Making sense of my photography hobby in retirement

Archive for May 12, 2011

Another Time and Space

Most of the images and commentary I have posted recently have been about places I have visited with a bit of background woven in.  In looking back over the posts a pattern of thought has emerged.  The images I like most are the ones with people in them.  This shouldn’t have been a revelation to me because I have always enjoyed photographing people, although you wouldn’t think so by looking at many of the images on this blog. I also like photographing scenery, and am pleased when I capture an image that shows some of the feeling of being in the place.

An example is yesterday’s post “Civic Square“.  While am I am happy with all three photographs in the post, the one I like most is that of the couple in an embrace on the footbridge.  To me it shows a moment of happiness in a public place where the couple are mostly unaware of what is going on around them.

Getting people into my pictures has been difficult.  For a long time I tried to take photographs of places without people – they got in the way! I guess that’s a function of the type of work I have been involved with throughout my professional life – numbers. It’s strange because, as I said, I really enjoy photographing people. But that’s mostly at gatherings where others are taking pictures as well and I don’t feel so conspicuous.  Lately though, I have been trying to break that habit.

Of the images shown today the one I like the most is that with the fellow walking past the girl in the coffee shop.  It was taken in the old Bank of New Zealand Building on the corner of Manners and Cuba Streets in Wellington.  It is no longer a bank – the bank moved out and the building renovated in the 1980’s. It is now a shopping centre but retains its historic character inside due to its Category 1 Historic Places listing.

Curved Railing - Banking Centre shopping arcade, Wellington, New Zealand

No Escalator Down - Banking Centre, Wellington, New Zealand

Coffe Shop - Banking Centre, Wellington, New Zealand

Furtive Look - Banking Centre, Wellington

Safe as Houses! - Old bank vault, Banking Centre, Wellington, New Zealand

"Safe as Houses!" - Old bank vault, Banking Centre, Wellington


Civic Square

Between Frank Kitts Park on Wellington’s waterfront and bustling Willis Street lies Civic Square.  To reach the square from the waterfront it is safest to use the sculptural footbridge over hectic  Jervois Quay.  Here you can linger to look at the view of the harbour or over the inner city buildings to the hills that surround the city.

Footbridge to Civic Square

Bridge to Civic Square from Frank Kitts Park, Wellington. New Zealand

Civic Square is home to City Gallery Wellington, the City Libraries, Wellington City Council and the Michael Fowler Centre for performing arts. Prominent in the square is “Ferns”, a silver globe sculptured by artist Neil Dawson, suspended by cables above the courtyard area. It provides an interesting counterpoint to the surrounding buildings as well as a prop for visitors posing, Atlas-like, for photographs showing them holding the globe in one hand above their heads.

"Ferns" Silver Globe

"Ferns" sculpture by Neil Dawson - Civic Square, Wellington

Victoria Street is reached by a short walk from the square past the Wellington City Libraries. Nearby, between Victoria Street and the parallel Willis Street, is Chew’s Lane.  An early Wellington entrepreneur, John Chew, established a successful timber yard in Chew’s Lane in the 1880’s. By the late 2000’s the lane had become neglected and an opportunity was seen to rejuvenate the area and develop a new precinct.  Chew’s Lane is now a popular walking shortcut with a mix or retail shops, cafes, apartments and offices.  Views of the old Chew’s Lane can be seen in the opening and closing scenes at the “Golden Days” exhibition at Te Papa – New Zealand’s National Museum.

Chews Lane Precinct

Chews Lane - Wellington, New Zealand