And now for some shameless self promotion...
I will be exhibiting some of my prints at the Photo Show at Darling Harbour this weekend. (Saturday June 27th 2pm to 6pm and Sunday June 28th 10.30 am to 5pm.) I would love it if any of you Sydney-siders dropped by to check them out. They will be displayed as part of the "Pictures at an Exhbition" Gallery at the Exhibition Centre Darling Harbour. Hope to see you there!!!!
And now for some shameless self promotion...
It was her Birthday. They ate at a restaurant overlooking the water. There were no other patrons, and the waiter, attentively, kept topping up her wine, so she quite lost track of how much she had drunk. She felt it go to her head and weigh heavily on her knees.
They ate muscles, in a steamy tomato broth, piquant and spicy... and crusty fresh bread spread with salty curls of butter.
She hardly knew him.
He had a crumb on the corner of his mouth and darlingly, she brushed it aside with her fingertips. “There was a crumb” she said, by way of explanation.
He held her gaze.
“You just wanted an excuse to touch my face” he said.
She started to feel the room spin...
because it was true.
The Argyle Cut was hewn by convicts through the sandstone ridge of The Rocks to connect Sydney Cove with Darling Harbour and Millers Point. It was started in 1843 by convicts with hammers and chisels, and completed in 1867 with the help of explosives. For some time until 1900 it was the underground home of thugs, petty gangsters and rats.
Later, as part of the building of the Bradfield Highway in the 1920s, the Argyle Cut was widened and construction was completed in 1932. The Bradfield Highway forms the approach to the Sydney Harbour Bridge over Argyle Cut.
I got my first camera when I was 10 years old. It wasn’t a birthday present, it wasn’t a present at all. It was just that my dad was into photography and somehow I became the “owner” of a camera. My father collected cameras and lenses and sometimes I had to sit and pose for him, it was boring and I remember the lights were hot... and my older brothers were always teasing me. Somewhere there must be lots of photos of me looking grumpy.
Dad had a wooden box with coloured lens filters inside. Each one in its own little cardboard box protected by a tiny square of tissue paper. Occasionally he’d let me play with them, if I was very careful. I liked the orange and blues ones the best. I used to like looking through them and making the world turn a different colour. He also did his own developing... in the bathroom. He made special blockout panels to block the light from the windows. And I can remember watching him position the negatives in the enlarger and exposing the paper, by swiveling a little disk of red plastic at the base of the enlarger. I liked the red glow it made in the room and I liked watching the images come to life in the developing trays suspended precariously over the bath. It was pure magic. But sometimes it got hot in the bathroom and I was stuck there because I wasn’t allowed to open the door.
The year was 1966 when I got my first camera. I know the year because something very significant happened to me that year. It was the real reason I was given the camera, I suppose. My family embarked on a 14-month around the world trip. My dad was a professor of Engineering and he packed up mum and us three kids and took us off on an adventure of a lifetime. I left school in Australia in December 1966 and didn’t return until February 1968. The year of 1967 shaped my life. And it wasn’t an “around the world trip” that you’d picture these days with airports and hotels. The journey began on ship, across endless oceans via the Panama Canal and across the wild Atlantic. For part of the year I attended school in London, while my parents visited countries in Eastern Europe, behind the “Iron Curtain” and I was flown over to Stockholm, unaccompanied, to meet up with my parents for a tour of Northern Europe. I spent part of the year sleeping in a camper van and visiting people I didn't know.
My dad used to run slide nights when we returned home to Australia. I know it sounds boring, but they were so good that people actually used to ask for an invitation, even my teachers, much to my embarrassment at the time. Mum used to serve freshly ground coffee in special individual glass dripolators she’d bought in Brussels. And dad would bring out the Slivovitz he’d been given in (then) Czechoslovakia and serve it beautiful glasses they’d bought there. They would bring out the Gusle, a one-string instrument from somewhere in Eastern Europe and the Samovar from Russia. Our house was full of odd things from strange lands. Dad was a good photographer and he and mum had visited places that most people would only dream of going to, even now. I can still recite the anecdotes from their travels through Russia, as if they were my own.
...I thought I was very sophisticated having my own camera. It had it’s own leather case and strap and I used to have it hanging around my neck like a professional. I knew how to change the film and how to check that it loaded properly on the sprockets and to double check it was transporting properly.
My dad used to call my camera affectionately “the idiot camera”. Because any idiot could take a photo with it, he’d laugh... and I knew he didn’t mean me. It had Agfa’s magic eye technology. When you pressed the shutter lever halfway down a mechanical system set the correct aperture value and speed. A red dot in a viewfinder turned green when the if there was light enough to take a picture. You couldn’t really fail, it always took great pictures and if there wasn’t enough light, you couldn’t take the shot. I thought the red and green lights looked like Cadbury Rowntree’s Fruit Pastels. Strawberry and the Lime.
I don’t know whatever happened to the idiot camera. I just bought this one on Ebay... just to have.