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Different Pace of Life - Pitt Street Mall, Sydney, October 9, 2011

Different Pace of Life – Pitt Street Mall, Sydney, October 9, 2011

It’s been a while since I hung around Pitt Street Mall in Sydney looking for shots – largely because I have already spent a lot of time doing so and feel a bit tired with the subject. This shot, however, should serve to remind me that the real importance of Pitt Street Mall is not the aesthetic but the crowd it draws. As the de facto shopping heart of Sydney’s CBD, and the only really significant public square in the centre between Hyde Park and DarlingHarbour, it is always crowded with a wide variety of people and entertainments. Perhaps too mainstream for my tastes, so far as its offerings are concerned, I still enjoy the Mall’s rich opportunities for people watching.

What I like about this shot, apart from the obvious juxtaposition of the two main subjects, is the various ways in which they are juxtaposed. The slumped figure of the homeless man faces in entirely the opposite direction, while the slack position of the legs forms a far less dynamic triangle than those sharply presented as forward arrows in the legs of the striding workers. The pointed heels of the central female subject, coupled with the mild blurring of her figure, only adds to the pace of her stride – an absolute opposite of the man’s inertia. That she is young, shapely and neatly attired, whilst the homeless man is elderly and haggard, reminds us of the objectively mythical but all too real connection between beauty and success.

The dog has always offered some hope for me in this image – that he is watchful and alert, equipped with the energy the homeless man lacks, still loyal and fiercely so. It would be tough without a dog and I just hope this bloke got a roof over his head eventually.

Whilst I did like this photo after taking it and posted it under the title Different Pace of Life, it wasn’t until my friend Kylie told me how much she liked it that I felt completely confident about it. It is a little overexposed and the light seems harsh and unsubtle, but ultimately I suppose that’s an appropriate texture for what might be termed social realism.

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