The Boomer Legacy

Selection

Project Highlights

The following are a “best of” sample of images from this project.

They are not necessarily the most popular, but rather those which best represent what this project all is about.

Topic Images

There are currently 70 photographs in this section.

Stack trace

International trade agreements led to enormous economic benefits

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The concrete base of the demolished Port Kembla copper stack [Sep-2014 349kb]

Remarks

The Copper Stack was a south coast landmark since its construction in 1965. After standing derelict since 2003, it was finally demolished in Feb 2014 . A few months later a security fence had to be scaled to obtain this image, along with risking arrest by waiting around for the sun to peek out between the clouds to light the remains of the base

Forget your past

Architectural awards counted for little when it came to prime development sites

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Darling Harbour Conference Centre demolition, Sydney [Apr-2014 238kb]

Remarks

This image is a classic example of the importance of always having a camera with you. The original intention was to walk from Town Hall to Central via Darling Harbour. Being an architecture enthusiast, it was ironic to discover that a collection of buildings which were lauded in the 1980s for their innovative design, should thirty years later become yet more fodder for redevelopment

Epistemic insouciance

Full speed ahead for the fly-in fly-out money-launderers high-rollers in the sky (ABC News, 2020)

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Crown casino construction, Barangaroo [Jan-2020 183kb]

Remarks

The erection of Packer's Pecker. It's difficult to exaggerate the thrall in which gambling held politicians, advertising-hungry media and most of the general public

Field of golden corflutes

Democracy continued to best represent the interests of those most invested

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NSW election voting centre at Town Hall [Mar-2019 543kb]

Remarks

One of the great themes of the last forty years has been the gradual unravelling of democracy in the west. One could say that it started with Watergate in June 1972, but it would be just as easy to argue that it actually began with the assassination of JFK in November 1963

Malpractice with impunity

The very first document, among hundreds in this folder, is a written admission by our client that he mixed up his patients and accidentally performed a full hysterectomy on the 35-year-old plaintiff. Correction — our client is actually [redacted], not the surgeon, who is merely a policy holder of our client. Well, the surgeon admits, in writing, that he sterilised the plaintiff by doing an unauthorised procedure. Neither side dispute this — so why is this thing dragging on for years with requests for interrogatories, updated medical reports and dozens of discovery hearings? Well, it is our firm's policy to fully test all claims to discourage frivolous ones. But the surgeon has freely admitted negligence. So it cannot be “frivolous” and, frankly, our stalling borders upon unconscionable. I'll say it again: it is our firm's policy to fully test all claims to discourage frivolous ones…

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The ghosts of lawyering among the tombstones at Camperdown cemetery, Newtown [Jun-2015 407kb]

Remarks

It took a long time to find a scene which wholeheartedly celebrated our two-tier third-world health system. BTW the blurb accompanying the image is a paraphrased version of a law-firm conversation the author had with a medical-litigation partner in 1992

Outwardness within

The world was only as small as you wanted it to be

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Sightseeing at The Balconies, Royal National Park NSW [Aug-2019 620kb]

Remarks

The northern part of the Royal National Park tends to be overrun by day-trippers on weekends. Most of them stand around posing for selfies, but occasionally you can also find people reflecting about what they see

Unknown knowns

The systematic destruction of the environment was an event so terrible that even mentioning it became a taboo

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Hornby Lighthouse gun emplacement, South Head Sydney [Dec-2014 203kb]

Remarks

The original quote used for this image is also apt: I direct council to amend its draft planning-scheme to remove any assumption about a theoretical projected sea level rise due to climate change (Seeney, 2014)

Late for the sky

The air was eaten, promise crammed

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The final blast-furnace at BlueScope Steel, in Port Kembla [Sep-2014 97kb]

Remarks

“Scheduled Trackwork” meant having to catch replacement buses between Wollongong and Port Kembla. The problem was that they were infrequent and had a habit of leaving a few minutes before you arrived. So had to instead catch a hilariously indirect suburban bus, which went randomly up and down every side-street before finally arriving at the end destination. Then, during the slow-motion journey, it clouded over and completely trashed the light. But what the hell, after such a l-o-n-g trip you may as well walk out to the steelworks anyway. And then as if on cue, the clouds parted and steam started billowing from the blast furnace chimney…

