Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Lane Walking: Gibbens Lane

I thought it might be fun to start a little semi-regular photography project, exploring the myriad of laneways around Newtown and Camperdown with my camera.

I don't claim any real originality to this idea, other bloggers have done this sort of project before me. In fact I remember once finding an Adelaide blogger whose blog was devoted entirely to the idea of documenting the lanes and alleys of Adelaide. (I don't know if this blog is still going, I've since lost the url a long time ago. If anyone knows of it hit me up in the comments and I'll add in a linky dink.)

My house is right on the border of two inner west Sydney city suburbs, Newtown and Camperdown. Both of them have a long and colourful history, and for many decades were cramped low rent suburbs filled with worker housing, and not terribly well serviced with sanitation. Behind almost every street there are parrallel laneways, where the 'night soil' sanitation workers would collect the toilet pans from the 'out houses' at the bottom of every garden.

That's a long time ago now, and these inner city suburbs of narrow terrace houses and cottages are now considered desirable places to live, rather than the borderline slums they were. But the laneways remain. Mostly now they are filled with people's garbage bins, the odd discarded sofa or ironing board, and prowling domestic cats. But sometimes these semi-private spaces are also home to odd and interesting things, funky grafitti and bits of self expression.

The other day I discovered Gibbens Lane in Camperdown. Unlike most of the lanes Gibbens Lane has a few twists and turns and instead of just the mostly non-descript rear fences of residences it also has a couple of warehouse type buildings mixed in.



Tied

Gibbens Lane

Upwards

Discards


But then I turned the corner and unexpectedly found a cool street art project by someone called "Madame Kafoops" (who I discovered has a Flickr photostream of their own.) These burlesque styled paste ups of a woman in various outfits and poses are almost life sized.



Foxtrot India Kafoops 2

Kafoops 4

Kafoops 3 Kafoops 5


Cool, huh? Over the years I've photographed other odds and ends that I have found in the laneways, but this was one of the more surprising discoveries. And it was mostly this that kicked off the idea that I should maybe explore more. To try and use this as an exercise to find the interesting in what can generally be pretty bland spaces. To try and look at these neglected and infrequently visited spaces with fresh eyes.



[Click the pics to see them full sized on Flickr.]

10 comments:

M-H said...

You know about Nosey in Newtown? I like his/her photos. Blog on!

yani said...

The Adelaide blog you were talking about was Mark B's effort The Adelaide Alleyways and Sidestreets Project (1 October 2004 - 1 January 2007)... and as far as I know he moved to Canberra after he'd "finished" the project...

He's the one who inspired me to start doing a similar kind of thing, which then led to my current obsession with street art...

You know I'm just going to be so very jealous of your version of this project, don't you...

the fox said...

your pix have inspired me to take a fresh look at Leeds (UK), which is where i live. Your photos are always so fresh, exciting, telling great stories. FABULOUS!

mrpeenee said...

It's not just an interesing idea, they're also great pictures. Good for you.

The Other Andrew said...

M-H and Yani, thanks for the info! Yani, yest that was the blog I was thinking of, thanks.

Thanks for the compliments on the photos everyone, I really appreciate it!

jason said...

cool idea.
Love those paste-ups!

How lovely it would be to see a few hunky vintage guys (of the sort you have here) pasted up too.

Mikey (TLE) said...

Jason, I agree and TOA is just the man to do it.

Andrew, you could do paste-ups of those vintage shots of men together and being intimate under the general them of "gay is forever" or something. Ok, I'm not the artist, I'm sure there are better slogans... Wake them up on a HillSong temple/church or whatever they call them...

'Pong said...

Join the club, Andrew. ;)

YarravillePaul said...

Great shots!! Inspirational...

and Mikey's idea of using the vintage images is brilliant also

Ray Ray said...

wow, great photos. make me wanna go out and explore downtown l.a. on my lunch hour instead of stay at my desk and keep working.