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This week’s travel theme from Ailsa’s blog ‘Where’s my backpack?’ is Illuminated. I thought I would use this travel theme to show off my photos from the Vivid Light Festival in Sydney from last year. I had to travel the best part of 3km to get to this location, but it was tough hauling with my Canon Digital SLR, 4 lenses, and a Tripod. I am only showing a few of the photos on this blog post but I uploaded a whole heap more, particularly of the Sydney Opera House, up to my Flickr account on this set Vivid Light Festival 2013. Oh, and as usual, the images link through to the larger sized photos on Flickr.

The Sydney Opera House was AWESOME! The video show this year was something special, and was good for both photography and video. The husband of one of our fellow bloggers, Josephine over at Becoming Aussie (the link has a blog post with video of the show), had a hand in putting together this part of the light show. My favourite part was definitely the lizard eye.

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The Sydney Museum of Contemporary Art (MCA) was well cool too and competed well against the ‘House, but was pipped into second place.

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There were another two video displays against buildings this year, in addition to the regular one on Customs House which was unusually average. One was against the old brick warehouse building behind the Overseas Passenger Terminal, which was better to watch in motion than still. The running horses were the best bit.

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Circular Quay was bathed in colour!

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Not all the displays were grand, some were on a more human scale. Like this oversized illuminated beehive.

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Or the light panels that were sensitive to touch.

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The terraces in the rocks were lit up again this year after being absent in 2012. Love the colours, and the light murals on the 1st storey balconies.

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I liked the giant neon tube light bulb – cool too.

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Some of the art pieces were quite abstract, but this one was sheer genius. It would have to have been very highlight calculated with the shade effects against the textured cubes. The lighting changed its saturation over time and the shadows changed with it. Chapeau to this artist.

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I think my boy enjoyed the light show a lot, particularly when he got to play on the light piano with his mum.

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I can’t wait to see what the lineup will be for 2014.

Great theme this week Ailsa, good excuse to post some cool photos.

So I have seen some pretty weird stuff on my rides. Most times I am on the handlebars pedalling away wishing I had a camera in my eye like the 6 Million Dollar Man (yes, I just showed my age but gee that was an awesome show). But sometimes I just have to stop and take a quick snap with my mobile phone in my back pocket. This morning I saw the biggest yellow rubber duck I have ever seen in my life. I think it is part of the Sydney Festival, and was here in Sydney last year.

Rubber Duck - Sydney Festival 2014

For the record my ride this morning was a struggle as I was pushing against a mild bout of office communicated man flu. Still, my mate JB and I pumped out a good 80km and I fought through it to get some of my fastest Strava segment times. We took a detour through Sydney Olympic Park on he return. Perfect Sydney Summer morning for a ride, no wind, few riders, perfect temperature, and low humidity.

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Off to the beach this arvo I think.

Jeffrey Smart was my favourite artist and he will be a fondly remembered Australian. He has left us with a beautiful legacy.

Stephen Kelly Creative

Cahill Expressway

Last week the art blogs and websites were lit up over the death of prominent Australian artist Jeffrey Smart, who passed away on June 20 at the age of 91 at his home in Italy. Though he lived more than half his life in Italy, Jeffrey Smart was regarded as one of Australia’s greatest artists, and along with Albert Tucker, Charles Blackman, Sidney Nolan and Brett Whiteley, he was also considered one of the leading Australian twentieth century modernists. Another expatriate Australian, Clive James, once wrote Smart was the “modern Australian painter whose paintings look least Australian”.

Surfer's BondiIndeed, rather than beautiful Australian landscapes, Smart choose to portray an urban life of factories, trucks, roadways and vacant lots. He was moved by man in man-made nature and not concerned with your typical landscape. His paintings take everyday symbols of modernity and transform them into remarkably still, harmoniously composed images (Smart once…

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A couple of weeks ago I posted about one of our many trips to Singapore where we visited the Gardens by the Bay. We first saw these gardens from the spectacular Marina Bay Sands hotel complex. It is surprising how cheaply you can grab a room if there is no special event on at the hotel. We were fortunate that when we went we got a few nights on the cheap prior to the city revving up for the Singapore Formula 1 Grand Prix. The building has become a new icon of the city state, and has received a great amount of attention from other bloggers. Its high level design is simple and yet immense in its scale. For someone trying to photograph it, the many lines and curves offer something almost other worldly.