Cut-through messaging

Make your mark, repeat, move on

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Vandalised rail-car at the Zigzag railway, subsequently destroyed by the 2019 summer bushfires, Clarence [Jul-2019 325kb]

Remarks

Photography as a time capsule. Found this abandoned rail-car while walking the decommissioned Zig Zag rail line at Clarence in the Blue Mountains. It had — of course — been vandalised, but was still scheduled for restoration. However a few months later another Blue Mountains wildfire swept through the area, and this time the carriage was completely destroyed

A two-speed world

The landscape was altered to better reflect our social order

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The remains of Lawrence Hargrave Drive beside the Sea Cliff bridge, near Coalcliff [Dec-2016 742kb]

Remarks

Most people drive over the Sea Cliff Bridge and don't notice the abandoned Lawrence Hargrave Drive beside it. It had to be closed in Aug 2003 due to large rockfalls from the escarpment along its western side. The road still remains open to intrepid walkers, and the truck-sized boulder which finally shut the road is still visible

Spirited formalism

Everyone benefited from our unwavering commitment to certain kinds of inclusion and metropolitan diversity

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The waterfall entrance to the NGV, Melbourne [Apr-2019 618kb]

Remarks

Shots through the “water wall” at the National Gallery of Victoria entrance are, unfortunately, a photography cliché. Usually great care is taken to avoid these things, but in this case the juxtaposition between the seated mother and exterior family was too strong to ignore

Eloi wonderland

We languidly gathered by the harbourside, sipping infused agave nectar and nibbling on sweet fuyu persimmons, and were amazed by the vast contraptions built by our distant ancestors

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Sydney Harbour sunrise kayaks [Jan-2019 197kb]

Remarks

The 135mm TEM (11861) can be an amazing lens in the right circumstances. Particularly when shooting into a low sun, as it makes everything go an intense orange while still retaining sharpness and resisting flare. Unfortunately it is also 100g heavier than the current 135mm APO (11889), but it does have a greater focus-turn to make fine-tuning easier, and of course is far more affordable

A crown of ashes

Every Christmas we would gaze at the pyrocumulus sky, exchange Bushfire Survival Plans and kiss beneath the epicormic shoots

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Woodford bushfire aftermath, Blue Mountains [Dec-2019 736kb]

Remarks

Panoramic sequences have become commonplace since mobile phones and some digital cameras started to include built-in “panorama mode” options. Nevertheless, shooting high-quality high-resolution panos still require lens entrance-pupil aligned mounts and supports. Used to do this stuff professionally 1996—2006, and occasionally it's good to get the gear out to shoot some scenes, for instance the aftermath of yet another Blue Mountains wildfire

We were here

Passing paths that climb halfway into the void (Yes, 1972)

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Royal Coastal Track, near Wattamolla [Aug-2020 919kb]

Remarks

Roger Dean everywhere, although without the tarns or waterfalls. Which we tend not to have in Australia, so how about some a lot of burnt scrub, scorched by yet another deliberately-lit wildfire?

No map and a broken compass

Cheap goods and MTV proved to be more effective than détente and ICBMs

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Stall on Tverskaya St, Moscow [Dec-1991 244kb]

Remarks

Moscow December 1991, a couple of days before the end of the Soviet Union. The command-economy had collapsed, while early attempts at market capitalism were stalled because consumers didn't have enough money to buy anything more valuable than soft-drinks or bric-a-brac.

Consumer karoshi

A culture had to be created in which our customers were prepared to die

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Market Street escalators at Centrepoint, Sydney [Jan-2016 260kb]

Remarks

A side-benefit of being treated for amblyopia as a child was that you learned to notice patterns everywhere. Here the escalators bore an ironic resemblance to a Japanese Samurai Kabuto

What mean these stones?

