White Night Melbourne 2013

White Night Melbourne 2013

The city streets in the CBD were closed off of all cars, trams and bikes, and the massive flow of people filled the tram path and laneways. It was a very unusual sight in Melbourne. But first, some food. Fortunately, a table was just vacated at the French crepe restaurant off the crowded Flinders Lane. We sat down to watch the typical French ways of the waiter and enjoyed the good food.

We were just going around the block, and avoiding the main streets that are way too crowded, we managed to check out some of the recent additions of graffitis on the laneways.

White Night Melbourne 2013

White Night Melbourne 2013

White Night Melbourne 2013

White Night Melbourne 2013

White Night Melbourne 2013

White Night Melbourne 2013

White Night Melbourne 2013

I’d picked up the brochrue for the event so I was relatively aware of the rich list of street, open to public free performances, including jazz by some well-known local performers, light art on the building walls, galleries were also going to open its door all night to host special exhibitions. But I had no idea how massive it was going to be. I got on a train and saw lots of people filling it, and yet I still thought they were all going to some music concert or sporting event. Little did I know the streets of Melbourne were full of people like New Year’s Eve!

Tired of walking, many people found a place to sit down inside galleries and, like us, ACMI (Australian Centre for Moving Images http://www.acmi.net.au/ ). I wonder if ACMI has ever seen so many people filling its permanent display down stairs! My faint hope of seeing some of Andy Warhol’s 16mm footages were quickly scratched off, when we saw the queue building up at the stairs (little did we know, again, it would be almost 5 times longer by the time we had enough rest downstairs and came back up!).

White Night Melbourne 2013

Stepping outside, the crowd was going through the Bollywood dancing sequence with dancers demonstrating on the main stage and the big TV above it. We stepped across the crowd to go down towards the river, when the music changed to Latino. Our friend was just talking about how she wished they put on Salsa a minute ago, so I yelled them back and went back up to find a spot in the square. Her friend, who just got off the plane from UK for a holiday earlier today, has never danced salsa, and found himself learning the steps with everyone in the crowd. I managed to find a group of 3 girls and asked one of them to dance with me. It had been ages since I (tried to) lead a girl to the tunes of salsa. But it was fun dancing for a good half an hour, thanked her good bye, and then we tried the African dance that followed.

White Night Melbourne 2013

White Night Melbourne 2013

White Night Melbourne 2013

Up on the Princess Bridge, artists were working on the illuminated letters of WHITE NIGHT. It always amazes me how those visual artists can come up with such designs that fill that space and bring about such interesting experiences.

White Night Melbourne 2013

Well past 2am in the morning, again, feeling a bit hungry and in need for a place to sit down, we headed down Southbank.

White Night Melbourne 2013

White Night Melbourne 2013

White Night Melbourne 2013

White Night Melbourne 2013

White Night Melbourne 2013

3am, the cafes at Southgate are all closed. Same goes for the river-side cafes at Crown. We settled for the coffeeshop at the foyer leading into the casino entrance. At least they had cake and drinks we needed.

White Night Melbourne 2013

Bidding good night to friends, I walked solo back the southbank towards NGV. Almost 5am, still got a couple of hours to check out the two photography exhibitions that are on concession entry fee tonight. Upon turning up the steps back up towards Arts Centre I now recall the art exhibitions on tonight. The music was playing loud in that tent in front of Arts Centre, which we so should have checked out, but I personally preferred the NGV. And then I saw that installation – the one that gives you the sensation of touching the cloud.

White Night Melbourne 2013

It’s this big pile of what looks like the bubble that build up on the surface of water in washing machine. It seems the stuff keeps bubbling out so some pieces may fall, or stretch out close enough to people, who would then grab some piece off (yes, you can touch the cloud!), and gently lift it up to float above our heads. Like cloud, really. It was pretty cool sight. Expression on people’s faces said it all.

White Night Melbourne 2013

White Night Melbourne 2013

White Night Melbourne 2013

By the time I’d seen enough of this, I decided I was just too tired to properly appreciate photography exhibitions right now. There is still the exterior wall light paint that I wanted to photograph, and there are more on the street, I was sure. Picking up the heavy gear and tripod reluctantly from cloak room again, I stepped outside again.

White Night Melbourne 2013

White Night Melbourne 2013

White Night Melbourne 2013

6am – the morning was approaching. Everyone was looking forward to the first light of the day, leaning against the Eastern side of the Princess Bridge.

White Night Melbourne 2013

White Night Melbourne 2013

Big crowd was building on the other side of the bridge, though, with the band and a large group of chorus singing what sounded like Big Band marching and funky music. Some people cannot hold themselves down and start dancing, clapping hands, cheering to the music. Then the band moved on to under the roof of the station, where I could hear their sound much better. But the time was up. With the last tune of the Saints Are Marching In, they wrapped up their performance, and with the happy exhaustion on their face, the band pushed through people back towards the bridge.

White Night Melbourne 2013

And then, all of a sudden, the another day was already here.

White Night Melbourne 2013

How did you enjoy your White Night?

