Category Archives: Tasmania

This working life

Issue 66 of 40 South Magazine

The first in-print publication of pictures from my project This Working Life has just been published over 8 pages in the portfolio section of the highly respected Tasmanian magazine 40° South. If you are interested in Tasmania and all things Tasmanian, subscribe now.

To coincide with this I’ve posted some more of the pictures here. If you want to know more about this project please visit my This Working Life blog.

“Looking at pictures of work can provoke thoughts and feelings about work and life…it leads each to ponder in our own personal terms, not just the subject at hand but the universal nature of human existence.” Ferdinand Protzmann The World of Work.

Flinders Street Station, Melbourne

Gypsy Bar, Brunswick Street, Fitzroy

Kalgoorlie, Western Australia

“Far and away the best prize that life offers is the chance to work hard at work worth doing.” Theodore Roosevelt

Nullarbor, South Australia

Perth, WA

Hobart, Tasmania

“Finding the right work is like discovering your own soul in the world.” Sir Thomas Moore (1779-1852)

Sydney, NSW

Armidale, NSW

Byron Bay, NSW

Rottnest Island, WA

Tullamarine Airport, Melbourne

“The strongest bond of human sympathy outside the family relation should be one uniting working people of all nations and tongues and kindreds.” Abraham Lincoln (1809-1865)

Bourke Street, Melbourne

Job seeker, Hobart

Collins Street, Hobart

Hobart, Tasmania

Hobart, Tasmania

Brisbane, Queensland

Your work is to discover your work and then with all your heart to give yourself to it. 
- Buddha

Brisbane, Queensland

Cambellfield, Victoria

Kimberley, WA

Kalgoorlie, WA

Melbourne, Victoria

Hobart, Tasmania

“I do not believe we can repair the basic fabric of society until people who are willing to work have work. Work organizes life. It gives structure and discipline to life.” Bill Clinton
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Filed under art, Australia, Australian, Digital photography, documentary photography, Photographer, Photography, Photojournalism, portraits, Rob Walls, Tasmania

A piece of technology not yet past use-by date…

In 1964 I worked on construction progress shots on a space tracking station for NASA at Tidbinbilla near Canberra. A year later, as a young staffer on The Australian I photographed its commissioning by the then Prime Minister, Sir Robert Menzies. These are a couple of my pictures from the March 20, 1965 edition of the paper.

Sir Robert Menzies opens the NASA Tidbinbilla space tracking station. March 20, 1965 (tearsheet from The Australian) Photos by Rob Walls

If you are wondering about the significance of the thistle in the left of frame, its symbolism is now lost in the mists of time. However, the explanation is this: aware that Menzies had recently been made a Knight of the Royal Order of the Thistle, I thought the visual reference appropriate. Actually, flies being somewhat of a pest around rural Canberra, NASA had the prescience to put an aerosol can of newly invented product on every VIP seat. Aerogard. My overly literate caption was a tad too much for the subs at the paper. It began, “Knight of the Thistle and Lord of the Flies…”. They stepped on the William Golding reference.

Last month I was visiting a vineyard at Cambridge in Tasmania and saw that it was overlooked by the University of Tasmania’s radio telescope, one of a network of four across Australia. On visiting it to take some closer shots, I discovered that this was the very same dish I had photographed nearly 50 years ago, under construction and at the opening. NASA had donated it to the University in 1985 complete with a US built left hand drive truck with a cherry-picker for servicing it.

In shooting for the Day in the World project on the 15th May, I decided to include the telescope in my pictures, killing two birds with one stone, getting pictures for my Working Life project at the same time by photographing Brett Reid, the observatory manager against part of the machinery he looks after.

Brett Reid, the UTAS Observatory Manager with the ex-NASA radio telescope at Mount Pleasant, near Cambridge in Tasmania. © Rob Walls 2012

Brett, kindly took me up in the old cherry-picker to get a good angle on him, the dish and a glorious Tasmanian afternoon sky. It was great to see that something I had been involved with nearly 50 years ago, was, like me, still working.

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Filed under Australia, Australian, Autobiography, Biography, documentary photography, Photographer, Photography, Photojournalism, portraits, Rob Walls, Tasmania

Money for sh*t…

It’s been an unusual week for stock photo sales. A couple of years ago I wrote about wintering with wombats. One of the photographs I took on that field trip was of the curiously cubic crap of the wombat. The shape, it seems, serves the purpose of preventing the wombat’s droppings from rolling away as it marks out its territory.

Currently Alamy has over 30,000,000 pictures. Do a keyword search for wombat droppings and you’ll get just three pictures. All mine! All mine! My own little niche market. You might be surprised (as I was) to find that this week a publisher in the United States paid $500 to use this picture. OK, now don’t all rush out and start shooting wombat shit. For most of you, it’s going to be almost as hard to find as that proverbial rarity, rocking horse sh*t…and with this sale, I imagine I’ve probably filled all the requests there’s likely to be for this particular subject.

Money for sh*t. This picture of the curiously rhomboid shaped wombat droppings sold again this week.© Rob Walls 2011

The other unusual picture sale this week, was of this poignant memorial which was erected in the outback New South Wales town of Broken Hill almost 100 years ago.

Monument in Broken Hill, New South Wales, to the bandsmen of the RMS Titanic who went down with the ship off Newfoundland on 15th April, 1912 © Rob Walls 2011

A moving memorial to the musicians of the RMS Titanic in the Australian outback mining town of Broken Hill. This picture was licensed for use in an audio-visual in Ireland.