We were at the beginning of a mass extinction, and all we could talk about was money and fairy-tales of eternal economic growth (Thundberg, 2019)

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Iron slag at the Blast Furnace Park in Lithgow [Aug-2012 331kb]

Remarks

Another early Hasselblad 120-film image, but one which turned out to be the main instigator for this project. Had always wanted to get a V-System 6×6 camera, but could only afford to do so in 2010 when they started being dumped onto the second-hand market. Although the results were good, the project was pretty much directionless for 18 months without any theme or subtext. Then this image at Lithgow changed everything

The carnival is over

The market faithfully rewarded those who took a long-term view

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Luna Park Hair Raiser ride, in the rain [Jan-2019 126kb]

Remarks

Night photography is difficult, especially in the rain. Here the rain was persistent enough to penetrate my 35mm LUX (11144) lens, necessitating a round-the-world trip to have it disassembled, cleaned and recalibrated =/

The shadow workforce

The solution to mass unemployment was as simple as redefining what was meant by “unemployed”

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Red flags at the Circular Quay promenade [Jul-1992 475kb]

Remarks

Taken from the Cahill Expressway, looking down at the tiles at Circular Quay. What appears to be a huge knife or machete was actually the shadow of a banner flapping in the wind

The customer was king

Everything you could ever possibly desire, at your fingertips

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Supermarket checkout, Nepean Village Penrith [Apr-2003 119kb]

Remarks

Taking candid photographs in supermarkets was not easy. You were constantly monitored by staff and management, who were worried you wanted to steal commercial information about their pricing and product displays. Consequently, a special candid rig had to be used which, although it had my rangefinder camera clearly visible, looked like it was merely transporting the camera instead of being used for photographs

Back in the CCCP

The centralised command economy disintegrated almost immediately

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Street vendors on the day the Belavezha Accords were signed, Tverskaya St Moscow [Dec-1991 248kb]

Remarks

Moscow at the end of the Soviet Union. A lot of patience was required to capture this image. Scores of people were milling around the vendors, looking at the luxury goods. So you had to wait a long time (45 minutes, in the freezing cold) for the crowd to part just enough to reveal the sellers behind. It turned out that most of them had lost their jobs in the post-communist dislocation, and were trying to hawk their valuables to supplement their incomes

In the thrall of Schedule 8

A large number of people spent their lives up the Cross

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Fitzroy Gardens in Kings Cross [May-2003 418kb]

Remarks

Taken when using a Leica rangefinder was the only relatively unobtrusive way to do candid photography. Have since then used cameras 3× the size, sometimes even when mounted onto a tripod. So it's really just a question of confidence, timing and discretion, and not the brand of camera or whether the logo has been properly taped

Race Day chic

Ladies in the public enclosure would enjoy themselves in the Cup aftermath

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Rosehill Racecourse, Melbourne Cup hairdresser's picnic [Nov-2005 270kb]

Remarks

Another Hasselblad film image, using my usual 3kg set-up of 501CM, Distagon 50 FLE, PME45 viewfinder, Metz flash, cable release and monopod. Taking candid photos with such a rig could at times be challenging

Look back in covfefe

Part of being a winner is knowing when enough is enough. Sometimes you have to give up the fight and walk away, and move on to something that's more productive (Trump, 1987)

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Trump impersonator on Broadway, NYC [Oct-2017 335kb]

Remarks

The 2016 election of the 45th US President unleashed a wave of anti-populist invective. Progressive activists, academics and newsmakers incessantly railed against “Trumpism” from every conceivable angle, for years and years, as if all the impeachment attempts and special counsels and op-eds and hashtags and pussyhats could reverse what happened

Keep us from harm

Every potential hazard was fastidiously identified and ameliorated

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Drink bubbler at Erskineville Public School, Sydney [Aug-2019 293kb]

Remarks

Having taught at a high school for more than a decade, it was always striking to witness the irrational lengths that some risk-averse adults would go to. This water fountain at an inner-city primary school illustrates it beautifully, where not one but two guardrails were used to “protect” the kids. The irony was that the rail arrangement was so elaborate that (1) small children could not reach the water and (2) the hazard-area was vastly increased, negating the purpose of having safety rails in the first place

Ponzimonium

Names, darling, names!… Bernard Lawrence Madoff (Bernard L. Madoff Investment Securities LLC); Satoshi Nakamoto (Bitcoin); Ruja Ignatova (OneCoin); Sam Bankman-Fried (FTX); Changpeng Zhao (Binance); Sergei Panteleevich Mavrodi (MMM Global); Jeffrey Keith Skilling (Enron Corp); Walter Forbes (Cendant Corp); Elizabeth Anne Holmes (Theranos Inc.)

