A Journey through Suburbia

The entire journey through suburbia was for this scene I’d observed on a previous trip

The entire journey through suburbia was for this scene I’d observed on a previous trip

 

For my creativity I love catching public transport and walking. It's a calming process (when it's not busy) and provides time to escape from reality and to imagine. Trains take routes that commute through the less desirable areas. Industrial precincts, sprawling residential developments, and the various deposits of rubbish, graffiti and weeds. These spaces are real, yet nobody goes there unless you work or live nearby.  For everyone else they are part of a city that they pass by to get to their destination. Weeks before on a journey I had seen these scene out the window, I made a mental note of it and knew I had to go back.

These spaces hold a sense of fascination. There is a strange sense of beauty and rhythm out in the ‘’middle of nowhere’’ in suburbia. Walking for kilometres through suburbia I hardly see another soul and am intrigued with how all the houses look the same with their pitched roofs nearly touching the neighbours. It’s a metaphor, they are reaching out to one another in this silent empty suburbia, they just want a friend and to be told it's all alright.  

These spaces hold a sense of fascination. There is a strange sense of beauty and rhythm out in the ‘’middle of nowhere’’ in suburbia.

Getting off the train I'm greeted by a scene out of a painting, perhaps a Geoffrey Smart vibe, a lone winding concrete footpath with security cameras pointing at me, assuming they are there for safety yet they only add to the feeling of being watched and isolation - I am just a number, I don’t matter. The only signs of life are people washing their cars and a cat eating noodles thrown onto on the verge. I can hear people and children talking and playing, but it's only sounds that emit from dark reflective windows and locked fly screen doors. You can only hear sounds of human beings. I’m being watched from the inside. Such moments lead to my inspiration and creation of my photographs. These physical and emotional experiences provide location context to what I'm photographing.

I see tall fences looming like fortified walls shielding suburbia from incessant freeway noise. The fences cut harshly into the landscape dividing Utopian suburbia from the outside world. Strewn on the outer wall is mangled metal, rubbish which includes washing machines, couches and domestic rubbish. International planes constantly fly overhead, reminding me of the temporary fleeting moments most people see of suburbia. After 5km walking and feeling like I might have got lost  but I finally make it to my destination - a concrete wall. Feeling like I'm in the middle of nowhere, isolated and the dead yellow summer grass beneath my feet (I've been told it's yellow because it's sprayed to minimise mowing). These places might not be where anyone goes unless you have to. But for me they are oddly motivating, places to reflect and be creative.

This photograph forms part of my ongoing project titled Utopia. You can view Utopia here


 

10 Murray Street - Good Morning

A landmark block of 20th Century Modernism - Hobart, Tasmania

A landmark block of 20th Century Modernism - Hobart, Tasmania

As I post this image it’s 7.30am and I’ve just made this photograph of 10 Murray Street Government Offices basking in golden light just before the world wakes and the commuter rush begins. The silence the solitude and the beauty of being up early to witness these beautiful moments and capture a lost fleeting moment in time forever is what makes me get up at 5am in the dark - the silence, solitude and beauty of the light. The 10 Murray Street project has been an immense undertaking logistically, emotionally and photographically. I have amassed a large library of photographs I have still to process, documenting the exterior and interior spaces for over the past decade. Join me on my journey of a Modernist landmark. View the project gallery here

 

10 Murray Street - The Bold and the Beautiful - The story behind the photograph

10 Murray Street prior to demolition - Thomas Ryan Photography

10 Murray Street prior to demolition - Thomas Ryan Photography

This image was made when the demolition of 10 Murray Street was near which is apparent by the hoarding. I remember being excited by the hoarding because of the opportunities to create images free of clutter - The clutter being cars parked on the street. This photo was just one of many captured on this beautiful blue sunny Sunday morning. I remember I had to drive an hour to get to 10 Murray Street. I remember being obsessed with looking at the weather (as I often am for photo shoots) and things were looking positive for blue skies, which in Hobart with its constantly changeable weather can mean what you hope for turns out totally different. I awoke in the dark at 4am, had a shower to wake up, grabbed something to eat and headed off for the hour drive in the dark. I remember thinking that this was it. This day was going to be the last day I could capture 10 Murray in its entirety before demolition. I didn’t know at the time if it would be the last but between work and life I always make the most of and opportunity provided to me, especially seeing as it was like losing a friend and not knowing if it would be the last time I would see 10 Murray again.

This particular morning was to be the last time I would photograph 10M in its entirety. The next time was documenting it being demolished. Over 10 years of documenting 10 Murray ended that sunny Sunday

Its funny driving in the dark as it's hard to tell if it's sunny or cloudy, but I could see stars on leaving so it was promising. As dawn broke closer to Hobart it was totally blue! Another benefit of Sunday was free parking everywhere and at that time of the morning spaces were ample. Having the hoarding painted black obscured it enough not to draw attention to it and the golden light emphasising the shapes of 10 Murray Street. With this edit I ended up choosing to go with a monotone edit over colours because going mono emphasised the sharp angles and repetitive patterns of 10 Murray Street. I met later with a good friend who also enjoyed capturing 10 Murray Street and we walked and photographed these last moments of 10 Murray Street before it was lost forever. This particular morning was to be the last time I would photograph 10M in its entirety. The next time was documenting it being demolished. Over 10 years of documenting 10 Murray ended that sunny Sunday. A building that stood for 50 years, I documented it over 10 years of its life and soon to be but a memory. The importance of photography in documenting our past and how it's so important for posterity came over me that day as I drove off back into the hills.

View the 10 Murray Street project gallery here


 

10 Murray Street Project launch

10 Murray Street - One of my most involved projects I’ve worked on

10 Murray Street - One of my most involved projects I’ve worked on

I am excited to launch my latest project 10 Murray Street. The project has been an immense undertaking logistically, emotionally and photographically - over a decade worth of site visits and photographs. I have amassed a large library of photographs, many of which I have still to edit. I will be uploading them to the project as I work through them. View the project gallery here

 

New website launch

After much planning my new website is now live. This has meant a total redesign of my content, to align with my vision as an Artist and Architectural photographer. My blog, integrated into my website, will be a platform to share my thoughts, photographic processes, news and anything else related to my photography. Would love to hear your thoughts on the new website and projects.