I’ve seen a few images of the following laneway posted on the net, but had no real idea where it was until I stumbled upon it just off Little Collins Street. It’s covered from one end to the other in street art (‘graffiti’ to others) which would appear to be endorsed by the powers that be. It’s getting a bit messy now with graffiti painted upon graffiti.
Also running between Bourke and Little Collins Street is the Royal Arcade, a significant Victorian-era heritage building first opened in 1870.
At the Little Collins Street end of the arcade, mythical beings Gog and Magog have stood each side of Gaunt’s Clock since 1892. On the hour, Gog and Magog strike the bells which resound throughout the arcade. Melbourne’s Gog and Magog are modelled on figures that can be seen in Guildhall, London.
One of the ‘challenges’ of street photography is that not all of your subjects appreciate being photographed. I seem to be getting a particularly dirty look from Magog here.
Melbourne has made a concerted effort to turn some of its other city-centre laneways into interesting and quirky bars and eating areas. Here’s a quick tour…
Some of the original laneway signage has been retained to keep a semblance of originality intact, an example being this hand-painted sign outside of a switch room.
I would have like to stopped at one of these cafes for a coffee, but my flight back to Adelaide beckoned, so at this stage it was off in a cab for the airport. I hope you have enjoyed this quick exploration of Melbourne.
Oh, and I nearly forgot, the real person is in the middle. Should have been obvious – his arms had moved between the two images!
It was a bright sunny day and my window of opportunity to go roaming with a camera was mid-afternoon, making glare and deep shadows a significant challenge. I had with me Pentax’s latest flagship dSLR camera, the Pentax K-3. And boy, did the extra dynamic range compared to my prior dSLR come in handy. In particular, the laneways were a mix of deep shadows and glazing sun. It took quite a bit of post processing to get those images ‘right’, but the needed details were there, lurking in the RAW files. For all the images, I used polariser filters to tame reflected glare and preserve colour saturation. Most images were taken with my Tamron 17-50 F2.8 zoom, but a few used the Pentax M 200mm F4 as I continued on my Single in December challenge.
To Learn More
Melbourne is the capital of the state of Victoria and Australia’s second largest city. Southbank is on the southern side of the Yarra River and is home to numerous restaurants, bars and the Crown Casino complex. Bourke Street is the main retail strip in the CBD. The centre section is a pedestrian mall closed to traffic, albeit with trams running through it.
A few links of interest:
Deborah Halpern talking about her public art work, Ophelia.
The mythology of Gog and Magog.
What exactly is a Hang?
Map of Melbourne.