Roadside weeds and rusting things

There’s inspiration to be found in the ordinary. Beauty to be found in the mundane. This is West Auckland street photography. Urban-rural style. And a shot at some exercise. If I’m lucky.

At the risk of sounding like I’m losing my mind, I’m pretty sure we’re in the grip of an arachnid alien invasion.

From Whenuapai to Herald Island, these spider webs appear to have sprung up overnight, and they’re everywhere. They were beautiful with the early morning sunlight shining on them and the remnants of frost still clinging to their gossamer strands, but once the sun shifted and the dew dried, they became virtually invisible.  Guess it was lucky that we came along at just the right time to catch the magic.

 

whenuapai photography
Remember Spiderman; with great power comes great responsibility.

 

In effort to get some exercise, break free of the weekly humdrum and find inspiration in my surroundings, I’ve been going on near-daily excursions around the neighbourhood and nearby suburbs. With a friend we walk and chat; venting and brainstorming as we go. While on the days that the dog accompanies me, she takes on the role of my personal trainer; pushing me to jog a few km – using her ‘aww gummon!’ eyes to drive me on whenever I start to lag.

 

herald island photography
Herald Island wharf and waterfront is particularly inspiring on a misty winter morning

 

It’s a dangerous thing to bring along my camera during these excursions. I run the risk of spending the entire day ambling at a snail’s pace while photographing every last little interesting thing that catches my eye, and then lugging home a memory card full of pictures I’ll likely never look at again – and all without achieving any kind of cardiovascular workout.

Walking the rural fringe of West Auckland is so much more interesting than driving. Everything inspires me. No really. Everything.

 

west auckland street photography
It’s ordinary. It’s every day. It’s depressing. It’s grotesque. It’s beautiful.

 

Take the way that cardboard McDonald’s packet stands out against a grassy Whenuapai berm, while a car blurs by in the background. It’s bleak. It’s ugly. It’s corporate-branded pollution. The fact that so many cars can whizz by without even noticing the McTrash is just a sad example of the blind-eyed self-centered bubble we as individuals live in. And all the while the consumeristic machine that is our society powers on towards its own destruction; contaminating everything that’s pure and natural in this world as it goes.

Or something like that.

I’m feeling a need to change something in my life. To pursue a new direction. I don’t want to spend the rest of my existence sitting before a screen. This outdoors thing is really quite nice.

While admiring the beauty in the mundane, I start thinking about whether or not I could plausibly make a living from selling photographs of spiderwebs, dead pukeko, or the interesting placement of an ancient wheelbarrow in an overgrown field. What could we call this? Urban rural street photography?

Then I stop and remember that the reason I enjoy photography is because it’s a hobby. Not something I’m trying to make any kind of living from. Thus there’s no pressure to be outstanding at it. No pressure to churn out photos that other people will want. I only need to concern myself about what I find interesting through the camera lens. Not what anyone else might perhaps possibly find interesting.

That’s not to say I won’t consider a photographic job opportunity should one come up. Let’s be real here. But maybe I should start practicing portrait or product photography, and stop admiring roadside weeds and rusting things.

west auckland street photography

First written: 28 August 2015. Published  25 April 2016