I  recently wandered into Adelaide's CBD  on  an early morning walk to photograph the  morning light  on the eastern face of the sandy  colours  of the late modernist buildings. Light animates an object and the approach is one  of  studied snapshots. 

The buildings that I photographed were  those built around Victoria Square (Tarndayangga) precinct in the 1970s.  This kind of focused walk is the opposite of  just  going out into the CBD  one fine autumn morning, shooting  on some random theme and then hoping that something emerges. If you are not careful that is the pathway to photo-wooze ---ie.,  lots of boring images of nothing much  at all. 

I was looking for a low key emphasis on colour in the walking Adelaide project, though not in the formalist sense. These skyline snapshots   are  designed to say something about the city's history --- content  or  meaning ---  as opposed to concentrating  on technique -- eg., a concern with correct exposure, being in focus, the right way to light  a building, or the right kind of light.

Keswick Creek

This particular  supplement to  the Walking Adelaide website broadens  this recent post on Keswick Creek.

The supplement  takes the form of some additional photos of Keswick Creek in a different  locations in the old industrial area of Mile End.  These additional photos came from walking around the area tracing the creek whilst looking for  suitable locations to  scope for a large format photo session at a latter date.  These locations below  are ones that are prone to flooding.    

The picture below  photo of the creek, or rather a  culvert,  is on the western side of the Flinders and Seaford  railway line, and it is looking towards the Adelaide Showgrounds. I came across it whilst looking for where the underground  culvert in the showgrounds surfaced  as it went through the Keswick Army Barracks to Anzac Highway.  

I was lucky that day.  There is very limited access to the location as the gate for the Keswick Army Barracks is usually closed  as I  discovered on subsequent visits.  Access to the barracks would be restricted.  Moreover,   the protective wire netting fence across the culvert  means that  a large format monorail cannot be used. Only 35mm as you  need to be able to poke  the lens through the smallish holes in the wire netting. 

the blog as supplement

As there is  now a walking Adelaide website with its own blog  this  old,  low-key blog became  superfluous. It  served its purpose in kickstarting the website into existence, and as a result,  it hasn't been updated in 2 years. Originally this low-fi blog was envisioned as a  way to start making  a photobook of urban photography  of Adelaide.  I had in mind  that the images and text would be  the raw material for  the photo book.  However, as I left living in Adelaide for the coast and   the money ran out for a book, I decided to build the website. The next step in the project is a  photobook.  

My reason for  reviving the old  blog is that  I've returned to the city in the sense of I've started regularly walking the city again.  I have also linked up to,  and joined,  the Australian Walking Artists group, since  urban photography has been historically  based on the medium of walking the city.  Adelaide 's CBD has changed a lot in the last 8 years. 

 This revived  blog  will  include the odd photo that doesn't make it to the official website. Toss away photos, odd balls,  rejects, poor mages. fragments or  scraps,  if you like. Ones  that stand  outside the website and are an accessory  (the parergon) to the main work (the  ergon). This blog would then exist on the margins of the website.  

The photos and text, which  are degraded supplements to the original image that  lies buried in the darkness of the archive on a computer's hard drive, are deemed to have little value in the neo-liberal image economy.   They are toss-a-ways, as is this blog, since blogs have been shunted aside in the culture of social media.   


I took advantage of a recent dental appointment in Adelaide's  CBD   to walk the city  and to try and make some photographic  urbanscapes. I started out from my base in the Adelaide Central Market where I'd  had my  morning coffee and went nto the Pitt Street carpark to check out Franklin St:   

I thought that I'd  return to some of my  old locations in the various  car parks  that I'd visited and explored when  I  lived in the city prior to 2015 and this was a good a way as any to gain a quick perspective on  how the CBD had changed, if at all, between 2015 and 2022. 

Thresholds: Gawler Place

I briefly explored in and around  Gawler Place  in the  hour or so that I had between meetings in Adelaide's CBD  on Wednesday (18th May).  This  exploration  focused less  on the empty shops or offices themselves,  and more on the urban  space of the street that included the empty offices.

More specifically,  it was the interface  space between the inside of the building and the street outside the building along with its various reflections in the glass windows of the buildings. What could be called thresholds. 

Edgelands, Port Adelaide

I've realized whilst  constructing  the  Walking Adelaide demo website on the Square Space  publishing platform that this  is going to take me quite some time. Realistically,  I will need all of the six months allowed by the demo to construct  a skeleton of the project that would be ready to go public.

