Behind the camera lens…
“People spot a big black lens, and they worry about what they’re doing, or how their hair looks. Nobody see the person holding the camera.”― Erica O’Rourke, Torn
This feeling of anonymity increases three-fold when joining a photography group on an urban walkabout. My amateur status dissipates as we roam the streets, I happily take shots down alleyways, inside buildings, although I still feel uneasy photographing people.
Towards the end of the Christmas/New Year shutdown period, when all the inner-city surburb’s feel sleepy the Focus Photography group arranged a meetup for an early morning urban walkabout. The theme was graffiti, street art and sculpture, the destination Newmarket; an inner city shopping and business suburb.
“Knowing it and seeing it are two different things.”― Suzanne Collins, Mockingjay
Newmarket is ten minutes by bus or car away from Auckland’s CBD. Conscious of its inner-city status the Newmarket business association (NBA) has pitched this suburb as “Auckland’s premier fashion, shopping and entertainment district.” While the presence of top-end New Zealand fashion designers is less than nearby Ponsonby and only a few international brand names have shops within this shopping district, Newmarket attracts serious shoppers. Despite the division of Newmarket’s two major shopping precincts by a major arterial road. Newmarket has Auckland’s best art-house cinema, Rialto, making this a great girl’s day-out.
Personally, I find the disjointed nature of Newmarket slightly off putting therefore, it is not my go-to shopping destination. I have though been working on the edge of Newmarket for the past six months and regularly walk down over the railway lines into the main shopping streets a few times a week. Therefore, I can confidently state I know Newmarket; but as Collins eloquently puts it “knowing it and seeing it are two different things.”
Seeing Newmarket through my lens…
Street Art and Graffiti
While the NBA website states they have a no graffiti policy we discovered some pockets of street art and graffiti.
My lunch-break walking route into Newmarket includes crossing railway lines. Street art thrives on either side of this busy pedestrian crossing. The large billboard style replication of The Auckland Star Wednesday 15 March, 1939 sets the tone.
We find reminders of the past as opposed to the inspired and innovative artworks I’m used to viewing on the Instagram site I follow – streetartnews. Photographing these vivid reminders of bygone days see the group clambering over the tracks and walking up the shingle covered berm. Through the lens the tracks become architectural art that few can resist.
An hour or so later over on the southeast side of Newmarket, in the tree-lined Nuffield Street the group venture down an alleyway, find graffiti mixed with the discarded and rubbish bins. Those who know me are aware of my long held fascination with the TV series Northern Exposure and understand why the Moose called to me.
The rubbish bins beneath three of our iconic outdoor recreations areas; volcanic mountain, surf and the oval sandy beach, hard not to love. However, the Chatham Island Black Robin (please correct me if I have the species wrong) looking down on a discarded step chair won my heart.
Nine brightly coloured egg-shaped sculpture’s sit on the pavements of Teed and Osbourne Street; pulling the shoppers eyes away from the latest seasons fashion to the street. They are the work of “young Auckland artist, Seung Yul Oh” and ignite energy into the revamped historic streets of Newmarket.
Further down Kent Street we are reminded of the historic nature of this area, when our host invites us to walk over the original wooden road. We are all awe-struck and silent.
Industrial rusted steel –
Over in Osborne Lane I photographed a rusted hard-edged sculpture from all angles. As I’m yet to uncover the artist I will go back to Sanderson Gallery during opening hours to solve the mystery. In the meantime enjoy this striking artwork.
Carbon garage –
I admire people who make a business out of their passion, walking into Carbon Garage I got the dream, I felt pride and I wanted to hang out and soak up the atmosphere. All this is coming a non-motorcycle enthusiast, however I will always admire the workmanship of a well-made machine and of course a Ducati.
Carbon garage is a café, a museum, restoration shop and seller of super to vintage bikes. Hidden down the still industrial looking Eden Street it is worth a visit.
I somehow got past my reservations about photographing people and got three interesting pictures. I have included one in the blog to remind me to continue to push my boundaries.
The other two I will add to my gallery page along with a few more gems from our Newmarket walkabout day.