The thing is, though, while I don't deny the magic that Disneyland creates for children who are lucky enough to get there, for the rest of us it is simply a reminder that we can't go to the Happiest Place on Earth: we're too unlucky, too far away, too poor. Which means that Disneyland, and to a lesser extent, local theme parks like Movie World, are for most of us a slap in the face, taunting us with what we will never have. That we somehow aren't good enough to experience real happiness™.
I know at this point I sound extremely cynical, and I could also quite justifiably be accused of killing large amounts of joy. However, I do so only as an introduction to something that I am significantly less hostile towards.
The wonderful place that is Darwin has a little park located just a short drive from its city centre. It has three super-dooper water slides, a large man-made lagoon, a water playground complete with a giant bucket that periodically dumps its refreshing contents onto whomever happens to be standing below it, and plenty of communal BBQs for those all-important meals. While this park, the Leanyer Recreation Park, probably doesn't bring as much happiness™ as the land of the Mouse, I guarantee that it brings a whole lot less unhappiness to children that are aware of its presence. The simple reason is this: the park is free. Open to all. Unlimited, free rides on the water slides. You can slide all day if it takes your fancy. (And in Darwin weather, it just might.) Unlimited opportunities to stand under a giant bucket full of water, waiting nervously for the drop while surrounding kids giddily tell you that you're not allowed to look at the bucket for fear of ruining the gleeful shock of the water dump.
Its well-worn playthings, with their bright, non-corporate colours, are as wonderful now as I imagine they were for the first children that used them, simply because they are free and available to use. Like the toddler who gets more joy out of the cardboard box than the overpriced toy within, kids at this park don't need fancy cartoon characters or overblown gimmicks, they just need a place that facilitates their energy and their imaginations, a place where they can play together without worrying about where they come from or how much money their family doesn't have.
I went to this park earlier this year with my family - me, my older sister, my mum and my dad. Four adults. We all went on each of the three slides at least once, and stood under the bucket together, letting out hilarious cries of suprise when we got drenched (much to the delight of the more experienced nine-year-olds watching on). It was one of the few totally free activities we took part in on that trip, and it was truly one of the happiest. No trademark necessary.
Well, to clarify, there are only two bands. And actually, I love shooting Eagle and the Worm. I also loved shooting the marvellous group of cool cats that make up this most excellent band, Saskwatch. Apart from the fact that it was a lovely group of people to be around for a few hours on a cold Saturday afternoon, I think I enjoyed doing this largely because Liam really did all the work; I simply loaded, pointed, focused and clicked.
Liam had scouted all the locations (which were very usefully within walking distance of one another), and he basically directed the whole thing. With so much excellent input on his part, I imagine he could have asked anyone who is handy with a camera to take the shots and he still would have ended up with some pretty bangin' images of the band. But Liam had previously expressed a preference for authentic film photography, so I suppose that's why he asked me. And if I don't say so myself, the above image is something that most other photographers would never have produced due to the specific combination of film, camera and developing process.
This is the stand-out image of the day for me. I've never seen this film produce these colours. It's totally wild. The actual subjects are very typically composed for a band shot, and I think that familiarity makes the psychedelia of the colours more effective.
before), they add something to the images that is really special.
This photo is a case in point. While the colours aren't as outrageous as the previous shot (though their ordinariness is wonderful in and of itself), the fabulous square frames on the bridge effectively reveal just how much these plastic lenses distort the images around the edges. I mean, can you believe these bridge frames are actually square? The symmetry in the distortion is close to perfect here, almost to the point that it looks like some kind of amazing avant-garde structural design.
Similar to the bridge distortion on display earlier, this image has another prominent plastic-camera side effect: the light leak. This particular feature of plastic camera photography is alternately a blessing and a curse. There is a very fine line between a leak that adds character and a leak that completely ruins a photo. Happily, the light leak in this instance performs the former function.
There were some great results from the 35mm shots too, but it's wonderful to be reminded that these often unreliable plastic cameras are capable of producing results beyond abstract shapes and colours. That there are so many variations in the plastic camera photos from the day make this project even more rewarding, because while I will never gain complete control over these notoriously temperamental pieces of equipment, it's nice to have a vague idea of the excellent images that they are occasionally capable of.
Andrew is the brother of one of my divine housemates, and he was staying with us while visiting from Adelaide. I took this photo at our friend's house party late on Saturday night, when Andrew was evidently intoxicated enough to pose with little inhibition. Thank goodness! What a photo!
We took another photo that was much better, but it was so much worse. It was boring.