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Wedding Cake Rock, RNP [Jul-2019 211kb]

Remarks

Wedding Cake Rock was a social-media tourist hotspot at the northern end of the Royal National Park. Simple fences were erected to stop people from posing on the rock's edge, not only to prevent them from falling to their deaths (there had been a few), but also to preserve the geological structure for as long as possible. The irony was that selfie-lovers were still scaling the obstructions to get their snaps. So a few months later a higher, stronger, cliff-edge to cliff-edge Maginot-like barrier was installed to finally stop the mayhem

Driven by unceasing mobility

Remember the physical-distancing rule and only travel when essential

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Waiting for the Cronulla Ferry at Bundeena Wharf [Aug-2020 297kb]

Remarks

During the lockdowns we were subjected to continual messaging about social isolation and avoiding “unnecessary” travel. This image was taken at the end of a 28km Royal Coast Track walk, and the exhaustion of the photographer was mirrored by the weariness of the commuters

Ghosts of the CBD

Governments had to resort to upbeat slogans, pleading and bribes to entice voters to return to the city

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Commuters at the new Central station concourse [Jun-2022 281kb]

Remarks

Candid people photography is a much riskier business today than it was twenty years ago. Luckily people are so accustomed to mobile phones being used that when they see someone walking around with an actual camera, they assume it's only being used for mundane things like flowers or grandchildren

Crucify your mind

I really thought that love would save us all (Lennon, 1980)

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The exterior of the Greek Orthodox church of Saint Peter & Paul (since repainted), at Petersham [Sep-2012 463kb]

Remarks

One of the most enjoyable aspects of this project was finding unusual scenes in random places. You would walk for hours, dragging a tripod and camera trolley, and then there it would be, almost as if had been waiting all that time to be discovered

Braving the abyss

Despite challenging market conditions, and a negative return for your superannuation this year, we continue to deliver strong long-term returns. […] Significant market falls can be worrying, but staying invested remains vitally important. […] When we invest your super, our approach is focussed on the long term, to help maximise your retirement savings. But it also manages short-term risks in times like these. I want to reassure you, our members, that we remain committed to investing to help you achieve your best retirement outcomes. Bulk email from the CEO of Aware Super, 2022-07-08

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Waterrun cliff-side, RNP [Aug-2020 627kb]

Remarks

Waterrun is a dramatic rock-shelf in the Royal National Park. Due to unstable geology, the small river running through the middle is surrounded by 50m cliffs, the tops of which allow an overhead view. So far so easy, but you have to climb out to the very edge of these cliffs to get the best shots. Have done it twice, there won't be a third time…

Memories of what's to come

The last thing we wanted was to extirpate all the large vertebrates (WWF, 2018)

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Deceased sulfur-crested cockatoo, Warrimoo [Dec-2017 149kb]

Remarks

The cockatoo — which had died overnight — was lying in a neighbour's front yard. What was fascinating was watching the ants explore the corpse. Used the 100mm APO (11352) to get in close to bring out the details. And yes the Dali references [1] [2] were deliberate

Taming animal spirits

There is something more systematic about the way people behave irrationally, especially during periods of economic stress (Greenspan, 2013)

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Lunchtime in a George Street amusement arcade, Sydney, demolished a few years later [Sep-2003 326kb]

Remarks

Having worked in high-pressure corporate environments in the 1990s, it proved difficult to find analogues or metaphors outside. But then sometimes you get lucky

Lifelong entanglement

We would have followed you anywhere

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Bethesda Terrace, Central Park NYC [Oct-2017 658kb]

Remarks

Noticed a family staging formal portraits among the Central Park crowds. Most of the poses were mundane, but one set-up produced this arrangement while the pro photographer was fiddling with their equipment. It was only a fleeting moment, but it represents something deeply emotional from everyone's childhood

The efficiency dividend playbook

A land full of equal opportunity, where respect for property, hard work, fair-play and fiscal discipline guaranteed a good life for all