Now, just in case you can’t avoid the temptation, I’ll warn you in advance; comments that refer to me as a “sh*t photographer” are unlikely to be published:-)

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Sunrise on Salamanca Market, Hobart

It’s nearly three months since I last posted here. 2011 was probably the most intense year of picture taking in the 50 years that I’ve been a photographer. In the last year or so, I’ve driven almost 50,000 kilometres across Australia photographing work for my project, This Working Life. By the end of last year, I had reached a point where I could feel that burn-out was imminent. Left with the choice of taking pictures or blogging, I decided to neglect the blogging. But now I’m back.

On Saturday last, I went to Salamanca Market to photograph the stall holders setting up for the day. Held every Saturday in Salamanca Place (or just Salamanca) as the locals call it, the market has for nearly 30 years been a bustling and lively scene. Last Saturday, I had reason to be there early and decided to get there in time to see the stall holders setting up.The early morning light, the interaction of workers and early-bird market goers, the mounds of fresh produce and the promise of a hot, sunny, late summer’s day was well worth turning out of bed in the dark for.

Setting up for the day. Good coffee and fresh donuts. My breakfast at 6.30am, © Rob Walls 2012

A market worker hauling a stall cover into place as the sun begins to slant down Salamanca Place © Rob Walls 2012

Stall holders setting up © Rob Walls 2012

Oranges waiting to be juiced © Rob Walls 2012

Lentils, oats and rice © Rob Walls 2012

Display of pumpkins, Harvest Feast, Salamanca Market, Hobart © Rob Walls 2012

Vested interest. My wife grew the beets and a lot of the herbs in this fine display © Rob Walls 2012

 

Attention to detail. Every carrot meticulously displayed © Rob Walls 2012

 

Good friends of organic produce, Michelle Dyer and Jonathan Cooper of Harvest Feast © Rob Walls 2012

 

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Filed under Australia, Australian, Digital photography, documentary photography, Photographer, Photography, Photojournalism, Rob Walls, Stock photography, Tasmania

MONA visited, revisited, revisited and revisited…

Despite the howls of protest and criticism from more conservative professional museum curators, they cannot put down the overwhelming success of David Walsh’s Museum of Old and New Art in Hobart. Walsh himself, has described it as “a subversive adult Disneyland”.

It is not without controversy, attracting such negative comments in TheMercury  as “You sick bastards. That place better be shut down soon. What is the world coming to? What will the next generation of children turn out like after viewing such revolting, hellish ‘art’. They’ll be torturing mutilating murderers.”

“Mr Walsh has made a very big mistake in setting up this thing in Berridale. It’s going to become the biggest white elephant ever in Tasmania. I see it as an extension of the sewerage treatment plant that’s situated right next door to the “museaum”. Both facilities are full of excriment that should be flushed away. It’s a joke people. A joke.”

On the other hand, there are many who actually get David Walsh’s vision and are rewarded and stimulated by it: “WOW, regardless if you love it or hate it, you have to agree this will put Hobart on the map of Australia for the world to see. It is probably the biggest push the city has ever had to come into this century and compete with the bigger cities around the world. Its private, yet free. What a selfless visionary Walsh must be. I wish I still lived in Hobart to see this gem. This “museum” might go a long way to help Hobart lose its “redneck” image to the rest of Australia. Congrats Walsh.”

Since its opening last January, more than 350,000 visitors have passed through its dramatic reflective portals. Last week, I made my fourth visit and again drew deep satisfaction, enjoyment and visual stimulation from being challenged by MONA. Here are some pictures from my last two visits:

The Museum of Old and New Art as seen from the Derwent River © Rob Walls 2011

Visitors to MONA reflected in the mirrored wall of the main entrance © Rob Walls 2011

Bit.Fall by Julius Popp

White Library by Wilfredo Prieto, a library of blank books, blank pages

A visitor viewing Philip Brophy's interactive Body Malleable

China-China - Bust 82 2004 by Ah Xian

Sidney Nolan's massive and magnificent, Snake

Artifact by Gregory Barsamian

After three hours of visual stimulation even the tools and ladder of the exhibition installers begins to look like an installation © Rob Walls 2011

More visits planned in coming months…

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Filed under art, Australia, Australian, Digital photography, documentary photography, Opinion, Rob Walls, Tasmania, travel

Gay marriage in Australia?

OK, this is not about photography, but then I never promised this blog would be entirely about that subject. Just felt I had to share this news.

With man mountain, world champion, Tasmanian axeman coming out in support: gay marriage in Australia? A done deal!

http://www.theage.com.au/national/world-champ-axeman-backs-gay-marriage-20110909-1k11r.html

David Foster, world champion, Tasmanian axeman comes out in support of gay marriage.  © The Age

Oh, how my late and sadly missed friend, Richard Beckett (aka Sam Orr), author of “Axemen, Stand By Your Logs”, a history of woodchopping in Australia, would have delighted in the delicious irony of this.

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Winter harvest…

© Rob Walls 2011

Like a Japanese print

black currawong

stealing ripe persimmon

in my garden this morning…

For the bird watcher, these are Strepera fuliginosa. More can be read about these very clever birds here.

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Filed under art, Australia, Australian, Digital photography, Photographer, Photography, Stock photography, Tasmania