David Cox

Street Art In Melbourne

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Street Art in Melbourne, Australia is a celebrated art form. On a recent family vacation, I was amazed at how much graffiti art there was. It was everywhere throughout Victoria, and it is not shunned. Instead, it is promoted.There are dedicated alleys in the city where street artists showcase their work. We visited two of the more popular alleys, AC/DC Lane & Hosier Lane.

Crowded Alley

I wanted to view them at night. Apparently, so did a lot of others. Because they are actual alleys, they are dimly lit – but not dark. There’s enough street light from the surrounding streets for you to clearly see the walls. When we rounded the corner, I was in awe. We were immediately hit with a vibrant array of color, made more dramatic by the low light. Pieces by different artists literally cover every inch of the main two walls of the alley. If you only look at eye-level, you’ll miss the ones that are up higher. It was amazing!

Photo Worthy

Each painting was unique and worthy of being photographed. So, I set up my tripod and worked my way down the alley.  Because I was shooting in low-light, my shutter speeds were slower. With all the people out there, I had to time my shots when the coast was clear. Then I hoped that no one would walk stop in front of my camera to take a selfie.

Questions

Of course, most of the people were taking pictures with their cellphones. At that time, I was the only person out there with a tripod. Naturally, I attracted a little attention. A couple people stopped to ask me a question, and I was asked to take a picture of a group with their camera.

Serendipity

I wasn’t aware of the street art in Melbourne. Fortunately, we discovered it when we were at the Queen Victoria Market. While I was waiting for some food, a photograph at a booth caught my attention. It was a picture of a graffiti painting. Under the picture was the title Hosier Lane. Google revealed to me that it was in Melbourne. At that moment, I knew I had to see it for myself.

African American Photographer: Untold Stories

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September 19, 2019 – by David Cox 

The African American photographer played a pivotal role in the history of America. But, they did more than just take pictures. Instead, they were instrumental in documenting the role that African Americans played in building the United States.

Glimpse of America

Most black photographers began doing portraits, many owning their own studios. The portraits provided a glimpse into the lives of black America that wasn’t usually seen. For that reason, there are images of families & business owners. Typically, those depictions were reserved only for white Americans.

“I picked up a camera because it was my choice of weapons against what I hated most about the universe: racism, intolerance, poverty.”

– Gordon Parks

African American Experience

Later, they created more social and community based images. The camera provided a way to change the public images of blacks in America. Before the prominence of black photographers, images of African Americans were just those of laborers and servants. The problem with that is it didn’t depict the entire African American experience.


“There were no black images of dignity, no images of beautiful black people. There was this big hole. I tried to fill it.”

– Roy DeCarava

Journalist to Artist

Photography grew in popularity. So,  well-known photographers ventured into education and awareness. Roy DeCarava held photography workshops in the community, The Kamoinge Workshops. Also, the James Van der zee Institute published a monthly photography newsletter. Similarly, Joe Crawford published the Black Photographers Annual. That publication showcased the work of photographers from all over the country.

Gratitude

The early African American photographer is of great importance to American history. I am grateful for their contributions and sacrifices. Their work has inspired me to share the world as I see it – to tell my stories. So now, when I pick up my camera, I honor them.

Here is a list of photographers to start your research:

Gordon ParksRoy DeCaravaCharles Stewart
Jack DavisJoe FlowersJames Van Der Zee
Robert SengstackeCarrie Mae WeemsAugustus Washington
P.H. PolkRobert L. HagginsJack T. Franklin
Bertrand MilesMilton HintonMoneta Sleet Jr
James Presley Ball, SrErnest WithersJoe Crawford

This article first appeared at Life at F11