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thunder storm

dusk Thursday 21 February 2013

I’ve been missing the rain. That sound, that smell, the calm look on people’s face as they walk on the street, their shadows and reflections. My ‘The Other’ project is still unfinished and I am waiting for the return of the colder season with its changing weather and early sundown. But then again, I have been enjoying this summer. Drove down to the beach the other day just to cool down at the end of the hot day. Lie down with a paperback and bottle of water. Not bad at all… On a day like this, I drop the camera and just focus on relaxing. We all need to rest our mind.

Coming back to the working week, the weather forecast started to look a bit more interesting. There seem to be some rains on the way. So I swapped the small camera that currently has only a wide angle street lens, with the old trusted Canon, and grabbed the zoom lens as well.

Despite the warning of decent rain and thunders, it did not really come down. I decided to head back home a bit early before the sun was down, when the sky began to look rather interesting. Arriving at the station near home, the light on the storm clouds just caught my eyes, with its graceful moves, the shade of orange to dark blue and purple, under the layer of the blanket in front.

dusk Thursday 21 February 2013

dusk Thursday 21 February 2013

I was lucky enough to find this spot in the middle of an oval (cricket/footie field – for those from other part of the world, those are the two favourite sports played in this part of the planet). After walking around it and looking at it from many different angles, leaving a lady jogger staring at me from the end of the oval behind me for a good few minutes deciding what this weird guy was doing, I was down on my knees, then onto elbows to find the frame I was after. The elbows of my black button-down shirt were wet as I walked home, but I was pretty happy with that.

dusk Thursday 21 February 2013

The lights dramatically change on a stormy day. Only a minute later, before leaving the oval, I looked up and the last orange light is no longer reaching the sky above me and I saw the gloomy cloud but somehow peaceful, transparent blue of the sky still visible in the gaps.

As I resumed my 10-minute walk home, I saw flashes on a regular intervals from the direction I was heading. I’m in luck. As I got home, I went straight through the room to the balcony, as a lightening just flashed in the sky right in front of me. I watched for a few minutes to see where the thunder clouds are moving and went back in to grab a tripod and remote cable.

To my disappointment, it was not a full orchestra of thunder and rains. It was happening somewhere else. I heard it even hailed in some suburb during the day. But here I was, at the edge of the weak thunder system, clicking through on long exposures staring at the sky in the frame. Then I ended up with this.

It was a total surprise to me that the light should go up and across to the side like that. I was expecting straight up, in a series of lines. But people seem to like it, as it gained a lot of Likes in the Facebook album. So here it is for you, if you are not following my Facebook page.

dusk Thursday 21 February 2013

On a day like this, you can believe there is something more than just us in this place. How can this beauty be just an accident of chemicals and pressue and light and what not? To me this was given to me, to us, by somebody. Could that be the spirit of my friend’s grandmother who just passed away the day before? Is she dancing around in the sky, telling us, everything is going to be okay, we all live in such a beautiful place. Someday, when I close the door to this life, I join those who walk on ‘The Other’ side (as my project is focusing on). What show shall I put on? That is an intriguing thought!

The end of summer is near.

Chinese New Year 2013

Chinese New Year 2013

Last weekend was the New Year on the Lunar Calendar. To bring about good fortune, Chinese Community put on their traditional acts of dragon walking through the towns and lions dancing in front of businesses, followed by thousands of fire crackers.

Chinese New Year 2013

Chinese New Year 2013

Chinese New Year 2013

Chinese New Year 2013

Chinese New Year 2013

Before all the noise, though, I was photographing my friend Bee, the talented portrait painter busking on Swanston street, who performed HungWei’s water painting art at NGV. Unfortunately HungWei was unavailable on these Chinese New Year events, so Bee picked up his hand-made paint brush and stepped up on his behalf. She has worked with him on various collaboration projects, so it was nothing new for her as well.

Chinese New Year Performance at NGV by Bee

Chinese New Year Performance at NGV by Bee

Chinese New Year Performance at NGV by Bee

Chinese New Year Performance at NGV by Bee

Chinese New Year Performance at NGV by Bee

During the week leading up to the Chinese New Year, she also performed in the Federation Court, the space inside the entrance of NGV, at a Chinese New Year Celebration function organised by Australia China Business Council and China Chamber of Commerce in Australia. Here are a few shots I captured with permission by the event organiser and NGV.

Chinese New Year Celebration function at NGV - Water Painting by Bee 5 Feb 2013

Chinese New Year Celebration function at NGV - Water Painting by Bee 5 Feb 2013

Chinese New Year Celebration function at NGV - Water Painting by Bee 5 Feb 2013

Chinese New Year Celebration function at NGV - Water Painting by Bee 5 Feb 2013

Chinese New Year Celebration function at NGV - Water Painting by Bee 5 Feb 2013

I’d like to thank National Gallery of Victoria for their kind permission to photograph Bee and her performance in the Gallery. As my regular audience of this blog would know, NGV is one of my favourite art space in this city, and it was a pleasure to finally get to work with their blessing.

