA
Here, north of San Francisco, Point Reyes straddles the San Andreas Fault.

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Scotland

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Scotland

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Scotland

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fishing boat Scotland
Safe anchorage Scotland

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Alhambra, Granada Spain
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Laberint, Barcelona Spain

20 reeds & reflection“You can’t trust water; even a straight stick turns crooked in it.” W C Fields

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San Francisco CA, USA

Rainy day Sydney 5
Sydney CBD (Circular Quay)
“The solution to our water problems is more rain.”
Attributed to Mark Twain

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Newtown Bridge and railway station

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Newtown

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Barmuda Café,  Newtown

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National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne

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National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne

Fountain London
Regents Park (?) London 1963

El Alamein fountain
El Alamein Fountain, Kings Cross, Sydney

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Archibald Fountain (detail), Hyde Park, Sydney

Generalife fountain
La Generalife, Alhambra, España

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAPalazzo Cavalli + a little bit of David Jones

 

Newtown, what’s special about Newtown

In current real estate jargon Newtown is home to a “vibrant, cosmopolitan café society”. When I came to live here with my boyfriend in 1981 it was a Sydney suburb where multiple languages (Greek, Russian, Croatian, Serbian, Turkish and more including English among the long-established Anglo-Celtic working class) were spoken at home and in the small shops along King Street and Enmore Road.Now, there is but one greengrocer, no butcher, no hardware merchant and soon. We are grossly over-supplied with cafes, high end, and therefore expensive, clothes shops, about eight pubs and too many small bars to count. Oh, and book stores, art supply stores and a cinema multiplex.
Sound like a  great place to live? Perhaps, but only if you can afford astronomical rents or million dollar plus houses. We paid $285,000 for our extremely run-down timber house in 1995. Today it is conservatively valued over $1,000,000. We are not rich. I am an Age Pensioner and my house mate is a student.

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Our place, built 1870

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PopUp 002Newtown Bridge & railway station

This large intersection of King Street and Enmore Road is known locally as The Bridge it spans both the main Northern and Western rail lines out of Sydney.
King Street is the beginning of the Princes Highway leading eventually to Melbourne, over 1000 kilometres to the south. Newtown Station, which dates from the late 19th Century, was recently refurbished to make it more weather-proof and accessible to people with limited mobility.
It is always busy here as there are connections with eight bus routes outside the station.

NT building lipsAlpha House

Alpha House is a collection of artists’ studios, workshops and  accommodation for artists. Newtown, and its surrounding suburbs of Enmore, Erskineville, Marrickville, St Peters and Petersham is an important creative centre. Sadly, many artists are now being driven from the area by real estate developers.

Camera+ cloud.jpgStorm brewing

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King Street façadesPopUp 047Newtown High School of the Performing Arts

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SSt Georges Hall, Newtown High School of the Performing Arts

 

 

 

Newtown Fire stn mardi gras 2

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St Georges Hall, Newtown High School of the Performing Arts

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St Georges Hall, Newtown High School of the Performing Arts

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St Georges Hall, Newtown High School of the Performing Arts

Dos Amigos en España

I visited Spain for the the first time in 1963; I was twenty-four. It would be another twenty-eight years until I returned in 1991 and again in 1994.

CAMPELLO

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Campelló in 1962

I went to Campelló in 1962. Dusty, dirty streets; unkempt houses and
real-life local bars, no pubs. I didn’t realise at the time that it made a strong positive impression on me. Now Campelló is a mega tourist and holiday centre, especially for British and Northern Europeans.


TOLEDO

The Godman cometh

Toledo was made a UNESCO World Heritage Site for its cultural and monumental heritage and historical co-existence of Christian, Muslim
and Jewish cultures.
The old city is located on a mountaintop with a 150 degree view, surrounded on three sides by a bend in the Tagus River, and contains
many historical sites, including the Alcázar, the cathedral (the primate church of Spain), and the Zocodover, a central market place. It has a history of Catholic and Moorish rule with a strong Jewish footprint. This Catholic church was once a mosque.

Toy nuns
Dancing Cherubs
For the tourists
Bummer
Clothing, coffee, booze, whatever
DA+ gargoyle
David Abelló. He gets around.
Alaczar Moscardó


The Alcázar

In 1936 during the Spanish Civil War,  Republicans controlled most of Toledo and sought the surrender of the Alcázar by artillery bombardment. For the duration of the siege, the Nationalists, under the control of Colonel José Moscardó, engaged in a passive defense, only returning fire when an attack was imminent.
Colonel Moscardó was called on the telephone by the chief of the Worker’s Militia, Commissar Candido Cabello, on the morning of July 23 in Toledo and told that if the Alcázar were not surrendered within ten minutes, Moscardó’s 16-year-old son, Luis, who had been captured earlier in the day, would be executed. Colonel Moscardó asked to speak to his son and his son asked what he should do. “Commend your soul to God”, he told his son, “and die like a patriot, shouting, ‘¡Viva Cristo Rey!’ The Alcázar does not surrender.” “That,” answered his son, “I can do.” There is a legend that Luis was immediately shot; he was not shot until a month later “in reprisal for an air raid”.
(Wikipedia)
Being there was chilling.

PICOS DE EUROPA
The Picos de Europa is a range of mountains 20 km inland from the northern coast of Spain, in the Autonomous Communities of Asturias, Cantabria and Castile and León, forming part of the Cantabrian Mountains.

Casa Gustavo 4
Our lodgings for a week

Though a bit shambolic it was one of the best places we stayed. We walked in the hills and along mountain trails, visiting Potes, the local market town, where we bought cheap wine and excellent local Manchego cheese.