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Darling Point ferry wharf, Sydney [Jan-2017 283kb]

Remarks

Another pleasant walk on a summer afternoon, turned into an object lesson in social stratification. It was quite appropriate that it happened at the ferry wharf of one of Sydney's wealthiest suburbs

Cargo Culte

We lounged about in ill-fitting uniforms, languidly pressing buttons on small screens… waiting for the day He would return, bearing great gifts

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Palm tree outside the abandoned St Mary & St Mina's Coptic Orthodox Church at Sydenham, near Sydney airport [Sep-2012 355kb]

Remarks

An early Hasselblad 120-film image which required a lot of patience to shoot. Part of the problem was getting the timing right WRT the aeroplanes, who would often approach from slightly different directions and thus spoil the composition. Or you would get a small turboprop when what you really wanted was a thundering 747. Either way, when shooting digital it wasn't an issue, but A12 film backs can only give you 12 exposures

Accidental monuments

Civil Engineering 101: construct it as cheap as you can and then completely rebuild it later to solve issues you should have addressed the first time

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Zigzag Railway upper viaduct, Clarence [Jul-2019 596kb]

Remarks

Landscapes are hard. You not only have to be in the right place at the right time with the right gear, but you also have to work with the prevailing light AND come up with an something more meaningful than “eye-candy”

Nothing's gonna change my world

Imagine no Holden Morrisey Caulfield

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Strawberry Fields, Central Park NYC [Oct-2017 445kb]

Remarks

The medieval antics of pilgrims on the way to the shrine of St Thomas Becket's have nothing on the slow-motion circus surrounding Lennon's memorial in Central Park. Peace had no chance when it came to the epic jostling for the best selfie positions, whilst in the background St John's simplest tunes were played ineptly by gig-economy minstrels hoping to turn a quick buck

One-way journey

On a sailing ship to nowhere, leaving any place (Yes, 1971)

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Ovation of the Seas cruise-liner at the Sydney Overseas Passenger Terminal [Dec-2017 108kb]

Remarks

A pleasant summer afternoon walk that led to being confronted by one's mortality. It turned out to be not as ironic as imagined, because two years later 22 passengers from this ship died during the White Island volcanic eruption in New Zealand

North to Avoska

Before mobile phones, perhaps-bags accompanied us everywhere

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Totes diptych at Hornsby and Wynyard, Sydney [Apr-2005 248kb]

Remarks

Behind the Iron Curtain during the Cold War, people always carried shopping bags in case goods become available. Here in the west there were rarely any shortages, but people carried similar bags nevertheless

Gone a million

The rich were always with us

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Abandoned Rolls-Royce automobile at Hiles Street in Alexandria [Jun-2015 289kb]

Remarks

This Rolls Royce was “parked” in Alexandria for years. When Leica Australia held a launch event for their SL-2 camera in Nov 2019, four years after this photo was taken, they used a converted warehouse in the same street. After the presentation, went outside to see if the Rolls was still there — it was

Potemkin Prosperity

The central irony of the financial crisis was that while it was caused by too much confidence, too much borrowing & lending and too much spending — it could only be resolved with more confidence, more borrowing & lending, and more spending (Summers, 2011)

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Fields of green shoots at the Westpac plaza in Sydney [Jan-2014 520kb]

Remarks

The image is actually a composite, with two shots joined via a false horizon. Although always fascinated by the glibness of the expression green shoots, it took a lot of scouting to find a corporate environment which actually had them

In the days of the citizen journalist

Broadcast-quality equipment was no longer required to craft good stories

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Sports reporters at the Sydney Opera House [Jul-2014 210kb]

Remarks

Our friends in legacy-media had to adapt to a new world for which they were completely unprepared. How were they going to survive in an increasingly interconnected world, where you had to be not only proficient in delivering content, but also in using the increasingly complex tech which made it all possible?