I’d also like to thank Australia China Business Council and China Chamber of Commerce in Australia, for allowing me to photograph Bee during the private function. I hope my suggestion on how to set up the podium backdrop helped the photos your event photographers made during speeches. As you noticed, I have quite a bit of experience in working with events, both as event organiser and as an event photographer. I look forward to working with you in a future function.

And finally, I’d like to extend my sincere thanks to the artist Bee and HungWei, for always allowing me to closely document your work. I am, as ever, inspired by what you guys can do with only a bucket full of water. I am really hoping to travel inter-continent now, in order to follow your work, while I also capture works of people in those countries, artists, farmers, traditional craftsman, mothers and grandmothers, and any ordinary people. That is where I am going with my photography. Just wait till I lined up a few assignments to get my trip started!

Lots on this week in Melbourne

Sorry for not updating the blog for a while. I’ve been busy doing this and that… As you would know if you are following my Facebook Page, there have been regular shoots going on, at the markets, on the street and sunset and sunrise as always. But just haven’t had time to properly publish them here, on my blog.

Now, before bringing you up to speed with what’s been happening in my photography world, I’d like to share with you what will be happening, in Melbourne, this week. I will be checking out some of them where I can, and others I recommend that you do. So here it goes…

1. Chinese New Year at NGV – Water Painting Art Performance by Bee

When: Wednesday 13 February 2013: 10am – 2pm
Where: National Gallery of Victoria International (St Kilda Road)

Chinese New Year Performance at NGV by Bee

In place for HungWei the ‘Splash Baron’ who is unfortunately unavailable for the event, her friend Bee, who collaborated with HungWei on water painting work at various occasions, will be performing the water painting on the fore court of NGV International on St Kilda Road. This is the final of 3-day performance, so don’t miss it!

For more info:
Splash Baron: https://www.facebook.com/SplashBaron
Flying Bee’s Love Art Travel: https://www.facebook.com/loveartravel
Photos in my Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.605284716154193.157041.175366942479308

 

2. Blenders Ln Artists Market

When: Wednesday nights 5pm – 10pm (only 3 more weeks to go!)
Where: 110 Franklin Street, Melbourne

Blender Ln Artists Market

Taking place on beautiful summer evenings, just around the corner from the night market at Queen Victoria Market is this laneway filled with artistic inspirations. Artists bring their craft and some produce their magic before your eyes. Live music moves you, all-naturale ginger ale cools you down and you may come home with bag full of one-and-only hand-made goodies!

Everyone kindly gives me permission to photograph their works, so I do have quite a few photos on my Facebook page. I might wrap them up and publish in this blog again, too. I’ll be back on your final night of the season in 2 weeks’ time. Looking forward to photographing your best works and your party dress. We’ll say good bye to summer in style, before going back to our workshop to start the creative process again!

Blenders Ln Artists Market: https://www.facebook.com/Blendermarket
Photos in my Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.556161997733132.149822.175366942479308

 

3. Sidney Myer Free Concerts with Melbourne Symphony Orchestra

When: Wednesday/Saturday 4pm open for 7pm start – wed 13, sat 16, wed 20, sat 22 February
Where: Sidney Myer Music Bowl

Sidney Myer Free Concerts

Melbourne as Arts Capital of the region at its best – Melbourne Symphony Orchestra puts on free public concerts, not just one, but FOUR CONCERTS, in the park. You can bring in your picnic blanket, wine, cheese, tomato and olive and chill out lying on the green stuff up the hill, or sit in the best front-row seat in the house and enjoy the acoustic of the natural sound of orchestra. Doors open early, so make your way and secure your spot.

Be careful – no breakable glassware allowed, so you cannot bring those nice wine glasses.
Plastic ones, please.

Ah… it sort of happens on the same evening at Blenders Ln…

For more info, check out the MSO website: http://www.mso.com.au/whats-on/2013/sidney-myer-free-concerts/

 

4. PEACE Exhibition: Opening Talk at Monash Gallery of Art

When: Saturday 16 February 2013: 2pm
Where: Monash Gallery of Art (860 Ferntree Gully Road, Wheelers Hill)

‘Degree South’ the Australian photographer co-op, or group of documentary photographers, will be presenting their works from assignments around the world, focusing on ‘what peace looks like’. Michael Coyne and Ben Bohane will take the podium to talk about their works. I’ve seen their works in some exhibitions and in their first book ‘WAR’ that I have in my bookshelf.

People who face the disasters have a sense of appreciation for peace, order, safety and health. Many documentary photographers in the past captured the world of love and peace, including the well known war photographer Robert Capa, whose best photography, in my personal preference, is among those when he pointed at children, ladies and family away from the bullets and bombs.

If you would like to tag along for this, please let me know. MGA is not the easiest gallery to reach if you are based near the city like me. I’ll be driving up for the talk, and come back in time for the concert at Sidney Myer Bowl in the evening.

For more details, check out MGA’s website: http://www.mga.org.au/exhibition/view/exhibition/117