78 Gibson Street

I’m currently  going through my   archives and see what is there. I spent all yesterday scanning selected  negatives from this series. This  picture of  the two children at 78 Gibson St  was a part of the Bowden series, which was  done in the 1980s. I haven’t seen  this photo since I made  the contact sheet in the wet darkroom in the 1980s.

The  photograph’s genre would be seen as street photography today, as it resulted from  an unmediated chance encounter and a random incident within a public place. I was just strolling along the street from the studio,  aimless wandering, unencumbered by any obligation or sense of urgency.

The picture  was made with an old Rolleiflex TLR camera, which I used as my carry around camera, when walking around Adelaide’s  suburb of Bowden Brompton that I then lived and worked  in.

78 Gibson St, Bowden

78 Gibson St, Bowden

I was a flaneur of sorts–an urban explorer of this industrial,   working class inner suburb of Adelaide.   The street photographer can  seen as one modern extension of the 19th century urban observer  before the advent of the hand-held camera. Susan Sontag in On Photography says that the hand held  camera has become the tool of the flâneur:

The photographer is an armed version of the solitary walker reconnoitering, stalking, cruising the urban inferno, the voyeuristic stroller who discovers the city as a landscape of voluptuous extremes. Adept of the joys of watching, connoisseur of empathy, the flâneur finds the world “picturesque.”

Bowden was not picturesque. It  was industrial.  The working class had long gone from living there. They came to work in the the factories that were left.  Bowden  had become  a place where  those living on the margins of society hung on–ie., survived.

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One thought on “78 Gibson Street

  1. Pingback: easy days in Bowden | Oddly Squared

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