 Whilst  working on  building the demo website  I remembered  that I'd  walked around more than Adelaide's car-centric  CBD. I  had spent a lot of time walking the edgelands in, and around,  the Port Adelaide precinct in the 1980s. This  example is from the archives:

The picture was made on the Grand Trunkway  near  the Torrens Island power station.  We are looking north east  towards the Adelaide hills. What appeared to be wetlands  was being used as, or had become,  an industrial wasteland.  It is a  good example of edgelands in 1980s  industrial Adelaide. 

post-Covid Adelaide

The recent brute force attacks and hacks to two of my Wordpress blogs --Thoughtfactory and Mallee Routes --- have caused  me  to start to  look at Square Space for re-building the Walking Adelaide project. Rebuilding because this project  has basically outgrown Posthaven's  simple  blog format.  It  needs galleries, blog and text and  so rather than building another Wordpress site I am considering Square Space. There is more on this at the Thoughtfactory blog.

The galleries, blog and text would be designed to give the project more depth. 

Post-Covid Adelaide is different to the one that I lived and photographed in  during the second decade of the 21st century. As noted in earlier posts  there are fewer people on the streets of the CBD. Whilst walking around the northern part of the CBD  last Tuesday (26th April)  I noticed that  the only section of the city that had lots of people moving around was the north-west end of the CBD,  and these were students at the Uni of SA

lunchtime in Adelaide

I still find it a depressing experience walking Adelaide's CBD post-Covid. Many of the lunch time cafe's and coffee shops continue to remain closed.  Will they ever open again? Will the pandemic shape Adelaide's future? What  might urban life look like on the other side of the Covid-19 pandemic?  How long before the CBD starts to be full of people? 

Judging from the lack of people in the city it appears that  many of the office  workers are still working from home. The density of the people in the city is certainly much less than in pre-Covid times and about half those walking the streets are wearing masks.  It was such a marked difference to Melbourne where hardly anyone wore face masks on the street. 

Covid-19: a public mood

I spent Wednesday in the week before Xmas walking the city and  taking photo  for several hours. I had parked the car near the Adelaide parklands and walked to the Adelaide Central Market.   After  a coffee in the  Central Market  I spent the next 4-5 hours  walking around  the north western side of the CBD,  starting at the nearby  Post Office Lane.  

Then I wandered and photographed along  "Westpac Lane", which runs off Topham Mall, returning to old haunts to get my bearings. Some people were wearing masks on the street, most were using the QR codes on their phones and many  were keeping a safe distance. Though South Australia's closed borders had  meant that it was a zero Covid state, people were going about their business without the twinkle, shimmer and buzz of the approaching festive season.  

South Australia had just opened its state borders, the  Omicron variant was starting to circulate through Adelaide,   and the number of daily infections were starting to rapidly rise. The  public mood was sombre and wary.  Grim even.  This is such a contrast to this time in  2020, when  looked as if the near future would be one of hope: we had survived 2020, vaccinations were just around the corner and with that, the promise of no more lockdowns and a return to open borders.  Fortress Australia would be history.  In late December 2021 the Omicron variant of the virus is  everywhere, the federal government continues to be  missing in action, and the capacity of the  health system is being eroded with staff stand downs and resignations, ambulance ramping  and a blowout in waiting lists.     

photography + the modernist city

I have been  going through my digital archives  circa 2013 /2014 in order to start to  look for, and select,  material for the proposed Adelaide book. This  builds on  The Bowden Archives and Industrial Modernity book  which I am currently completing. Sadly, there was  less visual material in the 2013  photographic archive  than I remembered or hoped for. I was disappointed,   but I did come  across this mugshot poster by Peter Drews.  

The photos in the Adelaide  photo book are all post 2000 and they include a mix of film and digital as I started using a digital camera early in  2007. It's early days as I  haven't gone through the 2007-2012  archives,  the book has no name,  and I haven't decided how it will be published.   I have started writing an introduction based on reworking some text  left over from the Bowden book.

The argument in the introduction is that  photography was substantively associated with  the modernist city in the 20th century.   There was  a  historical relationship between urban spaces, urban representations and the photographic/cinematic form. Photography  was part of the experience of modernity, especially that on the  flâneur, or citystroller, a figure of modernity characterised by their detached observations of urban life, being simultaneously of the city, and yet distanced from it by their spectatorial gaze.

 Film -- ie., photography and cinema --- were more than being  new mediums.   They are central to how modernity was experienced and understood  by a broad public. Photography and cinema  enabled the  relationship between modernity's shocks, surprises, distractions and overwhelming stimuli and its corollary, drift, the experience of vacancy, the sensation of empty moments, to be understood and negotiated. They helped to  shape modernity's urban visual culture.