Tuesday, September 5, 2017


The Pedestrians: Henri Mallard 1930s rephotographen by Julie Clarke 2017

Before I went to Lionel's place/Grant Street Theatre on Saturday afternoon to hear some jazz improvisation from Melbourne Conservatorium staff and students (each of the performers accomplished, but the female soloist was exemplary in her vocal execution) I went to NGV Australia to see the Australia in the 1930s exhibition, an extensive show of photographs, paintings, films, furniture and posters. It was just wonderful and I was completely captured by Henri Marie Joseph Mallard's 1930s photograph entitled The Pedestrians, most probably because I do so much walking and I rarely ride in a car. Of course, there is a pay off for doing so much walking and I was struggling for much of the week with a sore back and painful sciatica.
Yesterday, still very much inspired by Mallard's photograph I began searching through the vast amount of photographs I've taken to find the one and only photo I could remember taken of me whilst I was walking. It was by a man who caught the 402 bus I also travelled on every day to Melbourne University when I lived in North Melbourne. I don't know his name, but he was elderly and gave me the photo he taken of me walking towards Melbourne University down Grattan to Swanston Street, which I re-photographed and cropped.
Julie Clarke, 2003. Photo: Anonymous however rephotographed by Julie Clarke 2017.
He wrote on the back 'Miss Essendon, RMH' obviously associating my black clothes and red stockings with the colors of the football club. I decided that this would be the beginning of a new project that responds in various ways to Mallard's photograph and the idea of the pedestrian/a walker/performed on foot/journey/ordinary.
So, this morning after doing a sketch on a square stretched canvas of Mallard's photograph I went into Melbourne to take some photographs of pedestrians. Then I went up to see long time friend Kris Hemensley, Melbourne writer and proprietor of Collected Works Bookshop, Level 1, Nicholas Building, Swanston Street, Melbourne. Kris was the first person to publish my writing and so we go as far back as 1980. It seems appropriate somehow that my photo of Kris, head down in the shop is slightly blurry because it suggests time as distant memory.
We had a great natter about one thing or another and Kris said it was only a few days go whilst he was in the NGV bookshop that he had seen my article in Stelarc: The Monograph. That's synchronicity for you, for he has just recently published another one of his poetic prose texts called Scratch Entourage, published by Cordite Books. I purchased a copy and am looking forward to reading it as I've read many of his past works.

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