Golden sunlit uplands

Import alien species to remind you of home, then watch helplessly as they spread throughout the environment

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The invasive plant species Common Gorse spreads along the Taieri Gorge, NZ [Dec-2017 818kb]

Remarks

This shot was taken while hanging out the door of the Taieri Gorge tourist train. Actually wanted shots of the train taking a curve, but looked around and saw the weed-covered gully. Next time it might be an idea to stay safely inside inside the car and just point the camera out the window. There might not be a “next time” however, as the line was closed in 2020 due to COVID related financial pressures, and the reopened line now only runs to Hindon, well short of where this photo was taken

Brett's armchair

The same music in completely different hands

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Sixteenth floor, Harbourside Apartments [Jan-2019 275kb]

Remarks

Lavender Bay was one of Brett Whiteley's favourite subjects, especially when on a heroin bender. The book on the table is Whiteley on Trial (2017), about the forgery of a handful of Whiteley's works and how the Australian legal system couldn't find anything wrong with it

Tourism added value

Tourism contributes towards complete growth and development of a country: one, by bringing numerous economic value & benefits; and, second, helping in build country's brand value, image & identity (Market Width Blog, 2018)

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Christmas Day tourists at the Sydney Opera House [Dec-2001 296kb]

Remarks

An unexpected afternoon at the Sydney Opera House. The “2001 Black Christmas Fires” had flared again in the Blue Mountains, so the western sky was turning dark red. Most people were staring at or photographing the sun getting obscured by smoke, but it's always a good idea to look around to see what else is happening. This particular couple were oblivious to it all and were much more interested in each other

Peak oil

Rapid obsolescence was just around the corner

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Motorcycle parking at the top of Hill Street, North Sydney [Oct-2020 343kb]

Remarks

A disadvantage of panoramic cylindrical projection is that horizontal lines will appear curved. You can work around it slightly by using Mercator projection, but often you just have to live with it. If the budget allows, you could print the image and mount it onto a concave backing, and then stand inside the arc to see the horizontals straight again, a truly mind-bending experience! (Here the master image is 15340×7670 pixels, which at 150 dpi would print at 2.6×1.3 metres)

Situation normal

Everything was fine, until it wasn't

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Lawsons Auctions car-park, Moore Street Annandale [Sep-2015 302kb]

Remarks

Walk the suburbs for hours and you will inevitably be rewarded with the most surreal experiences

Precipitous descent

Decades of wandering through a hostile terrain, only to flounder in the sea

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Ocean cliffs south of Little Marley, Royal National Park NSW [Aug-2020 544kb]

Remarks

This is a hand-held multi-image sequence, which had to be taken by carefully rotating the camera between each shot around the lens entrance-pupil. With a calibrated pano-mount it's relatively easy, but this was at the end of a two-day trek, so the mount was at home to keep the weight down. Nevertheless the shot came out well, although large stitching errors in the foreground rocks and ocean horizon had to be fixed later

Keeping interest rates low (until 2022)

No matter what happened, cheap debt could not be blamed

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Used car-yard at Parramatta Road Granville [Apr-2017 206kb]

Remarks

Global interest rates were kept artificially low for decades to encourage economic growth. Finding metaphors for the deterioration in lending standards and subsequent mountain of consumer-debt turned out to be surprisingly easy

The tallest tombstones in the world

Arithmétique Macabre: 9 / 11 = 2977 + 60 000

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Church spire beneath a flight path, at Rockdale in Sydney [Dec-2013 149kb]

Remarks

The impact of the September 2001 Islamist attacks cannot be overstated. It has seeped into our culture in numerous ways, not least the vague feeling that another random geopolitical event will come along to smash things up again

What this little black rock could do

We have to make sure this economy works. We have to export dollars. We have to realise we have a moral responsibility to other people in other nations to keep their lights on (Joyce, 2017)

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The Steelworks and Coal Loader at Port Kembla harbour [Sep-2014 66kb]

Remarks

Port Kembla, along with Newcastle, featured some of the largest coal export and handling facilities in the world. Unfortunately it was difficult to shoot interesting views of generally ugly industrial locations. Sunsets help, as do telephoto lenses and silhouettes

The well-stamped passport

Take another selfie and move on, criss-cross the world only to find yourself

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Tourists scrum at Sydney Cove [Aug-2014 165kb]

Remarks

Like most western economies, there was an enthusiastic shift in the 1980s toward relying on tourism as a foreign exchange earning and local jobs boosting “export”. Then the pandemic hit…

