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. First, 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 suburb’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 both top-end New Zealand fashion designers and international brand names are still evolving, this shopping district 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. However, working here for the past six months, I can confidently say, “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 street art and graffiti pockets; particularly the replication of The Auckland Star Wednesday, 15 March 1939.
We found other reminders of the past instead of the inspired and innovative artworks I’m used to viewing on the Instagram site I follow – street art news. 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. As a fan of the TV series Northern Exposure and the Moose called out to me.
The rubbish bins beneath three of our iconic outdoor recreation areas; volcanic mountain, surf, and the oval sandy beach are 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 shopper’s 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. Again, 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 can combine their passion into a business. Carbon Garage is a celebration of the owner’s passion. I felt pride and wanted to hang out and soak up the atmosphere. Although I’m not a motorcycle enthusiast, I admire a well-made machine’s workmanship 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 exciting 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.