Reflections in the river

A slight­ly extend­ed set of the images pub­lished in the 2018 edi­tion of LensWork Magazine’s See­ing in Six­es (pur­chase your own copy, on sale, here).

These images cap­ture the tran­sient play of light on the sur­face of the Yarra Riv­er, when slight breezes or cur­rents move the sur­face and dis­turb its reflec­tions of the sky, the build­ings on its banks, the pedes­tri­an and rail bridges that cross it, and… well, I’m not sure. The eye is sim­ply too slow and our field of vision too wide to cap­ture these shim­mers or to attest their source. They are oth­er­wise-invis­i­ble baubles whose mean­ing is… what you please.

The Yarra Riv­er that runs, now, along the south­ern edge of the Mel­bourne busi­ness dis­trict, was where the ear­li­est free — although sort-of-out­law — set­tlers land­ed in 1835 and built a port. After the town­ship, then known as Bear­brass to the locals, was gazetted as “Mel­bourne” in the late 1830’s, and espe­cial­ly after the gold-rush­es of the 1850’s, the port grad­u­al­ly moved fur­ther down-riv­er to where it emp­ties into the Port Philip Bay.

In a plan Mel­bur­ni­ans now regret, the north­ern bank of the Yarra riv­er was sur­ren­dered to the rail­way in the 1850s. Rail lines and bridges now line that bank. But, since the 1980s, the south­ern side has been more care­ful­ly planned. Most of it is a pedes­tri­an zone host­ing a vari­ety of build­ings, includ­ing some of Melbourne’s tallest: hotels, shop­ping arcades, restau­rants, office blocks, apart­ment build­ings and an enter­tain­ment dis­trict with Opera, sym­pho­ny and the­aters. These build­ings, I think, are the source of much of the light in these pho­tos.

Cover of "Patterns In The River"
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