The one sure bet

One of the interesting things about the years 1982—2023 was that markets always boomed, no matter what. By the early 2020's an army of commentators and economists all agreed that equities were irrationally overpriced, and yet the bourses still kept on rising…

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Financial reporter at the Sydney ASX [Oct-2018 152kb]

Remarks

The original intention was to get photos of the predicted market collapse for that day — presumably the same reason the financial reporter was there. Unsurprisingly, the crash didn't happen and the market actually rallied. Again

Bubble watch

Rising property prices were carefully manipulated to create more economic winners than losers

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Spectators on the steps of the former CBC Bank, Martin Place [Apr-2006 278kb]

Remarks

One of the most significant impacts of the Boomer generation was the proliferation of asset bubbles. For this shot, taken during the 2006 Anzac Day march, everyone on the bank's steps looked up suddenly to watch planes fly over. What made getting the shot difficult was not just the timing, but also using a film-based Hasselblad, mounted on a monopod and triggered by a mechanical cable release

A fit country for heroes to live in

With a place for everyone and everyone in their place

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Unhoused on Pitt Street Mall, Sydney [May-2016 450kb]

Remarks

The Sydney CBD was overrun with panhandlers who would position themselves strategically throughout major thoroughfares and doorways to maximise their earning potential. Saw this particular juxtaposition a week earlier, and then came back with proper gear to photograph it. Was amazed that council rangers or police had not bothered to move them on

Defenestrate your livelihood

We mortgaged the future and bet it all on there not being one

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Waverton Coal Loader wharf [Feb-2022 668kb]

Remarks

Although epic ruin porn is a photography cliché, sometimes you cannot ignore it. Here a barbed wire fence had to be scaled to obtain the overhead shot. The 19mm ELMARIT (11329) lens appears to suffer from pincushion distortion, but look at the foreground planks, everything is as straight as it should be

Lambos to the moon

It was an era of unending optimism. Families prospered, inflation was beaten (until 2022) and credit was easy to get at near-zero rates (until 2022). Ordinary men and women were flipping investment properties, collecting NFTs and betting on cryptocurrencies. Stock markets kept rising inexorably, while house values soared to what looked like a permanently high plateau

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Living statue performer at Circular Quay [Jul-2017 253kb]

Remarks

A simple, almost throw-away candid shot takes on sinister meaning when you notice the children prodding a stuffed crocodile

We were the memories we created

How and why will people remember us?

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Tree growing in the old Fosters brewery wall (since demolished), at Broadway in Sydney [Apr-2014 552kb]

Remarks

Had photographed the tree growing in the brewery wall a few times before, but got lucky on this occasion when a couple of pigeons inserted themselves into the shot. Of course a few months later the wall was demolished when the Central Park development neared completion

Delivery apps were so convenient

HungryPanda, Foodora, Uber Eats, DoorDash, EASI, Menulog, Deliveroo, Hey You, GrubHub, goPuff, EatNow, Yelp… We imported an underclass of temporary-visa independent contractors to zip around on bikes delivering burrito bowls, bubble-tea and authentic pad thai to their famished customers

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Online food delivery rider at Haymarket, near Chinatown [Apr-2020 135kb]

Remarks

Home delivery riders were suddenly everywhere. Most of them were third-world “students” on temporary visas and they tore through plazas and along inner-city footpaths at breakneck speeds. During the lockdowns their numbers multiplied to the point where, at certain locations, there were more of them frantically zipping around than there were pedestrians dodging them (ABC News, 2020)

Forging a new deal

The transition from manufacturing to a service-based economy was completely seamless

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Derelict Ford truck at The Grounds of Alexandria [Apr-2018 649kb]

Remarks

How do you depict the systematic dismantling of industries, with their associated well-paid employment for working-class people, without being blatantly didactic?

