Little Village


Melbourne from above.

M

elbourne in the fall. If you are located in some of the downtown areas I think the timing is good because you can see the city rather than trees, although I’m pretty sure the greens of summer are stunning.

While I was there I mostly worked, but it sort of went this way.

I was staying in a suburb south of the city at first. I would walk to the train station which served commuter and long haul trains. The station was mostly a covered platform so I would go next door to a coffee shop, have an espresso and maybe an egg. A few minutes before the train arrived I headed for the platform.

After a 45 minute ride into the city, I’d walk through the train station unless it was busy, when I would photograph in the station. One way or another I’d work my way through a section of the city, breaking for more coffee, stopping for a bite of lunch and so on. I might work for twelve hours, but it was a very gentle twelve hours.

I discovered that there were still traditional photography stores, so I’d camp out and browse. Eventually, I bought a few things, but because the exchange rate between the USD and the AUD wasn’t great, the prices weren’t good so I wasn’t looking for bargains. I was looking for uniqueness.

The same thing happens in Tokyo. Mostly, traveling photographers go to Yodobashi Camera. There are 23 stores in Japan. Going there is amazing. You’ll see products that aren’t available outside of Japan from big camera manufacturers but they aren’t inexpensive. In checking their website, they’ve moved far beyond cameras and photo supplies and electronics. On the other hand, where have you ever seen a 24 inch laptop computer? It fits well into tiny Japanese apartments but it can’t be very portable.

The biggest of their stores is in a district called Shinjuku, which is an electronic stores district. If you are going to spend any amount of time there a good place to stay — commuting isn’t easy — is the Hotel Gracery Shinjuku, also known as the Godzilla Hotel. It’s a modern hotel with well done rooms, but they are small. If you happen to be on the eighth floor you can see Godzilla looking over the city.

What could possibly go wrong?

This isn’t about Tokyo, it’s about Melbourne. I like both cities a lot. You have to be fully energized to enjoy Tokyo but you can be far more relaxed in Melbourne, after all it’s the place of, “No worries, mate.”

Here’s how it goes. I was photographing a Ute, the shortened form for utility coupe, which is a pickup on a car chassis. In the U.S. think about the Ford Ranchero and the Chevy El Camino.

Anyway, the owner came out of his home and asked what I was doing. I told him and he took me on a tour of it, and took me for a drive, got out of the car and asked me if I wanted to drive. It was easy since it handles like a car.

More to the point, that’s how I think about Australians. Kind, friendly but inwardly tough.

I rarely have problems in a foreign country even if I disagree with their rules and political mores. I mostly try to fit in. I never stand on my soapbox in a Socialist or Communist country, that’s not why I’m there. I listen to the local people. They live there. I don’t.

In case you are wondering, when Darwin talked about the survival of the fittest, he didn’t mean the biggest, toughest and boldest. If you read enough of his writings you realize he means the ability to fit in… with other animals and locations.

Do that, and you’re golden.

Published by Ray Laskowitz

I am a visual storyteller. I've been making pictures for some 40 years. I travel the world in search of the right image. in the right light at the right time. You can reach me by phone at 505.280.4686, or by email at Ray@Laskowitzpicturess.com or Pictures34@me.com. For a quick look at my work please go to www.laskowitzpictures.com.

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