This is what we saw each morning from our bedroom as we pulled
back the curtains. An excellent start to any day.

Mountain 2
DA on the trail
Walking along the summit trail with our host and her dog. It was not the tourist season, so we barely saw another person during our daily walks in the spectacular mountain range, Picos de Europa (clearly, the are not the ‘peaks of Europe).

GRANADA
The Alhambra
After being allowed to fall into disrepair for centuries, Alhambra was rediscovered in the 19th century by European scholars and travelers. It is now one of Spain’s major tourist attractions, exhibiting the country’s most significant and well known Islamic architecture, together with 16th-century and later Christian building and garden interventions. Alhambra is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and the inspiration for many songs and stories. We stayed in the Hotel Washington Irving, a slightly decrepit, but very comfy, old hotel, very conveniently situated across the street from the Alhambra.

Generalife fountain
Alhambra Palms2
Alhambra detail 3
Alhambra DA well
Abelló in the well at La Alhambra
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Abelló relaxing in the Alhambra garden, opposite our hotel.

The advantage of staying so close to the Alhambra was that we could sit in the beautiful gardens for as long as we liked. We read a lot.


EMPURIES
Empúries, formerly known by its Spanish name Ampurias, was a town on the Mediterranean coast of the Catalan comarca of Alt Empordà in Catalonia, Spain. It was founded in 575 BC by Greek colonists from Phocaea with the name of Ἐμπόριον. It was later occupied by the Romans, but in the Early Middle Ages, when its exposed coastal position left it open to marauders, the town was abandoned.

Empuries title
Trees & tiles
DA @ Empúries
Temple
Erotic Empuriés
Hard as a rock

CATALUNYA
SALVADOR DALI

Dalí Museu Figueres
Dalí theatre and museum in Figueres
Cadaques Shutters
Shutters in Figueres

BARCELONA

Sagrada Familia
Sagrada Familia, Barcelona


Sitges

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Labarint, Barcelona

Sitges

Sitges 1991
Beach opposite our hotel in Sitges, one hour from Barcelona.

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A misty drive to Puig Cerdá (pron. poosh sirdah) on the French border.



A bit about me

I’m a photographer – artist with a Degree and Post Graduate Diploma
in visual art from Sydney College of the Arts at University of Sydney.
I live in Newtown, Sydney, with lots of other queers.
I was born in Kings Cross in 1939 and have lived in Sydney ever since.
I read this somewhere and it makes sense, at least to me:
Those who matter don’t mind, and those who mind don’t matter.

DU Bad Dog 74
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Where I live.
My Birth Mother, Anne Urquhart
With my Grandmother Maude James

THINGS I LIKE
Alternative culture
Music gigs
Underground music
Living in Newtown for 38 years
St Peters
Marrickville
Warehouse communities
Free parties
Raves

Trashin’ Fashion (a zine)

I worked for a long time in the fashion industry – women’s undergarments, better known now as intimate apparel. I worked in manufacturing, wholesale, retail and marketing. I thought of it as flogging bras and girdles, a rag trade version of being a fitter and turner.
I maintain an interest, though possibly a jaundiced view.

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Dead or Alive

Flowers, trees and the huge variety of flora are all around
us whether flourishing, ‘dying’, or as cut flowers. I also enjoy
their decaying process when their structure and form are often
more apparent.

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Spagnum moss
DoA 10 Tree bare sky
DoA 6 Lily Hipstamatic 1
DoA 8A Tree silhouette 1
DoA 9 Flora Saplings
Hanging in there
DoA 2Flora dead lily 2
DoA 3Flora dead lily 3
DoA 11 Tree wall fence
DoA 13 Trees Burnley 2
Burnley, Melbourne
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Winter Light Festival, Melbourne
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Yarra River, Hawthorn, Melbourne
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Auburn Botanic Garden, Sydney
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Auburn Botanic Garden, Sydney
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Shop window
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Dead daffodils
DoA 23 Flora Huernia
Huena
DoA 25 Flora cakes
Tea and lilies
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Even weeds have their charm – Oxalis
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A rose by any other name
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Jonquils look better than they smell
DoA 27A PinkFlower
DoA 27B Camera+ cabbage flowers
DoA 28 Flora wisteria
In a Newtown lane
DoA 29 Fabaceae orton
Blue pea thing
DoA 31 Sedum
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DoA 34 Flora Orchid 2
Orchid
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Another orchid
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Monstera deliciosa

The phone is my darkroom

When I was a child there was no phone in our home. When I graduated from art college there were no mobile/cell phones.
I have always been interested in exploring technological advances and how they might encourage me to broaden my art practice. These advances have been a bonus for me as I have a disability which prevents me from carrying heavy photo gear .
I like the possibilities smart phones provide for working quickly. Street scenes (not people in the street) shops, night images and just everyday scenes that are often not noticed are what I most enjoy photographing.
I endeavour to make images which are not merely recordings, but which add something extra by way of abstraction and/or in post production. Monochrome or colour, whichever best suits the image suits me.

Light and shadow

ACP FLOOR 3


Australian Centre for Photography
Paddington, Sydney.

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Shadow and light


Brain and Mind Research Institute
University of Sydney

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Lamp and parasol


Patterns

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Pier 2/3 Walsh Bay, Sydney

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Mix and match. Eton Lane Camperdown, Sydney

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Walls.
National Gallery of Victoria,
Federation Square, Melbourne


ODDS n Ends

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Art Gallery of New South Wales


USA BW OLD CAR

How could I resist
On the road to Pigeon Forge TN 1976

Mexico car


Mérida, Yucatán Mexico

Shop window Scotland


Fashion is not a pretty game
Glasgow, Scotland 1976



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