Canberra, behind the scenes. in the shadows and between the buildings. In those places, Canberra is the same as any city. It’s usually dirty, often creepy but also full of texture, interest and moments usually unseen.
I’m wandering around with my little camera in Deakin, waiting for my partner to finish her appointment. I see a narrow space between two buildings, it’s a drainage space and I’m the curious type. I walk through, it’s a tight space, it’s only just wide enough to walk down and it’s still wet from the day’s rain.
The drain is dirty but the dirt isn’t soil and garbage, it’s feces. Pigeon poo! And it is everywhere. It reminds me of caving when I was a teenager and being told of bat guano and the disease it carries. The smell isn’t too bad though, so I make the decision to explore a little and see if there is anything to photograph.
Not finding much of anything but two roosting Pigeons, lazing in a corner of some ducting, I turn to leave and it’s only then that I see a photo I want to capture.
There’s a corrugated rolling garage door across the street and it’s framed by the entrance to the drainage space. I like the grunge of the walls where I am, the differences in light and the garage door as a backdrop. Now I have to wait for however long it takes. I need someone to walk into shot.
I feel a little dirty, leaning against the wall, waiting for someone to cross my line of sight. It’s not the dirt on the wall that makes me feel this way, it’s more the fact that I’m hidden in the dark, lying in wait.
The seconds and the minutes go by and no one is walking past. The street is empty and I’m not the most patient person. I start to question my time here and after 15 minutes of holding the camera awkwardly my arms are getting sore.
Eventually, an old lady walks by, hobbling along with her shopping bag half full. I wait for her stride, I need both her feet to meet the ground. I get one shot and then she’ll walk past my field of view.
When her left foot hits the ground, I press the button and I’m done. My one shot. A moment that takes 15 minutes of waiting but 100th of a second to capture.