Street kids, Woolloomooloo, 1962

Street kids, Chapel Street, Woolloomoloo, Sydney, 1962 © Rob Walls 2013

Street kids, Chapel Street, Woolloomooloo, Sydney, 1962 © Rob Walls 2013

I made this picture 51 years ago, when Woolloomooloo was an inner-city slum of dubious reputation. Only a few metres away was the infamous red light area of illegal brothels, Chapel Lane. The poster for Vincent’s APC on the wall above the children, is of somewhat curious historic interest. Vincent’s along with Bex powders,were highly addictive analgesics containing aspirin, phenacetin and caffeine, When it was found that they caused serious kidney damage they were taken off the market in 1970.

“Time eventually positions most photographs, even the most amateurish, at the level of art.”
― Susan Sontag

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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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50 years on and still rocking…

This year is my 50th year as a professional photographer. But more importantly, today is also the 50th anniversary of the Rolling Stones first gig at the Marquee Club in London. To celebrate our mutual longevity, I thought it might be appropriate to again post my picture of Mick Jagger, taken at the Hyde Park free concert on July 5, 1969.

Mick Jagger, Hyde Park free concert, July 5, 1969. © Rob Walls 1969

Brian Jones had died only two days previously and this was the first concert for replacement guitarist, Mick Taylor. And so here we are both still rocking on 50 years down the track…long may we continue…

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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

Just five more days to the Day in the World project…

I know I’ve posted this before…but it’s worth a reminder. May 15th 2012 is the day of the Day in the World project

In five days this project will become reality. Be a part of it along with thousands of other photographers across the globe, documenting your world in what is probably the largest project of its kind ever attempted. On this one single day we ask you to pick up your camera and help us photograph daily life. What is close to you? What matters to you? We will connect your images to those of millions of others around the world, creating a unique online experience where photographs will be shared, compared and explored. Your view on life will be preserved to inspire generations to come.

But why?

Our mission is to use the power of photography to create, share and inspire perspectives on daily life – today and tomorrow.

And who are you?

This project is initiated by the Swedish non-profit foundation Expressions of Humankind and supported by a highly respected global advisory council and a special scientific council.

Who can join?

Professionals, amateurs, school children, farmers, social media fans, astronauts, office workers and you. Cell phone camera, Hasselblad, home-made or borrowed. We are looking for the perspective of everyone who enjoys photography.

What will happen to the photos?

All images will be displayed online for you and everyone to explore. Some of them will be selected for a book, A Day In the World, to be published in November 2012, others shown in digital exhibitions. Every single one will be saved for future research and inspiration. The photos will never be used for commercial purposes. They will always be treated with care and respect. Should your photo be selected to feature in a book, we will try to contact you beforehand.

Why should I join?

Because you love photography. Because you have something to say. Because your life matters. Because the idea of doing something together with millions of others is thrilling. Because you like the thought of saving a little something of yourself for generations to come. Because your take on daily life is part of a much bigger picture.

Come on! Sign up! Be a part of this history making record! To find out more about this exciting project, go here: www.aday.org

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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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Uluru – in three Polaroids

Uluru in three Polaroid prints, 1980 © Rob Walls 1980

Mining the old Polaroid print archive, I came across this series I shot of Uluru in Central Australia, 32 years ago….

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