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8 May 2013
Passionate Melbournians with an interest in photography are being encouraged to get behind a Deakin University Research My World project - RetakeMelbourne which aims to reshoot the images of immigrant Australian photographer Mark Strizic.
Organiser of the project, Associate Professor James McArdle is currently trying to raise between $6 and $10,000 via the crowd-source funding site Pozible to develop an app which will allow photographers to upload an image from the State Library of Victoria’s collection, go to within meters of where the original photo was taken and take their own photograph.
“Donors will get a copy of the beta version of the app while photographers will be able to compare their own photo with that of Strizic’s and see for themselves the changes which have taken place.
“Rather than being slavish copies of old photos, theirs will be interpretations of Strizic’s originals.
“Their image will then be donated to the State Library as a resource for photographers, historians and other interested people to use.”
Associate Professor McArdle said Mark Strizic was a close friend of architects Robyn Boyd and David Saunders.
“Strizic was significant because there were not a lot of photographers who had documented Melbourne in the 1950s,” he said.
“His love of architecture and his European eye provoked him to condemn the ugliness he saw pervading Australian city-scapes during the 1960s when the architecture of the Gold Rush era coexisted with, or was being replaced by, Modernist curtain-glass high-rise office buildings.”
Associate Professor McArdle said Strizic’s 5000 half-century-old negatives, colour transparencies and slides, were donated to the State Library by the estate of Mark Strizic in 2007.
“Part of the durable benefits of the project is that our modern day Strizics will make a substantial contribution to that collection,” he said.
“They in turn will benefit from seeing Melbourne more closely, finding the locations and coming to understand firsthand the operation of the forces which have changed the city, the influences of crowd behaviour on the city, its power to change us and our social interactions.”
Associate Professor McArdle said the research team had already taken some test shots.
“Our test shots show that there are now many more people in Melbourne and from many different nationalities,” Associate Professor McArdle said.
“There have also been some radical changes, with whole streetscapes unrecognisable from their appearance in the 1960s; and the uniformity of dress in the 1960s is astonishing when you consider the way fashion has now become a matter of personal expression.’’
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Above: Strizic's original photo of the Post Office on Bourke Street in the 1950s with the 2013 image by G. Neville overlayed. The Post Office shot gives the best idea of how the app will work, and demonstrates the crowding of Melbourne, casualness and individuality of fashions and the disappearance/transformation of buildings at this famous intersection, just down the hill from Deakin University's City Campus.
Strizicís original photograph of Penfold Lane, 1950s (Copyright Strizic estate) with the 2013 image by G. Neville overlayed.
Strizicís much less 'liveable', treeless, almost empty Russell Street, 1950s (Copyright Strizic estate) with the 2013 image by G. Neville.