PETM reloaded

Nine-month summers, super El Niños, category-five hurricanes, wildfires, methane fumaroles, acidified oceans, cubic-kilometres of eutrophication and rivers awash with millions of dead fish. Years of drought followed by months of flooding rain. 1000-year events every five years. Every decade and season among the hottest on record. The sixth mass extinction. Aim low for +1.5°C and overshoot by at least 100%

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Truck exhaust pipes at Woolloomooloo, in Sydney's east [Oct-2012 115kb]

Remarks

We lived in a world where roads were filled with 2-3 tonne petrol-guzzling vehicles, racing each other to their own demise

From lab to stage

What was once esoteric technology confined to research labs, was now used routinely for entertainment

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Stage technician, Campbells Cove Sydney [Jan-2019 234kb]

Remarks

Had been wanting for years to capture an image which not only celebrated the amazing capabilities of modern technology, but also hinted at the alienation it caused

Stakeholder

One could either use General Relativity equations to derive the Schwarzschild metric in n-dimensions, or else go shopping

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Supermarket freezer aisle, Katoomba [Dec-2003 98kb]

Remarks

Again a custom Leica candid rig had to be used, with the added complication of having a supermarket employee discreetly following me around to ensure I wasn't taking photographs

Temporary respite

Spend all morning crawling over truck-sized boulders, before having a break and doing it all over again on the way back

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Glenbrook Gorge, Lapstone [Aug-2021 608kb]

Remarks

Through binoculars at Darks Common cliff-top lookout, noticed a family with small children wandering around in Glenbrook Gorge far below. Figured that if they could take their children in there, then it shouldn't be too difficult to walk in. Yeah right. Humping it over boulders for almost an hour and then slipping into the river with $Ks camera gear was not for the feint-hearted. N.B. the “beach” depicted no longer exists, due to extensive flooding from incessant rains in 2022

It just works

Release now, patch later

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Jensen Avenue at Dover Heights [Nov-2016 313kb]

Remarks

One of the irritating things when working as a web-developer was having to release feature-bloated software while it was nowhere near ready. Go-go management had made unrealistic promises, which inevitably fell upon us to deliver. Consequently the software would end up being half-baked and bug-ridden. This often turned out to be fair however, as many clients were just cowboys who wanted to brag about being dot-com entrepreneurs despite lacking any skills or capital

Through an augmented sky

All the atmospheric particulates ensured a golden hour for everyone

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Sunrise over Bourke Street, Melbourne [Apr-2019 57kb]

Remarks

The 135mm TEM (11861) in action again. While on holidays in Melbroune, looked out the balcony and noticed hot-air balloons being launched just after dawn. A few 40mm shots looked okay, but the 135mm pointed into the sun did the trick

Community standards

Our suburbs were strewn with eye-popping enticements by agile entrepreneurs

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Dulwich Hill skate park [Sep-2015 98kb]

Remarks

The “sneakers thrown over power-lines” meme was comprehensively addressed by TikTok contributors: Some people do it just to be annoying. Some people do it as a memorial to a dead friend. Some people do it to advertise a drug dealer territory. Some people do it because they've seen it done and just think it's funny (Daily Mail UK, 2020)

Day-tripping

The greater our impact on nature, the more we wanted to see it

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The Waterrun, Royal National Park NSW [Aug-2019 411kb]

Remarks

Many people liked to travel for hours just to take photographs of themselves. In the background you can see one of the cliffs mentioned earlier

Meaningful social interactions

Facebook, Twitter, WhatsApp, TikTok, WeChat, Instagram, Snapchat, Tumblr, LinkedIn, 4/8Chan: elaborate frameworks were created as a semblance of community to ensure you could never be alone

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Stargazer lawn at Barangaroo Reserve, Sydney [Aug-2016 563kb]

Remarks

Sometimes the most interesting scenes could be found completely by accident. Had revisited Millers Point to re-shoot the clothesline crucifix image and then went for a ambling walk. Wound up on the “Stargazer Lawn” and found this installation, with people walking around and through the wooden scaffolding. A couple of dozen shots later and had another “keeper”

Life under the occupation

The Fragmented was turned into the Harmonised by encouraging our staff to compile their own dossiers

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Revolving doors at the ANZ bank building, in Castlereagh Street [Aug-2014 143kb]

Remarks

When capturing this image assumed it would end up being a discard. At home, an hour spent in image editing programs changed things considerably. It's amazing what you can do with reflections if you pay attention

 

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