Up until 2014-15 Suzanne and I lived in Sturt St a couple of blocks from the Adelaide Central Market in Adelaide's CBD. The Central Market was our shopping centre and we would do the weekly shop early on a Saturday morning around 7am after we had walked with the poodles (seen as significant others). We would walk down to the market precinct with a shopping trolley, have a coffee at Cibo's in Gouger St, do the shopping, then walk back to the town house, unpack the shopping, then have breakfast. We would be back home around 8.30-9 am.
We walked to most places in the CBD (GP's, gym, hairdresser, gallery openings, etc ). This convenience was one of the attractions of inner city living. I understood walking to be a counter to the car's domination of the city with its traffic noise and fumes, congestion, the urban grime and the heat during the summer. Our car would sit in the garage during the week, as it was mostly used for travelling to places outside the inner city, or to go to Victor Harbor on the weekends. Now, at Victor Harbor, we have 2 cars and we have to travel in the car to several shops to do the weekly shopping.
Whilst we were living at Sturt St in Adelaide I would often visit the central market, which was situated within a shopping mall, several times during the working week to top up with fresh fruit and vegetables. Our style of cooking changed as a result---there was a greater emphasis on fresh and green and a shift to what is commonly called a Mediterranean diet.
At the time Suzanne was working full time in the city and she would either walk or bike to work. I had retired from full time paid work in Canberra and concentrating on getting my photography off the ground. This happened during the shift in urban design to a post-industrial creative walkable urbanism in Adelaide with its construction of walkable laneways, the revitalisation and aestheticization of pedestrian friendly urban spaces, and the repackaged walking tours of the heritage modernist core of the inner city.
These pedestrian friendly spaces were coupled to the urban infill with high rise apartments, small bars and al-fresco dining, and coffee apps to allow you to "skip the line" in the morning. This form of spatial capitalism was framed by the marketeers and publicists as Adelaide being a buzzing, vitalized space. They sold the idea of living in the city in the early 21st century as a liberating step and as the embracing of a walkable urbanism as an educated choice by people with style.
As a part of my learning how to do photography as a creative process I would make some photos around the precinct area of this built environment of industrial city that was Adelaide:
Most of my inner city photography in Adelaide was associated with regular dog walking as a neighbourhood-based leisure activity. This dog walking happened even though the inner city--outside of the urban green space of the parklands-- could not be considered to be a walkable neighourhood. Michel de Certeau in his The Practice of Everyday Life draws a distinction between the perspective of the walker with a camera at street-level, which he contrasted to the perspective of the voyeur with a camera inhabiting the top of the skyscrapers in search of a god's eye view that captures the hidden structure of the modern city. In wandering the streets of the inner city without an aim the street became a home for myself and Fichte, the standard poodle.
This urban wandering of unfamiliar streets in Adelaide is a long way from those journeys in London of Daniel Defoe, Willian Blake, Thomas de Quincey or Robert Louis Stevenson, which explored the role of the imagination and the power of dreams to transmute the familiar nature of our surroundings into a dreamscape that is strange, wonderful and nightmarish; the isolated and estranged flâneur, and the subjective realm of human emotion in the Paris of Walter Benjamin, Surrealists and Situationists; or the contemporary London of Iain Sinclair's explorations of the mystery beneath the apparently banal surfaces of the everyday life in Thatcherite re-development of 1980's London. Walking in Adelaide with our standard poodles seemed to be banal compared to this literary urban tradition.
My walking and photography--walking as art--- was part of a postmodern aesthetic rebellion against the car-centred, isolating landscape and culture of post-war industrial Australia. This rebellion, which was a refocusing on the subjective and the everyday, embodied the promise of pleasure, self-realization and happiness premised on a rejection of the outdated style of post-war suburbanism and a return to a walkable lifestyle in the inner city.