Marina Bay Sands in section

But what struck me more were some of the artistic decorations for the hotel. The simplicity of the buildings design couple with its scale called for decoration that matches this. In some cases, the building itself is the art. Maybe these caught my attention because they were more human in scale than the massive towers and pool deck  the size of an aircraft carrier. I shot these four “pieces” at the hotel for their striking simplicity and their uniqueness. As usual, these images click through to the large photos on my Flickr site.

The first piece shimmered with the wind, making this facade of the building look like a rippling water of metal.

Singapore - Marina Bay Sands Art #1

The buildings large towers with their internal split create a fascinating ceiling which is an art piece in itself. The horizontal ‘beams’ are corridors for guests and staff to get from one side of the hotel tower to the other.

Singapore - Marina Bay Sands Art #2

 

The high ceilings called for down lights that filled the space. The glass on these lights was something special that only really came alive at night.

Singapore - Marina Bay Sands Art #3

 

But I think that I saved my favourite piece for last. This tall, simple water feature kept me fascinated watching the path of water constantly rotate the channels dipping and rising when empty – keeping the sculpture constantly in a state of flux.

Singapore - Marina Bay Sands Art #4

 

You may not like it, but the building and its decorative art are stunning and elicit a response. I would like to stay there again at some point in the future to see whether the hotel has stood the test of time.

I am not an art aficionado, but I do enjoy fine art for what it does. It inspires me to look at an interpretation of the world through someone else’s eyes and elicits a response from me as well. One of the best know Australian modern artists is Jeffrey Smart, who is still alive and spritely in his 90s. He would have to be one of my favourite artists. His style is described as “precisionist”, but I do not quite believe he can be categorised as such – particularly given that the main proponents of this style were mainly American and (Ralston Crawford aside) the colours were mainly subdued pastels. In my opinion, he views the world in a truly unique architectural perspective while still seeing the art of the form. The colour in his paintings is bold and in your face. My favourite painting is one of his titled simply “Reflected Arrows” (1974), as seen below.

Jeffrey Smart - Reflected Arrows

“Reflected Arrows” (1974)

His earlier pieces contained many portraits, including famous Australian authors of his generation – David Malouf, Germaine Greer, and one could say Clive James in “Cahill Expressway”. But there are two of Smart’s paintings which were burnt deep in my memory for their form and symmetry. The first being “Holiday” (1971) and the second being “Housing Project no. 84” (1970). Who would have thought that an artist born in the early 1920s would interpret the built world in the 1970s in such a way – and it would appear life imitates art in modern architecture today.

Jeffrey Smart - Holiday

“Holiday” (1971)

Jeffrey Smart - Housing Project no. 84

“Housing Project no. 84” (1970)

So my amateur photographer’s eye caught the patterns and shapes of a few buildings over the last two weeks that immediately brought me back to the memory of these paintings. While Smart works with canvas, I work with light and pixels (on a sensor). Obviously the tone of the mediums is different, but I hope I captured the essence of what Smart did in his paintings. BTW – as usual my photos images link through to the larger size photos on Flickr.

Windows - #01

Windows - #03

Windows - #02

On a side note – someone had a look at pretty much all my public photos on Flickr a couple of days ago. This was some 420 photos in total. Whoever you are, you made an amateur photographer feel happy that he could share his photos with you.

My work in Melbourne has now come to an end, and I am relieved because my health has taken a beating with flights and air-conditioning taking its toll on my lungs. But one of the many things I will miss is how beautiful the cultural fabric of the city is. Melbourne, like Adelaide, has really embraced the Arts. While you may not like certain pieces, it changes the urban landscape and makes you ponder – instead of mindlessly walking around like ants between concrete, glass, and steel. I would not be exaggerating when I say that this post could have contained 1,000 photos as the city is peppered with urban art and sculpture. But I have not been in Melbourne on holiday, so my photo excursions have been limited to after the working day is done. Here are a couple of pieces that grabbed my attention, in particularly the super-human scale of the pieces and how people can interact with the pieces. I love the visions that the artists have brought to life; a large cow in the shape of a milk carton, a giant slug coming out of the ground, some large white garden things, and giant golden bees. As usual the images click through to the larger images on my Flickr account.

Melbourne Urban Sculpture - #1

Melbourne Urban Sculpture - #2

Melbourne Urban Sculpture - #3

Melbourne Urban Sculpture - #4

 

On one other side note, I have passed 5,000 views on my Flickr account this last week. Since I have started this blog and got out to shoot, I have focused on getting more of my photos on the web. I am quietly happy that I am able to share my pics with others.

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